Movies & Films Review: The Nice Guys

Movies & Reviews: The Nice Guys

 

You Two, Play “Nice”

By Johnny Pomatto

 

Now that summer has begum and we’ll be dosed with weekly invasions of caped super heroes and animated animals at the multiplexes, it’s nice to see that we adults still get a reprieve every now and then.  Consider Shane Black’s new comedy caper THE NICE GUYS, a film that isn’t just for a more mature crowd, but for film fans of an entirely different generational genre.  Not unlike Paul Thomas Anderson, who last year gave us the similarly set “Inherent Vice,” writer/director Shane Black seems to be a fan of 70’s era private detective stories, such as “The Long Goodbye” and “The Late Show.”  But where “Vice” struggled with balancing its story with its incomprehensible tonal malaise, THE NICE GUYS succeeds with not only telling a compellingly twisty mystery, but also injecting its tale with laugh out loud humor, attributed nearly entirely to the chemistry of the film’s lead actors. 

 

Shane Black practically reinvented what we now perceive to be the modern “buddy cop” dynamic with his screenplay for “Lethal Weapon.”  He undeniably lucked out in getting the perfectly mismatched Mel Gibson and Danny Glover cast in the roles he created, which helped make that movie the genre classic it has become.  Casting didn’t always help his screenplays, such as in the case of “The Last Boy Scout,” which featured known comic actors Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans, both under the unfortunate impression that they were the straight man.  But THE NICE GUYS brilliantly casts two excellent actors, not necessarily known for their comedy chops, with stellar results.  The appropriately complex plot involves a mystery surrounding the death of a porn star and her connections to an environmental protest group and the Los Angeles department of justice, but the momentum comes from the two rival private detectives, continuously bumping into each other as they discover that their separate cases are actually connected.  Russell Crowe takes the role of gruff, tough guy, coasting off a sole heroic act from his past, masking for the fact that he’s merely a violent thug himself.  Ryan Gosling is the comedic loose cannon, a lowlife alcoholic single father and private detective, reduced to taking missing person cases from senile old women searching for their husbands, who are in fact sitting a few feet away from them in a forgotten urn. 

 

In traditional fashion, Crowe and Gosling don’t get along, with their initial encounter leaving Gosling with a broken arm.  Little by little though the two begin to rely on each other and recognize that their strengths lie on two sides of the same coin.  It’s a cliché, but that’s only because it works.  Crowe makes an excellent straight man, with his husky gorilla bod fitting perfectly into the 70’s aesthetic.  I can’t believe it’s been nearly 20 years since we saw Crowe solving another Hollywood based caper in “L.A. Confidential.”  This often plays like a comedic companion to that film, with one of his original co-stars showing up here in a crucial supporting role.  Gosling has flirted with comedy before, both directly (“Crazy Stupid Love”) and sneakily (“The Big Short”) but I’ve never seen him so comfortably mining laughs as he does in this film.  He throws off one-liners with such casual ease that they occasionally take a few seconds to register with the audience, as we’re not entirely sure we just heard what we thought we heard.  I’m amazed that the same man who gave intensely near-wordless performances in films such as “Drive” and “Only God Forgives” can show such skill as a motor-mouthed clown.  His physical comedy is equally impressive, with even his non stunt-double assisted moments showing a relationship to iconic silent comedians, such as Charles Chaplin and Harold Lloyd.  He even has a moment that seems to be a pitch perfect homage to the raspy cowardice of Lou Costello, someone I thought could never be spoken of in the same sentence as Gosling. 

 

