Summer Showdown Part 3

This week’s showdown focuses on two comic based movies- one for the older generation and one for the younger.

Loving Him Was Red

20130717171933red_2_3Red 2 came out with a bang bringing in the middle age and older crowd. Red contains that generation’s beloved stars like Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren and Anthony Hopkins. Based on the DC Comic, Red follows retired spies as they try to live in world where they are no longer spies. The first movie was a huge hit adding humor and action together but didn’t at all have a comic book feel.

In the sequel, Frank is brought back into the fold against his will. He wants to do nothing but keep his girlfriend safe (Mary-Louise Parker) and get out of the spy game. When they are connected to a weapon of mass destruction, its kill or be killed. Joined by old friends and new (Catherine Zeta-Jones joins this go around), this group of retirees must prove that though old they are not senile.

Red 2 is as entertaining as the first with Malchovich stealing the show at every turn. It’s got action and its fun. It does get dragged down some by the Frank’s relationships woes. But its fun to see him interact with Zeta-Jones, and Parker’s great at the scorned and jealous lover.  Red 2 is fun and a great movie, but it isn’t Parker best performance of the weekend.

To Protect and Serve—The Living

The better movie by far is R.I.P.D. It’s fun; it’s humorous; and it sticks to its comic book roots. Parker shines as Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridge’s matter-of-fact boss.ripd-ryan-reynolds-640

R.I.P.D. is the Rest in Peace Department where the world’s best law men go in the afterlife to take down the demon scum that is running amok in the living world. Reynolds is Nick the newest edition to the department and has been paired with the Western lawman Following the trail of “deados,” the partners learn that the undead are collecting gold in order to assemble a demonic tool that will allow the dead to walk on Earth. Things become even more complicated when Nick finds out his old partner is working with the deados.

R.I.P.D. is fun and funny. Somewhere between Men in Black and Betelgeuse, this Dark Horse comic comes to life with gorgeous action and well done CG sequences. The producers kept the feeling of the comic books brining the surreal to life. Combining the other world and living can be hard to accomplish but nothing looks cheesy or overdone.

It’s the ensemble that truly brings the characters to life. Parker is superb as Proctor, nailing the “I don’t give a crap about your issues boss” whose only intent is to serve the Powers that Be and keep the world safe. Her relationship to Bridge’s lawman is both tenuous and full of sexual tension leaving you guessing where the two of them really stand. This is Reynolds’s fourth forays into comic land, and he does well as the hero. But his character isn’t exactly the crooked cop the tone implies. He’s working off his sins, but his sins don’t seem that great.

Over all fun, surrealistic and gorgeous, R.I.P.D. pulls ahead of Red 2.  Don’t blame me; I’m in that demographic.

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The Heartthrob Oscars Snubs

The Academy Awards is a political vehicle that believes that attractiveness does not equal good acting-if you’re a man. Time and time again heart throbs have been nominated but never earned the golden statue. Here’s a look at the biggest and most recent Heart Throb Snubs.

Bradley Cooper

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I have loved Cooper since Kitchen Confidential. I saw a lot more than a hot guy. He has charms and had lots of acting potential. When Limitless came out I was so excited; his own starring role. Entertainment Weekly was surprised he could pull it off; but I wasn’t. I knew he could handle comedy with perfect timing but give depth and emotion to serious scenes. In Silver Lining Playbook he managed to incorporate the two. The humor did not take away from the drama, and Cooper nailed the manic life of someone with bi-polar disorder. This was such a frank and earnest portrayal, he deserved the award. Though Jennifer Lawrence was good, she had nothing on Cooper who totally transforms himself in this role. This was a once in a lifetime role and should have been rewarded.

Jeremy Renner

arts-locker-584-summitentThe Hurt Locker took Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay (among others) and Renner was nominated for Best Actor. The Academy went with the older, we’ll respected actor instead of the soon to be heartthrob. He lost out to Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart. Renner was relatively unknown before The Hurt Locker and gave such a powerful performance that he gained the Academy’s attention. For a week, Renner trained at Fort Irwin to play Sergeant First Class William James.  To go from nobody to somebody overnight? Now that’s a feat!

Johnny Depp

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Possibly one of the most snubbed actors in Oscar history. He was nominated three times and did not win a once. In 2003, he was nominated for his portrayal of Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean Curse of the Black Pearl. Depp became the character and made you love a scoundrel you could have hatred. The next year he was nominated for Finding Neverland, both a biopic and a sure win. But lightening seems to strike twice, and Depp was forever ignored. In 2007, he was nominated for musical performance in Sweeny Todd. He sadly lost that one as well. But this rip off was nothing compared to the earlier snub for Pirates. Depp seems not to mind but I do.

Heath Ledger

heath_ledgerSince his American debut in 10 Things I Hate About You, Ledger has been making women swoon over his Australian accent and long locks. Ledger, not wanting to be stuck in teen pop, branched out doing a variety of projects. Ledger adapted well into dramas and complex characters. It was his turn as a homosexual cowboy in Brokeback Mountain that garnered him critical and academy acclaim. He was nominated for Best Actor in a very fierce year; three of the candidates had been in biopics, Academy Gold. He, in fact, lost to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s amazing portrayal of Capote. But in a twist of fate, Ledger won Best Supporting Actor in 2009 beating out Hoffman. If not for his tragic death, I doubt he would have won. This almost makes up for the Best Actor snub-almost.