Both of these films only got one nomination each but they’re still worth of reviews, I think, so here we go.
Directed by David O. Russell
Written by David O. Russell & Annie Mumolo
Starring Jennifer Lawrence(, Robert De Niro, Isabella Rosselini, Bradley Cooper, Virginia Madsen, Edgar Ramirez & Elisabeth Röhm)
Synopsis (from IMDb): “Joy is the story of the title character, who rose to become founder and matriarch of a powerful family business dynasty.”
As you guess it, Joy is actually one woman’s show. Jennifer Lawrence is again amazing. If she continues working like that, making these amazing characters so alive and true, she’ll have unbelievable career ahead of her. She’s already doing more than fine and the part of Joy (loosely based on the life of Joy Mangano, the inventor of Miracle Mop) is again bona fide example of her capabilities. She also again was nominated for an Oscar, fourth time in five years. Not bad for someone who’s only 25 years old.
Other critics have been saying that the story of Joy is not that engaging and there’s not much to tell, that it’s lacking integrity. It also holds only 6.7 GPA in IMDb at the moment. I’m not really sure why. I found Joy totally enjoyable. And I was invested in it in a way that I very much wanted to strangle people in Joy’s life. One can only hope that those kind of characters were not around in real Joy’s life. Joy’s family is portrayed comically, maybe that’s one of the reasons that some are thinking that it’s lacking in genuineness, I don’t know. I found it refreshing take on them and cinematography supports the comic way of telling the story as does the script. I liked it.
Even though Joy is Lawrence’s show, other actors are again good like always in David O. Russell’s films. They might not be extraordinary like they were in The Fighter or in Silver Linings Playbook but they are still good. I especially was infuriated by Robert De Niro’s Dad and totally frustrated by Virginia Madsen’s Mom. The characters are a bit caricatures but I thought it worked, they made them even more insufferable. I also liked a lot how the film looked, settings and especially costumes and hair-styling. All in all, solid film but David O. Russell has made better ones.
Rating: **** (out of 5)
P.S. I also enjoyed the soundtrack like always do when it comes to Russell’s films.
Directed by Ryan Coogler
Written by Ryan Coogler & Aaron Covington
Starring Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone & Tessa Thompson
Synopsis: “The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.”
Creed is also nominated for one Oscar and that’s in supporting actor category for Sylvester Stallone and I don’t know what to think of that. Sure, he’s better than he has been maybe since original Rocky but he’s really not THAT good. But unfortunately it seems at the moment he’ll get the trophy for sentimental reasons. But that is for sure not deserved because of his role in this film. And it’s kind of sad that he’s the only one nominated because both, Michael B. Jordan as Adonis and Tessa Thompson as his downstairs neighbour are both better. I especially appreciated the latter, she did extremely nice job in this one. I predict big things for her in the future, that girl knows her stuff. The best scenes in Creed were between her and Michael B. Jordan and basically quite irrelevant to the story.
And that brings me to the thing that made me want crawl under my seat in second-hand embarrassment; the screenplay, especially the dialogue. It was SO uneven. So, so uneven that from time to time it was hard to watch and no wonder it was sometimes hard for Jordan to deliver those lines genuinely as they were so cheesy. Ugh. The story also dragged too long, I was bored before the final show-down. Good things about it, it was somewhat true to the original and in this case it was a good thing and it had small moments of honesty and few nice jokes. But in general, no.
Better things in Creed: like said, Jordan and especially Thompson were good. I liked the music but it was the same like in all movies like this. And the last fight worked for me but there was nothing special in it.
Maybe I should just give up and admit myself that movies about boxing are not for me. It’s ridiculous sport with all this machismo that I find so amusing and embarrassing. And it’s OK if Stallone wins, he’s kind of sympathetic but it should go to Rylance from Bridge of Spies or Bale from The Big Short.
Rating: **½ (out of 5)