Black’s screenplay, (which was co-written with Anthony Bararozzi), is sharp and clever, filled with staples of the film noir genre, including wry narration and casual throwaway lines that end up being major keys to the convoluted mystery.  I’m not sure if the script and film itself would remain quite as great without its two protagonists.  Gosling aside, I believe that Black’s previous effort and spiritual counterpart “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” was a stronger comedy, though less involving mystery.  Its complexity isn’t entirely air-tight, with a few threads not fully paying off, though they’re mostly forgivable.  I was quite impressed with the young actress Angourie Rice, playing Gosling’s young daughter, though she’s included in a few too many major scenes and set pieces, allowing herself to be in need of rescue more often than the story should allow.  However, even with a lengthy runtime of two hours, I’m thankful for every minute I got to spend with these characters.  “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” ended with the forming of a new team of gumshoes, and I was very disappointed that Robert Downey Jr.’s immediate Marvel success prevented him from ever revisiting his character from that film.  I would love for THE NICE GUYS to be successful enough to birth a modest franchise, because after seeing two characters have this much fun working together, all I want to do is see them take on their next case.  But to achieve that we’re going to have to give this film the cult status that it deserves.  It’s in your hands now, people, so head out to the multiplex and send Warner Bros. a message that we want to see more adult comedies as smart and entertaining as this.  Specifically another adventure involving Crowe and Gosling in these roles that, with any justice, will help define the legacies of their careers.  

 

 

If you’re looking for more summer films for a more mature palate, check out these other flicks that get my seal of approval…

 

THE LOBSTER- Colin Farrell stars in a darkly funny dystopia about a man given 40 days to find his soul mate or face some horrific consequences.

 

THE MEDDLER-Susan Sarandon gives her finest performance in decades as a mother attempting to cure her loneliness by becoming involved with everyone she encounters.  A familiar character that avoids ever feeling cliché. 

 

GREEN ROOM-Terrifying survival tale of a band’s attempts to escape the titular venue after playing a gig for an unsavory and violent crowd.

 

A BIGGER SPLASH-Heady and emotional thriller about former lovers (Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes) still having a hold on one another, with potentially damaging results.

What’s in My Diaper Bag: Traveling Essentials

Traveling with a baby anytime soon?   Whether you’re going by train, plane, or automobile, what you pack for your little one is very important.   Motherhood has changed me a lot and one way in particular is what’s in my handbag. In fact, I rarely get to carry a purse anymore. I just cram my personal belongings into Cooper’s diaper bag. When we go on a trip, what I put in that diaper bag is very important. If I left his soother behind there would be hell to pay. This year alone we’ve flown four times. After each trip I feel like a get a stronger grasp on exactly what I need to pack to survive. Since we’re approaching the summer, I am sure many of you have some vacations planned.   Let me help take some stress away with my list of essentials that will make your travel time a lot easier.

 

My Diaper Bag Travel Essentials My Diaper Bag Travel Essentials
My Diaper Bag Travel Essentials

IN THIS POST

1. SkipHop – Backpack Diaper Bag | 2. Lamaze Clip and Go | 3. Aden and Anais – Burp Cloths | 4. Honest Company Diapers | 5. Travel Wipes | 6. WabbaNub Monkey Pacifier | 7. Tea – Romper | 8. Aden and Anais – Dream Blanket | 9. Moby Dick Book | 10. Munchkin Teether | 11. JellyCat – Giraffe Soother | 12. BabyGanics – Hand Sanitizer | 13. Happybaby – Puffs | 14. Tucker + Tate – Striped Hoodie

 

A BACKPACK FOR A DIAPER BAG IS THE WAY TO GO

Let’s start with the most important item, the diaper bag. I have a great tip for you. Instead of a typical shoulder bag, get a backpack! It’s easier to carry around especially if you have your baby strapped to you.

 

LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU

You don’t have to take every toy your baby owns, just his favorites. An important thing to keep in mind is how versatile the toy is. Does it make noise? Can he chew on it? You don’t want something too loud so not to disrupt the other passengers. But let’s get real. A crying baby is disruptive. Board books are a must have. Whether you read or just look at the images, it can be a good distraction. Here’s a little tip. The week before you travel, hide away their favorite toy so when you give it to them on the plane it’s more exciting.

 

ALWAYS BE PREPARED

I am always freezing on a plane so it’s important to keep your little one comfortable. Have a sweater and a blanket so that they’re cozy and warm. Also, bring a change of clothes because accidents happen. Diapers, wipes, burp cloths go without saying but I had to include them. Always bring one more than you think you need of these items. Babies are very messy especially when you add solid foods to the mix.

 

NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT….

A soother! Whether they love their pacifier, teddy bear, or blankie, a baby’s soother is a necessity. I never take Cooper’s out of the house but when we travel it is my secret weapon.

 

Happy travels!

