Search Results for: Bradley Cooper

Joy Movie Review & Film Summary

Throughout cinema’s history, there have been numerous director/actor collaborations, and when these collaborative efforts are truly symbiotic, we get some of the most memorable films and performances. Whether it is Alfred Hitchcock and Jimmy Stewart, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, or Woody Allen and Diane Keaton, these types of director/actor pairs have made some of the most iconic films of the last century. Now, it appears that we have another director/actor collaboration in the making. While it is way too early to even mention this new pair in the same sentence as the examples above, it feels like this new cinematic relationship can develop into something exciting and unforgettable.

Jennifer Lawrence in JOY

Jennifer Lawrence in JOY

This new pair is of course writer and director David O. Russell and America’s favorite star Jennifer Lawrence. They have made two films already, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, and their third effort is opening up on Christmas day. Joy is based on the life of Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence)- the woman that invented the miracle mop. The film takes us on a wild journey inside Joy’s personal life as we watch Joy grow from a young, imaginative child into a strong woman who becomes the matriarch of her own business.

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Burnt Movie Review & Film Summary

Whether or not you agree with the following review of the new film Burnt, there is one thing you must take seriously: do not go on an empty stomach! The latest film from director John Wells focuses on the gorgeous-looking gourmet food. If you’re someone who loves the art of plating, are a foodie, or just likes watching chefs do their thing, and then I’m sure you’ll enjoy the new dramedy. But if you are not going to salivate over the enchanting plates, you might find yourself a bit disappointed.

Bradley Cooper & Sienna Miller in Burnt

Bradley Cooper & Sienna Miller in Burnt

Burnt tells the story of Chef Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper), who destroyed his once-booming career with drugs and other vices, hurting a few people along the way. However, after a self-served punishment of shucking a million oysters, he decides to return to London, spearhead a top restaurant, and earn three Michelin Stars. However, he has a lot to prove to his former friends and colleagues, but most importantly—himself.

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American Sniper Takes an Admirable Shot

American Sniper, which is based on Chris Kyle‘s autobiography, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, recounts the tragic yet triumphant moments of Chris Kyle’s career with the SEALs and his eventual struggles with returning home. Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) is a native Texan and patriot at heart who wanted to make something of his life. He wanted to make a difference, and after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, he knew what he wanted to do. Kyle eagerly joined the fight against terrorism and became a member of the SEALs where we would be the most productive sniper in history. After four tours of Iraq, Kyle became a legend in the military; however, his real battles were only just beginning. Upon returning home, Kyle’s relationships with his wife, Taya (Sienna Miller), and kids began to wane. Kyle’s everyday life became difficult to manage as he finds out that he simply cannot leave the war and his fellow soldiers behind.

Bradley Cooper in American Sniper

Bradley Cooper in American Sniper

At 84 years young, film legend Clint Eastwood is still working at a prolific rate and is still making films that are stark and unwavering. With his latest effort, American Sniper, the great Eastwood has made an unflinching, tense film that depicts the heroism and sacrifices military men and women must make year after year.

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Guardians of the Galaxy

In January of 1969, “Marvel Super-Heroes” issue 18, brought the comic book universe a team worthy of defending the universe. That team was named the Guardians of the Galaxy. Then nearly 40 years later, a modern Guardians of the Galaxy was created. This modern version is the one that director James Gunn adapted into this summer’s blockbuster. 

Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, and Vin Diesel in "Guardians of the Galaxy"

Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, and Vin Diesel in “Guardians of the Galaxy”

“Guardians of the Galaxy” is about Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) a half alien, half human who steals a mysterious orb which causes him to become the target of manhunt led by Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace). In order to save the galaxy and stop Ronan, Quill also known as Star-Lord creates a group with other space creatures, Gamora (Zoe Saldana)Rocket the Racoon (Bradley Cooper), Groot (Vin Diesel), and Drax (Dave Bautista). They call themselves the Guardians of the Galaxy.

