Monday, December 19, 2016

On Jackie

(Spoiler alert: spoilers ahead)

Who is the real Jackie Kennedy?  This is the question reporter Theodore H. White (Billy Crudup) and the film presumably want to answer.  As the reporter finds out, and the film argues, the answer is...complicated.

Like many of the best biopics, Jackie focuses on a representative chapter of its subject's life rather than skimming through the entire story.  This movie depics White's interview with Jackie Kennedy (Natalie Portman) in the time following the assassination of JFK.  But as we soon learn, this interview, like every aspect of Jackie's life, will be carefully filtered, trimmed, and polished.  Jackie puffing a cigarette while declaring that she doesn't smoke, combined with Portman and Crudup's acting, firmly establish the Jackie as White's one and only editor.

Friday, December 16, 2016

On Collateral Beauty

(Spoiler alert: spoilers ahead)

There's a point in Collateral Beauty when Will Smith tells Ed Norton, "I'm disappointed in you."  That's exactly how I feel about everyone who signed on to this disaster.

Collateral Beauty is the kind of movie you want to like!  The cast is spectacular.  The trailer gives the appearance of a sappy, Oscar-bait movie that nonetheless uplifts you with warm and fuzzy feelings.  Unfortunately, the Collateral Beauty trailer is one of the most deceptive trailers I've ever seen.  After seeing the movie, I tried to describe the plot to my girlfriend; she initially assumed I was making it up, because there was no way actors of this caliber would possibly agree to make a movie so catastrophically nonsensical.  This movie's plot is, quite literally, unbelievable; unfortunately it is all too real, and the kind of movie that's only worth your time if you're a fan of the "so-bad-it's-good" genre.