Archive for the ‘John C. Reilly’ Category

The Sisters Brothers

08 Oct

The Sisters Brothers—directed by Jacques Audiard. Western Color 121 minutes 2018.
The Story: In gold rush days, four men, determined to kill one another, meet over a mother lode.
There’s nothing like a movie to do it for ya! On a big screen! In a theater with others! For the drama! For the spectacle, the dash, the color! For the ticket to see if it’s worth it! For the satisfaction when it is!

Here we have four males driven by their separate dispositions such as to torment us as to whether their encounter can shift the natures of any of them.

The chemist, Riz Ahmed, is an activist seeking to revolutionize society.

The tracker, Jake Gyllenhaal, is an overbred flaneur seeking fulfillment.

The assassin, Joaquin Phoenix, is a bloodthirsty maniac.

The mediator, John C. Reilly, is a warden wanting different employment.

The last two, Reilly and Phoenix, play the Sisters Brothers, a partnership made in hell, because inescapable. Paid killers in Siamese-tandem.

The forces of their natures lead them to take baths only in dirty places. But they ride through fields of flowers to get there. Through yellow lands. Under mountains made for prayer, of prayer.

None of this we see them notice, until the end, when one of them fools us all.

One’s interest never jades watching these contrasts. One sees them through the magic camera of Benoît Debie whose shots throw one into the spectacle as a necessity. Radiant, right, surprising—and the same can be said of the editing by Juliette Welfling. If these two don’t win Oscars for this I’m a cow.

The director, Jacques Audiard, who co-wrote it, caught Gyllenhaal, Reilly, and Phoenix at the top of their game, which means you do not know what to expect of them and so seek to know them better, and think you can, but can you?

You sit on the edge of a suspense so keen you haven’t even witnessed it before. Is Ahmed a con-man? Are they and all of Dallas being duped? Can our altruism root for him, him with his big clear eyes? Or will that too get conned? We feel our trust teeter as the story teeters.

The film unfolds as broadly as the landscape it covers, which is Oregon and Northern California. The story’s excitements are constant, and its surprises are long in coming but just. We never expect them but are never betrayed by them.

We have many great Westerns in the canon. Is this another?

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Posted in ACTING STYLE: AMERICAN REALISTIC, Jake Gyllenhaal, Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly, WESTERN


Guardians Of The Galaxy

29 Sep

Guardians Of The Galaxy – directed by James Gunn. Sci-Fi Comedy/Adventure. 122 minutes Color 2014.


The Story: A club of renegade do-gooders seek a magic orb to keep it out of the wrong hands.


Will this never end! This was my mantra as I watched this clunking monstrosity repeat itself over and over. Now we have the orb, now evil Ronan has the orb, now we have the orb, now Ronan – the same ploy repeated interminably, the interminability broken by action sequences so fast you cannot enjoy their elaborations, amid settings so ornately imagined the director dare not give us time to appreciate them. For it’s either back to the orb or into a space battle or a onto a recess into sophomoric humor lead by Chris Platt beating off of the barbs of Bradley Cooper disguised as fast-talking, wirehead Raccoon, who is actually quite funny.

John. C. Reilly, Djimon Hounsou, Benicio del Toro and Glen Close freeze-shrink their immense talents to earn their pay playing characters with no discernable character. While the great Lee Pace stands before us in ruins as the villain Ronan, his beautiful speaking voice turned into a steam shovel and his interesting face shrouded in makeup, costume, and shadow.

Everything about the movie is made-up and everything depends on makeup. It’s worth seeing for the makeup. Is it? No.

The film seems not to be based on a Marvel comic strip so much as on a Buck Rogers Saturday matinee kids’ serial. That is to say, it is based on the perpetual repetition necessary for its existence at all. Except here we see all the serials at once, an endeavor that hangs itself on its own cliff-hangers. Raiders Of The Lost Arc with jokes but no humor.


Dark Water

31 Mar

Dark Water — Directed by Walter Salles — Psychological Horror. A young mother moves into a new apartment whose ceiling has a sinister leak. 105 minutes Color 2005

* * * *

After the revelation and reconciliation scene, the film falls apart. This is because of a failure in the main actor and a failure in the script. The failure in the script derives from the fact that dirty water cascading from above is not an apt metaphor for a woman going insane. Nor is insanity something you die of. The script suffers from multiple personality disorder, so we have Childhood Abandonment, Ghosts, Filthy Water Cascading Down Walls, A Mean To-Be-Ex Husband Trying To Gain Control Of A Child, and Is This Woman Going Under, and our loyalties and attention are betrayed and disappointed by the failure of these to align at the end or all along. Also Jennifer Connolly is miscast. She is miscast because she is so ordinary and not strong in it. You need an actress who is both strong in her nature and unusual in her affect, vocally and physically, to play a woman who is going to become vulnerable before our eyes, a young Bette Davis. Connolly is a good workman-like actor, but nothing more. She does not have in her nature or her technical capacity the talent and the range to play a woman going insane. Being able to play migraine-headache doesn’t make it. Her big scenes with the water are simply an ordinary woman’s response to a pipe that won’t stop leaking, and the actress falls into the habit of having the character feel sorry for herself. Granted the script fails to supply her with anything but a mere external, kinematical spectacle: a flood. There is no drama in a flood. There is excitement, but there is no drama. The flood does not bring us inside the character at all, even were the actress capable of realizing the transformation and the salvation of insanity. The rest of the film is superb. The brown non-special effects drowning of the walls, the apartment house set, and all the set decoration, are superb. The music and sound are superb. The direction is excellent. The editing is particularly fine. And the acting of the supporting players could not be bettered. John C. Reilly is brilliantly detailed and funny as the rental agent. Pete Postlethwaite is brilliant in ambiguity as the concierge. Ariel Gade could not be bettered as the young daughter. Tim Roth is tops as the busy lonely attorney. And the great Camryn Manheim steals every scene she is in. It’s worth seeing for all of this and not worth for all the rest of this.


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