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American Hustle

“I think I land somewhere between Scorsese and Capra in what I’m drawn to emotionally; I’m drawn to very intense emotion”, answers David O. Russell as he tries best to describe his directorial style. For the majority of his career, Russell has had his highs and his lows, but his wholesome style has always remained persistent-especially in his most recent efforts. Just look at the past three years, and you will find no director who has been on a roll like Russell. In 2010, David O. Russell’s brilliant film, The Fighter, reminded everyone of how gifted this man is at telling a story filled with pure heart, and last year’s Silver Linings Playbook established Russell back in the class of today’s best directors. He is on an incredible streak, and the hits appear to keep on coming. David O. Russell’s new film, American Hustle, is a highly charged throwback that throws the audience on a wild ride that doesn’t stop for a breath. This go around also has David O. Russell doing his best Martin Scorsese impression while trying to maintain his Capra-like emotional sensibilities, which allows American Hustle to have everything from love triangles, outburst of violence, and plenty of double crosses. What more do you want from a film, right?

Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale in American Hustle

Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale in American Hustle

American Hustle has given David O. Russell the opportunity to demonstrate his Scorsese-like flair. The movie is filed with multiple voice overs, a nonlinear story arc, a blasting 1970s soundtrack, and black comedy that is injected into intense scenes that are loaded with extremely high stakes. The movie screams Scorsese, and furthermore it is even reminiscent of Scorsese’s excellent film, Goodfellas. However, the movie fails to do what the master, Scorsese, always accomplishes. American Hustle never reaches out and establishes its own commentary on its characters and time period. It never truly tries to make a bold statement and never forces its audiences’ engagement. Instead of being actively engaging in the plot and in the motives of the characters, American Hustle leaves the audience passively watching the action unfold. By the end of the film, American Hustle leaves part of you feeling empty and wanting more from the production. The parts are simply greater than the whole; however, those parts sill make for a very memorable, entertaining time at the theaters

American Hustle, which is based on the FBI’s Abscam operation that led to several indictments of political figures accepting bribes from a fake Sheikh, opens up with a title card that reads: “Some of this actually happened.” By using this in replace of “Based on a true story” or “Inspired by true events”, David O. Russell is allowed artistic freedom. Instead of focusing his time on what is factual and what isn’t, he is allowed to create characters and moments that are right up his wheel house. Like the many characters that are found in his previous films, the ones in American Hustle are complex, emotionally intriguing, and larger than life. All of the characters jump off screen, and collectively they power this movie. Russell manages to effectively establish the many different relationships and interactions of all of the characters. These exchanges are dynamic, exciting, intense, and genuine. The energy never lets up, and Russell always has the camera in the right places to capture the controlled chaos in the film. Once again he is able to find the perfect balance of drama and humor, and most importantly he brilliantly sways between intensity and tranquility. Although the film may feel a bit disjointed at times, Russell’s ability to create fictionalize scenarios that not only do the characters justice, but also enhances the atmosphere allows the film to overcome its flaws. This aspect has defined David O. Russell’s career resurgence, and most certainly is what makes American Hustle worth the hustle.

The acting in American Hustle is truly the greatest aspect the movie has to offer, and it is what you would come to expect from a David O. Russell film. The acting is excellent and all of the performances hinge on insanity and sympathy. The performances are some of the most memorable of the year, and the five stars are obviously having a great time getting into the characters. The always great Christian Bale delivers another transformative performance that sees him not only being unrecognizable, but also emotionally vulnerable. Bale’s Irving Rosenfeld is fascinating to watch on screen because he is a walking contradiction. From his looks to his actions, Irving is simply magnetic. Throughout the film,  he teaches us and the other characters that everyone hustles because when it comes down to it we need to do it in order to survive in life. Irving also reveals that the majority of the hustling happens when you do it to yourself. So when we watch Irving hustle for a living to then eventually getting hustled by others, it becomes sort of tragic thanks to Bale’s honest portrayal of a man that has surrounded himself with lies. Bale is able to convey all emotions ranging from disappointment, blind hope, anger, and deception with just his body language. Bale just gets it and knows when it is the right time to be silent or boastful. Bale’s equally great counterpart is the always lovely Amy Adams, who has never given a bad performance. She is perfect in the role of Sydney Prosser and is emotionally on par with Bale. Adams demonstrates her many talents in numerous of scenes, and when she is on the screen the camera is just naturally drawn to her. It is great to see these two interact, and in hindsight they just might be the best on screen couple of 2013.

