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Entries in Identity Thief (3)

Friday
Apr082016

Posterized: Melissa McCarthy, Unlikely Superstar

Though Melissa McCarthy's star went supernova just five years ago in a role so popular that she won both an Oscar nomination and an Emmy statue (Bridesmaids... oh please, you know the Emmy wasn't actually for Mike and Molly!) she's wasted approximately zero days since in cementing her unlikely place as a box office titan with star vehicles emerging annually since. Right now that means her new capitalist diva comedy The Boss and if it isn't Spy (2015) or The Heat (2013) level funny (sorry... but few things are) it's not bad. It sure as hell runs rings around Identity Thief (2013) and Tammy (2014) so it's firmly middle of the pack, if you ask me. (It's weird that the reviews so far are the worst of any of her solo vehicles.)

We call her place as a truly bankable actress 'unlikely' because it's just that. Guess how long it's been since audiences embraced a hefty actress as a (regular) lead? I can't think of a single one from my lifetime though we occassionally get a one time debut hit (Gabby Sidibe in Precious, Nikki Blonsky in Hairspray - they had to settle for supporting work thereafter) or a frequently employed secondary lead (Rebel Wilson). You might argue for Kathy Bates but she's only headlined a few times.  I think you have to sail back to the early 1930s to the odd case of Marie Dressler who was a true box office sensation and quite awesome (see her Oscar winning Min & Bill; It's a blast!)

Though Bridesmaids entirely changed McCarthy's career her debut was way back in the cult favorite Go (1999) which she soon followed with the role that most people think of as her debut "Sookie" on several seasons of The Gilmore Girls, a role she'll reprise for the upcoming reunion. Hooray!  All the McCarthy movie posters are after the jump. How many have you seen?

  

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec242013

Year in Review: The Bad, The Worse, and the Ugly

I used to make a big fuss over my CINEMATIC SHAME list but this year I'm mostly just feeling the love (see also that "most moving" list share). Nevertheless tradition is tradition, so herewith a few dubious "honors" and outright dismissals from the worst of 2013

WORST MAINSTREAM FILMS
One can avoid a lot of dross if you select your own movies rather than have them assigned to you by an editor. But true terror always finds a way. Let's call this a three way tie. Identity Thief is so stuffed with uncecessary scenes and filler -- the stars don't even meet for half an hour! -- it's practically built to be ignored on cable for decades to come while you putter around your house with your phone in hand and your mind entirely elsewhere -- at least until you notice some bright color combination on Melissa McCarthy and chuckle at a line reading or two before instanteously losing interest again.

Unfortunately there's more. The Counselor, Oblivion, DianaThe Lone Ranger, Jodie Foster and more dishonors after the jump... 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun202013

Three Quickies: Mud, Identity Thief, Frances Ha 

In an effort to say at least a few words on everything I see this year, here are three short takes on recent pictures we haven't discussed much. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you've seen 'em (or want to).

Frances Ha
Modern dancer Frances (Greta Gerwig), suddenly apartment hunting when her best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner) moves out, struggles to get her act together while her friends are increasingly settling into career and relationship grooves
Quickie Take: Less an explicit psychological mural than a suggestive sidewalk sketch but what artistry! Palpable energy and magical color. [In black and white]. A-

Frances Ha tickles me

Best in Show: Greta Gerwig but then she IS the show. The supporting cast is fine too including newcomer Mickey Sumner as best friend Sophie, Broadway star Charlotte D'Amboise as a dance guru, and Grace Gummer as an irritated former classmate.
Oscar? I'd love to emphatically promise that it has a true darkhorse shot at Actress (Greta Gerwig is at her most Gerwigian and it's beautiful), Director (this is arguably Noah Baumbach's finest film), Editing, and Original Screenplay (at least!) but these days little charming movies stay little (sigh). I know I sound like an ol' curmudgeon - GET OFF MY LAWN - but in truth this movie made me feel young... post-college young to be specific. Quarter century life crisis! 

 

IDENTITY THIEF
Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman continuing his variety-free post Juno rut), family man and accountant, must apprehend conwoman "Sandy Patterson" (Melissa McCarthy) to undo the damage she's done to his reputation and bank account. 
Quickie Take: Lazily assumes joke-free laughs. Shamelessly pursues atonal "Redemptive Arc". Excruciating length, rail thin characterizations, plot girth D-

 

Best in Show Melissa McCarthy wins the only laughs but at what price? Rex Reed is an a-hole but maybe he had a a teensy-tiny possible point embedded in the awful rhetoric of his infamous "hippo" review. 
Oscar Chances? LOL. No, but it might unfortunately hurt the next Melissa McCarthy's chances at hardware for a Bridesmaids style comic breakthrough; This is what you've chosen to do with that well-earned goodwill?

 

MUD
A young teenager (Tye Sheridan) discovers a wanted man (Matthew McConaughey as "Mud") holed up on a nearby island in an abandoned motorboat, awaiting word from his woman (Reese Witherspoon) who is herself in some kind of trouble.
Quickie Take: Emotionally expressive, rarely weighed down by repetitive structure. Never content to do just one thing per scene, Mud attempts coming of age adventure, family drama, and romantic thriller with nearly equal flair.  B+

Jeff Nichols and Matthew McConaughey on the set of "Mud"

Best in Show: McConaughey but the whole cast is strong and Sheridan proves that Terence Malick was on to something when he cast him in Tree of Life. He's beautifully natural onscreen, never "child actor" forced. Can we start campaigning for him to receive a Best Young Actor nomination at the BFCA Critics Choice Awards next January?
Oscar Chances? Like Magic Mike before it, it will more likely bolster Matthew McConaughey's shot at an actual statue for something else entirely. Still, both Oscar and career opportunities are all about momentum and this movie, so quick on the heels of Take Shelter is setting writer/director Jeff Nichols up to break through in a major way. If he keeps up this pace and this quality, what a career he's going to have.
And Also: Congratulations to longtime frienquaintance Kris Tapley on getting the poster quote!