Posts Tagged ‘cameron diaz’

The Other Woman

Mark (Nicolaj Coster Waldau) is a successful businessman, Carly (Cameron Diaz) is a successful lawyer, the two seem to be headed for relationship bliss until Carly takes the advice of her father Frank, (Don Johnson) and surprises Mark at home.  There Carly meets Mark’s wife, Kate. (Leslie Mann)  When Carly realizes that she is Mark’s mistress, she wants nothing to do with Kate, but the two ladies form an uneasy friendship.  That friendship threatens to end when Kate thinks that Carly has resumed her affair with Mark, but they both find out that Mark has another mistress named Amber.  (Kate Upton) Amber feels sorry for both Carly and Kate, and the three plot revenge on Mark.  Do they succeed?

This is supposed to be a funny revenge fantasy.  But this movie has two major problems, it’s not funny and the revenge is mostly juvenile.  The stupidity begins when Carly takes relationship advice from her father who is a letch who’s been married five times. What valuable relationship advice could he possibly have?  Then, Kate and Carly follow Mark around like they are detectives.  Carly is a lawyer, take Mark to court and sue the pants off him, instead of doing that they engage in some grade school pranks which tests the viewer’s patience repeatedly. Carly says that Mark is with Amber for sex, this is after Carly has admitted sleeping with Mark 50 times or more.  Does that make sense? And why would Phil, Kate’s brother,  fall for Carly after she’s broken up his sister’s marriage, and slept with his brother-in-law so many times?  This is supposed to be an empowering movie, if that’s the case, then why does Carly refer to Amber as boobs the first time they meet, and why is Amber objectified so much after that?  Why is Kate whining and crying for half the movie, and drunk for the other half? Why is Carly made so promiscuous?  This is empowerment? The women seem to bond over booze and pot, which is not exactly the best way to form a lasting relationship.  Kate Upton’s opening scene is a ripoff of Bo Derek’s scene in 10.  But 10 was funny, Dudley Moore made sure of that.  This dreck isn’t close to being funny, and what they do to Ashley at the end of this movie is unforgivable. Worst of all this waste of time is written by a woman, proving that women can be just as inept as men when writing women’s roles.

The performances are poor in this film.  Leslie Mann needs a new character archetype to play, she was the nagging wife in This is 40, she plays the needy wife in this movie.  Cameron Diaz is a high powered lawyer who finds herself in excruciatingly stupid situations.  This is far from her best work.  Her best movie is Being John Malkovich and There’s Something About Mary.  She’s not done anything good for a while, which is sad, because she can be funny. Kate Upton was in this movie for one reason, to get those teen and 20 something guys into the theater.  An 83 million box office?  Mission Accomplished.  What is Nikki Manaj doing in this movie?  And what’s with the nasal delivery of her lines?  It was awful.  Waldau lets his European accent slip through a few times.

The movie is too long, nothing visual about this movie, other than Upton.   And the camera lingers on her a little too long.  Slow pacing, horrible performances, lousy direction, bad movie.

The Other Woman.  Cheats its audience.

 

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the counselor

The Counselor (Michael Fassbender) is a lawyer who is deeply in love with Laura. (Penelope Cruz)  He wants to marry Laura, and buys her a prohibitively expensive engagement ring, and seems to be set for a life filled with happiness.  The Counselor inexplicably wants to become a part of the drug trade in Juarez Mexico.  He meets with his friend Reiner, (Javier Bardem) and a middle man named Westray (Brad Pitt) and despite their warnings, the Counselor goes ahead with his plan to make 20 million dollars on a drug deal. When a drug courier is killed, and the drug shipment disappears, the kingpin, Jefe (Reuben Blades) goes after Laura.  Does Laura survive?  Who has the drug shipment?

A movie with this kind of star power, directed by Ridley Scott should not be this appallingly bad.  I blame the writer Cormac McCarthy, I’ve read The Road and seen the film, I saw No Country For Old Men, and now there’s this movie, all three gave me a massive headache.  McCarthy’s writing style is enigmatic. There is no cohesive story, no central theme to build a story around.  Is it a cautionary tale about drugs or money or is it an exciting drama about the drug war with sexual overtones? It tries to be both, it ends up being a muddled mess.  The characters are spouting, flowery almost poetic language one minute, and spouting four letter words the next.  Neither the flowery language or the sex talk or PG-13 sex scenes move the story along one iota, and only serves to confuse matters even further.  McCarthy never answers the question why.  Why does a lawyer, with a beautiful fiancé have a desire to join the drug trade? The characters aren’t clearly drawn or delineated, and so the Counselor has great actors, a great director just begging for a good story.

