Sunday, January 19

August: Osage County

Meryl Streep plays Mother of the Year in August: Osage County. The Film Fatales take cover. 

2013. 121 Minutes. Starring: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Sam Shepherd, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Juliette Lewis, Dermott Mulroney, Benedict Cumberbatch, Abigail Breslin. Directed by John Wells. Screenplay Tracy Letts.

A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them. (IMDb) 

elizabeth: Humor can masterfully mask great pain, while great pain needs humor in order for the human spirit to survive. I went into this movie knowing that it wasn’t going to be a love fest, but a close look at what happens when emotional wounds do not heal and are left to fester and grow. For anyone going to this movie and believing that you are going to a see comedic piece with a brilliant cast (thanks to the moronic advertising campaign out here), prepare to be mistaken. There is really nothing funny about August: Osage County. It is the great American Tragedy.  Whatever humor makes its way out of the muck is to keep the audience from leaving the theater screaming.

Nicole: Can I just give you a slow, praise-worthy round of applause here? That was so perfectly summed up, I don’t really have anything to add that could remotely do your description justice. 

elizabeth: I could get use to idol worshipping, but I don’t think I will hear that from you again so I will just enjoy it now. Okay, I am over it…. There are enough twists in this movie to keep you on the edge of your seat. Just when I recovered from one emotional scene, out pops another one. What I found a bit frightening about this movie is that it is probably closer to reality then we would like to believe. I also found it interesting to see who I find to be a sympathetic character and I have to say that it was Meryl Streep’s Violet Weston – the matriarch in this dysfunctional family who is a pill-popping nasty bitch who suffers from mouth cancer and much more. And the one member that I would welcome into my family was Chris Cooper’s Charlie Aiken, a quiet man who kept secrets and kept the family together.

Nicole: On that count, we differ. I HATED Violet with a deep passion. I tried, I really did, to feel pity for her knowing her life was no picnic before she raised her family. But every single tragic thing that happened to this family was in direct relation to her anger and, by default, dependency issues. Her inability to deal with her past brought unnecessary ruin upon her kin. And my hatred bears testament to the incredible talent of Meryl Streep…who I could not respect more as an artist. The fact that she made me dislike her as much as I did proves how ridiculously talented she is. Allow me to just wax a little further on Streep’s acting prowess… She is able to do what so few actors are able to do…act by simply reacting. Every subtle nuance, every slight mannerism is so utterly realistic, she’s able to draw you in and make you believe she is that character. She has no equal. 

elizabeth: This cast had to be the screenwriter and director’s dream team. You believe that these actors were members of this sad family. Everybody in this movie is strong and everybody in this movie is broken. Just like real life. And they all did a terrific job in making you wonder what happens next door to you. Or in your own home.

Nicole: Again, couldn’t agree more. From the small, but magnificent and pivotal role of Little Charles (played to perfection by Benedict Cumberbatch) to the weighty supporting role of Barbara (played deftly by Julia Roberts), this ensemble gelled in every which way – tackling difficult subject matter in a way I’ll never forget. August: Osage County was no walk in the park to watch. I did feel like I was punched in the stomach. And, yet, I’m grateful to have had the experience of watching it. Despite the fact that it’s no feel-good-film-of-the-year, it reinforces what great film making is all about. 

elizabeth: And if Meryl Streep does not win the Oscar then something is really wrong in Tinseltown.

The Film Fatales give AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY

The Film Fatales do the Golden Globes

(c) HFPA and Golden Globes

Nicole: For Cassidy and I, Award Show Season is like our Super Bowl and what better way to get the party started than with the 71st Annual Golden Globes? 

elizabeth: Yes, I took the family jewels out of the vault just in case some reporter from E! was looking in my window.

Nicole: By far, my favorite moment of the night came from Emma Thompson, who presented Best Screenplay barefoot, Louboutins and martini in hand. Thanks for keeping it real, Emma. 

elizabeth: Yes, I do believe Ms. Thompson was shaken and not stirred. I thought she showed that women of a certain age can still kick out the jams. All in all, a happy occasion is when alcohol is served in abundance. Why were our cries for invites so rudely ignored?

Nicole: Just where do they get off? Well, let's try to be big about this and discuss the Film Categories nonetheless.

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
(c) HFPA and Golden Globes

Nicole: No surprise Lawrence took this home. Everyone’s smitten by Hollywood’s new darling...despite that terrible Dior dress.

elizabeth: I admire Jennifer since she keeps it so real on and off the screen.  She is like a breath of fresh air and she proves that one does not have to sell off one’s soul for a movie role.

Best Actress: Comedy
Amy Adams, American Hustle
(c) HFPA and Golden Globes
Nicole: How, how, how does Adams beat Streep? It seems like a scientific impossibility that anyone could possible beat that August Osage County performance.

elizabeth: As much as I like Amy Adams and her talents, this win better not be a sign that women of a certain age are being phased out.  Don’t make me throw one of my sensible shoes at you.

Best Supporting Actor
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
(c) HFPA and Golden Globes
Nicole: Leto deserved it for his portrayal of Rayon: enough said. 

elizabeth: Jared Leto’s portrayal of  Rayon was one of the best performances I have seen in ages. He so deserved the Globe because he made you fall hard for this HIV-positive transsexual woman who showed so much dignity and compassion.

Best Director
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity

Nicole: I’m still queasy from seeing Gravity. And just why the hell was Clooney not at the Globes? Is he still drifting in space...rather than spend another second with a woman in his age group, as Tina Fey so correctly put it.

elizabeth: My head and stomach stopped spinning once they started to roll the credits. I don’t think I like having to depend on a barf bag to get through a movie – even a movie with George Clooney in it. Although he can hold my head any time.

