Move Review: ‘Trainwreck’

17 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Amy Schumer had to recruit pitying strangers to zip her dress.

NEW YORK, NY – JULY 14: Actors Bill Hader and Amy Schumer attend the ‘Trainwreck’ New York Premiere at Alice Tully Hall on July 14, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images) Judd Apatow, the writer, producer, and director of influential comedies for screens big and small over the last couple decades – with such films as The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Funny People, and This is 40 — has introduced more than his share of major comic talents to the movie audience. Amy Schumer just earned an impressive number of Emmy nominations for Inside Amy Schumer, but her comedy is actually pretty true to her life, she told Seth Meyers on Thursday’s Late Night. “It is pretty much the real me,” she said, and that can lead to some pretty embarrassing situations.The Emmy nominations on Thursday validated a number of raunchy and troubling performances by women in both comedy and drama—lending credence to the idea that likeability is no longer the key to success for female characters.Apart from being laugh-out-loud funny, a sure-fire test of the success of a comedy, Trainwreck leaves a few things to be desired – including the false advertising of the title. The ones she recounted involved the fact that she lives by herself, and the standout story involves a dress. “I live alone, and I’m, like, super lonely,” Schumer began, flirting with the audience.

Then there’s veteran Lily Tomlin, a six-time Emmy winner who pulls no punches as a feisty, sexually explicit woman in her 70s in Netflix’s new comedy “Grace and Frankie.” For audiences and critics who have longed to see female actors occupy the anti-hero space that has been so successful for TV’s men in recent years, the wait appears to be over. “For years, there’s been a huge problem for women, because female characters could not be perceived as being unlikeable,” said Mary McNamara, television critic for the Los Angeles Times. “Now we’re seeing that’s changing,” she added. “You can have women who are complicated, irritating, bad, who make stupid decisions, are raunchy. As written and played by red-hot comedian/Emmy nominee Amy Schumer, however, her constant need to keep lovers at an arm’s length — sometimes literally, in bed — is relatable. The movie, directed by Judd Apatow and written by and starring Amy Schumer, stays on the familiar rom-com rails throughout, if it takes a few raunchy detours. Trainwreck seems to be Apatow’s attempt to bring Schumer’s unique comic voice, with its it’s-about-time commitment to gender reversal, to the big screen, with Apatow’s own comedic stamp present but blended into the background. The other night, she said, she was trying to zip up a dress — “I’ve, like, gained weight, and I was, like, kind of lying to myself” — but she was determined so she went down to the street and had to “just wait for somebody that looked like they weren’t, like, a monster.” The women she found, Schumer said, cheerfully recognized her: “‘Amy Schumer,’ she said. ‘Oh, you really are, like, sad and lonely.'” It got worse when they needed to recruit a second passerby.

You’re seeing a deepening of the female character across the board.” Uzo Aduba knows something about that, as the woman who plays the deeply damaged “Crazy Eyes” in Netflix female prison saga “Orange Is The New Black” and last year won the Emmy for best guest actress in a comedy. With a lothario father who instilled in his daughters from an early age that “monogamy isn’t realistic,” 30-something Amy has spent her adulthood not only carrying around his emotional baggage, but adding new pieces to the set. Schumer plays a Manhattan journalist for a men’s magazine called S’Nuff, who parties a lot, sleeps with a string of hot guys and tells us about it in a wry, dry voice-over. The film opens with a flashback in which Amy’s father Gordon (a comeback turn by Colin Quinn) tells 9-year-old Amy and her 5-year-old sister Kim that he is divorcing their mother and that “monogamy doesn’t work.” The adult Amy, whose boyfriend is a dimwitted, obviously closeted gay bodybuilder named Steven (a very adroit comic turn by West Newbury native John Cena), has multiple sexual partners.

She was nominated again on Thursday, this time in the drama supporting actress category. “What I feel when I watch our show is that a collection of different types of people can actually be engaging to audiences, if the story is true and if it’s honest,” Aduba said. There were reported stories and anguished think pieces about how other female comedians have handled allegations that they had “gone too far,” about whether society holds funny women to far more stringent standards of propriety than funny men, and many others. In a Hollywood long filled with laments over the lack of good parts for women, television gets higher marks than film for pushing the boundaries for females. “We had a meaningful increase in the number of women nominated in director and writing categories, a terrific amount of diversity in front of the camera, and in storytelling,” said Bruce Rosenblum, Television Academy chairman and CEO. A talented writer, she somehow winds up at a lowbrow men’s magazine, where story pitches include “Ugliest celebrity kids under 6.” Her boss (Tilda Swinton) is a bully. Despite hating sports, she meets a sports doctor played by Bill Hader, whom she is assigned to write a profile of and with whom, following what she thinks is a one-night stand, she finds herself uncharacteristically falling in love.

