I was a bit frustrated by the delay in delivering the goods by Netflix because of the "long wait" for an Oscar nominated film. I think that Netflix should have an elite status similar to hotels, rental cars, and airlines where as if you have been a customer with Netflix you earn priority treatment over others on the "long wait" list. That being said I went to my back-up plan and my dirty little secret that is Redbox. It is like going to the ghetto and getting a dime bag, or watching porn at the airport. Everyone knows what you are doing and you feel guilty about doing it, but it doesn't stop you.
So for a dollar each I rented Animal Kingdom and Cyrus...
This movie first got on my radar at the beginning of 2010 when it won at Sundance for World Cinema -Dramatic. It has since received numerous festival and Golden Globe nominations and recently some Oscar buzz. The movie centers around a teenage boy "J", played by James Frecheville, in Australia that is thrusted into a family that he doesn't really know after the death of his mother. His grandmother and uncles are a crime family that is trouble to everything that is good for "J". The family is abusive to each other and uses drugs, all the while the matriarch, played by Jackie Weaver, of the family pulls the strings when she must to ensure that her boys are around her. She is willing to sacrifice one for the well being of her favored son Pope, played by Ben Mendelsohn. The police are getting close to the family and the lead inspector is played by a mustached Guy Pearce, and they will try to use "J" to get inside the family and take them down. The question in the movie is whether or not "J" will grow up in time to save himself from the family that is falling apart.
The acting is spotty at times, but one performance powerfully emerges from the crowd in Jacki Weaver. She is a little bit Brando in Godfather and a little bit June Cleaver in how she handles the family needs. She can be orchestrating a crime while baking a batch of muffins. Also noteworthy was Joel Edgerton as one of the Uncles and some will remember him as Uncle Owen in the Star Wars films. While some may want to give James Frecheville some acknowledgement I think it is better given to Laura Wheelwright in her debut performance as the girlfriend Nicky. I look forward to seeing her in more things.
The movie earns a respectable 3 Quacks and Jacki Weaver is a dark horse for an Oscar in the Supporting Actress category. She really could steal this one and it would be deserving.
Possibly the best movie of the weekend for me, which is interesting because romantic comedies don't usually hit it for me. If you look only at the cast of Jonah Hill, John C Riley, Catherine Keener and Marisa Tomei you might think that this will be a great comedy as it has some funny people and some solid actresses. Take that thought and throw it out the window as this is a classic dark comedy that makes you laugh and then feel guilty for doing so.
We start with John C Riley a stuck in the rut, depressed, loser who is divorced from Catherine Keener who breaks the news to him that she is getting married again. The past relationship isn't really believable, but could easily be replaced with them being brother/sister as they are totally best friends, which is unlike most divorced couples I know. But I digress...as she motivates him to go to a party, meet people, and talk to ladies. This reminded me of my sister in a lot of ways, but that makes me the depressed-loser (damn!!!), which I don't think I am. So at the party he meets the beautiful Molly, played by Marisa Tomei, and one thing leads to another. They start seeing each other and that is when he finds out she has a son, Cyrus, played by Jonah Hill. In all seriousness he is a Shrek of a man now and it is difficult to take him seriously given his comedy background. The romantic comedy part starts to pick up some steam as Cyrus and John battle for the affection of Molly.
I really liked this movie and while I may get some people who disagree with me I am going to give this one 4 Quacks and instruct all of you to go rent this movie.