1. Live Blogging The Fighter Trailer!
I generally try to avoid trailers. I like to go into a film the same way Saruman wanted his halflings delivered, alive and unspoiled. But after receiving approximately a dozen text messages about this next trailer I figured the thing to do was man up and live blog this bad boy for your entertainment. Hit play and enjoy.
:01 - :17: Brothers sure can be silly!
:18 - :29: Yikes. Remind me not to have an ex-wife.
:30 - :33: This is the exact training scene they played in Mike Tyson's Punch-Out.
:34 - :36: Wait, why did Pam leave Jim? Will this be explained??
:37 - :45: Remember kids, it's okay to slap people if it's in the service of a bartender.
:46 - :51: I'm not going to fault a boxer for needing the money. Not too many guys out there willing to take a free beating.
:52 - 1:03: Aren't there weight classes in boxing to match up the fighters evenly? If I'm Wahlberg I call foul here.
1:04: - 1:15: Pam Beasley believes in you!
1:16: - 1:25: This guy seems like he might be "connected."
1:26: - 1:40: Brothers sure can be silly!
1:41: - 1:45: It took less than 40 trailer seconds for Mark Wahlberg to get a title shot! Comeback of the decade?
1:46: - 1:55: I'm getting the sneaking sensation Christian Bale's character is just a jerk. Typecasting?
1:56: - 2:02: Somewhere Hilary Swank and Clint Eastwood are shaking their heads.
2:03: - 2:08: Wahlberg looks yoked.
2:09: - 2:21: Oh, I feel myself singing a little "Redemption Song" for Bale. Won't you help to sing?
2:22: - 2:30: That's right, I AM Mickey Ward! Any bartenders out there in need of protecting?
In all seriousness, I'm a big fan of David O. Russell's work. I'm definitely looking forward to this film.
2. The Joaquin Phoenix Documentary Was a Fake. No kidding?
These fellas, Casey Affleck and Joaquin Phoenix, still don't get it. It's okay to attempt a hoax in the service of art. It's okay to straddle that fine line between lunacy and reality, and it's okay to poke fun at the somewhat silly social conventions that dictate the celebrity lifestyle. What it's not okay to do is waste everyone's time. If you're going to shoot Joaquin Phoenix looking and acting like a crazy person then shouldn't it at least be entertaining? Can we not do better than Phoenix mumbling to the camera and faking cocaine usage behind closed doors? There was nothing remotely honest or authentic about the film, Joaquin looked nothing like himself, though he was clearly only one quick shave away from heading out to script meetings. As an actor, Joaquin Phoenix has the power to convince people, he just chose not to use it, instead opting for lazy and pointless meetings with Diddy about a music genre he clearly knew nothing about.
Christopher Guest has made a career out of subtly mocking reality, staying within a degree or two of the plausible. Joaquin Phoenix and Casey Affleck simply filmed him acting like an idiot and tried to pass it off as authentic, but that's not a real skill. Anyone can do that. This was a film that clearly hates our culture's fascination with celebrity, but you wouldn't even be allowed to film and release this sort of nonsense in a culture that wasn't fascinated with celebrity. In fact, I'd argue they only strengthened the idea that the celeb is more important than the art, because while no one saw the film everyone paid attention when Joaquin was playing the fool on Letterman. Way to go, gents. You successfully added to the mire with your pointless effort. It's a proud day for you two.
3. The Top Ten of 2010 You Probably Missed.
I don't want to get on your case, but you've missed quite a few movies this year. Here are the films, helpfully ranked, that less than five million citizens purchased a ticket to.
10. & 9. Mesrine: Parts One and Two: The adapted story of a real life French gangster. Violent but captivating.
8. The Kids Are All Right: The first entry in post-sexual politics filmmaking.
7. She's Out of My League: No, it didn't have any big stars in it, but it was still generally hilarious.
6. Cyrus: A very odd comedy, but some of the best moments of the year can be found within.
5. Remember Me: People hated the ending, but people tend to hate anything that evokes emotion.
4. Youth in Revolt: Michael Cera is really funny here, and the books are stellar too.
3. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: Director Edgar Wright is so far ahead of the curve that he thinks he's behind.
2. Get Low: Robert Duvall wins an Academy Award or your money back!
1. A Prophet: A violent Godfather-esque prison tale, it starts slow but ends with momentum. Be a buddy and give it a rental.
On that note, I hope you have a weekend that starts slow ... but ends with momentum!
Check out last week's Movie Musings here
Laremy is the lead critic and senior producer for a website named Film.com. He's also available on Twitter.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Filmmaker James Toback uses his longtime friendship with controversial boxing legend Mike Tyson to get the heavyweight to sit down and talk with open unfiltered frankness about his life and career in and out of the ring. Incorporating lots of vintage boxing footage and other archival materials the main thrust of this compelling documentary is Tyson himself interviewed in various settings and seemingly willing to talk about everything including his tattered childhood his early fights his mentors his detractors his sexual prowess his brief marriage to Robin Givens his notorious encounter with Evander Holyfield’s ear and so much more. Only the rape charge that resulted in a three-year prison stay — an issue about which he’s clearly still in denial — seems to make Tyson angry. What ultimately emerges is a full-bodied portrait of a man who may be more complex and human than we ever could have imagined.
WHO’S IN IT?
Although there are interviews with others this is Tyson’s show and on the subject he knows best — himself — he’s utterly fascinating. The former heavyweight champ brings a lot of baggage and contradictory revelations to the table and Toback an acclaimed screenwriter (Bugsy Fingers) and director expertly shapes this story into a cohesive feature that’s alternately surprising informative amusing and frustrating — all courtesy of the man in the hot seat Mike Tyson.
Toback who has only made one previous documentary (1990’s The Big Bang) may have found his filmmaking niche. With Tyson he proves adept at getting the most out of a very complicated man weaving it all into a compelling portrait with the skill of a true craftsman. It’s the unexpected candor and different colors we get from Tyson that make this effort all worthwhile. While sports fans will surely love it the film’s appeal goes beyond that. This is a richly human story in the end warts and all.
Toback’s film fails just once when he gets stonewalled by Tyson on the single most explosive element of his story the rape conviction and subsequent three-year prison term. The director doesn’t seem able to explore it in much depth burning a hole in an otherwise admirable picture of a man not easy to categorize.
SCENE THAT PACKS THE BIGGEST PUNCH:
It’s hard to whittle this film’s many highlights down but easily the most touching moment comes as an emotional Tyson talks about his close relationship with his mentor trainer and father figure Cus D’Amato. D’Amato died in 1985 just a year before Mike became the youngest boxer ever to win the heavyweight championship. You have to wonder how the wise and influential D’Amato might have changed the course of Tyson’s checkered career if he hadn’t passed away so early on.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
This film is a must even if you have to watch it on your key ring.