Tag: Jake Lacy

Miss Sloane

Miss Sloane, that’s a lady, and they want you to know that the lady is not married.

Miss Sloane is a strong independent woman who don’t need no man in her life. Or she doesn’t have time for a man in her life, one of those things.

Miss Sloane is the type of woman that Ne-Yo craves and Kelly Clarkson wishes she could be.

Miss Sloane is so god damn independent, she doesn’t even share the poster with any other person, which is hard in this man led world.

Strong
I had to struggle to find a picture from this film with an important character sharing the frame with Miss Sloane.

Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain), is a lobbyist, and powerful one at that. Normally she deals with tax issues, but the big wigs in her firm (Sam Waterston) want her to get into the gun laws. They are big and powerful groups with a lot of money, so if they join them, they can all get paid. They want her to help them get the women voters to show up and vote against gun bills. To re-frame the image of the woman using a gun for equality, not of the mom crying over her shot children.

And Sloane just laughs at that. It is preposterous, it goes against what she believes in and it is a ridiculous strategy. She is so against it, she takes an offer from a small, third tier firm who is trying to help pass the gun bill on morality alone.

And yes, it is just a bill requiring back ground checks, and no, bills like that never get enough Senate approval because the gun lobby is strong. But she wants to take her team and defeat it, not just because she knows she can do it, but because it is the right thing, damn it.

Rodolfo Schmidt (Mark Strong) is the head of the smaller firm, Pat Connors (Michael Stuhlbarg) is her former boss and now main rival, Jane Molloy (Allison Pill) is her former assistant who refused to move with her, Ron M. Sperling (John Lithgow) is a senator who will lead a committee against her, Esme Manucharian (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) a strong anti-gun lobbyist who was also the victim of gun violence, Forde (Jake Lacy) is her new male escort, and Ennis Esmer/Douglas Smith play two of her lobby lackies.

Court
She commands the screen and camera, allowing no one else to even be focused!

Miss Sloane clocks in at over 2 hours, which is honestly surprising after the fact, as it seemed to fly by. There is so much political intrigue, all fictional, but still enough to keep me at the edge of my seat.

I expected this to be the sort of film where Chastain would be carrying the film on her shoulders and the people around her wouldn’t matter as much. And yes, Chastain was wonderful in the film, but other actors put up pretty decent performances as well. I was most impressed with Mbatha-Raw whom has been putting out pretty decent performances lately, and Strong who gave a more subtle performance than normal. He is not in a lot of dramas (don’t send me letters explaining why I am wrong).

There are of course a lot of twists and turns, given that Sloane is meant to be this excellent tactician, who always has back up plans and wants to keep the other side surprised, playing a trump card right after their own trump card. This allows surprises, but also gives us a character that becomes more and more unbelievable.

I have before complained about the character who is so smart, plans were put into action that require a dozen things to go right, but of course they do, because they are so smart. They take me out of the film real quick and usually put me on edge. And in a way, the ending does that. Everything gets wrapped up so neatly, even if not everyone good comes out on top, that it just seems annoying.

Technically a minor complaint, but a crutch too many films want to rely on to prove their point.

Miss Sloane is topically relevant and still a good ride for those who want to learn an exaggerated amount about lobbyists.

3 out of 4.

Carol

As it happens every year, this year I find myself lacking in the Best Actress potential nominee department. Somehow these films with strong lady leads allude me, it is probably cause I am a man.

But damn it, this year I got to see Carol before they announced Oscar nominations. Sure, it might presumptuous for me to assume that it will get nominated for anything, but it literally received two nominations for Best Actress for the Spirit Awards. One film, two spots of the five. That is pretty damn good. I admire that they didn’t try to shoe horn one of their leads into a supporting actress role, like plenty of films attempt depending on how crowded a potential category is. And after all, competing against yourself must feel a bit awkward. But for 40% of the nominees to be for Carol, I’d have to imagine at least one of them be given some love for the Academy Awards.

Not that strong independent women need to be shown anything at all, technically. Fuck, feminism is hard. What do I say? Just start the review? Okay okay.

Shop
See? I am so feminist, I won’t even mention that thing that is on Carol’s head.

Film is called Carol? Fine, I will talk about Therese (Rooney Mara) first then. Therese is young and living in her own apartment in NYC in 1949-51, I couldn’t figure out the year. She works part time at a department store for the Christmas holidays, selling dolls and trains. She has a cheap camera for taking photos, thinking she might be a photographer one day. She is dating a fine young boy, Richard Semco (Jake Lacy), who wants to marry her and taker he on vacations to Europe.

But then she meets Carol (Cate Blanchett). Carol is older and richer and lives out in New Jersey. She has a husband, Harge (Kyle Chandler) but they are getting a divorced, and a young daughter (played by Sadie Heim and Kk Heim. Yes twins, and no, Kk is not her official real name). Why divorce? Well, the love is gone. And Carol might have had “a thing” with the godmother, Abby (Sarah Paulson), Carol’s childhood friend. Yes, a thing means a romantic relationship, when she was already married, to a woman.