In the supporting roles you have Jeremy Renner as Mayor Polito, Jennifer Lawrence as Rosalyn Rosenfeld, and Bradley Copper as Richie DiMaso. Stepping away from The Avengers and the new Bourne series, Renner is refreshingly strong as the mayor. It is a different type of a performance from Renner’s recent films, and he seems to be rejuvenated in the role. Renner’s undeniable charm and charisma shines through, and reminds us that when he is given a strong character to work with he is up to the challenge. The beautiful Jennifer Lawrence is at it again delivering another fascinating performance. She is like a buzz-saw on screen and steals every scene she is in. She captures the spirit of the film and elicits all of the emotions out of the audience. She is toxically funny, tragic, and energetic. It is wonderful to watch her on the screen and David O. Russell is able to horn in on her talents, and together they have created another character that is; for the lack of a better term, wonderfully unstable. With all of these moving pieces, there has to be something to tie in everything together. There has to be some sort of glue to make the film and the other performances coherent. The fantastic Bradley Cooper steps into this responsibility and is the straw that stirs the drink. Cooper’s Richie DiMaso is electrically eccentric and epitomizes the overall moral of the film. DiMaso is dangerously living on the edge of greed, sanity, and power throughout the film, and also becomes a great counterpoint to Irving Rosenfeld. Cooper is perfect in the role and exhibits the blind ambition wonderfully. It is truly another great performance that Cooper has delivered, and this time he is at his most uninhibited he has ever been.

American Hustle is a flawed movie that never truly reaches its full potential. Despite the fact that the structure is somewhat weakened, the movie is still able to overcome its shortcomings thanks to the infectious acting and the highly memorable moments of zest. David O. Russell has crafted another film that will be most likely well-received by many, and although it is not his best effort- American Hustle reminds us that David O. Russell not at his best is still a lot better than others at their best.

The cast includes: Christian Bale (Out of the Furnace), Amy Adams (Man of Steel), Jeremy Renner (The Avengers), Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), and Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook). It was written by Eric Singer and David O. Russell, and it was directed by David O. Russell (The Fighter).

 

3 out of 4 stars

-By Louie Coruzzolo

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The Hangover III

There used to be a time that when a movie turned itself into a trilogy it used to mean something. There was almost a prestigious clout that followed these films, and when we think about the greatest trilogies in film’s history they do warrant that recognition. However, these days it seems like sequels, trilogies, and sagas are a dime a dozen. If any of the predecessors made any noise at the box office; then the other sequels that followed will be green-lighted, and it is not because any of these films actually deserve and need new films to follow its initial success. Now, movie sequels are not given out of necessity, but are given out because of money. It is important to remember that for most of the movie industry, film is not an art form, but a business opportunity. That brings me to one of the new trilogies that will be opening up this Memorial day weekend, and guess what it is opening up against? Yes, you guessed it right; another movie franchise. You either have the choice to see the third installment of The Hangover, or the sixth Fast and the Furious.

Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, and Ed Helms in The Hangover 3

Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, and Ed Helms in The Hangover 3

I hate to break the news to you guys, but The Hangover is a movie that did not need a trilogy; hell it didn’t even need a sequel. Sure, the first one was pretty good. It did provide outrageous moments that are filled with originality and hilarity, and it did proved to be the best comedy of 2009. That should have been more than enough; however, in 2011, the second Hangover was not only dreadful, but not funny. The second film pretty much followed the same storyline that was fresh in the first one, but became quickly stale and boring in the second film. The location might have been different, but the same story was pretty much rehashed to fit Bangkok. So, what is in store for the Wolf Pack and the rest of us? Are we going to be fortunate enough to see a different story, or will  The Hangover Part III will be more of the same drunken formula?

The Hangover Part III follows a crucial time in Alan’s (Zach Galifianakis) life. His father just passed away, and now his dear friends, Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms), decide to take Alan to get treated for his mental issues. The plan is to drive Alan to Arizona, where he will be placed in a facility; however, things quickly go wrong when the Wolf Pack hit the road. They are assaulted, and once again Doug (Justin Bartha) is kidnapped. The culprit is Marshall (John Goodman), a criminal who is set out on revenge. He wants Mr. Chow in his hands, and he knows that the only people that can bring Mr. Chow to him is the Wolf Pack. Now they must find the wild Mr. Chow in order to save Doug. Can the Wolf Pack pull together, and bring Mr. Chow to Marshal, or will this be the end of the Wolf Pack?

