Tag Archives: Naomi Watts

While We’re Young – Movie Review

While We’re Young is the story of a middle-aged couple, Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia (Naomi Watts), who feel out of place amongst a sea of friends with children. Josh is a documentary filmmaker, and Cornelia is a film producer, who works for her famous father, Leslie Breitbart (Charles Grodin).

Dissatisfied with his life and frustrated with his stalled 10-year-old documentary, Josh meets a younger couple in experimental filmmaker Jaime (Adam Driver) and his wife Darby (Amanda Seyfried). Josh and Cornelia quickly become close friends with Jaime and Darby as if they were younger versions of themselves. Suddenly, Josh and Cornelia are injected with a burst of energy living the lives of a younger generation.

Writer/Director Noah Baumbach tells a story about the realities of growing older. As with all good stories, events never favor the hero and age catch up to Jack and Cornelia. Jack soon become suspicious of not only Jaime’s motives for friendship, but even his closest friends, family, and wife.

Ben Stiller has found his niche as the normal man. He plays the insecure, underestimated man to perfection. In While We’re Young, he plays it exceptionally well. The difference is that instead of Josh’s life falling apart in a comedic way (e.g. Meet the Parents) but it falls apart in an insightful way. What happens to Josh is unique and atypical of Stiller’s other film.

Naomi Watts plays the perfect partner for Josh. Cornelia also has to cope with aging but also supporting her husband, while trying to cope with the loss of her dreams, like parenthood.

All around the acting is exceptional, even from the supporting Driver and Seyfried play Jaime and Darby as the ever-optimistic young hipster couple. Their youth is infectious as their playfulness slowly turns to annoying over the course of the film. Stiller’s character Josh says it best when he walks through Jaime and Darby’s apartment, seeing their vast vinyl collection. They managed to take everything they had growing up that was old and made it cool again.

While We’re Young is an excellent film about aging and recapturing our youth. Baumbach’s story and direction take us into familiar territory but in an unfamiliar way. The ending is sweet and unexpectedly expected. I know this sounds crazy, but it would be a disservice to you to give away the events of the second half.

While We’re Young – Movie Review

While We’re Young is the story of a middle-aged couple, Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia (Naomi Watts), who feel out of place amongst a sea of friends with children. Josh is a documentary filmmaker, and Cornelia is a film producer, who works for her famous father, Leslie Breitbart (Charles Grodin).

Dissatisfied with his life and frustrated with his stalled 10-year-old documentary, Josh meets a younger couple in experimental filmmaker Jaime (Adam Driver) and his wife Darby (Amanda Seyfried). Josh and Cornelia quickly become close friends with Jaime and Darby as if they were younger versions of themselves. Suddenly, Josh and Cornelia are injected with a burst of energy living the lives of a younger generation.

Writer/Director Noah Baumbach tells a story about the realities of growing older. As with all good stories, events never favor the hero and age catch up to Jack and Cornelia. Jack soon become suspicious of not only Jaime’s motives for friendship, but even his closest friends, family, and wife.

Ben Stiller has found his niche as the normal man. He plays the insecure, underestimated man to perfection. In While We’re Young, he plays it exceptionally well. The difference is that instead of Josh’s life falling apart in a comedic way (e.g. Meet the Parents) but it falls apart in an insightful way. What happens to Josh is unique and atypical of Stiller’s other film.

While Were Young 04Naomi Watts plays the perfect partner for Josh. Cornelia also has to cope with aging but also supporting her husband, while trying to cope with the loss of her dreams, like parenthood.

All around the acting is exceptional, even from the supporting Driver and Seyfried play Jaime and Darby as the ever-optimistic young hipster couple. Their youth is infectious as their playfulness slowly turns to annoying over the course of the film. Stiller’s character Josh says it best when he walks through Jaime and Darby’s apartment, seeing their vast vinyl collection. They managed to take everything they had growing up that was old and made it cool again.

While We’re Young is an excellent film about aging and recapturing our youth. Baumbach’s story and direction take us into familiar territory but in an unfamiliar way. The ending is sweet and unexpectedly expected. I know this sounds crazy, but it would be a disservice to you to give away the events of the second half.

Insurgent – Movie Review

The second movie of the Divergent series, Insurgent, continues shortly after the first movie, Divergent. Set again, in a post-apocalyptic world, humanity lives in a protected haven, where all citizens are divided into factions based on their aptitudes. Every person is required to fit into one of the four factions: Dauntless, Abnegation, Enmity and Erudite.

Release Date: March 20, 2015
Rated PG-13
Writer: Brian Duffeld
Director: Robert Schwentke
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Miles Tiller, Naomi Watts

In the first movie, heroine Tres (Shailene Woodley) is discovered to possess traits of all four factions. This fact makes her Divergent and a danger to society. Tres uses her skills to foil a plan by the Haven’s leader, Jeanine (Kate Winslet) to slaughter certain factions in order to maintain stability.

