Watch the whole thing HERE!
Posts Tagged ‘Richard LaGravenese’
For many film fans the chance to see Robert De Niro reteamed with “Taxi Driver” co-star Harvey Keitel or his “Midnight Run” buddy Charles Grodin would be irresistible. The kind of magic created in those pair ups is the stuff of legend. “The Comedian,” a new film directed by Taylor Hackford, mixes and matches De Niro with his former co-stars but fails to recapture old glories.
De Niro is Jackie Burke, a comedian whose stand up career is in a downward spiral. Once a beloved sitcom star, the dirty-mouthed comic earns bad press when he punches a heckler at a TV Nostalgia Night gig and gets thrown in jail. After serving thirty days he’s sentenced to community service, working at a homeless shelter. There he meets the unpredictable Harmony (Leslie Mann), daughter of a mob boss (Keitel) doing time there for punching her ex-husband. They hit it off, spending time together as Jackie tries to rebuild his career. When he’s not insulting folks at comedy clubs he’s borrowing money from his brother (Danny DeVito) and making his manager’s (Edie Falco) life difficult.
“The Comedian” promises much. Keitel, Grodin, Mann and Falco are a dream team and De Niro’s turn in “The King of Comedy” suggests he might do something interesting with the Jackie character. Unfortunately “The Comedian” has more in common with “Dirty Grandpa” than “The King of Comedy.” Any movie that features a take off on “Makin’ Whoopee” retitled “Makin’ Poopy” isn’t aiming that high.
De Niro never convinces as a stand up comic. Jackie may be desperate to kick-start his career but apparently he’s not desperate enough to come up with material that might actually make someone laugh. Part of it is De Niro’s cue card delivery, part is the generally disagreeable nature of the character. Jackie humour comes from anger but instead of channelling that rage into an interesting storyline, he simply punches a heckler or unleashes invective on those around him. In short, he’s an a-hole, an a-hole who is in virtually every frame of the film.
“The Comedian” promises much but doesn’t deliver and in comedy delivery is everything.
By Richard Crouse – Metro Canada
Anna Kendrick is perhaps best known for her break out role as the ambitious Human Resources person in Up in the Air who suggests conducting layoffs via videoconferencing to save money. Her performance opposite George Clooney created a stir at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival, and now she’s back at TIFF with a much different movie.
The Last Five Years is a musical based on Jason Robert Brown’s Off-Broadway hit of same name. It’s the story of the five-year relationship between actress Cathy and her novelist husband Jamie, played by Smash star Jeremy Jordan. It’s told from two different perspectives. Her storyline begins with the breakdown of the relationship. His starts at the beginning (it’s a very good place to start, as they say in musical theatre) as they court and eventually marry.
Kendrick, last sang on screen in Pitch Perfect and will soon be seen as Cinderella in the much anticipated movie version of Into the Woods, says the decision to sing live in front of the cameras, instead of prerecording in studio, aided her performance of the complex role.
“Doing it live was something we wanted to do whenever possible,” she says. “We didn’t want to make a point of it or be precious about it because it was equally important for us to be visually dynamic and change locations and be outside occasionally. I thought I would feel that the pre-recorded days would be a breeze, but it was so much easier to act the songs live because you weren’t retroactively going, ‘Oh yeah, that’s how I was playing that in the recording booth four weeks ago.’ So doing it live was a physical challenge, because, you know, it’s your voice, but it was so much easier to be present and honest and all that with singing live.”
Kendrick plays a struggling actress and in one memorable scene details the pain of auditioning for roles. In the Climbing Uphill sequence she sings, “I’m up ev’ry morning at six, And standing in line, With two hundred girls who are younger and thinner than me.” It;’s a feeling Kendrick says she knows well.
“It’s a competitive business by nature,” she says. “I know that room and that line of two hundred girls. I didn’t have to dig all that deep to know the anxiety and self-doubt. That was a fun thing to perform and see inside her head and talk about the indignity of not being paid attention to when you are trying to perform for somebody.”
Even though she is a Tony nominee for her work on Broadway in High Society and has starred in high profile films like Twilight and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World she says she still auditions.
“If there is something really incredible everybody wants it so I audition,” she says. I see friends of mine and we’re all in business suits and then at the next one we’re all in leather jackets. I’m like, ‘Yeah, this is so embarrassing.’ But that is the grind.”
Richard interviews Anna Kendrick on “The Last Five Years”
“If there is something really incredible everybody wants it so I audition. It’s a competative business by nature. I know that room and that line of two hundred girls. I didn’t have to dig all that deep to know the anixiety and self doubt. Obviously it was a lot more fun to be working on a movie where I’m doing that and not going home and crying into my pillow. That was a fun thing to perform and see inside her head and talk about the indignity of not being paid attention to when you are trying to perform for somebody.”
“I see friends of mine and we’re all in business suits and then at the next one we’re all in leather jackets. I’m like, ‘Yeah, this is so embarrassing.’ But that is the grind.”
Watch the whole thing HERE!
Based on Jason Robert Brown’s Off-Broadway hit, “The Last Five Years” is a musical about half a decade in the relationship of struggling actress Cathy (Anna Kendrick) and novelist husband Jamie (“Smash” star Jeremy Jordan). Told from two perspectives the story weaves and bobs as we’re told, simultaneously, about the birth and death of their love affair.
Her tale begins with the breakdown of the relationship. His starts at the beginning (it’s a very good place to start, as they say in musical theatre) as they court and eventually marry.
There are some undeniably winning moments in ”The Last Five Years.” Sitting alone in her—formerly their—apartment, the opening number is a somber examination of the aftermath of a divorce. “Still Hurting”—“ Jamie has new dreams he’s building upon, And I’m still hurting.”—takes a risk by kicking things off on a downbeat note but Kendrick’s tender, heartbroken delivery is a welcome doorway into the relationship.
It’s Kendrick’s earnest commitment to the material that keeps “The Last Five Years” afloat. Her scenes are, by and large, terrific—although her line “I’m up ev’ry morning at six, And standing in line, With two hundred girls who are younger and thinner than me,” sounds a bit ridiculous coming from the lips of the wispy actress—but she is let down by the staging of the film hat confuses minimal staging with intimacy. No chandeliers fall from the ceiling. There are no giant puppet giraffes. Instead director Richard LaGravenese adopts a very natural look and tone that suits songs like the opening number but is less effective on the bigger numbers like “A Miracle Would Happen.”
Then there is the unusual story structure. The he said/she said construction, played forwards and backwards, negates the possibility of a clear-cut climax. Add to that the non-chemistry between the leads and you have an all-singing-all-dancing musical that falls flatter than Britney Spears with a broken Auto-Tune machine.