Average User Score: 7.6Aug 26, 2015WOW ! What an EXHILARATING ride ! Thank you Woody for one of your absolutely finest films; up there with Match Point, Manhattan MurderWOW ! What an EXHILARATING ride ! Thank you Woody for one of your absolutely finest films; up there with Match Point, Manhattan Murder Mysteries, Small Time Crooks, Manhattan, Shadows and Fog, Radio Days, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger and- yes- Broadway Danny Rose !………Woody Allen when he‘s at home and reading Stendhal and Graham Greene……Having read the reviews I walked in expecting very little but I left the theatre having seen one of the most powerful, superbly acted and brilliantly directed films I have ever seen !
“Irrational Man” is a sort of Zen Master’s punch in the head. A “film noir” to rival Billy Wilder’s masterpiece Double Indemnity, Welles’ Touch of Evil or Carol Reeds‘ The Third Man…..….and what an amazing cast ! From the opening scene to the final shot this movie grabs you and fascinates you and has you eagerly anticipating the next plot twist. Both Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix grace this film with performances that can only be termed “jaw-dropping”; their talent defying you to sit back and say “well, it’s just a movie”, they COMMAND your attention every moment. What an amazing film ! What a gem!…..This is why people keep going to movies.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.3Aug 9, 2015I agree with the other negative reviews (of which there are far too few).....this is a very mediocre film about a very unusual tragedy thatI agree with the other negative reviews (of which there are far too few).....this is a very mediocre film about a very unusual tragedy that happened to a rather dull and very successful bourgeois who edits a slick fashion magazine......yes- he was very determined to fight back against his cruel illness....but where is the drama or the interest beyond this point ?......the film runs out of steam very early and director Schnabel really has no idea of what to do with the material.....also Dumas' "The Count of Monte Cristo" isn't really a jaw-dropping masterpiece as Bauby and the film and implies. Martin Pistorius had a similar condition and wrote a far more interesting book about it called "Ghost Boy".… Expand
Average User Score: 6.0Jul 20, 2015What a revolting sleazy little film. So gross. So tasteless. So unfunny…..and all of it carefully packaged in an aggressively “How dare youWhat a revolting sleazy little film. So gross. So tasteless. So unfunny…..and all of it carefully packaged in an aggressively “How dare you not find this hip" ........ Not so much a film as a kind of desperate "commodity" for desperate times, like a series of really bad Saturday Night Live “zany” sketches at their ham-fisted, bottom-feeding worst. I walked out....who needs this garbage !… Expand
Average User Score: 7.2Jul 19, 2015In an ideal Metacritic world I would give this film a 6.5.……almost single-handedly Robert Downey Jr. nearly pulls it off and brings the hugeIn an ideal Metacritic world I would give this film a 6.5.……almost single-handedly Robert Downey Jr. nearly pulls it off and brings the huge disabled cruise ship that is “The Judge“ to safe harbor….Downey creates a character that is so intriguing and somehow “new” that the film almost succeeds in holding our interest very much in spite of its unwieldy and all-over-the-map script and direction.……My feeling is that the film is worth seeing almost exclusively because of the opportunity to watch Downey and Robert Duvall “do their stuff”; each provides a sort of master classes in acting…..
However, the film as a whole suffers SO badly from its impulse to go madly in all directions that it begins to feel more like a television mini-series crammed into a feature film format than an actual successful drama. Both the director and the script writer lack a sense of the those crucial boundaries that any film genre needs to accommodate and “The Judge” loses its way as indulges in far too many (almost whimsical) dramatic angles and possibilities i.e,….is this a psychological family drama ? a courtroom drama ? a film noir? a thriller? a coming-of-age story?……worst of all when the film begins to lose its way and grow quite muddled, the solution choice appears to be to pile on EVEN MORE plot developments…and this is what eventually very nearly “sinks” it (despite Downey and Duvall’s very strong performances)…
……a good example of a film that succeeds in being a legal/courtroom drama AND a psychological thriller is the George Clooney film “Michael Clayton”- a really remarkable achievement and one of the best American films I have seen in decades ….and another example is the more modest achievement of the Matt Damon film “The Rainmaker” of several years back….both these films respect the limitations of the film genre they’re working in while at the same time cautiously stretching the material to add new dimensions …… “The Judge” tries hard to do this but fails; it is an interesting failure, however, and hopefully the director will one day learn to reign in his overly ambitious narrative impulses……
…....another criticism I have is that the dialogue in the film is frequently frankly unbelievable and over-the-top witty and clever ….many of these characters would have to be geniuses or near-geniuses to come up with the things they come out with and Downey’s character especially often comes across as a sort of combination of Sherlock Holmes, James Bond and Zorro ! In fact dangerously close to the superhero Downey has now played in THREE “Iron Man” films !.... It's not be a stretch I think to suggest that at this point in his career Downey needs to watch out for Iron Man Damage !…..