The problem I have with this trilogy is that this movie borderlines on being stupid funny to just plain stupid. There is a fine line that is there, and The Hangover time and time again comes close to not being able to distinguish itself. Also this series feels like it is a one trick pony that usually uses situations that are neither surprising, funny, or real. What was once fresh and funny quickly became obnoxious, dull, and lazy. Thankfully, this time there is neither a wedding nor a bachelor party. The Hangover Part III is actually a different film from the previous two films, and provides a conclusion that is fulfilling and justified. Grant it, there are only a few laughs that are found in the movie, but the story does a good job at wrapping up the overall story and the characters’ individual stories. This time, we are getting a different type of movie with the Wolf Pack, which is a win on its own right. This time around, it feels very much like an adventure comedy that takes these characters that we have grown to love on a path that is more timid, and divergent of the first two. This series was never going to recapture the freshness and magic that was found throughout the first, but at least this time it feels like they are trying to create a worthy conclusion. The Hangover Part III is definitely not a great or an unforgettable comedy; however, it is a film that can be a fun one that will be satisfying for the fans of the series.

Todd Phillips does create a stylish send-off that contains some memorable scenes that are funny, awkwardly touching, and cleverly effective. Unfortunately, these scenes are only a few in the movie, and the rest of the scenes are lifeless. However, what helps the film here, is of course, the cast members. Copper, Helms, and Galifianakis have always had good chemistry and they always seem to work well with one another. They help elevate the material that is hit and miss, and in return helps the audience enjoy themselves a bit more. John Goodman proves to be a nice addition to the cast, and is welcomed into the trilogy with open arms. Although his role is limited, he does provide another great performance to his late career revival. The same can be said about the lovely Melissa McCarthy. She has a very small role, but when she is on screen she is a delight. While it is nice to see the members of the Wolf Pack working together again, the star of the film is none of the familiar faces. The best thing that The Hangover Part III did is that it focuses more on Mr. Chow, who is played by the always funny Ken Jeong. He simply kills it in the film, and is easily the best part of the movie. Jeong is over the top, crazy, absurd, and so much more, but he makes it all work. The energy that he provides in the film is a needed boost, and gets the biggest laughs of the film.

In hindsight, The Hangover Trilogy is very much like an actual hangover. Sure, at the time it might sound like a good idea to knock a few cold ones back, followed by some shots, or whatever your device might be that night. Your friends encourage you and assure that this will be one night that you won’t forget; however, the next morning will be less forgiving. Your memory is fuzzy at best, and the night before is disconnected and dismantled. You might remember a few good moments from the previous night, but with the headache, much of what happened will be forgotten. Well, when people look back on this trilogy they will be certain to remember the craziest and brightest moments the three movies had to offer, but most of the film’s other less than funny moments- and let’s admit there are a handful of those found in the three movies- will be left on the bathroom floor ready to be cleaned up. The Hangover Trilogy provided enough of laughs that might warrant its trilogy, but we would have all been better off if this adventure of the Wolf Pack would have been confined to one movie because we all really just needed to feel this hangover once.

The cast includes: Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Ed Helms (Jeff, Who Lives at Home), Zach Galifianakis (The Campaign), Ken Jeong (Role Models), John Goodman (Argo), Justin Bartha (National Treasure), and Melissa McCarthy (Identity Thief). It was written by Todd Phillips and Craig Mazin, and directed by Todd Phillips (Due Date).

 

2.5 out of 4 stars.

 

-By Louie Coruzzolo

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21 and Over

21-and-over-Movie

Miles Teller, Skylar Astin, and Justin Chon in 21 and Over.

The comedy genre has been a favorite of mine ever since I started watching movies. It is hard not to absolutely love a great comedy, which keeps you laughing throughout its duration. A great comedy can make you laugh till you cry and will sure to make you get lost in the laugher, absurdity, the entertainment, and the fun of it all. I am sure most people would agree with me when I say comedies are always a good choice to watch at the movie theater, and anyone should be more than willing to spend the night laughing. However, a truly great comedy is still very much hard to find. It feels like there have been several hundred comedies that come out every single year, but only a few will truly be completely worth the time and the money. Could this be because the majority of the comedies lack originality in the screenplay, try too hard to be like its predecessors, or have directors and actors that don’t believe in the script. Comedies are a dime a dozen, but there is only a small percentage that should be considered new classics. With 21 and Over releasing this week, the likelihood that this movie will be worth remembering are slim.

