Tag Archives: Owen Wilson

Romcoms, Curated By Batman

Apparently (Lego) Batman has a special fondness for cheesy romantic comedies. Sure the Dark Knight tends to enjoy a rather solitary existence, but he unwinds at the end of a long day by watching kiss-a-thons. For every baddie that he puts away, he likes to watch a good smooch. Nothing wrong with that.  In his new movie, currently out in theatres, several of his favourite love movies are highlighted, so here they are, to the best of my memory:

must-love-dogsMust Love Dogs: Poor Diane Lane is so love-starved that her family takes her new singlehood into their hands, fixing her up with an internet dating profile she doesn’t want, or necessarily know exists, but which insists that all suitors ‘must love dogs.’ This is a pretty good gambit because along comes John Cusack, with a borrowed dog and good intentions. And that’s okay since her dog – a Newfie named Mother Theresa – is also not technically hers. Thus a relationship is born from the ashes of lies and non-shared non-interests. Condom hi-jinks and some VERY suspicious coincidences: classic.

Serendipity: Two people, attached to others, nevertheless share dessert when they try to buy the same pair of cashmere gloves for Christmas. They part – reluctantly – but both return for missing items and spend more time together. It’s magical (ahem). But her phone number gets blown away in the wind, a bad sign, obviously, so he puts his info on a $5 bill, hers in a used book, and if the universe thinks they’re meant to be, they’ll find the info and live happily ever after. Did I mention it’s John Cusack again? Batman must have a thing for Johnny.

Marley & Me: Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson are newlyweds who work at competing 232247-marley-and-me-marley-gif.gifFlorida newspapers – she successfully, he decidedly not. When they think about starting a family, they adopt a dog instead, to test the waters. The puppy is incorrigible but provides fodder for a column and suddenly he has a career too. The babies come, eventually, and changes in home, work, and friends. Marley’s there through it all – but well all know dogs don’t live forever. I’m sure this one hits Batman right in the feels. Dogs are the one thing he likes more than John Cusack.

Jerry Maguire: A sports agent eventually falls in love with the single mother who absconds the firm with him. She supports him, he fails to appreciate her. She has the kind of life that previously horrified him. They separate. It’s quite pathetic until he realizes that she’s had a profound impact on his life and that he wants to be with her no matter what, at which time it becomes even more pathetic. You had me at hello, 10lb head, show me the money, etc: you betcha Batman quotes along with this one.

 

So, do you have much in common with Batman? Which one of these would pair well with a cuddle?

Lost in London

Woody Harrelson is making a movie based on the time he ended up in jail for a night in London. A comedy, based on “one of the worst nights of my life”, it co-stars Willie Nelson and Owen Wilson. Harrelson wrote and directed it, but MV5BMmMwOGI3ZDUtMTYxZi00OTc0LWE0YjItMjhlY2EzY2NkNTZlL2ltYWdlL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTExMjY1OTU@__V1_UY268_CR147,0,182,268_AL_.jpgthe reason the movie REALLY stands out is that it will be streamed live into theatres as he shoots it.

One night only, obviously, so mark your calendars: January 19th, 9pm EST, Lost In London will be broadcast live into about 550 theatres or so. The 100 minute movie will be shot in one take but covers 14 different locations.

“No one has ever shot a movie and live broadcast it into cinemas at the same time,” says Harrelson, and I’m inclined to believe him. “No one’s ever been that stupid — until now.”

 

I’ve always loved theatre and film and wanted to find the best way to merge the two. When I decided to shoot this in real time, I realized it wasn’t quite like true theatre because the one piece missing was a live audience. By broadcasting the film live as it is being shot I hope to truly blend the excitement of live theater with the scale and scope of the film.”

Masterminds

Not everyone loved Napoleon Dynamite, but you can’t deny that it was an unprecedented success. Its director, first-timer Jared Hess, hit it out of the park, the movie absorbed into popular culture. He’s been unwilling to accept that he may be a one-hit wonder (same goes for Napoleon star Jon Heder) – the two keep making films at a dwindling rate, each more lavishly terrible than the last.

Jared Hess’s latest failure is called Masterminds, and he convinced a long list of famous names to go down in flames along with him: Zach Galifianakis as la-et-mn-ca-sneaks-masterminds-kate-mckinnon-20150426.jpgthe witless driver of an armoured money truck whose terrible relationship with fiancée Kate McKinnon makes it all too easy for him to fall for coworker Kristen Wiig who manipulates him into working with her confederate, Owen Wilson, who thinks a heist is in order. Galifianakis will do all of the work under the guise of love but will receive little to no reward if Wilson has anything to do with it – he’s got contract killer Jason Sudeikis after him and only the law (Leslie Jones) has any chance of intervening.