My final criticism of this film is is its lack of any clear FOCUS. In fact, at times it feels more like a dream the director is having than an actual movie and the narrative line all but disappears in a muddled and undisciplined phantasmagoria and this is really too bad because there is in fact a lot to like here; hence my ideal 6.5 rating.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.4Jun 27, 2015BORING.....no script...no believable characters......cuteness done-to-death.....my brother and I were lucky in that we agreed almostBORING.....no script...no believable characters......cuteness done-to-death.....my brother and I were lucky in that we agreed almost immediately about how pointless this film was, left the theater and got our money cheerfully refunded.......… Expand
Average User Score: 7.9May 13, 2015This film is not very interesting ! A thriller without thrills. The script MIGHT work as a short story but not as a film...... all theThis film is not very interesting ! A thriller without thrills. The script MIGHT work as a short story but not as a film...... all the Cat-and-Mouse stuff soon fizzles out and that restless When-is-the-Movie-Going- to-Start feeling sets in......…. Far too ambitious a project for a first-time director and far too slight a story line for a feature film (let alone a wannabe Shocking Thriller)…..and finally, having one of your main characters be an overbearing smuck with a drinking problem is NEVER a good idea- no wonder Ava and Caleb wanted to escape !… Expand
Average User Score: 7.1Apr 21, 2015A very “iffy” script ultimately does this film in….. The cast (especially Al Pacino who is frequently charming-as-hell but has very little toA very “iffy” script ultimately does this film in….. The cast (especially Al Pacino who is frequently charming-as-hell but has very little to work with) try in vain to breath life into the film’s not especially interesting story. What they have to contend with is the ghost of some relentlessly tragic 1930s Bette Davis “soaper” that lurks just out of sight in almost every scene (Bette Davis is going blind/Danny Collin’s son has leukemia/brave Bette is the only one who knows The Secret and now it will die with her/estranged Pacino‘s little grand-daughter has ADHD and Hope’s only hope- her name IS actually Hope- is to go to the VERY EXPENSIVE SCHOOL her that parents can‘t afford)…..enough already !…..…Another serious problem with the film is that the director himself seems to participate in the Ga-Ga Celebrity Culture he is exploring; none of the film’s material is presented “tongue in cheek”, there is no subtext; almost everyone in this story is a bit of a starstruck hick- including the director.
As a matter of fact the premise of the film itself betrays what can be called dangerously high levels of starstruck-ness i.e., just HOW amazing is it that John Lennon wrote an encouraging letter to a fellow-musician ?…..In your mind’s eye you can almost see the session where the idea for "Dannt Collins" was “pitched” to some wavering potential backer……. “I mean do you GET it !?…...it’s a letter FROM JOHN LENNON !!!…......from LENNON !!!!!!!!…….…the guy GOT this letter ….. He got this letter from JOHN LEN-”.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.7Apr 15, 2015The Madly-Off-in-All-Directions-Nut is a tough one to crack. Those of us living with ADHD or something very close to it can readily testify toThe Madly-Off-in-All-Directions-Nut is a tough one to crack. Those of us living with ADHD or something very close to it can readily testify to this fact. Furthermore, today’s ADHD culture exasperates the problem for just about everyone….hardly anyone is immune…....enter Noah Baumbach and his latest film “While We’re Young” - a gloriously high-energy film that can’t decide what its about and very nearly lands in the ditch as a result !…..
To be more precise Noah-Baumbach-the-Director becomes perilously entangled with wrong-headed choices that Noah-Baumbach-The-Overly-Ambitious-Scriptwriter comes up with …and it is this that very nearly land “While We’re Young” in the ditch. The good news, however, is that the film survives the perverse, near fatal “foot-shooting” antics of its script and ultimately succeeds in winning our affection and even our gratitude.
However, it was definitely a close call and the audience at the screening I attended seemed at times to be almost holding it’s breath wondering if Baumbach would pull it off.
He did and here’s how.…..For one thing there is Baumbach-the-Director’s truly joyous, at times almost ecstatic embracing of the possibilities that the cinema offers. The very strong first half of “While We’re Young” is nothing short of jubilant in its high-spiritedness and enthusiastic accounts of what movies, and indeed Life itself, has to offer. The wacky, wonderful, almost Franciscan young couple that Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts hook up with as the film begins offers Baumbach ideal material to showcase his great love of cinema and the first hour of the film goes swimmingly…….so swimmingly in fact, that it is this brilliant first half of the film that ultimately saves it from the far less successful second half. At about the mid-point of the story- quite weirdly- an entirely different movie arrives on the scene and Baumbach’s overly-ambitious, ADD scriptwriter takes control of the film !