21 and Over is a relatively small budget film that is getting a wide release for one reason. It is not because of the people involved, or the script, but because this movie is definitely a product of The Hangover success. Since 2009, the year that saw the release of The Hangover, most comedies have decided to follow in the foot steps of The Hangover. The Hangover revitalized the whole party/drunken comedy and placed it on comedy steroids. Two years later saw the same formula duplicated with the making of The Hangover II, and the success also duplicated at the box office. This then saw several other films like the recent, Project X, trying to take advantage of the party comedy genre. This year will see three other films that will be also considered the spawn of The Hangover. 21 and Over is the first of these films, and is even written by some of the members that brought you the Vegas comedy. In the heart of the summer, The Hangover III is being released, and while a lot of the crew members are saying that it is not going to follow the script of the others, chances are that it will still be close to the original movie. Lastly, in November the comedy Last Vegas is going to be release and people are already calling it The Hangover for senior citizens. Whether you love or hate The Hangover, the comedy undoubtedly changed the structure of many comedies that followed. For some, this may be a good thing, but in reality it has hurt the comedy genre because most comedies today are just simple, materialistic stories that are forgettable just like a hangover.

21 and Over follows soon to be 21 years old college student Jeff Chang. Jeff has always done things by the book and has always gotten straight A’s. However, is life is about to be flipped upside down. Jeff is preparing for a big day in his life. He is turning 21 years old and is about to have an important interview with a medical school the very next day. His two best friends, Casey and Miller, want to surprise him for his 21st birthday and have a night full of alcohol and adventure. Being responsible Jeff only wanted one beer, but soon that one beer turned into a night of humiliation, and drunken indecency that will leave Casey and Miller looking to get Jeff home safe. Can Jeff and his buddies fix the drunken mess they made last night, or will Jeff’s future medical aspirations be left on the bathroom floor?

The plot for 21 and Over might seem familiar to a lot of people because it follows the same redundancy that is The Hangover. A night of binge drinking leaves friends rebounding trying to make sure the next day, which is a big day, goes as smooth as possible. This time there is no wedding, no charm of Bradley Cooper, no quirkiness of Galifianakis, and we are also missing the like-ability of Ed Helms. 21 and Over, instead, replaces the wedding plot with a medical school interview and the three big name actors with three young actors still finding a place in Hollywood. While I was not all that in love with The Hangover, I personally think it is overrated, I still can appreciate the first one. It has moments that are genuinely funny; however, 21 and Over proves that the Hangover-esque movies are a one trick pony that are dreadful to watch. The legacy of The Hangover will not be based on the film’s credential or success, but it will be based on the influence it has had on other films of lesser value.

You know what is coming, you seen this all before, and yet while you can still laugh at the comedy you don’t. The reason why is because this movie is not funny. The humor is dull, tired, and blatantly immature. The characters are not likable and become quite annoying. The story is uninteresting and paints a college that is so farfetched one will have to be delusional to think it is true. This should be an embarrassment of the people involved, especially the director and writers. The writers and directors, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, must have decided to actually take the script of the The Hangover and literally used it for this film. I suppose they are not embarrassed or ashamed that they are repeating the same content that is from their very own script. In fact, they are actually lucky they wrote The Hangover script because if it was anyone else, people would be thinking what a rip-off 21 and Over actually is. There is nothing worth mentioning about this movie, and for those who think I don’t have a sense of humor. Well I do, but with a movie like this you will have to be a thirteen year old that has never seen The Hangover to find it funny.

21 and Over is truly a comedy that you can’t laugh at. The movie  tries to reach for an insane comedy with serious undertones about friendships, but it is actually stupidity that mixes in serious moments that will eventually leave a bad taste in your mouth. The movie is 21 and Over, but actually nobody should be subjected to this madness regardless of how old you are.

The cast includes: Miles Teller (Project X), Skylar Astin (Pitch Perfect), Justin Chon (Twilight), Sarah Wright (The House Bunny), and Jonathan Keltz (Prom). It was written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (The Hangover).

