Richard and CP24 anchor Nneka Elliot talk about the weekend’s big releases, “X-Men Apocalypse,” starring Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence, Johnny Depp in “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and “Mr. Right,” starring Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell.
“Mr. Right” is a rom crime com that plays a bit like “Pitch Perfect” with a very high body count.
Anna Kendrick is Martha, a twenty-something who dumps her boyfriend when he cheats on her. The morning after a wild bender—”I want to do something terrible,” she says.—she it’s love-at-first-sight with a stranger (Sam Rockwell) she meets at a supermarket. He’s a babyface assassin who cold bloodedly murders for money. “Killing is wrong,” he says, “but I’m not perfect.” Part Bruce Lee, part James Bond, he’s as lethal as he is charming. Ignoring the obvious warning signs—he won’t tell her his name and jokes about killing people—she falls for him and is only slightly conflicted on their third day together when she sees him shoot a man. “Are you upset that I killed that guy?” he says. “How I feel about that guy has nothing to do with how I feel about you.” They flirt, banter back and forth and after some metaphysical weapons training are a committed couple. “When I was little I had a dream I was dating Lex Luther,” she coos. Now if only the squads of hitmen sent to kill him would lay off, the couple could decide whether she is his weakness or the Bonnie to his Clyde or both.
Other movies have trod this path. “Something Wild,” “Grosse Pointe Blank” and “True Romance” all mix affection with offing, and all do it better than “Mr. Right.” What this movie has going for it is a handful of clever lines—for instance, Rockwell’s dusty charm is described as “fancy homeless”—and two people who know how to deliver them, Kendrick and Rockwell. Despite a seventeen-year age gap, or maybe because of it, they click.
The first half of the movie, before it turns into a shoot ‘em up, has many funny, charming moments. The preposterousness of the story aside, there are enough effervescent screwball moments in Max Landis’s screenplay to carry the day. But just about the time bad guy Johnny Moon (Michael Eklund) says, “Don’t let this become unfun… This is supposed to be fun,” it’s hard not to disagree with him. What was once a light and fluffy—if a little bloody—confection loses its way in a hail of bullets and beatings.
“Mr. Right” doesn’t get everything right, but in between the quirky trying-too-hard moments are some amiably charming moments.
Tony Soprano was one of the most recognizable television characters of the last decade, yet the man who breathed life into him, actor James Gandolfini, says, “I never think about him, ever.”
He may not, but audiences do. It’s difficult to see the burly actor in any other role without thinking about the troubled gangster he played on 86 episodes of The Sopranos.
This weekend he plays a foulmouthed hitman in Killing Them Softly, opposite Brad Pitt and Ray Liotta. Despite his powerful presence the role likely won’t do much to erase memories of Soprano.
The New Jersey-born actor first earned notice playing—you guessed it—a hitman in Tony Scott’s True Romance. Similar roles in movies like Get Shorty followed, but Gandolfini says he is nothing like the tough guy characters he so frequently plays.
Even though he once earned a living as a bouncer (he also delivered seltzer for a company called Gimme Seltzer) and has repeatedly unlocked a wellspring of rage on screen, he says, “I’m a neurotic mess. I’m really basically just like a 260-pound Woody Allen.”
Perhaps that’s what he tapped into when he voiced Carol, the impulsive creature in Where the Wild Things Are.
It’s a sensitive performance that shows off Gandolfini’s softer side. He does go on a “wild ruckus” but at least he doesn’t shoot anybody.
In fact we may soon see less and less of his badass side. “I’m getting a little older, you know,” he says. “The running and the jumping and killing, it’s a little past me.”
In the dark indie Welcome to the Rileys (directed by Jake Scott, son of Ridley) he’s unarmed, playing a troubled businessman whose life unravels when he befriends a stripper, played by Kristen Stewart.
In the Loop, a wild satire of British politics, saw Gandolfini take a detour into comedy, but his strangest movie came in 2010. Mint Julep was made in 1995 after Gandolfini had appeared in Terminal Velocity and Crimson Tide but because of money issues it wasn’t released until after The Sopranos was off the air. Noticeably thinner, and with more hair, he plays a perverted landlord opposite David Morse.
Yet another side of the actor can be seen in Alive Day: Home from Iraq, a documentary in which he interviews injured Iraq War veterans about the physical and emotional costs of war.