She compares one well-endowed partner to “the whole cast of ‘Game of Thrones.’” Amy has issues with her sister Kim (Brie Larson), who is married to a guy (Mike Birbiglia) Amy finds boring and has a tween stepson (Evan Brinkman) who is a weird nerd. As it happens, Schumer was also nominated for directing and writing her feminist satire, a no-holds-barred takedown of her ditzy, selfish, promiscuous self. “I wasn’t surprised given the amount of acclaim,” said Cynthia Littleton, managing editor of television for Variety. “That woman just has momentum on momentum.” —Reuters Basketball superstar LeBron James plays himself in a supporting role that is much more than a cameo and will raise a few eyebrows on folks who thought all he was good at was basketball; if you saw him host Saturday Night Live, you knew otherwise. The sisters also tangle over Gordon, who has MS and is living in a retirement home that he complains turns into “Caligula” at night, thanks to the use of Viagra among the old men.

In the process, he somehow thwarts his older daughter’s chance at future happiness until, after a period of growth, it all ends in cheers and kisses. Leonard passionately denounced Schumer in a way that, basically, threw all white people under the bus for enabling such comedy bits to gain traction in society: “Racial jokes allow white America to claim that race no longer matters, even as there’s talk whizzing in every direction about how blacks and Latinos are outbreeding whites, are criminals and welfare queens, are ‘stealing jobs’ and victimizing whites through affirmative action policies and denying them the right to use the N-word. Yes, I am afraid the romantic plot follows the age-old arc of the on-again, off-again relationship movie and make us wonder if the heroine will end up, not only happily semi-married, but also with a doctor. After getting high and drunk one too many times, she lets slip to her dumb Adonis of a boyfriend (John Cena), that he’s not the only rooster in the farmyard.

Comedy allows these comforting ideas to be shared with a built-in defense mechanism that protects white innocence.” Comedy is not for the faint of heart, and it sure as heck isn’t for social-justice warriors. The spirited ensemble supporting cast includes Tilda Swinton, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, Mike Birbiglia, Vanessa Bayer, John Cena, Marisa Tomei, Leslie Jones, Matthew Broderick as himself, Daniel Radcliffe, Jim Norton, Method Man, Norman Lloyd, and Barkhad Abdi, Jon Glaser, and sportscaster Marv Albert. Although Apatow rightfully concentrates on his two leads, he, aided by Schumer’s funny, poignant, and perceptive debut screenplay, allows most of his supporting players moments, or even full scenes, in which to shine, especially – who knew they could play comedy so adroitly? – B-baller James, wrestler Cena, and ex-SNL newsdesk jockey Quinn. I should have just clicked away, but noooooooo, I fell for the 1-minute, 56-second accompanying video featuring a hit list of Schumer’s most appalling racist bits. As for the endearing Schumer, whom we already knew was funny and blessed with superb comic timing, she’s also a natural screen actress who can deliver the emotional truth of a moment or situation, and Hader – whom we also already knew was funny — demonstrates easily that his stellar dramatic work in The Skeleton Twins was no fluke.

Trainwreck is consistent with his shaggily constructed, raunchy-but-cute dramatic comedies that strive hard to be all things to all people, and it should probably be a smash. Between the pressures of her job and dealing with her father, now stricken with multiple sclerosis and moving into an assisted living residence, it’s easier to follow the old game plan. After establishing Amy’s job world, an idiotic Maxim-style publication, and her use ’em and lose ’em attitude toward men, we get to the personal stuff. She could get a promotion by writing a take down on Aaron Connors (Bill Hader), a star sports-medicine doctor with a roster of elite athletes, including NBA stars LeBron James and Amar’e Stoudemire.

Certainly fans of her Comedy Central television show, “Inside Amy Schumer” are accustomed to a brand of sketch comedy that includes a parody of “12 Angry Men” (the jurors debate whether the star is hot enough to be on TV) and an instant classic featuring Tina Fey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Patricia Arquette celebrating, well, that’s another R-rated story. As is her habit, Amy soon seduces the doctor (a shy type who hasn’t had sex in six years), and for the rest of the film’s running time they find reasons why they can’t be together before they inevitably are. Citing the now-famous Schumer line “I used to date Hispanic guys, but now I prefer consensual,” Falcon wrote: “Schumer dutifully apologized for this racist joke about Hispanic men. However, as a fan of this creative and edgy performer, I was not offended by her joke since she regularly skewers everyone and exposes the ridiculousness of racial and sexual stereotypes.

After their first night, the commitment-phobic Amy wonders why she has these uncomfortable new things called “emotions.” The instantly love-struck Aaron gets support from his sensitive big friend (LeBron James, as a Downton Abbey-loving romantic). As the straight man and occasional punching bag, Hader plays a slightly goofy saint who not only mends multimillion-dollar athletes but gets awards from Doctors Without Borders.