 

1 out of 4 stars

 

-By Louie Coruzzolo

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Silver Linings Playbook

As we look towards our calendar we realize that we are in the middle of the wonderful holiday season. This time of the year is very special for a lot of people, and is easily my favorite part of the year. The air is crisper, the stores are packed, and Thanksgiving is upon us. There is always a great feeling surrounding this time of the year, and many of us are gathering with friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving. As we stuff ourselves with turkey, stuffing, sweet potato, and pumpkin pie we are reminded to celebrate and appreciate the good things in life. We are surrounded by tremendous people who love and care for us, and we realize that there is no stronger bond than that of family. As you spend time with your loved ones this Thanksgiving, there is one thing your family can and should do. David O. Russell is inviting you and your family into the intimate home of the Solitano family. There you can learn to laugh, love, fight, and appreciate the people that matter in your life, and after your visit you will be sure to appreciate one of the best movies of the year: Silver Linings Playbook.

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook.

Last time we watched a David O. Russell film, it was the Oscar nominated film The Fighter. It has been two long years, but the wait is finally over. Russell steps behind the camera and creates magic once again. We are allowed to meet another strong and dynamic family, but this time we are in the great state of Pennsylvania. The movie, which is based on Matthew Quick’s novel of the same name, follows Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) as he tries to rebuild his life. Pat was sentenced to spend time in a mental hospital after he had a violent mental breakdown when he caught his wife cheating with a co-worker. Since then Pat has lost everything: his wife, his job, his house, and his family’s support. The movie begins when Pat has finally checked out of the mental institution and has moved back in with his mother and father. Once out, Pat swears that he is much better and is staying positive about his current situation. He is determine and believes that he is going to win back his wife, and everything is going to be better than before. However, his new life does not go according to his plan. He is met with caution and looked down upon by the whole community, and even his own family. However, everything changes when he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a local girl who is fighting depression and other problems brought on by herself and the community. Pat and Tiffany form a strange relationship as they both promise to help one another reach their goal, but soon after a special bond begins to form between the two. As the movie progresses Pat and Tiffany discover that they have a shared silver lining in life, and that life might lead you down an unexpected path.

Silver Linings Playbook is an absolutely beautiful film that will leave many people happy and elated. We have all heard the term “crowd pleaser” before, and Silver Linings Playbook is definitely the “crowd pleaser” we all have been waiting for. People and critics alike should all enjoy this heartfelt movie. There is so much to like about this movie, from the quick witted dialogue, to the excellent performances and direction. The movie also has characters that are all extremely real and believable, and the journey that the characters go on is a special treat. This makes the movie experience and journey worth while. Silver Linings Playbook is David O. Russell’s masterpiece, and the movie becomes one of the best movies of the year. The film is perfect in many ways, and when the film slightly goes wrong we are all incline to forgive it because Silver Linings Playbook is an absolute winner.

After taking a much more serious turn with The Fighter, David O. Russell returns to the genre and topic that made him famous: a comedy about a dysfunctional family. Three of his first four movies all hilariously deal with families that are facing their own collective problems. With Silver Linings Playbook he is able to add an impressive film to the genre that first got him recognized. Russell does a fantastic job at directing and writing the screenplay for the movie. The screenplay is well constructed as it contains several different layers of comedy, emotion, and wit. The movie is very smart and clever and this can be seen through the many scenes where the dialogue flows smoothly and effectively. The words informs us, enlightens us, and makes us all understand and sympathize with the many different types of mental illnesses. However, to think this is just a sob story about mental illnesses is plain wrong. In fact, Russell provides many different comedic moments in the film as we all remember that life is filled with unexpected humor. The balance of humor and drama is the best I have seen all year, and will have you bursting with laughter one minute and on the verge of tears the next. Russell creates a diverse atmosphere that is filled with pain, struggle, relief, and happiness.

Along with the award worthy script, Russell is equally deserving of multiple awards for his direction. David is mostly known for his handheld camera shots, and Silver Linings Playbook is beautifully filled with them. This method creates a very intimate setting and feeling throughout the movie as we are thrown right in the middle of the absurd and touching moments. Russell’s style delivers a poignant and quirk sensibility, and through this we are able to identify and connect with each of the characters. The camera swiftly sways between the manic sequences and then calmly restores its anchor for the dramatic scenes. The way Russell and cinematographer,Masanobu Takayanagi, film the movie will leave you fully enthralled in the character and story development that you forget that you are watching a movie. The style that Russell delivers is very strong and original, and proves that Russell is becoming more impressive with each movie he directs. David O. Russell’s work in Silver Linings Playbook is nothing short of a masterful piece of filmmaking that allows the audience to invest physically and emotionally into the true meaning of family and love.

