Sunday, January 25, 2015
Cindy Prascik's Review of Mortdecai & The Imitation Game
Dearest Blog, lemme tell ya: I'm a little bit exhausted from juggling all these awards hopefuls (that I never expected to see in my area) with regular new releases and weekly screenings of The Hobbit!
However, thanks to an understanding boss, this weekend I was able to catch Johnny Depp's latest as well as one of Oscar's favorites.
First on my agenda: Mortdecai.
Johnny Depp stars as art dealer/thief Charlie Mortdecai, called upon by MI5 to assist with a case.
Well, dear reader(s), even as a die-hard Depp fan, I'm growing bored with his seemingly endless succession of interchangeable goofy characters. Alice in Wonderland, Dark Shadows, and even Transcendence were all terrible disappointments to me. So, as a Depp fan, I'm pleased to say that Mortdecai, while far from perfect, represents a bit of a rebound.
Comedies are a sketchy business...so often you pay ten bucks for a ticket only to find that all the really funny bits were in the trailer. It is, perhaps, because Mortdecai is more amusing than gut-bustingly funny that it doesn't seem that way; instead of a dozen big laughs spread over two otherwise boring hours, Mortdecai is a more evenly-entertaining experience.
Depp is terrific as the self-absorbed Mortdecai, and, if his "weird people with English accents" routine is wearing thin, it works better here than it has in his last few attempts. As Mortdecai's loyal and long-suffering manservant, Jock, Paul Bettany is the movie's highlight.
A running gag with Jock--not so much as hinted at in the trailers--provides the movie's best laughs.
Mortdecai is a caper as well as a comedy, and it's pretty entertaining. It doesn't drag on or over-inflate itself with unnecessary pretense. It's not too clever, but it IS fun, and, yes, there are even some laugh-out-loud moments.
Mortdecai runs 106 minutes and is rated R for "some language and sexual material." (For my money, I've seen far worse rated PG13...don't understand this rating at all.)
Mortdecai is not a special movie--you won't be talking about it next week, let alone next year at awards time--but Mortdecai IS a bit of mindlessly fun entertainment. Last I checked, that wasn't yet a crime in Hollywood.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Mortdecai gets five and a half.
(It would have been six had it co-starred ANYONE besides Gwyneth Paltrow!)
Next up was The Imitation Game.
During World War II, English mathematician Alan Turing leads a team attempting to break Nazi codes.
Alright, I'm gonna say it straight up: though it has zero chance of taking home the Oscar, The Imitation Game is easily my favorite of the Best Picture nominees I've seen.
(Still missing Whiplash, which hasn't hit my orbit yet.) Benedict Cumberbatch is phenomenal in the lead, often abrasive but still strangely sympathetic. Again, though he doesn't seem to have a legitimate chance of hearing his name called on the big night, his performance is as good as any I saw last year, and the supporting cast is uniformly strong as well.
The Imitation Game races against the clock to break Nazi codes and prevent further loss of life; as such, it's more "edge of your seat" than it probably seems from the description. The movie also touches on Turing's homosexuality, for which he was prosecuted later in life, under UK laws of the time. It's heartbreaking, but never miserable.
The Imitation Game clocks in at 114 minutes and is rated PG13 for "some sexual references, mature thematic material, and historical smoking."
The Imitation Game is riveting from start to finish, beautifully executed on all levels. The very definition of "must see!"
Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Imitation Game gets nine. Just go see it already!
Until next time...