On a likeable scale from one to ten (ten being the most positive) where do bicycle messengers rank? They don't! Without exception, as a group they are detested, cursed, sometimes killed but never pitied, admired or respected. They are universally iconoclastic: a plague, on urban society; "rules of the road" do not apply to them, stop lights anathema, pedestrians annoyances, roadblocks; like phantoms they appear and disappear out of congestion, plaguing, taunting, terrorizing the unsuspecting driver, walker, stroller; many urbanites have had unwanted, unsolicited intimacies with these demons on two wheels; left with lacerated limbs, battered bones, pulverized psyches. Igniting fear in the fearless.
That being stated "Premium Rush" is a terrific, stupendous, revolutionary movie; director David Koepp's incredible filmmaking has accomplished the messianic, he puts a human face, personality, dignity on the maligned, despised devils-on-wheels. In a summer of scorching heat and a plethora of two-star films this one is a winner. Solid, exhilarating, thrilling 90 minutes of electrifying action that everyone who lives, or who has ever visited a mega- metropolis will relate to; we have seen the messengers fly over car doors, unexpectedly opened; innocents, crumpled on chaotic sidewalks; taxis, cars colliding while the catalyst spins away. It is an educational travelogue for those who have never ventured forth from the comfortable confines of their "messenger- less" towns, villages.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a natural as "Wilee", smart enough to be a lawyer, but free of the confines of a "suit", hours, boundaries of an office; he thrives on living, peddling in the fast lane, a lane forged or paved at whim: parks, docks, any street, alley in New York City; his break-less bicycle is a metaphor for the freedom, exuberance, the core of his existence; miraculously one roots, cheers for his success, survival.
Michael Shannon (so blessedly talented) is Wilee's nemesis, "Bobby Monday", a deranged, psychotic, addicted "dirty cop"; desperately seeking financial salvation by confiscating a "premium rush" delivery in Wilee's possession. The validity of good and evil are equally, pungently, satisfyingly matched.
It is refreshing to see a movie made for the sole purpose of entertainment; "Premium Rush" breathlessly heaps a gift that keeps on giving, satisfying, expunging all the "two-star" films of the past several months.
THREE & 1/2 SRARS!!!
This awful flick is more a curse than "legacy"; disjointed, disengaging, disenfranchised from previous "Bourne" sagas starring Matt Damen; unfathomable crime using "Bourne" nomenclature to lure advocates of the now deceased Bourne genre, to this facile, sophomoric, anemic replacement.
"The Bourne Legacy" pathetically edited, is a compilation of "running" sequences; Jeremy Renner (a fine actor, wasted in this vacuous role) is "Aaron Cross" a contemporary "Mercury", "Hermes" on winged feet running through Alaska, Illinois, Washington,D.C. Manila; with vague references to Jason Bourne, Cross is an agent scheduled for demolition, along with a myriad in his league; robotic specimens, existing on a diet of color-coded pills, distributed in a contained research faculty. One scientist, "Dr. Marta Shearing" (Rachel Weisz), survives a massacre but has exceeded her expiration date, now on the "shoot to kill" roster, hence competing, partnering in the sprinting marathon with Cross.
Confusing, bludgeoning boring; numbing negativity; characters, ranking lethally high on the Richter Scale of vileness: C.I.A., scientists, unidentified government lackeys, lamely inept. Muddled medical babble, tiresome diatribes flounder on a cross of arcane gravitas.
The final twenty minutes, no longer on their feet, mounted on a motorcycle; preposterous, deleterious, but exhilarating because optimistically they might go ferociously into that "good night"; saving future audiences from galvanizing, catatonic ennui.
Superb, stunning performances cement the viewer's attention for the entirety of this quasi-nonfictional portrait of three, talented African American sisters, striving for notoriety in the late 1960's, Detroit, Michigan. Loosely based upon "The Supremes" .
With the formation of "Motown Records" in 1959, African Americans initiated their financial destiny; Barry Gordy, Jr. founder,is pivotal in paving the yellow-brick-path for notables like Jackie Wilson, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Diana Ross and The Supremes. This is a richer scenario than we were subjected to; but the gifted actors transcended the ubiquitously tiresome plot; united warring daughters, fighting the shackles of a tyrannical, well-intentioned, religiously patronizing mother.