Weekly Finds

Weekly Finds | www.eatshoplivenyc.com

 

The weather may be gloomy this weekend, but nothing can ruin my first Mother’s Day! I am so excited to spend the day with my family. The cool thing is that I celebrated my birthday on Tuesday so it’s been a fun filled week. Spending Sunday with my boys will just be icing on the cake. Let’s hope that warm days will be here again because I can’t wait to start wearing my new spring clothes. I have been posting a lot of stories about my favorite trends this season, so check them out. In the meantime, here are my Weekly Finds where I share what links I discovered this week. Have a great weekend and don’t forget to wish your mom, grandma, or an important woman in your life a happy Mother’s Day!

 

DRESSING UP:  It’s wedding season! You are going to want to make sure you are ready by choosing the most stylish ensembles. To get inspired, this Vogue article has several different outfits for any type of wedding. Remember, you don’t want to take the focus away from the bride, but you always want to leave an impression.

 

MOTHER’S DAY:  You want to make sure you get something that your mom actually wants, right?  Then listen to what these moms have to say about what they do and don’t want.  Also, check out my gift guide from this week. Your mom will definitely be happy with what’s on this list.

 

ENTERTAIN HER: Speaking of Mother’s Day, revisit some stories of mine from the past to see the best brunch spots and fun activities to do with mom.

 

NEW NORMAL:  Having kids changes everything, and I mean everything!  Hear from this woman about what it’s like to live with children and how she’s dealt with the good, bad, and in between days.

 

BOOK CLUB: This is a fun website that I stumbled upon. The Book Seer takes the last book you’ve read and tells you what you should read next.

 

SHOP LIKE AN EXPERT: Do you ever get overwhelmed while shopping at flea markets? I sure do! There are always so many options and it can be hard to see it all. This article gives you tips on tackling flea markets like a pro.

 

Weekly Finds

Weekly Finds

 

Another week has come and gone and we are now at the end of April!  I cannot believe it.  I will be spending my weekend getting my apartment and family ready for visiting family members.  We are in for a busy couple of weeks with my birthday and Mother’s Day coming up.  All I want for my birthday is cuddle time with my sweet Cooper.  These days the only way I can get that is if I am holding his favorite blankie.  He will be turning 10 months on the 30th; I can’t believe how fast he’s growing up.  So I have a lot going on, but I’d love to hear what you are up to this weekend?  While you contemplate your plans, here are my favorite links this week.  Don’t forget to check out this week’s posts.  I am totally in love with these adorable baby clothes, plus I shared with you how to to style the very popular off the shoulder trend.  Enjoy, and get excited for next week. There are a lot of fun stories coming your way!

 

PIN OF THE WEEK:  I am always looking for new ways to decorate my tabletops.  I love all of these ideas to keep your vanity table stylish.

BALANCING ACT:  As a woman, I want to have it all.  As a mom, having it all means finding balance between taking care of the little one and finding alone time.  Often times, it’s a loosing battle.  These three mompreneurs give their advice on the trials and tribulations of being both a mother and a worker bee.

RUNNING TIPS FROM A PRO:  Speaking of balance, finding time to work out is a million times harder as a mom.  Once I find the time, it’s always the last thing I want to do.  I have some good news!  Refinery 29 sat down with Olympian athlete Sanya Richards-Ross and is reporting back her secrets on how to make running fun.  I will take this advice and run with it.

#LEMONDADE:  Over the weekend, Beyoncé took the music world by storm when she released her visual album, “Lemonade”.  The video was amazing but my favorite part has to be the way it was styled. If you loved it too then you have to read The New York Times’ interview with Beyoncé’s stylist to see how the magic was made.

FIRST MONDAY IN MAY:  The MET Gala is Monday and all eyes will be on the guests for what has become the biggest night for fashion.  Check in on ESL Tuesday to see who made my best-dressed list.  In the meantime, here’s my review from last year’s show.  Also, if you want to know more about the actual exhibit, here is all that you need to know.

 

Tribeca Film Festival Wrap Up

By Johnny Pomatto

In the last week I attended daily screenings at the TriBeCa Film Festival where I saw numerous films, some great, some not.  Here’s a wrap up of the best that I saw.

