Love, Marilyn

Cast (alphabetical): F. Murray Abraham, Elizabeth Banks, Adrien Brody, Ellen Burstyn, Glenn Close, Hope Davis, Viola Davis, Jennifer Ehle, Ben Foster, Paul Giamatti, Jack Huston, Stephen Lang, Lindsay Lohan, Janet McTeer, Jeremy Piven, Oliver Platt, David Strathairn, Lili Taylor, Uma Thurman, Marisa Tomei, and Evan Rachel Wood

Written By: Liz Garbus, with excerpts by: Marilyn Monroe, Billy Wilder, Truman Capote, Arthur Miller, Natasha Lytess, Norman Mailer, Norman Rosten, Gloria Steinem, and Ralph Greenson

Directed By: Liz Garbus

Genre: Documentary

Running Time: 1 hour, 47 minutes

Release Date: September 12, 2012 (Toronto International Film Festival)

MPAA Rating: Not Rated (“R” type content)

Summary

The life of Marilyn Monroe is told via the writings of those who knew her, as well as her own journals and letters discovered in storage. Said writings are recited/interpreted by a long list of actors. There is also a fair amount of archival footage.

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Midnight in Paris

Cast: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Mimi Kennedy, Kurt Fuller, Kathy Bates, Michael Sheen, Tom Hiddleston, Alison Pill, Lea Seydoux, Carla Bruni, Corey Stoll, Adrien Brody…

Written By: Woody Allen

Directed By: Woody Allen

Genre: Comedy/Fantasy/Romance

Running Time: 1 hour, 34 minutes

Release Date: May 11, 2011 (Cannes Film Festival)

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Summary

Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is a frustrated and nostalgic screenwriter who wants to be a novelist. He’s also in a seemingly loveless engagement with a woman named Inez (Rachel McAdams).

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Detachment

Cast: Adrien Brody, Marcia Gay Harden, Christina Hendricks, Sami Gayle, Betty Kaye, Lucy Liu, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Zorich, Bryan Cranston, Blythe Danner and James Caan

Written By: Carl Lund

Directed By: Tony Kaye

Genre: Drama

Running Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes

Release Date: April 25, 2011

MPAA Rating: Not Rated (it’s an “R” style, though)

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Wrecked

Cast: Adrien Brody, Caroline Dhavernas, Jacob Blair, Adrian Holmes, Ryan Robbins, Lloyd Adams, Adrian G. Griffiths

Written By: Christopher Dodd

Directed By: Michael Greenspan

Genre: Adventure/Drama/Mystery

Running Time: 1 hour, 31 minutes

Release Date: October 15, 2010 (Abu Dhabi Film Festival); April, 2011 (U.S.A)

MPAA Rating: R

Summary

A man awakens in the passenger seat of a wrecked car in the middle of nowhere. He has no idea who he is, or how he got there. While piecing together sparse clues and memory flashes, he has to try and sort out fact from fantasy and fear.

Oh, and did I mention he’s badly injured, and trying to survive in the elements?

Adrien’s Role: “Man”

This man is the only living character on screen for about 90% of this film. So, to say a lot depended on Brody’s performance is an understatement.

He fully holds your attention. Even in a movie like this, where the progress is subtle and slow, he keeps it from being boring. With a lesser actor, it may have been.

In Closing

As with The Experiment, Wrecked is hard to watch at times. Adrien’s character goes through so much physical and mental suffering, and there’s nothing else going on to distract the viewer. Your focus is always on this man and his misery. He sells the pain so well with his physicality and expressions, it will bring a tear to your eye.

Score

Movie in General: 6/10
Brody Performance: 8/10

Trailer

The Experiment

Cast: Adrien Brody, Forest Whitaker, Cam Gigandet, Clifton Collins Jr., Ethan Cohn, Fisher Stevens, Travis Fimmel, Lavell “David Banner” Crump, Jason Lew, Damien Leake, and Maggie Grace

Written By: Paul T. Scheuring (screenplay), Mario Giordano (novel)

Directed By:  Paul T. Scheuring

Genre: Drama/Thriller

Running Time: 1 hour, 36 minutes

Release Date: July 15, 2010 (South Korea), September 21, 2010 (U.S.)

