Joaquin Phoenix Does Drugs: Strange Events Ensue. Randomly, Reese Witherspoon Shows Up – It’s Nothing Like “Walk The Line”

Inherent Vice

inherentvice

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon
Runtime: 148 minutes
MPAA Rating: Rated R for drug use throughout, sexual content, graphic nudity, language and some violence (mostly drug use, a whole lot of drug use)

Set in sunny Los Angeles, California in the 1970’s, “Inherent Vice” tells the story of Doc (played by Joaquin Phoenix), a constantly doped up private detective (not actually a real doctor, at least probably not) who’s set up shop in a medical office (hence the name Doc?). Doc unexpectedly finds himself amidst illegal activity, police corruption, and general bizarre activity after a visit from his ex-girlfriend Shasta.

Shasta tells Doc about her new boyfriend, Mickey, a billionaire real estate developer. Shasta asks Doc to help prevent a plot by Mickey’s wife to have have Mickey abducted and put in an insane asylum. Lot’s of other things happen. There are drugs, characters come and go with little explanation, there’s drugs, paranoia abounds, and there are drugs.

I’m still not entirely sure about everything I saw, but it was entertaining, which is ultimately what matters. Joaquin Phoenix delivered a great performance for which he will likely earn an oscar nomination; however the incoherence of the plot does make it difficult to really care about any of the other characters.

It’s hard to convince people that the movie was enjoyable because, honestly, it’s hard to describe but I promise you this: in all of the confusion and disarray, you’ll find a pretty good movie that inspires laughs throughout. It’s the kind of weird that is oddly attractive – like PeopleOfWalmart.com or polka dancing.

Overall, on the It’s An Ordinary Blog movie review scale where one is the worst, five is the best, and ten is the worst again, I give “Inherent Vice” a 3.56623423
with an emoticon based sub-ranking of: “uuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhh, what?!”

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“Labor Day”: Movie Review

Labor Day

Labor Day movie review

Release Date: Friday January 31st, 2014

Run Time: 111 Minutes

MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material, brief violence, and sexuality.

Cast: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire

For years, Kate Winslet has dazzled fans on the big screen with her incredible talent.  Her latest film, “Labor Day”, hit theaters nationwide on Friday.  Starring alongside Josh Brolin (“W.”, “No Country For Old Men”) and Gattlin Griffith (“Changling”, “Green Lantern”, “Couples Retreat”), Winslet plays reclusive single mother, Adele, who struggles with her inability to cope with the outside World. Adele and her son Henry (played by Gattlin Griffith) live in a picturesque small town where everyone knows their neighbor.  While on a rare trip to the store for supplies, the pair encounter injured escaped convict Frank (Josh Brolin) who pressures them into providing him refuge in their home.  Left with no other choice, Adele takes him in over the Labor Day weekend.  The remainder of the film follows their story and the events that unfold changing their lives forever.

The portrayal of late 1980’s life in a sleepy town is where this film succeeds. The beautiful imagery, combined with an emotionally charged score, help to elevate this otherwise flat screenplay.  The film, which was adapted from a novel, was the second book turned screenplay for author Joyce Maynard.  The problem with translating a story from a print novel to the big screen is that it’s hard to capture every detail in the way the author intended.  In the spirit of giving the benefit of the doubt, let’s just assume this is the case with “Labor Day”. Overall, the story line is sweet and interesting but it falls short on the screen in that it it’s anticlimactic.  Audience members who are expecting a pay off will be sorely disappointed.

On my scale from one to ten where one is the worst, five is the best, and ten is the worst again I give “Labor Day” a 2.6235 with an emoticon based sub ranking of “Well, maybe the book is better?!”