Another thing that David O. Russell always seems to have in his movies is a fantastic ensemble cast that always deliver solid to stand-out performances. Silver Linings Playbook is no exception. The movie provides a great group of actors and each of them are allowed to shine and be a part of the great chemistry that is filled throughout the picture. However, the two leads completely steal the movie. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are absolutely wonderful and deliver their best performances to date. The chemistry between the two is remarkable and the screen time they share is electric. Cooper is classically trained from the Actors Studio Drama School in New York City, and has always had the talent to become one of the best leading men today. In Silver Linings Playbook he is able to break free of his comfort zone and deliver an extremely heartfelt and real performance. This is the performance that we have all been waiting for from him, and Cooper stands out. He plays Pat close to the heart and you actually believe his every move as the man who has lost everything. However, Pat is ready to win everything back, and the struggle and journey that he goes on is visually and emotionally compelling thanks to Coopers’ brilliance in the role. Coopers’ comedic timing is perfect and he hits every range of emotion that is needed to make this performance work, but behind every great man is a great woman, and luckily for us that woman is the vibrant and gorgeous Jennifer Lawrence. Lawrence’s Tiffany is a cinematic statement as she proves that she is a force to be reckon with. At the age of only 22 she has an Oscar nomination already, and is poised to win won fairly soon. She is absolutely perfect in the role of Tiffany, and delivers one of the best performances (if not the best performance) of 2012. Tiffany is a lost soul throughout the movie, and is desperately hurting after losing her husband. Lawrence breathtakingly plays Tiffany. She is emotionally and physically vulnerable, but also provides Tiffany with confidence and a strong, defiant personality. Lawrence completely becomes Tiffany, and loses herself in the role. She conveys how Tiffany feels through her facial expressions and body language. She is also able to provide Tiffany with the perfect balance of eccentric energy and heart wrenching despair. As we watch her we immediately fall in love with Tiffany and we become fully invested in every little thing she does. Tiffany will leave you crying, laughing, and cheering with excitement. Jennifer Lawrence is phenomenal and she will most certainly be cheered and praised for such a wonderfully touching performance.

Not only does Silver Linings Playbook provide a coming out party for Cooper and Lawrence, the movie also allows the supporting cast to deliver great performances. The whole cast improves the movie and takes the movie from really good to great. All of the characters are universally unique and boldly strong. Chris Tucker returns to the big screen in great form as he plays Pat’s friend Danny. We have not seen Tucker since 2007, and this is the first time we have seen him in something else than a Rush Hour movie since 1997. This is crazy to fathom because Tucker is truly a great comedian. His comedic presence and timing is priceless and he is a joy to watch on screen. As good as the whole supporting cast is; the parents of Pat particularly stand out thanks to Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver’s superb performances. Weaver plays Dolores Solitano and provides so much warmth, love, and support in the role of the mother. She is very strong and convincing in her role whether she is trying to connect with her son or cooking braciole on Sunday. Robert De Niro delivers yet another great performance as he plays Pat Solitano Sr., who is an obsessive Philadelphia Eagles fan. De Niro scores a touchdown in this role as he is emotionally vulnerable and physically capable of matching the energy level of the two leads. De Niro plays Pat Sr. with calm, anger, frustration, and nervousness, and is excellent throughout the movie. This performance will make people remember how versatile De Niro can be. The scenes that involve Pat Sr. and his son are especially good because of the great chemistry that De Niro and Cooper have developed. Also because we see father and son try to reconnect and realize that the apple does not fall far from the tree. De Niro and Cooper are emotionally on the same page, and for that matter the whole cast is on the same page with each other.

Silver Linings Playbook has opened up several film festivals already and has won seven awards. Expect this trend to continue as this movie is in prime position to be a real contender come Oscar Season. Silver Linings Playbook is ultimately an excellent film that carefully shows the many different cases of struggles, hardships, and difficulties that many people can relate to. This movie shows that one label or one mistake should not define a person, and that mental illnesses are a very multi-layered problem that should only be treated with all of the care, love, and support in the world. Silver Linings Playbook shows that in life we all have our love, our passion, our problems, our faults, our traditions, even our silver linings, but in the end what is most important is that we have each other.