It would be a shame to lose such a vital and fresh comedic voice.” If a well-respected Hispanic leader can get past one dig at his kind because he knows and appreciates this comedian’s full body of work, then bad on me for having been bamboozled into believing she’s a blond, blue-eyed racist based on one aggregated, context-free video clip. And while we might occasionally be puzzled why he finds this hypercritical lush so appealing, his character is so impossibly nice that he compels her to see the issue is hers: “What’s wrong with you that you would want to go out with me?” she asks.

If we want to know if Schumer is a racist or an equal-opportunity offender, we must do what at least one of the authors of that salacious Washington Post blog post reportedly failed to: Watch a great deal of Schumer’s stuff and then come to our own conclusions. The staff at S’Nuff are led by Tilda Swinton as an Anna Wintour-ish boss with a short temper and shorter attention span, urging her staff to “pitch her hard” with stories such as: “You’re not gay – she’s boring.” Swinton wears so much bronze makeup that, to steal a line from novelist Lorrie Moore, “she looks like an oxidization experiment.” There’s a great bit of physical comedy, too, when James and Hader play a game of one on one – though, given the height difference, it feels more like three on one. A scene where Schumer watches knee surgery works on a slow build, as the operation-room observation window is suddenly decorated with a splat of pea-green puke. A series of jokes about Amy’s muscle-bound boy toy (John Cena) and his poorly repressed homosexual urges, for instance, is more annoying than funny.

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Finding the ‘Joy’ in Jennifer Lawrence

20 Jan 2016 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Joy’ review: Jennifer Lawrence cleans up in enjoyable biopic.

Writer-director David O. Their latest collaboration — following in the footsteps of Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle — is a biographical picture about the life and times of Joy Mangano.Jennifer Lawrence groans when she’s asked about singing the classic Nancy and Frank Sinatra duet Something Stupid with co-star Edgar Ramirez in her new film Joy. “David [O Russell, the movie’s director] texted me last night to ask if he could put it on the soundtrack and this is what I texted him back,” the actor says as she digs around for her mobile phone and reads out her response verbatim. “‘David, no!!!’ and it is three exclamation marks.In a very abbreviated nutshell, that actually happened to Joy Mangano, 59, the fabulously successful Long Island entrepreneur/inventor and HSN pitchwoman whose rags-to-riches journey started with the invention of a mop.

Russell has made three kinds of movies: offbeat romances (“Flirting With Disaster”), surreal comedies (“I Heart Huckabees”) and dramas about dysfunctional yet appealing families (“The Fighter”). In real life, Mangano is the Long Island housewife and inventor who became famous and eventually rich after bouts of near-bankruptcy, by creating and marketing her Miracle Mop. Out Boxing Day in Australia, the film stars Jennifer Lawrence in the fictionalised life story of Joy Mangano, a single mum from Long Island who made her fortune selling a mop. On Christmas Day, “Joy,” a movie inspired by her struggles as a divorced, single mother turned mogul by way of that mop, will open at movie theaters across America.

This was before she hooked up with the giant Home Shopping Network, becoming their most effective pitch person and eventually selling her parent company, Ingenious Designs, to HSN. Gross, I can’t listen to it; I have to go to bed.’ And I said yes, but it’s a groaning, reluctant yes.” It’s the kind of unfiltered moment you come to expect when interviewing Lawrence, who may now be one of the most famous actors on the planet but still blurts out whatever she’s thinking with such self-deprecating charm it’s impossible not to be, well, charmed.

Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as Miracle Mop inventor and QVC pitchwoman Joy Mangano glues the movie together, but it threatens to unravel at any time. Lawrence, 25, looks genuinely surprised when complimented about how unchanged she seems from our earlier interviews before the fame and Oscars. “But there would be no reason to change,” she says with a shrug. “I just have a job and I love my job. In the film, Lawrence’s Mangano is a colourful character, a single mom with a unique relationship and friendship with her ex-husband, and an enterprising woman who parlays her creativity into an incredibly successful business.

Mom (Virginia Madsen) stays in her bedroom and watches soap operas, until she falls for a Haitian plumber (Jimmy Jean-Louis) who fixes a hole in her bedroom floor. She landed minor roles on TV shows such as Monk, Cold Case and Medium before her 2010 indie film Winter’s Bone led to her becoming the second youngest best actress Oscar nominee in history. This is true even when the film tilts off its rocker with a bit of Russell-esque madness built into the screenplay, and with the director failing to always keep the energy going. That resulted in not only a string of critically acclaimed films, an Academy Award and another Oscar nomination, but also her very own mega-franchise as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.