It’s “based on a true story” which means that someone once stole money somewhere and that’s excuse enough for this atrocity. With 3\4 of the Ghostbusters assembled, there’s no denying that this is a powerhouse cast, but the trouble is they’ve been given a crumpled up tissue of a story and no one knows in which direction to sneeze. I truthfully confessed to Sean that I zachonly laughed once the entire movie – and it was post-credits, in the blooper reel, not even at a joke that got edited out, but at Zach Galifianakis accidentally hitting his head on a swing set (I console myself that it made Kate McKinnon laugh too, before she checked that he was okay). Only babies laugh at people getting bonked on the head, but I had been in a comedy desert for the past hour and a half and I was parched for laughter.

It’s just shameless and lowbrow and it almost makes you feel bad for the dumb criminals it’s styled after. I have a low tolerance for stupid slapstick and this movie didn’t have a single other trick up its sleeve. Some of the scenes literally feel like an SNL sketch gone on too long, and those are the good ones. I have zero forgiveness in my heart for a movie this bad, and I’ll be expecting some dark chocolate truffles and a bottle of Dom with a heartfelt card signed by all the cast by way of apology soon. But not soon enough.

She’s Funny That Way

If it walks like a Woody Allen movie and quacks like a Woody Allen movie, then why the hell is Peter Bogdanovich credited as the director? This movie genuinely felt like an Allen ripoff – the pacing, the dialogue, the screwball neuroses, the setting, hell, even the casting – I could never shake the feeling that someone was pulling a fast one on me.

A Broadway director (Owen Wilson) spends a night with a call-girl (Imogen Poots), and 21tips her $30K to quit whoring and change her life. He doesn’t expect her to wind up at auditions for his play the next day, but there she is, which makes things awkward because a) his wife (Kathryn Hahn) is the star and b) her co-star and secret admirer (Rhys Ifans) knows the director’s dirty secret and c) the oblivious playwright (Will Forte) is falling a bit in love with her, despite already being in a relationship with the former call-girl’s therapist (Jennifer Aniston). Got all that?

There are roughly a hundred more connections and complications I’m leaving out, simply because I’ll use up my bracket allowance way too quickly, but there are recognizable names even filling the minor roles in this thing. The script and the laughs are hit and miss, and the whole thing actually feels a bit anachronistic. In fact, the movie may have been in production for 20 years or more – Bogdanovich and his wife were still married when they wrote it, and they pictured John Ritter, Tatum O’Neal and Cybill Shepherd in the lead roles (two of those actually do appear in the film) (Oh shit I just used more brackets. Damn it, Jay!).

shes-funny-that-way759

She’s Funny That Way is sporting a painful 39% on the old tomatometer (for context: Batman V. Superman is boasting a 29%) but the truth is, this movie did something for me. It may have been – and this surprises me as much as anyone – mostly thanks to Jennifer Aniston. She plays the world’s worst, most indiscreet, self-involved therapist, and since that happens to be my line of work, it may have been slightly cathartic to watch her do and say all the things I spend my days and weeks and life holding back. For that reason alone I recommend Matt, my valued colleague, to watch this movie stat. Aniston lets loose with shesfunnythatwayepkfilmclipthatsjustwhatimeanth264hd000470012022her performance; she’s the one to watch in this, and she’s the one who took me by surprise, and my laugh-spit sure took Sean by surprise (although Poots is also quite good, I can just never say her name with a straight face) (oh feck, more brackets). It’s not gonna be everyone’s cuppa, but while I started out this review calling this a Woody-wannabe, the truth is, I probably haven’t enjoyed an Allen film this much in years.

 

Zoolander 2

Zoolander 2 is really, really, ridiculously dull. There was so little going on all I could really do was wonder why this movie got made and why so many recognizable faces pop up.  The only answer I came up with was that no one involved had anything better to do. Well, I had better things to do – I could have been watching Deadpool!

There really isn’t a good reason to watch Zoolander 2. The “good” moments are rehashes of the original, and the rest seems like stuff they cut from the original (and rightly so). We get it, the fashion industry is vapid and empty, but you can’t satirize it with a movie that’s even more vapid and empty, because then the joke is on the movie. And the joke is definitely on the movie here. Even Justin Bieber should have known better than to be involved with this mess.

I honestly can’t think of one moment in the movie that I liked, and this is coming from a guy who laughed from start to finish during both Daddy’s Home and Dirty Grandpa. The original Zoolander was another movie that consistently made me laugh, but the sequel comes up woefully short. It’s old and tired, and made me feel the same way. Zoolander 2 gets a score of two glasses of prune juice out of ten.

Adopted/Foster Familes

TMP

I don’t have much to contribute for Thursday Movie Picks this week and- in two out of my three picks- adopted/foster familes are mostly incidental to the movies as a whole.