The cast includes: Bradley Cooper (The Words), Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games), Robert De Niro (The Deer Hunter), Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom), Chris Tucker (Jackie Brown), Julia Stiles (Save the Last Dance), and Anupam Kher (You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger). The film was written and directed by David O. Russell (The Fighter).

 

4 out of 4 stars.

 

-By Louie Coruzzolo

 

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The Words

The Words premieres nationwide Friday, and audiences will be in for a surprising treat. The movies follows a young writer named Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper). For the past couple of years he has been trying to get his work published, but to no avail. Rory keeps failing at completing a novel that publishers would love to back. Rory is met with rejection after rejection, and he is left at a crossroads in his life. The only constant in his life is his beautiful girlfriend Dora (Zoe Saldana). She is very supportive of him, and is with him every step of the way. They eventually get married and they take an inspiring trip to Paris. Soon after, Rory achieves the success he has desired. A book that is finally credited to him is published, and he and his book is recognized as the next great achievement in literature. As his success becomes bigger and bigger, the truth finally comes out behind all of the fiction. A man only known as the Old Man (Jeremy Irons) confronts Rory and reveals that Rory’s book is actually written by him. Now, Rory must make his own ending. Do what is right and fix what is wrong, or continue to live the successful life based on the words that are not his.

Bradley Cooper & Zoe Saldana in The Words

The Words is a very entertaining, smart, and thought-provoking film. The movie is multilayered and cleverly filled with plots and subplots, and stories within stories. The writers and directors, Lee Sternthal and Brian Klugman, carefully guide the audience through love, heartache, deception, failures, success, and even different time periods. The movie is very well calculated and is like a love letter to the wonders of books. There are a few flaws, most notably the story being too crowded with plots and unnecessary characters. However, the audience won’t mind and will overlook the movie’s flaws. The reason why is because like a good book, The Words will allow you to get lost in the story and in the character’s motives and actions.

One of the best aspects of the movie is its excellent cast. Everybody in the movie provides strong performances throughout the movie, and it becomes very easy to watch this group of talented actors. Bradley Cooper is having another big year and is still becoming more successful. While the character, Rory, might be familiar territory for Cooper. He stills dishes out a nice performance and is becoming quite the leading man in Hollywood. His on screen time with the beautiful Zoe Saldana is certainly memorable as the two share great chemistry with one another. Saldana is especially good in her role as Dora, and provides the warmth and support that this movie needs. The best performance of The Words does belong to the masterful Jeremy Irons. His performance as The Old Man is unique and very much riveting. The man has gone through a lot of pain and has been cheated out of a lot of things in life. One can’t help but feel sorrow for this poor man, but what makes the character and the performance of Irons so good is he doesn’t allow you to. Yes, this man has been swindled out of success in life, but he understands that this is part of life. In life one will make a lot of choices, good and bad. That might be the easy part. The difficult part is living with those actions for the rest of one’s life.

The Words is not only center around a novel, but it feels like you are reading, or in this case watching a novel unfold on screen. It is imaginative and does paint a fabulous setting around the characters. This allows the viewers to be fully enthralled by the movie, and thus making this movie more personal than others. Another aspect that makes this movie refreshing and good is that it offers some insight to artists in any field. No matter if you are a writer, actor, director, painter, drawer, etc. An artist is very passionate about his or her work. One can easily spend so much time wrapped up in the process of creating art that one can lose focus on what is most important to them. However, by putting so much effort and love, or pain in one’s work can ultimately be rewarding. That is why a lot of the time when you read or watch and artist’s work you will learn more about them in the work then you would by talking to them. The art can mirror their life, for good or bad. The Words fully dives into this topic, and leaves the audience coming up with their own conclusion.

The Words is worth of the price of admission and will leave many satisfied with the whole movie. This movie deals with consequences and prospects of plagiarism, which couldn’t be more appropriate in today’s world. With everything one click away it might be tempting for one to use some already spoken or written words that might get you the break or grade that you need. Remember that you must live with your choices, and that you cannot run away from the truth. Also that you can dive into a fascinating world of fiction, but ultimately you cannot escape reality.

The Cast includes: Bradley Cooper (Limitless), Zoe Saldana (Avatar), Jeremy Irons (The Mission), Dennis Quaide (The Day After Tomorrow), and Olivia Wilde (The Change Up). It was written and directed by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal (Tron: Legacy).

 

3 out 4 stars.

-By Louie Coruzzolo

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