Tag Archives: acting chops

The Adjustment Bureau

Wow.

It’s been a solid week since the last post and I’m ready to get back into it after a great spring break. Speaking of spring break, I saw The Adjustment Bureau over break. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint.

This movie is coming from first time director, second time producer, and fifth time screenplay, George Nolfi. Not familiar? Well, this guy is a pro with Matt Damon. He’s written the screenplay for three of Damon’s movies now. (Besides Adjustment, he’s done Ocean’s Twelve and The Bourne Ultimatum. Great stuff.) With all this work with Matt Damon, why wouldn’t Nolfi choose Damon for this movie? Besides Matt Damon’s acting chops, he can pull off the occasional (more than that) move in any of his movies nowadays.

This movie is quite great. If I had to compare it to anything, I would call it a more realistic version of Inception, with quite the romance on our hands. David Norris (Matt Damon) is a hood thug turned politician running for senate and seemingly winning. After a scandal, Norris decides to throw in the towel and take a job at a big company instead. And all this after meeting a girl, Elise (Emily Blunt). Months pass and Norris and Elise happen to run into each other on a bus. But was it just chance? Or are there bigger powers at work here?

David and Elise are tossed into a wild chase involving the aptly named “Adjustment Bureau,” giving rise to the question of whether or not we’re actually in control of our own lives. I would beg to differ and argue that some people are destroyed by their fate, but that’s a whole different story.

Okay, so what stood out to me in this movie is the tastefully done special effects, intermingled with great cinematography. The effects aren’t too flashy and all up in yo’ face, they stand respectfully¬† behind the cinematography, as should be expected. With this base, we have on top of that some great acting. Of course, Matt Damon, Emily Blunt. But the two who really sold it for me was Anthony Mackie and John Slattery. Slattery of course gets his acting chops from Mad Men, but what surprised me in this movie is how y0u’re not really supposed to like him, but he still comes off as that cool customer you wish you could be. In direct opposition to him is Anthony Mackie, another Adjustment Bureau agent who has followed Damon throughout his life. Looking back on his career, I’m surprised I’ve missed Mackie, but now I’m sure I’m going to go back and check him out. (i.e. Notorious as Tupac, The Hurt Locker, Freedomland, and Half Nelson.) He’s been doing great work since about 2002, and it’s always great to find those actors who fly below the radar.

Only problem with this movie? TERENCE STAMP. Hollywood has got to stop letting this guy act. Seriously? He takes the most random roles that forces me not to be able to take him seriously. Come on. Yes Man? No sir.

This movie is a good one. With a great script, good direction, and great acting, this movie was made to do well. It leaves you with a great message in a not so familiar way. But you do have to ask yourself, would I change my fate for love? 7.7 out of 10.


The Fighter (AKA, Christian Bale)

So I’ve had this desire to see The Fighter (2010) for a while, and just recently, I saw it. It was one of David O. Russell’s first movies I’ve seen, and I was impressed from beginning to end. I know this movie is getting Oscar buzz and it’s up for quite a few categories. I saw it for many reasons, but I won’t go into those just yet. Let’s go over some other things first.

This movie is about Micky Ward, (Mark Wahlberg, funny, M.W., huh…) a boxer in the 1980’s who fought as a welterweight and made it big training with his older brother, Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale). You may be wondering, why not the same last name? Different guys, different dads. Now, Dickie Eklund was the guy who knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard. Some say he tripped, but it’s up for those who see it to judge. In the movie, Dickie has fallen in hard times after his race for the championship title, and now he’s down on his luck with a kid, no wife, and a massive drug addiction to cocaine. While all this is going on, Dickie and the boys’ mother, Alice Ward (Melissa Leo) are trying to fix Micky up for some fights, all the while, Micky gets destroyed. Literally, worked.¬†As the movie goes along, Micky finds a girlfriend, Charlene (Amy Adams) and goes on his merry way to winning the welterweight title. Very uplifting and quite moving at the end.

The meat and potatoes (forgive my Irish reference) comes from the acting chops and superb way that the movie was filmed. I always appreciate cinematography, but when you can make a movie feel like and look like the era it came from, bravo. Mark Wahlberg was great, going back to his roots. beating the living crap out of people, but not getting thrown in jail for it. (No offense, he did beat people up in Boston though…) I’ve always thought of him as exceptional, and I found this to be another Invincible role for him. The real acting came from Christian Bale, my favorite actor. Ever since his role in Empire of the Sun, I’ve been hooked to his work (Pocahontas as Thomas, Mary, Mother of Jesus as Jesus, American Psycho as Patrick Bateman, quite a versatility as my friend said.) and this movie is no different from anything else he’s done. He goes into the job, fully focused and literally nails the part he’s given. There’s nothing more to say then that Christian Bale is an A-List, top-shelf actor.

So, now that you know my love of Christian Bale, you know why I went to see this movie. The acting was great, the cinematography, especially the scenes where they switch it to late night 1980’s boxing style filming, was fantastic, and the story was moving. It reminded me of a modern day Cinderella Man, another boxing movie that I’ve come to really appreciate. Amy Adams really stepped it up from the only other movie I’ve ever seen her in (Enchanted) and I found Jack McGee, who played Micky’s father, George, was quite good. The sisters were a laugh and the mother was aggravating, all of it came together, and this movie deserves a solid 9.5 out of 10. (The played a Red Hot Chili Peppers song in there too, Strip My Mind. Out of context, but sounded great. Kudos.)