"Sister" the eldest and seasoned daughter (luminously beautiful, Carmen Ejogo) is the lead singer; bountifully sensual sprite; she's hypnotic and renders men incapable of casting their eyes elsewhere; a living, pulsating, titillating metaphor for the "honey" bees are powerless to reject.
"Dee" the brainy sibling, sings only for the fare for medical school; Tika Sumpter gives an intelligent depiction of a woman determined, resolved to flourish on her own terms and dictates.
"Sparkle" has inherited her mother's genius for composing; with each dawn and every dusk lyrics gallop through her mind, inform her day; she is naive, shy, but stalwart in her quest. Jordin Sparks (American Idol winner) is sensational as the idealistic girl, a chrysalis transformed into a formidable woman. Initially a simple soul, culminating in an individual of tremendous complexities; powerfully refusing to compromise.
"Emma Anderson" is intransigent, stubborn, sullen, but loving mother; her illusions have dissipated, her demons at bay; religion a haven, an oasis, anchor in a world of variables; she wants what all mothers want, a refined, happy life for her children; and what all mothers fear; progeny repeating the sins, misdemeanors, wretchedness fostered, suffered by their lineage.
Whitney Houston is "Emma" (1963- 2012) and the film is dedicated to her. She is remarkable as the tortured, controlling single parent, pulverizing in her religious passion; stymied, bereft of empathy in acknowledging the desires, insecurities, needs of her daughters. The portrayal is heart-wrenchingly poignant, imagining the nadir of her soul, the bleakness of her spirit; her inability to recognize inimitable, god-given talent, divinely hers, a beauty rarely rendered, somehow poisoned by living; pain lacerating the dawn; relieved by the solace, darkness of ever-present, everlasting night.
This is a classic scenario of "having your cake and eating it too"; "Celeste" and "Jesse" have loved, been in love, their entire lives; they interpret each others thoughts, mimic foreign accents with perfect pitch; are the closest of comrades, play blissfully together; separated after six years of marriage. A troubling enigma is we never know why.
Celeste (Rashida Jones, co-writer) is bright, controlling, a thriving "trend forecaster"; Jesse (Andy Samberg) aimless, loveable, manipulated, withering in Celeste's successful shadow, minimally productive, dwelling in Celeste’s guest house.
Celeste is blindly cavalier and completely blind-sided when a younger, attractive version of herself "Veronica" (Rebecca Dayan) enters the amorous arena; the film flounders in the acceptance process; Celeste’s self –esteem is lacerated; she fumbles and flagellates in a maze of booze and drugs, questioning, pondering, wallowing in wounded myopic self-centered pity; her self-righteousness, infallibility felled, no longer the mainstay of her psyche; she is human and bleeds.
"Celeste and Jesse Forever" succeeds in avoiding the predictable pitfalls of many romantic comedies; we are served a realistic, messy (not syrupy) taste of truth; the characters are incorrigible, still in the jejune, embryonic phases of their personal and professional lives; would love to visit them, in ten years time, after life’s vicissitudes, blessings have honed them to maturity; discover what residue of youth, ambition, desire lurks behind their ageing, graying personas.
The major conundrum is why this film was made. Are there childless couples who conjure their flawless progeny; write all desired attributes, place them in a box, and bury it in the back yard? Possibly, being a city- dweller, complacent in my concrete cocoon; (it was challenging finding a soft slice of earth to bury my daughter's deceased hamster, "Chipper"), that I was bereft of empathy or imagination for "Timothy", rising like a golem after a rain of Noah proportions; Timothy is ten- years -old, adorable and green- leafed, referencing his name; and it is no surprise, he champions the requirements on his parents wish list.
The parents "Cindy" and "Jim" (cloying, but sincere depictions by Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton) are paradigms of "parents in training". Timothy is cute, loveable, chimerical, a boyish "Shirley Temple" (C J Adams); but rue the day when those legs with leaves, morph into a face with fuzz.
This is not a bad film just a supercilious, superficial tale comprised of one uninteresting personage proceeding another, with an intriguing exception, "Joni", (Odeya Rush) Timothy's "love/friend interest"; she is beautiful, artful and a legitimate force; also afflicted with an abnormality which brands her as "different"; she shuns acceptance by the vapid clones in her class. She quietly advocates Timothy, their relationship rings with honesty, and saves the audience from total anaphylactic shock.