Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Theory of Everything - Movie Review

The Theory of Everything PG-13 123 mins B-
An okay biopic, Redmayne shines

Starring Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Emily Watson, David Thewlis

There's no doubt that Stephen and Jane Hawking are extraordinary people who dealt with extraordinary circumstances after Stephen was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, i.e. Lou Gehrig's disease in 1963. But, The Theory of Everything is just a mediocre biopic with above average acting. Directed by James Marsh (Oscar winner for Man on Wire) and based on Jane Hawking’s 2007 memoir, Travelling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen, the overall tone of the film felt too cordial. It focused more on Jane's beautiful struggle rather than Stephen's beautiful mind (maybe that was by design?). With so many dynamic biopics out there; Walk the Line, Ray, Capote, Milk, American Splendor, The Aviator, Frost/Nixon, Malcolm X, etc... The Theory of Everything doesn't bring anything new to the table. I didn't walk out of the theatre wanting to know more. It's simply a nice film with nice performances, and for many moviegoers that'll be enough to make it worth the price of admission.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Still Alice - Movie Review

Still Alice PG-13 101 mins B
Losing it

Starring Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, Hunter Parrish, Stephen Kunken

Still Alice is a film based on Lisa Genova's best-selling debut novel of the same name. On the surface, this quiet little film about a brilliant woman battling early onset Alzheimer’s has all the makings of a sappy tearjerker. I cried, but overall Still Alice avoids the overly sentimental clich├ęs of the genre. Ironically, the directing and co-writing team of Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland are very familiar with the disease; the two are married and Glatzer has ALS. The humanistic connection the film makes with its audience and Julianne Moore's Oscar-worthy performance makes Still Alice still worth seeing.