MPAA Rating: R

Summary

A group of men, all in need of money for various reasons, sign up for a psychological experiment that pays $14,000 (if they make it the entire two weeks). Half of them are assigned the role of prisoners, the other half, guards. They are given a few rules, and then essentially abandoned by the people running the experiment.

Power changes people. That’s about all I can tell you about the plot without spoiling too much.

Adrien’s Role: Travis Lee

Travis is laid off from his job at an elder care facility. He has also started a relationship with a woman named Bay (Maggie Grace), who invites him on a trip to India. He spots the experiment in a newspaper, and it seems like the answer to his money woes.

Travis is assigned the role of prisoner during the experiment, and is soon fighting for the rights of the detainees. He endures a lot of backlash, to say the least.

Sadly, this is the type of movie where almost anything I say will give away plot points. What I’ll say is, Travis basically goes through Hell.

In Closing

I’ll level with you: this movie is hard to watch. Seeing the mistreatment, and the gross conditions, is enough to turn your stomach.

However, the performances are good (especially those of Brody and Whitaker), and the story is compelling.

If you can handle it, give it a watch.

Scores

Movie in General: 6/10
Brody Performance: 8/10

Trailer

Predators

Cast: Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Topher Grace, Mahershala Ali, Walton Goggins, Oleg Taktarov, Louis Ozowa, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Trejo

Written By: Alex Litvak, and Michael Finch. Based on characters by Jim Thomas, and John Thomas.

Directed By: Nimród Antal

Genre: Sci-Fi/Action

Running Time: 1 hour, 47 minutes

Release Date: July 7, 2010

MPAA Rating: R

I Sort of Did This One

In July of 2020, I covered the 10th anniversary of Predators for MovieBabble. I started by live tweeting while rewatching the film. Then, I wrote a ridiculously detailed deep dive type article you can read here, if you’d like. It was a really fun process. ** FAIR WARNING: Either of those links will lead to spoilers. I literally discussed every detail.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I’d suggest staying right here and continuing the one you’re reading. This one I’m typing right now. Hi there. Good to see you.

With all the writing I’ve done on this movie already, it’s kind of strange it has taken me so long to do this post. Yet, here we are.

Summary

A bunch of unconscious, not-so-nice characters, are dropped from airplanes into an unfamiliar jungle environment.

How did they get here? Why are they here? And where are they? They must band together to answer these questions, and more that come up along the way. That’s easier said than done, though, as it seems many of them would rather fight each other.

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High School

Cast: Matt Bush, Sean Marquette, Adrien Brody, Colin Hanks, Michael Chiklis, Adhir Kalyan, Luis Chavez, Max Van Ville, Mykelti Williamson, Andrew Wilson, Yeardley Smith, Erica Vittina Phillips, Curtis Armstrong…

Written by: Erik Linthorst, John Stalberg Jr., Stephen Susco

Directed by: John Stalberg Jr.

Genre: Comedy

Running Time: 1 hour, 39 minutes

Released: January 24, 2010 (Sundance), wide release in June

MPAA Rating: R

Sidenote:

Today being April 20, aka “4/20,” it seemed like the perfect day to rewatch, and write about, a stoner comedy. It just so happened to be the next movie up chronologically, as well, so… here we are.

Summary

Henry Burke (Bush) is a prodigy of sorts, with a 4.0+ grade point average, and a full ride MTI scholarship waiting in the wings. He is also quite serious. Travis Breaux (Marquette), on the other hand, a childhood friend of Henry’s, is a hero among his fellow “stoners,” and doesn’t take anything seriously. 

