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Directors of For Sama

Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
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Review: Eddie the Eagle

Eric here for the new Hugh Jackman. Eddie the Eagle tells the true-life story of Michael “Eddie” Edwards, who became the first skier to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping in 1988.  The comic spin:  Eddie is not really an athlete, or a particularly good skier.  But he’s a dreamer!  And tenacious!

Even if this weren’t a true story, you’d know from the first few scenes where it was headed.  Director Dexter Fletcher doesn’t have any aspiration higher than to make you feel good, but he has a just-pluckier-than-sitcom sensibility that feels predictably right for this genre.  He delivers the kind of film that studio executives love, where nothing is challenging and all the characters fall into their respective stereotypes (including groan-inducing taunting foreign competitors and the horny middle-aged female bar owner.!)

Where the filmmakers got it right, and very very lucky, is with their two leads. Externally, Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service) overplays the comedy with a bit too many Zellwegarian face scrunches, but internally he has a surefooted instinct for the joke and knows how to keep things surprising with his captivating capriciousness. For this film the latter goes a long way. Jackman has essentially no character on the page, but he plays it as if nobody told him he’s in a mediocre movie.  One of Jackman’s secret weapons as a movie star is that he always knows exactly what is required of him in any given film.  Here he just needs to loan out his star wattage to add credibility and look great in jeans; he supplies both with sweet aplomb.   

Even though this movie has low ambitions, which it achieves with low success, it’s tough to be mad at it.  There are enough bright lines of dialogue to make you wish there were more, plus a bouncy score that salutes 80s comedies (until it veers towards standard, Feel-This-Way scoring).  The film may be as subversive as a Norman Rockwell painting, but when Egerton and Jackman walk towards each other flapping their wings, there’s a pleasant little high.

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Reader Comments (8)

There must have been something in the atmosphere at the Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics.
The Jamaicans decided to try their luck on the bobsled run, which became the movie "Cool Runnings".
And Eddie "the Eagle" from Great Britain tried his luck at the high jump.
So now we have this movie which is no doubt hoping to be as popular as "Cool Runnings".
I do think Taron Egerton is one to watch, he was very good with the physical comedy of Kingsmen.
For those of you to young to know, the real Eddie was very funny in interviews, he was always good for a bit of comic relief.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

Hollywood needs to stop booking Hugh Jackman for anything.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

LadyEdith: Yeah, as much as Kingsman was a sloppy movie that destroyed THE ENTIRE CHARACTER ARC with that ending gag (when the woman who has pretty much been starved for company and sensation for months asks you for sex? A gentleman says no.), Egerton did show promise.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

LadyEdith -- i met him at this very screening. Very nice guy and has a good sense of humor about his fate/story.

Eric -- agree with most of this review. I mean the movie is KINDA terrible in some ways. But it's also hard to dislike because it's sweet and mostly fun.

/3rtful -- why on earth? He's such a great movie star. I only wish he would be choosier about his projects and try to find his next Les Miz that really challenges him.

February 26, 2016 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I never cared for him. Neither as an actor nor a "movie star". Outside of his X-Man character when has the public ever responded to him as a movie star?

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

/3rtful - he's had several big hits outside of the X-Men: SWORDFISH ($147 worldwide) REAL STEEL ($300 worldwide), AUSTRALIA ($211 worldwide), LES MIZ ($441 worldwide), VAN HELSING ($300 worldwide).

PAN was a rare misfire financially

February 26, 2016 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nat: Hits should be judged relative to budget and any movie that doesn't even gross double it's budget shouldn't be called a hit, because that means they didn't break even. Swordfish: $147 million worldwide box office. $102 million budget. $57 million short of even breaking even. Van Helsing: $300 million worldwide box office. $160 million budget. $20 million short of even breaking even. Real Steel: $300 million worldwide box office. $110 million budget. Hit, but not a massive one, $80 million above breaking even. Australia: $211 million worldwide. $130 million budget. $49 million short of even breaking even. Les Miz: HUGE HIT. $441 million gross. $61 million budget. $300+ million above breaking even.
Of the five you mentioned, that's only two actually successful relative to their budget, and one of those five (Les Miz) was ALSO trading on a mega successful proven brand. I'd have to say, I kind of have to agree with both of you. He's actually a very good movie star, but, unfortunately, he can barely sell a big movie on his own name to save his life.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

I had a great time with this movie, which hits the cheese sweet spot. Completely endearing from a character and story standpoint, I didn't even mind the predictable nature of the story. The relationships are lived in, and surprised me at a few turns. It also has some great downhill scenes, the score is fitting, and it has at least one great moment with Hugh Jackman's nighttime jump.

February 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTheCinescape

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