After a slight change of plans earlier this week, I managed to catch a matinee at the theater today. It’s really scary to think about, but I remember when a regular adult ticket was the price of what a matinee is now. *SHIVERS* And no, it was not that long ago actually, only seems so when you’re younger. Anyways, after seeing so many decent reviews by average moviegoers instead of professional critics (but even some of the pros had nice things to say), I went to see “Black Mass”. Based on the true story of one of America’s most notorious gangsters, James “Whitey” Bulger, and the alliance he struck with the FBI that eventually fell apart and eventually landed him on the FBI’s most wanted list. If you like gangster movies, this one is a must see. Be warned though that there is a lot of violence, but that’s a given considering the subject. Johnny Depp gives a riveting performance as James Bulger who is barely recognizable under all the makeup. He should definitely get at least an Oscar nomination for this movie. Joel Edgerton is John Connolly, long time friend of the Bulger brothers and FBI agent who makes great use of his screen time. Benedict Cumberbatch played his brother, Senator Billy Bulger. Being so used to hearing nothing but honey sweet English accents pouring forth from his luscious lips, it is a bit odd hearing him speaking in the Bostonian dialect. Many have said he was dead on with the accent and in some parts I agree, but there are a few points where it sounds like he is forcing the accent but still not bad when it is not your native dialect. Overall he did an excellent job and once again shows his versatility as an actor. As much as I love Benedict though, this is Johnny Depp’s movie and he owns it! Some spots may slow down a bit but that happens with biopics. Whatever you think of the situation depicted it is a solid, well acted flick that I feel worthy of Academy attention. This gets an 8.5/10 from me.
I’ve also recently viewed a movie I had missed catching when it was out in theaters. “The Theory of Everything”, the movie that earned it’s star Eddie Redmayne an Oscar for his portrayal of Professor Stephen Hawking, one of the greatest scientific minds of our time. At first, I was worried about comparing this movie with Benedict Cumberbatch’s “Hawking” where he also played the celebrated physicist (another must see if you haven’t). I really didn’t need to worry really. “Hawking” basically stuck with the early years from when Stephen Hawking was struck with MND and his struggles to overcome his disability, continuing his education despite doctors telling him he only had two years to live, his early theories, and did touch upon his budding relationship with fellow university student, Jane Wilde. “The Theory of Everything” goes a bit deeper into the man’s personal life from his early days at Cambridge and focuses more on his relationship with Jane and the highs and lows experienced as MND gradually continues to cripple Stephen until finally he is as we see him today, totally wheelchair bound with an electronic voice. This is a tug at your heartstrings type of movie based on the autobiography by Jane Hawking. Eddie Redmayne gives a moving performance and meets the challenge of portraying the physical effects of MND with near flawless execution and believability. Felicity Jones was equally as moving as Jane giving you the emotional rollercoaster that one would expect of a woman in her situation. Which movie was better? Depends on what you’re looking for. This is more of a relationship piece than a biographical piece so you’re not going to really see how Stephen Hawking came to his fame as a great thinker. The story itself may be flat for some but I still found it interesting. I think it’s the actors that bring this story to life and not the story so much if you understand what I’m saying. The jumping around can be a bit jarring as well, no real smooth transitions between one moment and the next moment taking place a little later on. I also feel that the characters should have been fleshed out a little bit more. Overall a 7.5/10
After seeing “The Theory of Everything”, I was asked who should have won that Best Actor Oscar. Redmayne showed some good acting chops in this film so really too close to call, but I still think it should have been Cumberbatch in “The Imitation Game”. 🙂