Paul McGuire Grimes from “Paul’s Trip to the Movies” shares his thoughts on two theatrical releases and one you can watch from home.
WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE (in theaters)
Two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett stars as the title character in Where’d You Go, Bernadette. She’s a world-renowned architect known for her innovative concepts and designs. She hasn’t found the same energy and fame after moving to Seattle. In recent months she has started showing signs of mental illness and anxiety. Her husband, Elgin, is looking for answers, while their teenage daughter, Bee, seems a bit more naïve to what is going on. After a few run-ins with the neighbor, school moms, and some odd email exchanges, her family tries to stage an intervention. It doesn’t quite go to plan as Bernadette escapes and flees for Antarctica.
-Starring: Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, newcomer Emma Nelson, Kristen Wiig, Judy Greer and Laurence Fishburne
-Based on the bestselling novel by Maria Semple and directed and co-written by Richard Linklater (Boyhood, the Before trilogy)
-Linklater peels back the layers about what Bernadette’s younger life and career were like and what may have lead to her issues. We see the crumbling nature of her mind as her progression with mental illness and anxiety worsens. The film tackles these issues head on without resorting to it as a complete punch line like the trailers may have you believe. There are funny moments, but it brings this issue of what’s happening to her to the forefront without any judgment. We then see how it’s affecting her husband and daughter in two very different ways.
-There’s a scene where we see her yard collapse into a mudslide breaking through this brick wall causing massive destruction to her neighbor’s house. Good metaphor for Bernadette’s state of mind.
-All that being said, there is somewhat of a far-fetched nature to it given her trek to Antarctica. You have to reach into your imagination and just go along with her adventures
-It should come as no surprise that Cate Blanchett is simply divine as the fractured Bernadette. I loved watching every minute of her balancing just how far to play her in a realistic manner. I was reminded of her Oscar winning performance in Blue Jasmine.
-Last but not least, Kristen Wiig does an admirable job of playing the zany neighbor without resorting to caricature
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Blanchett is divine as the film makes Bernadette’s issues a relatable struggle many people have faced.
RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
THE KITCHEN (in theaters)
You haven’t seen Melissa McCarthy or Tiffany Haddish in a film like this before. Along with Elisabeth Moss they play mob wives whose husbands have been arrested after a botched robbery at a liquor store. It’s January 1978 in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York. The women need money to keep their families afloat, but cash is tight and their crime families won’t chip in to help now that their husbands are locked up. They make a pact to work together to gain control and “take care” of the neighborhood offering protection much like their husbands had. The cash starts flowing in, but the other mob heads aren’t too happy about it.
-Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, Elisabeth Moss, Domhnall Gleeson
-Bears a slight resemblance to Widows, which was one of my favorite films of last year. However, The Kitchen is missing all of the style and urgency of that film
-The biggest flaw is the script, which lacks the needed depth and character development for the three leading actresses to stand out from each other. The casting is certainly unconventional, as we don’t expect Melissa McCarthy or Tiffany Haddish to appear in a film about organized crime. The film doesn’t require them to be funny, but doesn’t give them anything else to do to play into their other strengths like we’ve seen in previous films.
-The supporting cast isn’t given any favors either as Common and Domhnall Gleeson are left with minimal dialogue. Margo Martindale plays Haddish’s evil mother-in-law. They’ve aged her up a bit and make her look like a caricature.
-Based on a comic book series from DC, but the film is missing that visual style to make it stand out. You’ll see some of it in the trailer and credits, but should have been included with how the film is edited.
-There’s a redundancy with the plot as well as we see early on that the women are in over their heads and we get funeral scene after funeral scene. There are some “twists” but if you know you’re mafia films, they won’t have that surprise “gotcha” impact.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? I understand the appeal for McCarthy, Haddish, and Moss to take on a film like this, but THE KITCHEN wastes all of their talents.
RATING: 2 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
AVENGERS: ENDGAME (home release)
When we last left our Avengers at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, we saw many of them disappear as dust in the wind. The big bad Thanos got his hands on all six infinity stones, placed them on his gauntlet glove, and snapped his finger. Just like that it changed the course of the Marvel franchise. Avengers: Endgame picks up with the remaining survivors in mourning unable to shake what happened. For once, they were unable to save the day losing their friends and family in the process. Tony Stark is angry and frail unsure of what to do next. That is until Captain Marvel swoops in hot and confident. She, along with Nebula, become the agents of change and convince the rest of the Avengers that their job is to find Thanos and gain control of the Infinity Stones.
-Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Brie Larson, Josh Brolin
-Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, their fourth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
-For its 3 hour 2 minute run time, there isn’t a wasted moment, trust me. That’s not to say it’s completely heavy and dark, but to confirm there is constant momentum in its storytelling. If Infinity War was dark, moody, and separated too many of our characters, Endgame brings back the collaboration and the humor to offset the despair and high stakes that still factor in.
-Screenwriters Christopher Marcus and Stephen McFeely offer up a complex premise, while not wholly original, and make sense of it. They even make poke fun at the choice they made with some of the pop cultural references they include.
-We see the return of old familiar faces and places many of whom touch your heart and offer some needed closure. Some will call it fan-service, but it’s expected, as this is the End Game.
-The loss of friends, family, and part of themselves affect the Avengers in different ways which gives them another layer and complexity for our actors to play with especially Robert Downey Jr. I loved watching what he does with Tony Stark in this film. Even secondary characters are given a chance to shine and prove their worth when they’ve taken a backseat in other films. I’d hate to get into specifics and spoil anything.
-The final battle scene is massive, to say the least. It’s satisfying to the point of audibly cheering at one moment and then tearing up the next. There’s a group shot that that is one of my favorite moments in Marvel history.
-By the end, Avengers: Endgame is a grandiose finale. It’s hard to say goodbye to these characters but it feels completely worth the 11 year, 22 movie investment.
-HIGHEST grossing film internationally of all time ($2.7 billion), and is the second highest grossing film domestically earning $858 million
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? I feel like Stan Lee is probably looking down from heaven with a huge smile on his face with Avengers: Endgame