Best Actor: Comedy
Leonardo DiCaprio, Wolf of Wall Street
(c) HFPA and Golden Globes
Nicole: Three hours of F this and F that apparently earns a globe.

elizabeth: I feel an F-bomb coming on. I need a certain number of naughty words to get me through the day, but come on, 506 of them in 3 hours. Whoever counted them deserves a Golden Globe.

Best Picture: Comedy
American Hustle

Nicole: Do you have to know how to do The Hustle before seeing this film? Or have had at least one bad perm? ‘Cause I can safely check both those off the list.

elizabeth: Thank God they don’t have a category for bad hair and bad clothes ‘cuz this film would have won that Globe hands down. It ain’t pretty.

Best Actress: Drama
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
(c) HFPA and Golden Globes
Nicole: Cate, no contest, and she looked divine in Armani.  

elizabeth: Kate was so great in this role that I went home and started drinking.

Best Actor: Drama
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
(c) HFPA and Golden Globes
Nicole: Ugh, whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy did McConaughey win? It’s not that I dislike his acting. I just hated this movie so, so much.

elizabeth: I had to live thru AIDS and the lost of good friends in the 1980s and beyond so maybe my battle scars hurt when I see someone like McConaughey’s character win a golden globe. I do believe people can change, but I was not buying it in this movie.

Best Picture: Drama
Twelve Years a Slave
(c) HFPA and Golden Globes
Nicole: How did we let this one pass us by? Must correct that mistake soon!

elizabeth: They are re-releasing this movie so we can get to see what brilliant movie making is all about.  I hate that life won’t give us the time to see all the movies we want to see.  Now, if I ruled the world…

Saturday, January 18

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Robbed of an Oscar nomination—Anchorman 2 deals with the snub by continuing to tickle funny bones worldwide. 

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. 2013. Rated PG-13 (though we really don’t know how???). 119 minutes. Starring Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, James Marsden, Kristen Wiig. Directed by Adam McKay.

With the 70s behind him, San Diego's top rated newsman, Ron Burgundy, returns to take New York's first 24-hour news channel by storm. [imdb] 

Nicole: I’ve waited long for this day…and I’m relieved to say the sequel to Anchorman did not disappoint. Phew! If you’re worried that this movie won’t be filled with the same brand of ridiculousness, the same flavor of sassy one-liners, the same tasteless and unPC gags – let me allay your fears: It’s just as wonderfully tacky and quotable as the first. 

elizabeth:  Once or twice year, I lower my standards so low that members of my family do not recognize me. I have done so twice and it is only January. I sat through Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy at home and then I had the good fortune to sit through Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues with you.  I have to say that I may never really feel clean again. Remind me why you liked it. I didn’t see any references to Mr. Darcy in this flick. 

Nicole: …because, Cassidy, I’m not ashamed to admit I like a good fart joke almost as much as I love a good period piece. I’m complicated. This time around, Ron and company have been offered a late-night gig on the nation’s first-ever 24-hour news station. To score big ratings, they decide to spin the news in a whole new way – by reporting salacious gossip, sex scandals and over-hyping non-newsworthy stories…you know, the way it’s done now. While the news team’s strategy gains ratings, it makes them enemies. 

elizabeth:  You like a “good” fart joke? You are dead to me or you are a 14-year-old boy. Pick one. I think I am a very funny person (my therapist  said I have to embrace my gifts – less chance of  getting restraining orders if I go about embracing strangers on the street)and I long for movies that will make me laugh out loud. I know there are very funny people out there who can write funny lines, but I don’t understand why they don’t get asked to write clever screenplays. Humor in this country is only for  teenage boys and you. Why are my comical rights being ignored? 

Nicole: Then I’m a 14-year-old boy, fine. I’ve been called worse. I’m gonna run the risk of toeing the line of your restraining order and say this: Not all comedy needs to be high-brow to be funny. (I defer you to the comical genius of Mel Brooks, and now run for cover.) The movie is a tad too long – it could have been shortened by a half hour and been made the better for it. Efforts to try to recapture similar scenes from the first movie don’t quite hit the mark, but there is still something redeemable about them.

elizabeth:  So, I suppose the campfire scene in “Blazing Saddles” is a fave of yours?  How nice. We agree about one thing. The movie was way too long. I think Will Ferrell wanted to get everything into the movie  and didn’t care if it left people going, “What the hell is going on?”  Sometimes less is bliss. I know no one is listening to me. And just for the record – clothes from the 1970s need to go to the polyester recycling bin in hell. Just revolting. 

Nicole: (I did hear you laugh on more than one occasion. Just sayin’. And I actually liked the Disco-era wardrobe. I’m revealing way too much about myself in this review.)This time around, Brick (Steve Carell) gets a fair amount of hilarious screen time and a love interest, the perfectly cast Kristen Wiig – who does uncomfortably weird so very well. You’ll be surprised and likely creeped-out by Brian’s (Rudd) and Champ’s (Koechner) post-San Diego Channel 4 News Team’s career choices and a little disappointed about where we find our favorite couple, Ron (Ferrell) and Veronica (Applegate). But…it all ends up working out. And the journey is one, long belly laugh of a good time. 

elizabeth: I was laughing to myself. I do that often. It keeps people away from me. It had nothing to do with Ron Burgundy and his entourage. Okay, full disclosure here – Steve Carell did a good job playing a man who isn’t quite wired like the rest of us. His childlike antics did propel a chuckle or two out of me. He was the only good part of this film. And that guy Champ made me very uncomfortable while Paul Rudd is still adorable in plaid. But the movie sucked. There I said it. 

Nicole: I’ll make you an Anchorman fan yet…WHAMMY!

(Well, one of us would like to give it only ½ stilletto).