What promised to be a “Harold and Maude-ish” escapade or a new edition of Milos Forman’s delightful “Taking Off” turns into a murky and unsatisfying. wannabe film noir; a puzzling and heady concoction of “Match Point”, “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and Roman Polanski‘s “The Tenant” (with just a daub of “Double Indemnity” and “Blow Up” thrown in for good measure !)..…..anyway none of this “washes” and this second half of the film is badly in need of a far more nuanced re-write. Even worse this new plot development threatens to “sour” all that went before and the entire film threatens to IMPLODE in a key scene in which Adam Driver (who plays the husband in the free-wheeling young couple) suggests that he is not above blackmailing Naomi Watts about the brief sexual indiscretion they had together while they were both “high” on drugs.……This, along with a few other seriously “off” narrative moments, would have sunk a less interesting film by a less interesting director but “While We’re Young” recovers even from these missteps and - almost miraculously -regains its balance.
In effect Baumbach-The-Gifted-Director managing to recoup the losses incurred by Baumbach-The-Scriptwriter and the latter’s overly ambitious indeed, ultimately untenable Scriptwriters-Don‘t-Try-This-At-Home script. That the film manages to survive its “near-death” experience is also due to the wonderful cast Baumbach has assembled. Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts are perfect as the middle-aged couple whose life has mysteriously “stalled”. Each of them nails the “quiet desperation” that has engulfed them as they attempt to recall when was the last time they went on a trip to Europe. Adam Driver is equally powerful and convincing as their suitably quixotic and unfathomable Sammy Glickish new friend……
(footnote- it should be noted that Baumbach CAN write great scripts- as his exquisite “Greenberg” (his masterpiece to date) proves only too well; and likewise his “Francis Ha”- a sort of updated “Perils of Pauline” set in the New York art scene and featuring an unsinkable performance by Greta Gerwig)
…All-in-all Baumbach needs to learn to stop fretting about his material and realize that in film especially More-is-Less….. and needs to trust in his innate smarts and avoid the “fussing” that very nearly destroys the delightful “souffle” that is “While We’re Young”…… Happily the “souffle” HAS survived. This is due in no small part, to the cinematic smarts that are in evidence -for example- in the scenes in which Naomi Watts’ connects with the benefits of hip hop aerobics and appears to awaken from some bewitching, decades-long coma! In the dream-like, at time indecipherable language of the cinema, these moments guide “While We’re Young” away from its stormy and potentially ruinous narrative seas and into safe harbor.… Expand
Average User Score: tbdApr 8, 2015I went the see the new Dustin Hoffman movie“Boychoir” the other night and I can’t say enough good things about it !! What a GLORIOUSI went the see the new Dustin Hoffman movie“Boychoir” the other night and I can’t say enough good things about it !! What a GLORIOUS film…..Among its many, many delights, it features music straight from heaven that will have you out scouring the nearest music store for CD’s showcasing boy’s choirs (and very possibly the film’s own fabulous soundtrack, which may well be destined for chart-busting best sales!)........Most of all this film is INTELLIGENT and full of WISDOM and INSIGHT....... It is also beautifully directed, shot and edited and features a remarkably credible and deeply satisfying script.....
Director Francois Girard (of "The Red Violin" fame) is following here in the noble steps of another Francois... ..("Truffaut" in case you haven't guessed) whose film "The Wild Child", "Boychoir" closely resembles.....so a sort of contemporary version of the Truffaut film with Hoffman playing Dr. Itard role that Truffaut played.......Indeed the spirit of Francois Truffaut seems to hover lovingly over every frame of this delightful film.........Hoffman has developed into an actor who is a master of understatement and subtle suggestion. His performance here is almost invisible !.....he keeps you wanting to know MORE about his character, while at the same time deliberately and resolutely concealing these revelations within an aura of intrigue and the effect is mesmerizing !........when he does finally "deliver" in a few crucial scenes, you hang on his every word! ....
....and finally "Boychoir" is a film that is badly needed at this point in time. Our too beleaguered and overwrought civilization needs so badly to reconnect with the humane values and wisdom that Francois Girard’s film envelopes us in……please go see this film and then tell your friends about it.....it needs to find its own audience and to be acclaimed for the remarkably fine work that it is...
.....and then there’s THE MUSIC !!!!… Expand
Average User Score: 8.8Mar 31, 2015What a VILE movie.....sitting through it was a kind of emotional abuse experience.....we're talking ham-fisted, cinematic Hissy Fit here !….What a VILE movie.....sitting through it was a kind of emotional abuse experience.....we're talking ham-fisted, cinematic Hissy Fit here !…. so glad to see that some comments here are by people who also hated the film.....I walked out after about 45 minutes- enough is enough !..........."Whiplash" reminds me of “Black Swan” of a few years ago- another bizarre and nasty, mean-spirited exercise that was likewise delivered with sledge-hammer blows........the sort of thing that makes you wonder what the director's childhood must have been like !......so sad to see so many film critics and User Review critics still buying into this sort of ADOLESCENT **** crap that went out with John Wayne all those years ago ..... and then giving Simmons an Oscar for his one-note, over-the-top performance !!......all in all a film by an adolescent FOR adolescents...more infantilization of pop culture.… Expand