Joy’s grandma (endearing Diane Ladd) delivers messages of empowerment and smooths over constant fights, but she’s opposed by the money-grubbing rich woman (Isabella Rossellini) who dates Joy’s dad and sends negative messages about her. Lawrence’s endearing habit of speaking her mind resulted in a controversial essay she penned on Lena Dunham’s website about her discovery during the Sony hacks that she was being paid less “than the lucky people with dicks” on her recent films, including American Hustle. “I completely understand when people say actors shouldn’t talk about politics and things they don’t know about, but this was my gender at stake and it was being threatened with unfairness and I thought, ‘What is the point of having this voice if it’s not to speak out for myself and for everyone else who can’t?’,” she says unapologetically.

Upon learning that Lawrence would be playing her mom, Miranne says, “I braced myself so I wouldn’t fall on the floor.” As for Mangano, she says Lawrence playing her “made me feel old, number one. Lawrence hangs out with a posse of celebrity girlfriends, including Amy Schumer and singer Adele, but the reason is simple. “The friendship gets expedited a lot when you meet someone you know beyond a shadow of a doubt has no agenda,” she says. Draining her savings and taking out loans, she started off small, selling her mops to local boat owners. “She persuaded QVC to take a thousand, but sales were poor and they tried to send them back,” says Mason. “She suggested letting her demonstrate it herself, and the channel agreed.” Sales skyrocketed and Mangano’s career as a QVC pitch woman was launched. That’s so amazing there aren’t even words.” Mangano and her three children didn’t view “Joy” until the Dec. 13 premiere in Manhattan, though a family outing to see “Trainwreck” included a trailer.

This is, after all, the self-confessed reality-show junkie who confessed in a recent Vogue interview that on the night of her 25th birthday party, friends surprised her with a visit from reality queen Kris Jenner, who presented her with a cake inscribed, ‘Happy Birthday, you piece of shit!’ The only time she seems tongue-tied is when asked about her relationship status, after a four-year stint with X-Men: First Class co-star Nicholas Hoult and a year with Coldplay singer Chris Martin before their breakup earlier this year. “Next!” Lawrence says in a no-nonsense voice, pausing as she decides if she’ll continue that thought. For one thing, Mangano’s childhood is not that interesting for a film, despite some flashbacks to her as a youngster (when she is played by 10-year-old Isabella Cramp, who does actually look like we imagine Lawrence could have at the same age). A satire on the acquisitiveness of the public? (Here, QVC foists unnecessary things on gullible viewers who could better save their money.) Russell doesn’t seem to know. And, of course, the grave ending would be a lie: Mangano is very much alive at the age of 59, still inventing, still pitching products, still a superstar of the American home shopping universe. There’s the Clothes It All luggage system, essentially a rolling suitcase with a removable garment bag, and the Super Chic vacuum, which releases fragrance into the air.

If I even casually say something to a reporter, that quote haunts me for the rest of my life,” she says, “so I am never, ever, ever talking about boys again!” I don’t think any of us brought enough tissues!” A good portion of the film was shot last winter in Boston, and though the always-busy Mangano was twice scheduled to visit the set, snowstorms made travel impossible. He has mixed genres successfully before, as in the anti-war comedy-drama “Three Kings,” but the blender often grinds to a halt in “Joy.” Just as we’re getting used to the realism of Mangano’s fight for respect, Russell photographs Rossellini as if she were a gargoyle.

One of her creations, the thin and velvet-covered Huggable Hanger, remains a bestseller for HSN, at more than 300 million sold, and was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey. Yet in “Silver Linings Playbook,” Cooper, De Niro and Russell all supported her with fine work; here they lay back and make the movie a one-ring circus where she has to be acrobat, bareback rider and clown.

He had a presence all of his own.” At one point, Miranne says, “Jennifer grabbed Joy’s hand and said to David, ‘Look at the nails, a French manicure.’ ” (That manicure is a Mangano signature.) Lawrence revealed that in studying for her part as Joy, she watched recordings of the inventor’s early pitches on HSN, including ones for “Huggable Hangers” and found her so compelling that she wanted to buy them on the spot. There is something special when creative people get together.” Mangano’s take on Lawrence? “She’s beyond her years, so brilliant, hysterical and so talented.

Critically, Russell’s sense of wonder and beauty turns elegiac moments — especially when Joy Mangano becomes fully realized as a woman and as a business executive — into scenes of great beauty. Lawrence recently said on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” that the movie was “half Joy Mangano’s story and half [Russell’s] imagination and other powerful, strong women who inspired him.” The director mined much of his Mangano material by phone.

The cast includes Edgar Ramirez, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini, Susan Lucci (in a mock TV soap opera that gives Joy some of its silliness) and even Melissa Rivers as her late mother Joan Rivers. There’s no situation Joy cannot overcome or circumvent.” At a Newsday photo shoot at Mangano’s luxurious but serene 42,000-square-foot mansion on 11 acres in St. As for parting advice for the ambitious? “If this movie inspires even just one more person to believe in themselves and to go after their dreams, then it’s made a very special impact in this world.

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