Tag: Tobey Maguire

Brittany Runs A Marathon

August 14th, 2019 — 10:09pm


Brittany Runs A Marathon-sp

There is a tinge of “Rocky” in this story in that you are rooting for the protagonist to win her battle and achieve her goal and finish the glorious New York City marathon.

We meet Brittany (Jillian Bell) as a somewhat overweight young woman who drinks and eats a lot and isn’t the most pleasant person to others. We gain insight into her and begin to appreciate her struggles. Starting with the kindness of others, she becomes more reflective and develops some good friends. To one of us, it was almost as if she had entered into a psychotherapy and was working through her conflicts and hang-ups. Her old acquaintances and new friends are very meaningful to her and they are well played by Michaela Watkins, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Micah Stock, Lil Rel Howery, Alice Lee and Jennifer Dundas. The real co-star of this film is the writer and first-time director, Paul Downs Colaizzo. He drew upon his work in the theater to capture the main character’s insight and pathway for ultimate change. He was also fortunate enough to team up with Tobey Maguire who provided the major support in getting this film made. The final message of the movie is that everything doesn’t always work out exactly how you plan it but it is so often the journey that really counts. (2019)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama

Pawn Sacrifice

September 28th, 2015 — 5:58pm

*** Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 11.22.29 AM     

Pawn Sacrifice -rm

This is the story of Bobby Fischer, the American boy wonder chessmaster, who at the age of 29 in 1972 beat Russian champion chess player Boris Spassky to become the best chess player in the world. We meet young Fischer as a preteen growing up in Brooklyn where his preoccupation with chess makes him a very unusual brilliant young man. It would appear that his limited social skills matched with his total preoccupation with chess and a genius mind that could visualize and memorize numerous chess games in his head, suggests that he had Asperger’s disorder. As we follow this brilliant genius into preparation and ultimately arriving at the classic series of matches in Iceland, we see how he became preoccupied with the belief that he was being spied upon. He took apart a telephone looking for listening devices and even insisted that the venue for the match be moved to a basement setting instead of the large stage where it was to be held. He limited the number of TV cameras demanded a certain distance from him. The film does suggest that this classic famed match had great significance to both the United States and Russian governments. We even see that the CIA may have been involved in meeting Fischer’s demands for money and other requirements in order for him to participate in the match. However the film also points to the probability that Fischer’s mental functioning was much more than the political paranoia of the time. In fact, we think that a case can be made that Bobby Fischer had a schizophrenic mental disorder.

This well done film is a recounting of one of the most important and widely followed chess matches in history. It is also a sad story of a tortured soul. Tobey Maguire who plays Fischer as an adult did a fine job although it was a one dimensional view of this man as we never saw any evidence of him having any joy or meaningful relationships which we would expect even with a severe mental disorder. Liev Schreiber was quite good as the large contemplative Russian master Boris Spassky who barely said a word in the film.

Even though most of the movie audience probably knew the results of the match, seeing how it developed and went down was filled with suspense and drama. The subsequent downhill slide of Fischer which was not shown in the film and only told to us in a post-script at the end of the film, with a few newsreel clips, might have taken the movie to a more dramatic and interesting conclusion had the writers Steven Knight, Stephen Rivele and director Edward Zwick chosen to extend the film to this subject. (2015)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama, History

The Great Gatsby

May 12th, 2013 — 6:18pm

The Great Gatsby****

The Great Gatsby-rm– When a film comes out with a hundred million dollar budget and is based on  one of the great novels of the 20th century, plus it has Leonardo DiCaprio (and also has a 3D version –which we didn’t see), there are too many expectations to live up to. Putting all this aside, there is a very intriguing storyline (thank you Mr. F. Scott Fitzgerald, as well as director and co screen writer Baz Luhrmann (who also directed  Moulin Rouge). Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio)  is offered to us as a combination  of an obsessed,  eternal optimist, somewhat unbalanced and a tragic figure. The object of this intriguing and complicated figure’s attention is another man’s wife and that is Daisey Buchanan (Carrie Mulligan). The other man is the truly very rich Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton) who has one of those thin mustaches which make a person look evil but he turns out to be much more multifaceted. Then there is Nick Carraway (Tobey Maquire), the guy through whose eyes we are seeing the story and in fact has written it all down at the behest of his psychiatrist (Can’t forget to mention the importance of a shrink.) Maguire’s perplexed and concerned facial expression contrasts with the the range and intensity which DiCaprio emotes throughout the film. So where did this big budget go? Aside from perhaps in DiCaprio’s and the other all star cast’s pockets, it paid for the  magnificent scenes of extravagant parties in the estates on the Hamptons in Long Island,  period costumes and  rich interiors, expensive  autos, realistic NYC skyline and bridges all of the 1920’s, all  perhaps a little overdone. Some of it must  have been CGI as there were probably hundreds if not 1000 artists listed in the credits. There was also a 3D version. One of us had the thought that this could have effectively been done as a much less expensive film noir version in black and white and still captured the drama and clever turnabouts in the plot. Interestingly, the music background was contemporary with lots of stuff by Jay Z rather than the jazz or flapper music of the 1920’s. In the end a lot of people are going to see this film, enjoy it and remember it. (2013)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, Romance

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