So, Henry smokes his first joint (with Travis in their childhood treehouse), at the worst possible time. The day before campus-wide drug testing is announced. Henry panics, because if he fails the drug test, he will be expelled, his scholarship will fall through, and basically his entire future is blown.

Travis comes up with a plan to make sure everyone fails the drug test. They’ll steal kief (essentially concentrated THC) from a local infamous dealer (Brody), mix it into brownie mix, and dose everyone. If everyone tests positive, no one will be singled out (and the results would likely be questioned). Oh, it also happens to be the day of the annual school bake sale. Convenient, right?

So, that’s basically the plot. It sounds like it would be a bad movie, I know, but it’s actually pretty decent, mostly due to the great performances.

Adrien’s Role: Edward “Psycho Ed” Highbaugh, Esq.

A quick backstory on Ed tells us he graduated high school at age 15, and became a lawyer “before he could drink.” Then, he went on a trip to Mexico, smoked pot laced with PCP, and damaged some part of his brain. He came back home, revolutionized cannabis growing with his smarts, and became a local legend.

This is easily one of Adrien Brody’s best performances. Yes, I am completely serious. “Psycho Ed” is a perfect blend of genius, mad man, villain, and hero, and he brings the quality of the movie up several notches. I realize I’m biased, since he’s my favorite actor and all, but Ed really is the best part of this movie.

Yes, he’s doing somewhat shady stuff. Yes, he’s considered ‘crazy.’ Yes, he looks like the love child of Hugh Jackman and Snoop Dogg (actually, put that one in the plus column). But darn it, there’s an intelligence and depth to him, too…. His approach to growing, security and the like are all very innovative. This is a brilliant man.

Me, from something I wrote some years back

In Closing

There is a lot of good acting going on in High School, which I think is somewhat unique for the “stoner comedy” subgenre. Brody, as I mentioned, is brilliant, but he’s not the only one.

The leads are both excellent. Colin Hanks is fantastic in a “straight man” role, but he does get his turn at being hilarious, as well. Yeardley Smith has a small, but definitely memorable, role. Mykelti Williamson (of Forrest Gump fame) and Andrew Wilson (brother of Owen and Luke) are both solid as friends (and roommates?) of Psycho Ed’s.

Michael Chiklis is almost unrecognizable as the school principal, and his performance is genius. He and his band do a song during the end credits that’s impressive, as well. Sort of a 1970s-styled rock song called “Get Me High.” Because, of course.

If you’re someone who wants to see a variety of Brody’s performances, you don’t want to miss High School. It’s a side of him not seen in any other film.

Scores

Movie Overall: 6/10
Brody Performance: 9/10

Trailer

 

Health Update

An Update 

Some of you may be wondering why I haven’t been around much recently. 

Well, I’ll tell you… 

I’m having some health concerns that are currently being checked out. I’ll have official word soon, but it’s looking more and more like a hysterectomy is in my (hopefully not too distant) future. 

There is a lot of fatigue, pain, and general discomfort, so I’m spending most of my time in bed these days. 

I’ll be back when I can. 
Thank you all. 

(cross-posted all over)

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Voice Cast: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Eric Anderson, Juman Malouf, Michael Gambon, Robin Hurlstone, Hugo Guinness, Willem Dafoe, Wallace Wolodarsky, Jarvis Cocker, Owen Wilson, Wes Anderson, Karen Duffy, Brian Cox, Adrien Brody, Mario Batali …

Written by: Roald Dahl (book); Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach (screenplay)

Directed by: Wes Anderson

Genre: Wes Anderson is his own genre, as is Dahl. IMDb says “Animation/Adventure/Comedy”

Running Time: 1 hour, 27 minutes

Released: October 14, 2009

MPAA Rating: PG

Side note

One of my favorites. I love Wes Anderson, and, as you know, I love Adrien Brody. When they work together, it’s like Heaven on Earth for me. Adrien had a simple voice cameo in this one, but I wanted to include it anyway.

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