“Flags of our Fathers” — DFF, Day 3

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Richard Linklater‘s ode to fatherhood and brothers-in-arms is a long road trip with many diversions.  Last Flag Flying features outstanding performances from the cast; the quiet, soulful man that sets the plan in motion, Steve Carell (reminding us that he’s more than a comedian), to the grandstanding, hard-drinking man covering up his shame with booze and broads played by Bryan Cranston.  Laurence Fishburn is a solid straight man who’s found his way and isn’t keen to be tempted off the path. These three men bicker and bound as they go on a journey of redeemtion and brotherhood.

The horrors of war but the joy of war-tested friendship, the deep sadness of not trusting your leaders and fighting for a lost cause, the military’s hypocrisy and easy lies and the state of men’s souls — complex themes for a movie that keeps company with men still recovering from the Vietnam War. Linklater is no stranger to themes of manhood and his work here is a brilliant study in why a lie can change your life, or sooth a weary soul. This is a long journey and the side-trips are a welcome reprieve with some comedy moments that had the audience laughing through their tears.

Drinks with Films Rating: 3 beers and a shot in an Irish bar trying to drown your sorrow

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“Foxcatcher”–the problem of casting against type with large noses

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This photo says it all: two actors cast against type and sporting large prosthetic schnoozes!  There was some buzz about Steve Carell’s amazing performance in Foxcatcher, but with an exaggerated speech pattern and stilted performance as a wealthy wrestling enthusiast, he’s almost a comic book character.  As his obsession (and lover?), Channing Tantum sports a companion fake nose and a comically-stiff walk with so little dramatic range, that his character is hard to root for or to even find like-able.  In contrast, Mark Ruffalo (even in a bad hair piece) gives a restrained performance and exudes the only warmth in the film.  His performance comes off as natural and even though he looks nothing like his supposed brother, there is a warmth and chemistry with Channing Tantum.  He is the only true thing in this over-blown, messy film.

Rating: 1 bottle of beer — with no line of coke as a chaser

Bechdel Rating: Fails

 

Director: Bennett Miller