 

dean-original-1

 

DEAN

This year’s winner for Best Narrative film went to Demetri Martin’s comedy DEAN.  Though Martin has graced the big screen before with mixed results, this film is the truest to the comedic persona that he’s established in his years as a deadpanned, contemplative stand-up comedian.  DEAN tells the story of a man coping with the various relationships in his life following the death of his mother.  This is a confident film that plays to Martin’s strengths well, down to incorporating his drawings and cartoons into the narrative, though I couldn’t help but thinking that the film occasionally adheres too comically close to its stand-up origins.  Martin is undeniably playing a version of himself, much more so than in other film roles he’s taken before.  It works, but I worry that he has exhausted this character now and there may be nowhere to go in the future.  Now that he’s committed this act to film, I don’t know if he’ll be able to repeat this style when attempting to tell stories in the future.  But perhaps I’m worried over nothing.  DEAN feels very reminiscent to me of the early films of Woody Allen, in which a comedian’s persona is at the center of a larger story.  And the story of DEAN does have more going for it than simply Martin’s pathos-filled humor.  Kevin Kline does typically wonderful work as Martin’s father, and is matched by Mary Steenburgen in a subplot that may have been able to support its own film.  There’s also some fine work by actress Gillian Jacobs, but I’ll have more to say about her before long.  DEAN is a movie that feels deceptively slight and simple upon first viewing, and yet it has stayed with me throughout the week and I look forward to revisiting it.

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Weekly Finds

Weekly Finds | www.eatshoplivenyc.com

 

RIP:  First David Bowie, and now music icon Prince has passed away.  His music will live on forever and there will not be another like him.  Raise your hand if you are watching Purple Rain and blasting his albums all weekend.

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY YOUR MAJESTY:  Yesterday, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated the big 9-0!  The celebration has only just begun but the best part has to be these gorgeous photos taken by Annie Leibovitz.

 

PIN OF THE WEEK:  Never know what shoes to wear with your outfit?  I stumbled upon this article on Pinterest, and even though it’s a bit dated, I love Who What Wear’s tips on what to wear with every shoe color.

 

FASHION ICON:  Grace Codington sat down with Refinery 29 about maintaining that infamous red hair, Vogue, and more!  Is it just me, or does Grace seem totally down to earth and chill?

 

DIY:  I stumbled on this inspiring article by Sugar & Cloth about creating a garland for over your chandelier.  I mean how beautiful is this?  And it is so perfect for spring!

 

FOR THE HOME:  I have wanted to do a gallery wall in my apartment for a while now.  I need to collect prints and find the best frames and layout.  Love Taza has amazing style and, after seeing her gallery wall, it makes me want one even more!

 

SUPPER TIME:  Cooper is almost 10 months old and solid foods are becoming a big deal in our lives.  I am constantly looking for new and fun ways to make sure Cooper gets his fruits and veggies.  I am hoping that one of these cookbooks will motivate me to start thinking outside the box for meals.

 

BRUNCH:  Going to brunch on the weekends in NYC is practically a requirement.  However, why go out when it could be so easy to host your own brunch?  Don’t know where to start?  Don’t worry; Glitter Guide will help you out!

 

That’s a wrap for this edition of Weekly Finds.  Check out my posts this week like guest blogger Johnny Pomatto’s review of The Jungle Book and 12 Dresses for Spring.  Have a great weekend!

 

Movies & Films Reviews: The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book Review

 

“Trust In Me,” Says Jon Favreau, And We Do

By Johnny Pomatto

I am wildly opposed to the idea of Disney remaking, rebooting, and replacing their classic animated films with live action updates, and with remakes of “Beauty and the Beast,” “Dumbo,” “Peter Pan,” and “Pinocchio” all on the horizon, I’m not ready to change my stance.  But I do have to commend director Jon Favreau for his efforts in reintroducing the story of THE JUNGLE BOOK to a modern audience without totally abandoning some of what made the original animated film special.  Unlike previous Disney remakes, such as the dreadful and forgettable “Maleficent” and “Cinderella,” THE JUNGLE BOOK recognizes its roots, and while it attempts to add some of the darker realism of Rudyard Kipling’s original story, it knows when to reference the animated original, and even add a few of its iconic songs.

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