This is the first time I’ve seen Michael Fassbender and his acting wasn’t compelling to me.  Brad Pitt gives a dull, listless rendering of Westray the middle man.  He has a very limited range of skills, limited to comedic action roles. Javier Bardem looks like a troll, I liked Bardem in Skyfall, his character was funny and a nice change of pace.  But this is supposed to be a different movie in tone than Skyfall, and Bardem plays ostensibly the same character, and it doesn’t work in this instance.  Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz, who can be great actresses are used as little more than eye candy.  The other Latinos, Blades, Rosie Perez, John Leguizamo are all stereotypically portrayed as criminals, and there is not one heroic character of any race in the entire film, just men with varying degrees of murderous avarice.

The cinematography is stellar. El Paso Texas and Salt Lake City Utah look glorious doubling for Juarez Mexico, it’s those opening shots the draw the viewer in, just as much the dialogue repels the viewer.  It’s a pity that a great visual director like Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Alien) had to waste his time trying to breathe life into a lifeless script.

The Counselor.  Has No Appeal.

Arthur Lewis (Marsden) works for NASA as an astronaut on Langley Virginia.  He is hoping to be sent into space for his next mission, but is rejected because he failed the psychological exam.  Arthur’s wife, Norma (Diaz ) is a private school teacher, who is just informed that her teacher’s discount will no longer apply to his son.  Norma also has a badly deformed foot, from overexposure to an x-ray machine.   She would like a prosthetic device to get rid of her limp.  Arthur and Norma are both feeling the financial squeeze.  Just when they feel most desperate for cash, a man named Arlington Steward (Langella) a man with a horribly deformed face shows up with a button and a suitcase.  Press the button, and get 1 million dollars, but if Arthur or Norma do press the button, someone they do not know will die.  Norma does press the button, Steward shows up on their doorstep, gives the Lewis’ their money, and tells them that someone else will now get the chance to kill someone that person does not know.  Are the Lewis’ next on the hitlist?  Who is Steward and what is this machine he built?

This movie intends to be a thriller, but ends up being dull.  It asks questions it has no intention of ever answering.  Who does Steward work for?  Is it the government?  Was Steward sent by aliens?  Is he an angel sent from God?  Is this story a treatise on morality?  Or is it about the evils of government spying?  Or is it about supernatural or extraterrestrial intervention in human affairs?  I’ll be damned if I know, it could be about any or all of those things.  That’s what makes it such a frustrating movie to watch, there is no right answer to the questions this movie raises.  I do know why the movie was set in the 1970’s however, no one in their right mind-post 9/11, would open an unmarked Box, left by a stranger.  I think I read the story that the Box was based on in I Am Legend, but am not sure. There is a lot of talk of disfigurement and disability in this movie which drags the mood down.

The acting is awful.  Diaz is many things, but she is not a character actor.  In this movie she is saddled with a bad Southern accent, and limp, neither of which she can handle.  Marsden, who I liked in 27 Dresses and the X men movies,  looks like he is in a stupor, looking for the nearest exit.  I’m trying to forget the horrible Nixon impersonation that Langella did in Frost Nixon, but this movie won’t make me forget that role.  This makes two unintelligible movies Diaz has made, the first being Vanilla Sky, both of which I have sat through, and both of which I regret watching deeply.

The  Box.  An empty package.

Roy Miller (Tom Cruise) and June Havens (Cameron Diaz) are boarding the same plane, initially Roy is able to board and June is not.  They eventually do board and by the time June gets back from powdering her nose, Roy has killed all the people on the plane, including the pilots, no worries, Roy lands the plane in a nearby corn field.  June learns from Roy’s former FBI  boss  named Fitzgerald (Peter Sarsgaard) that Roy is a rogue agent who has stolen a perpetually renewing battery, and is planning to sell it to the highest bidder.  Roy says he is trying to keep the battery from Fitzgerald and protect the battery’s inventor, Simon Feck (Paul Dano) June follows Roy from Boston to Spain in order to decipher who is telling the truh, Roy or Fitzgerald.  Is Roy a rogue agent, or is he simply trying to protect the battery and its inventor?

This is a dumb movie, and just another excuse for Tom Cruise to run around and act like he’s saving the world.  He’s not even saving his career with this movie.  I knew immediately who the hero was and who the villains were, it didn’t take rocket science to figure that out.  The writers are so intent to have Cruise and Diaz stay together throughout the movie that they make Diaz ex a lame-brained fireman who’s in one scene, gets shot by Cruise, and is forgotten for the rest of the movie.  Needless to say Cruise and Diaz’s acting skills don’t carry this movie.  Cruise’s half-smile, half-sneer expression doesn’t work anymore, and his boyish good looks seem to be leaving him.  Diaz has had one standout performance in her career in Being John Malkovich, plays the ditzy blonde damsel in distress here.  If Goldie Hawn were younger she would be playing this role.  And Diaz is supposed to be a car expert in this movie, sure…I bet she doesn’t know a camshaft from a carburetor.  Whatever chemistry the two had in Vanilla Sky left them both.  Both stars needed a hit, and this sure wasn’t it.

Knight and Day A Knight to forget.