In Insurgent, a mysterious box is found that holds the secret to maintaining the survival of all humanity. The box contains four simulations designed to test a person hold the traits of all four factions. This means that only a divergent can unlock the box.

After the events of the first movie, Tres, Four (Theo James), Caleb (Ansel Elgort) and Peter (Miles Teller) are on the run looking for allies. At the same time, an army is being formed by the factions that Jeanine betrayed in the first movie and a group called the Faction-less, comprised of citizens that could not be assigned to a faction.

Jeanine is insistent on opening the mysterious box, but no one can complete all four simulations. She needs a divergent. Action, drama, politics and backstabbing ensue.

Insurgent suffers from what many post-apocalyptic stories suffer from-a weak twilight zone structure. The situation that humanity finds itself in is interesting at best. The Matrix came close to succeeding only to have its sequel muddle the intriguing world.

Then there’s Tres. Tres is the divergent one, who is going to save the world. But she is a reluctant hero. She’s supposed to hold the traits of all four factions, but you never see her use these multiple traits in any significant way, other than the simulations. So she never comes off as special, she only comes off as reluctant.

Finally, the simulations that are designed to test Tres. They work like Tron and the Matrix which uses Tres’ memories to construct a test, but then these tests become surreal and other worldly, like a computerized Salvador Dali painting. It’s weird.

Insurgent is an interesting movie at best, and if you like your movies serialized, then this is adequate, but a movie like this is meant to be inspiring. But the inspiration is something that this movie could have desperately used.

St. Vincent – Movie Review

Why are my favorite comedians making amazing dramatic movies? I want them to make me laugh, not cry. St. Vincent is a fantastic story starring Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy and Noami Watt. It also features the screen debut of child actor, Jaeden Lieberher.

Release Date: October 10, 2014
Director/Writer: Theodore Melfi
Cast: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour 43 minutes

St. Vincent is the story of Vincent (Bill Murray). His life as a gambler and drunk is turned upside down when Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) and her son, Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) move into the home next door. Their relationship starts off rocky, to say the least as the moving van knocks a branch off Vincent’s tree and lands on his car.

Maggie is a loving mother who works long hours, in hopes of living independent of her philandering husband, David (Scott Adsit) and Oliver becomes a latch-key kid. At his first day at school, Oliver’s clothes, keys, and cellphone are stolen during gym by the school bullies. Unable to get into his house, Oliver asked Vincent if he can use his phone. Vincent takes him in and agrees to babysit on a regular basis for Oliver.

At his new school, Oliver’s teacher Brother Geraghty (Chris O’Dawd) encourages the students to consider what makes a saint and who are modern day saints. You know where this is going.

The movie centers on the relationship between the rough, abrasive Vincent and the bullied, new kid, Oliver. As we see Vincent softening and becoming a friend to Oliver, we also see the rest of his life becoming more complicated. These complications include his pregnant call-girlfriend (Naomi Watts), the love/hate relationship with this local bartender and the loan shark he’s indebted to. Oliver is also forced to tag along in Vincent’s day-to-day life including frequent trips to the race track, trips to his local watering hole and the senior center where his visits a particular patient every week.

Maggie, on the other hand, struggles to raise her son as a single parent, working long her and her life is complicated when her ex-husband wants full custody of her son.

The movie moves toward the inevitable as Vincent, Maggie and Oliver’s lives ultimately collapses under the weight of everything wrong in their lives. That’s what needs to happen in a well-told story.

St. Vincent is the classic tale of old guy and kid, who manage to form a friendship. Uncle Buck is the best one that comes to mind. The boy teaches the old man to confront the pain of his past as the boy learns to grow and confront the problems of his present tribulations. Writer/Director Theodore Melfi manages to take a tried-and-true plot and make a masterful movie that will leave you sobbing in the end.

Melfi does an admirable job taking borderline over-the-top characters and grounds them in reality. For example, Melissa McCarthy plays an overworked mother to perfection. She has no jokes per se, but shows us that she can act and be believable. Chris O’Dawd plays the priest/teacher with grounded humor and likability, you almost feel his comedic talents are wasted if, not for the fact that he can act.

Newcomer, Jaeden Lieberher does what I want to see in all child actors. I wish all child actors would play their age. Lieberher plays his age well. At no point, do you think he’s just reading lines from a script and he is acting as any 12-year-old should act. He’s not smarter than twelve, he is twelve.

Let’s face it, we all came to see Bill Murray. The guy you see on screen is Bill Murray. The very Bill Murray and we love and admire. Sure, he is sporting a very non-West Coast accent. He plays rough and gruff very well. The story though throws a few curveballs to the character that forces very radical changes. This is where Murray shines and you see the character change over the course of the film.

St. Vincent has been described as a chick-flick. There are certainly elements of that: Vincent’s defense of his friends, Oliver’s quest to argue Vincent’s sainthood and Maggie being pushed to her emotional and physical extreme to save her son. See this film for what it is…Bill Murray continuing quest to prove to everyone he can touch our hearts and our funny bones.