Posted in 2020-2029, Film Review

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022)

© Lionsgate

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent – Film Review

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal, Sharon Horgan, Ike Barinholtz, Alessandra Mastronardi, Jacob Scipio, Neil Patrick Harris, Tiffany Haddish

Director: Tom Gormican

Synopsis: Faced with the prospect of a declining career, actor Nick Cage (Nicholas Cage) is offered the chance by a wealthy super-fan to revive his career, which gets him entangled with the CIA…

Review: For any actor, there is likely to be that one role that they dream of getting in their career. A role that will perhaps win them a prestigious award, or one that goes on to define their career. In the case of Nicolas Kim Coppola, or to give him the name many will undoubtedly know him by Nicolas Cage, pinpointing such a role is hard to nail down. For a career that began in 1981, he’s an actor that has gained a reputation, particularly in recent years, for his over-the-top and eccentric performances. Some of which, in the age of the internet and meme culture, become forever immortalised. But perhaps, the role that will define his career, is the one he’s playing here: a fictionalised version of himself.

Nick Cage is facing a career crisis. He’s trying hard to get major roles, but no one is willing to offer him the parts he’s going for. As such, he fears that his career as an actor may be coming to a close. As he has been solely focused on his career, his relationships with his ex-wife and daughter have become distant. However. when Javi (Pascal), a wealthy Nick Cage super fan, offers him one million dollars to be the guest of honour at his birthday party, it’s an offer he cannot refuse. The two men begin to strike up a friendship, bonding over their shared love of movies. This is until Cage soon finds himself unexpectantly working with the CIA when it’s revealed that Javi is a dangerous drug kingpin who they suspect could be behind a high profile kidnapping.

Pitching such a premise that is reliant on a very meta premise like this could have very easily gone horribly wrong and looked like the ultimate ego-driven and narcissistic vanity project for the actor at the centre of it. But fortunately, Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten’s script doesn’t come across that way at all. It is instead a tribute to an actor whose roles have given audiences so much over the years, from the award-worthy to the performances in films that are so bad they’re good. For passionate fans of Cage and his work, there are references aplenty to some of his most iconic performances of the past that die-hard Cage fans will absolutely love. But it would be easy for the film to just point out a previous performance and call back to it for some nice and easy nostalgia. The film finds plentiful amounts of humour in the situation that Cage finds himself in.

Speaking of Cage, having had something of a resurgence with his brilliant performance in last year’s Pig, this is yet another reminder of the man’s talents as an actor. Sure, playing yourself (or a somewhat fictionalised version) is not the most challenging of tasks, but Cage is clearly having a blast with this material and by consequence so will the audience, especially if you’re a fan of Cage’s filmography. Alongside Cage, Pedro Pascal is equally brilliant in his role as Nick’s new best friend/number one fan. The bromance the two of them strike up, bonding over their favourite movies is heart-warming, especially if you share that deep love of movies that these guys do. Furthermore, with some of the misadventures they get up to whilst Cage is staying at his home provides for plenty more moments of hilarity. The Cage/Javi bromance takes centre stage, which unfortunately means that the CIA side plot does feel tacked on, and both Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz do the best they can with what limited screen time they have.

The film does lose a bit of steam at various points when it deviates away from the central bromance. However, it’s not long enough to drag the movie down, especially given the man and the legend at the centre of it all. The funniest film of the year by far, and it will take some beating for another film to pip this one to the honour of the best title of the year as well. Two more worthy accolades in the career of someone whose work has already brought so much joy to so many. Long may that continue.

Brilliantly self-aware and doesn’t take itself too seriously, with a hilarious buddy comedy at its centre, a worthy celebration of the legend that is Nicolas Cage.

 

Posted in 2010-2019, Film Review

Gone Girl (2014)

gone girl
Image is property of 20th Century Fox, TSG Entertainment and Regency Enterprises

Gone Girl – Film Review 

Cast:  Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coon, Emily Ratajkowski, Kim Dickens, , Patrick Fugit, Tyler Perry.

Director: David Fincher

Synopsis: When Amy Dunne (Pike) disappears in mysterious circumstances, her husband Nick (Affleck) becomes the centre of the police inquiry into his wife’s disappearance whilst also being the focal point of an intense media glare as it is suspected that he may not be as innocent as he appears

Review: For anyone watching this movie, either in a marriage or preparing to enter one, this film could give them an anxiety attack. Marriage used to be seen as the ultimate form of commitment to your significant other, but on the basis of this film, one could be forgiven for having second thoughts. The film pulls you in and offers a deep, complex look at what marriage is and what it can do to people, under certain circumstances. In that we get a stylish, dramatic story of a couple that pulls no punches and will keep you engaged. You do not know where the story will go next and it stays on point for almost the entire run time.

Adapted from the novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, the story focus on Nick Dunne who comes home to find that his wife Amy has disappeared in unusual circumstances and the media frenzy that ensues when it starts to appear that Nick may have had something to do with it all. For the next two and a half hours, through flashbacks and present day perspectives, the pieces of the puzzle are steadily put together in order to find out what happened.  It is gripping to watch as obviously we see Nick’s life quickly descend into a living hell.  The viewer is taken along for a ride, you feel like you’re the onlooker as you watch it unfold. From his perspective to hers, there are twists and turns, shocks and moments that will leave you speechless.

Under Fincher’s expert and flawless direction, the acting on show is flawless. Affleck is a man who has come under intense media speculation and backlash due to his casting as Batman in the upcoming Batman V Superman flick. With this in mind, he does an incredible job as he tries to come to terms with all that is happening and the intense media frenzy that develops in the wake of his wife’s disappearance. Equally mesmerising is Rosamund Pike as Amy. Her scenes mostly come in the form of flashbacks but she delivers a fantastic performance that is at one moment incredible and in the next moment shocking and almost socio-path like. A stunning career highlight that should earn herself an Oscar nod when next year’s Oscars roll around.  The rest of the supporting cast were also absolutely on point with special mentions going to Tyler Perry giving a strong performance as Nick’s lawyer. In addition Neil Patrick Harris also delivers a wounded yet creepy performance playing the very creepy ex-boyfriend of Amy’s.

Fincher is one of the best directors working today, and every shot of this film feels meticulously crafted in its execution. One of the producers said that the director took as many as fifty takes per scene. The dedication that the director put in shines through in almost every frame. The script is astounding and the story keeps you engaged throughout its two and a half hour run time. As well as a potential Oscar nomination for Rosamund Pike, nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Direction are definitely possible. The film does not shy away from that dark and controversial material, it throws it in your face and when the credits roll, it will leave you reeling and should you be single, you may be thankful you are.

Thought-provoking, twisted and daring,  Gone Girl is a suspenseful, on the edge of your seat thrill ride that does not hold back. With Fincher’s flawless direction and outstanding acting, this is a film not to be missed and one of the best of the year.

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