The_Royal_Tenenbaums_53

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)– This is really the story of one big unhappy family where only one of the kids (Gwyneth Paltrow) is adopted. According to narrator Alec Baldwin, “Royal always noted this when introducing her (‘This is our adopted daughter Margot’)”. The family dynamics get even more complicated when Margot and her adopted brother Richie (Luke Wilson) fall in love, which is either illegal or just frowned upon. Possibly his most ambitious film to date, this is still my favourite Wes Anderson movie and he and co-writer Owen Wilson manage all the chaos like the pros that they are.

moonrise kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)– I felt so guilty that I couldn’t find room for The Darjeeling Limited when we did Trains a couple of weeks ago that I opened up two slots for him this week. Ranking a close second to Tenenbaums in the Wes Canon, Moonrise Kingdom tells the story of a troubled young Khaki scout (Jared Gilman) who causes so much trouble with his foster family that they “can’t invite him back”. On the run from his troop and the dreaded Social Services (Tilda Swinton), our hero bonds with a sad dumb policeman (Bruce Willis) who is willing to adopt him so that he can be with his true love (Kara Hayward).

philomena

Philomena (2013)– Not written by Wes Anderson, this adoption story doesn’t end happily. Director Stephen Frears and writers Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope do a brilliant job with the true story of Philomena Lee and her journey to reunite with the son that she was forced to put up for adoption by the Catholic Church 50 years ago. It’s a sad story but Frears, Coogan, and Pope give it a light touch, focusing on the chemistry between Lee (Judi Dench) and journalist Martin Sixsmith (Coogan). It’s less of an angry story about unquestionable injustice and more about one woman’s faith and resilience.

No Escape\No Surrender

No Escape: Owen Wilson plays a father who is sent overseas to an unnamed Asian country (the “fourth-world according to fake-wife Lake Bell) to help build their waterworks. Of course, his 75family’s arrival coincides terribly with a coup within this country, and an uprising of the people, particularly against foreigners who have taken over – you got it, their waterworks. So Owen Wilson has to call on reserves of badassery he didn’t know he had to get his wife and two daughters to safety. And he fails. So thank god for Pierce Brosnan who saves his ass a number of times, but sadly, not innumerably. There is a limit, and it will keep you on the edge of you god damned seat. Actually, that’s the one thing this movie does really, really well: it’s 98% adrenaline rush. The tension is taut, relentless, masterful. There’s only about 1m30s where you breathe comfortably, and that’s only because you know a bad thing is coming and you can just kind of be zen about it.

Sean didn’t really care for it. This might be a knock on Owen Wilson’s manhood (try not to picture me knocking on his semi-erect penis), but Sean just didn’t think this guy was up to the task. He also didn’t think the situation was believable in the first place – that a group of Americans would just be left to fend for themselves, and that IF they were, for some odd reason, that Owen Wilson of all people could keep anyone alive for more than maybe 5 minutes or so. no-escape-pierce-brosnan-owen-wilson-slice-600x200And given some of the choices this guy makes, I have to agree. I was also annoyed by the kids. The truth is, as actors they were pretty impressive. But I find kids in these kinds of thrillers to just be god-awful. They’re always making noise when they shouldn’t, defying direct orders, coming out of hiding places, squawking, refusing to do what’s necessary, complaining about having to go potty, or that they’re hungry, or that their favourite doll got left behind. And if you’ve got a wife who’s kind of whiny too, it’s not long before I’m yelling at the screen: “Leave them behind! You can start a new family later! Second spouses are the best!” And once I start yelling that kind of shit at the screen, game over.

An interesting tidbit: Ruth at Flix Chatter wrote a really interesting piece on the Dowdle brothers, who happen to be the writers\director of this film. She always does a great job, but this interview really caught my eye and if you have any interest at all, I’m sure you’ll feel the same.

We saw this movie at the drive-in, and as always, it’s a double bill. Truth time: the title is a lie. The second movie was actually Self\less, and it was worst than the first. And not just because the hicks in the car beside us, windows rolled down so we could hear them puzzle out each scene incorrectly, spoiled the whole thing by not understanding it in the least but loudly offering their idiotic theories.

Self\less is about a wealthy business magnate played by Ben Kingsley, who is on his deathbed when he gets an ashow_filenonymous tip: there may be a way out of this death thing. Turns out, if you are brilliant enough and have several hundreds of millions of dollars (let’s dwell on that for a bit: Several. HUNDREDS. Of millions. Of dollars.), you can pay this mad scientist to fake your death and transplant your “self” into a healthy young body grow in a lab. This scientist is just so selfless himself, apart from the payday, that he doesn’t want to deprive the world of the most elite idea makers. The catch? No one can know. You say goodbye to your whole life and live as this other person. So, in effect, the plot has already shot itself in the foot because when Ben Kingsley wakes up in Ryan Reynolds’ body, he can’t just walk back to the Kingsley empire and untitledhelm the ship. Kingsley is dead to the world, and Reynolds is a nobody who is frankly ready for retirement, except for getting a few quick pieces of hot ass (and who can blame him?) The other catch? (C’mon, there’s ALWAYS another catch!): a lifetime of pills. The pills keep Ryan Reynolds at bay. Because the scientist lied. This isn’t some body grown in lab, it’s a murdered man whose “self” keeps surfacing, with flashbacks of his life, wife, and daughter. Awkward!

This movie is interesting in theory but decides to spit on the philosophical implications and just go for cheap thrills and action instead.