VIDIOT – MAY 2014

Philomena

The upside to writing an article on a senior is that they could die and you could get an obit, too.

Sadly, a human-interest story is all that the scribe in this drama gets paid for.

After losing his job with the British Government, Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) returns to journalism where he records Philomena’s (Judi Dench) search for her son.

Adopted out by the Irish convent where she secretly birthed him in 1951, Philomena has searched for him ever since.

Eventually, they trace him to America where he worked for President Reagan and Bush, while harbouring a shameful secret that subsequently cost him his life.

Based on the book by Martin Sixsmith, Philomena is a reluctant odd-couple road movie that finds humour in its tragic circumstances and humanity in its leads contrasting religious views.

What’s more, when you travel with a senior you get to board the plane first.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The upside to online magazines is that there will be free tablets with old issues on them at the dentist’s office.

Alternatively, the downside to this digitization is explored in this comedy-fantasy.

With the final issue of LIFE Magazine ready to publish, it’s up to negative handler Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) to present the last cover photo shot by famed photojournalist Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn).

The only problem is the negative has disappeared.

Now it’s up to the daydreaming office drone to place the misplaced image before the issue goes to print.

To do this, he must travel to Iceland to find O’Connell.

While Walter’s trajectory from skateboarding punk to milquetoast adult is incongruent, it is this film’s sappy ending that gives the James Thurber’s short story a bad name.

Furthermore, with LIFE Magazine now out of the way, there’s less confusion between Life cereal and Life the board game.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

If you want to find a dragon nowadays, just attend a Game of Thrones-themed wedding.

In Middle Earth times, as in this adventure, you would find one near the largest supply of dwarf bullion.

The Halfling Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) continue their quest to help the dwarf king (Richard Armitage) reclaim his kingdom from a dragon (Benedict Cumberbatch).

This leg of their journey is fraught with giant spiders, a were-bear, Orcs and an ominous Necromancer.

Fortunately, they receive assistance from some elves (Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly), a smuggler (Luke Evans) and giant eagles along the way.

The second half of The Hobbit saga, Desolation of Smaug outdoes its predecessor with its prompter pacing, action orientated story, and infusion of human and Elvin blood.

And just imagine: once they get their treasure back, the dwarves can finally get those gold-plated leg extensions.

Grudge Match

When old men box, the below the belt rule needs to be changed to “no hitting below the knees”.

While it’s unsure if the ripened pugilists in this comedy have low-hanging fruit, it’s true both are out of shape.

During a video game recording session, former ring rivals Billy “The Kid” (Robert De Niro) and “Razor” Sharp (Sylvester Stallone) re-ignite their enmity over Billy knocking up Razor’s girlfriend (Kim Basinger).

Their impromptu bout is caught on camera and goes viral.

Enter fight promoter Dante (Kevin Hart) who wishes to capitalize on this renewed interest with a reunion fight.

The end result, however, not only affects their bodies but it touches their personal lives.

While it has a few comic jabs, overall this over-the-hill comedy languishes in hammy acting and out-of-touch old folks humour.

Thankfully, their boxing gloves keep us from seeing either of the elderly combatants’ veiny, liver-spotted hands.

August: Osage County

If your elderly parent is turning into a pill-popper, replace their daily dosage with Skittles.

Unfortunately, the addict in this dark-comedy is cognizant.

When their father (Sam Shepard) goes missing, the daughters (Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, Julianne Nicholson) of the cancerous Violet (Meryl Streep) return home with their significant others (Ewan McGregor, Abigail Breslin, Dermot Mulroney) for support.

Eventually, their father’s body is found and family secrets – a love child between him and Violet’s sister (Margo Martindale) and an incestuous affair between the youngest daughter and a cousin (Benedict Cumberbatch) – are exposed.

But instead of concealing these nuggets like her broken marriage, Violet’s eldest daughter confronts her mother, physically.

Boasting an epic ensemble, this adaptation of the play is certainly well performed. However, the characters being portrayed are extremely difficult to like.

Besides, when you’re elderly parent starts becoming a nuisance, it’s time to introduce them to base-jumping.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

In the world of online news, it’s not the facts that matter, it’s the misleading headline used to generate ad revenue.

Thankfully, this comedy takes place before Yahoo! News.

During the 1980s, newsman Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and his wife (Christina Applegate) leave San Diego to co-host the nightly news in New York.

But when she gets promoted, he can’t cope.

Recruited by a fledging 24-hour news network just before hitting rock bottom, Ron resuscitates his former news team (Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner) and takes to the air again.

Despite a handful of memorable lines, this much-ballyhooed sequel to the 2004 cult hit doesn’t live up to its own hype.

In fact, it struggles to make its goofball one-liners and illogical situations standout from today’s current crop of Ron Burgundy-esque pitchmen that permeate the advertising landscape.

Incidentally, news anchoring is the only occupation that would benefit from Tupac’s hologram.

The Wolf of Wall Street

With bears, bulls and now wolves, it seems like Wall Street is advising us to invest in nuisance animal hunting permits.

However, a different kind of wildlife is featured in this dramedy.

In the wake of Black Monday, Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) applies his stockbroker skills to hawking penny stocks for huge commissions.

Always scheming, he forms a firm with his protégé (Jonah Hill) and makes a women’s shoe stock seem favorable to drive up the price before dumping their shares.

In their downtime, Jordan and his employees spend their ill-gotten gains buying Quaaludes and hookers.

Meanwhile, an FBI agent (Kyle Chandler) builds a case against the firm.

Despite glorifying Belfort’s crime, director Martin Scorsese’s brings the biography to life with stylized shots, expansive soundtrack and rapid-fire editing.

It’s also DiCaprio’s most convincing performance yet.

Incidentally, all exits in Wall Street offices are located on the ledge of the building.

Delivery Man

If sperm banks want to compete in this market, they’ll need to open up late-night ATMs for deposits.

Fortunately, this dramedy isn’t about public jerk-off booths.

Years after donating to a sperm bank, David (Vince Vaughn), a seriously indebted meat truck driver, discovers his donations have sired 533 children.

Now, some of those kids are petitioning the courts, and the clinic, to learn the real name of the donor.

Meanwhile, David visits his children as a helpful stranger, assisting them when he can.

But needing funds for an unpaid debt, and for his pregnant girlfriend (Cobie Smulders), David sues the clinic.

Hollywood’s remake of the French-Canadian film Starbuck, Delivery Man is helmed by the writer/director of the francophone version.

However, that familiarity with the source material doesn’t save this sappy update from the annoyance of Vaughn’s incessant nattering.

Furthermore, when they are 533 of you, incest laws shouldn’t be applicable.

He’s a Sperm Bank Robber. He’s the…
Vidiot

By Shane Sellar

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