Well, due to reasons, Carol and Therese become friends, Therese never really knowing she could find a woman desirable. But this was set 65 years ago and that would not fly. In fact, it is very bad news for Carol’s divorce, as her husband is using her past moral indiscretions as reasons to file for full custody of their daughter, not joint. This wedge is meant to bring her back into the fold, but Carol would rather flee the North east to be away from him, to be herself, until the trial where hopefully it would all just be heresay. But she wants Therese to go with her. Travel west, see the country side. Enjoy each others company. You know. Regular road trip stuff.

Some other guys are in the movie, but they aren’t lesbians, so fuck them. John Magaro, Cory Michael Smith, and Nik Pajic.

Dance
I would be appalled as well dancing with Chandler.
You just know he is constantly whispering “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose” in her ear.

Carol was intricate, intimate, and insanely detailed [Editor’s Note: Yes, that was already covered by intricate.] Carol seems like the type of film that must be based on real events, with the actresses involved recreating the scenes word for word, smile for smile, as it happened in real life. From the first frame, you will begin to feel that old timey movie atmosphere wash over you. It feels like a film that literally came out of the 1950’s, but with the cameras used and credit style. Of course my own viewings of 1950’s cinema is excruciatingly low, so I am not a complete authority on that. But damn it, it still made me feel that way.

Since my rating is already obvious, my only real complaint about this film is that it took me quite a long time to get really involved with it. The beginning is slow, mostly the scenes of Therese without Carol where she is hanging out with her boyfriend and his friends. Yes it is important to establish her life outside of the future romance and not make her a love sick puppy, but they dragged on. Potentially on purpose, to show the boredom that had crept into her life.

But the scenes between Carol and Therese? Everything was golden. Their eyes, their body language, their tones. Fuck, I could stare at Rooney Mara starring at Cate Blanchett all day. It was that real. These two women were complete power houses in their own right. I can see them both being nominated for Best Actress for the Oscars as well, not just Blanchett for playing the titular role.

Carol will probably be in the running for Best Director as well. I think this is a heavy category this year, with Spotlight and The Revenant, but Todd Haynes completely dominated this film. Everything was on spot and meticulously planned. He is the type of guy who has great attention to detail, but isn’t insane about it like Wes Anderson.

Finally, if I wanted to be vague, I could describe this film as “Cate Blanchett has a mid life crisis, leaves her husband, and travels west” and you might think I was talking about Blue Jasmine. What’s that? Blanchett won Best Actress for that film? You don’t say.

3 out of 4.

Obvious Child

I knew something was up when I went to my screening of Obvious Child. Two things were of note.

One, I was invited to a free screening of a film, that technically was already released in theaters the week before. Most of the time free screenings are before they are out, to build hype and stuff, but this could just be an indie movie thing.

Two, the tickets I had were sponsored and given out by a Pro-Choice group. Huh. That is an oddly specific group to sponsor a show time. I guess…this movie…is about abortion?

That isn’t an issue or something. But it is basically all I knew about the movie going into it. Like Citizen Ruth.

Stand Up
Obviously.

This movie is about a few months in the life of Donna Stern (Jenny Slate). She is a stand up comic, works at a hipster book shop in NYC, and isn’t doing too much with her life. Just telling jokes about how it is. Well, her boyfriend doesn’t like this path and doesn’t like to be talked about in front of strangers. So he breaks up with her. And then she finds out her book store that she works at is closing.

So she does what anyone would do, get really drunk and avoid her problems. If by avoid her problems, I mean talk about it on a stage, of course. Either way. She sexes up a guy, Max (Jake Lacy) who is very nice, and apparently the rubber wasn’t used. She gets pregnant, has a few panic attacks to add to her problems, and wants an abortion. The abortion isn’t even the scary part. It is the telling of her mom (Polly Draper) and getting the money together when she is already losing her jobs. At least she has friends (Gaby Hoffman, Gabe Liedman) for support.

But why does that fucker Max have to be such a nice guy?

Richard Kind is in here as her dad and David Cross as an old friend.

Box
I think this scene is a metaphor for birth. But I think that about all boxes.

The main selling point for Obvious Child is its realness, and it really excels at that point. Really.

Everything in this story feels like something that could actually happen. That is where it gets all of is charm and humor from. The humor is pretty funny, both in a “ha ha funny” way, and a “I am uncomfortable by their awkwardness” kind of way.

And really, there isn’t much more to say about it? The film is funny and incredibly awkward. It is about abortion, but doesn’t make it a big life changing event, just turns it into something that has to happen. And hey, it involves that guy who joined The Office for its final season, so that was cool too.

3 out of 4.