Posts Tagged Jennifer Lawrence
Joy – Movie Review
Posted by Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D. in Movie Reviews on December 28, 2015
Directed by David O Russell, Joy is loosely based on the life of Joy Mangano, an American inventor, businesswoman, and an entrepreneur, with over a hundred patents to her name. Jennifer Lawrence is fabulous in the role of Joy.
As a little girl, Joy liked to make things and had big dreams. Her grandmother Mimi (Diane Ladd) believed in Joy’s hidden talents but somewhere along the way however, Joy’s life got derailed. This is a sad saga that is often repeated where parents get divorced and the trajectory of a child’s life changes. Joy’s supposedly promising early life is squandered on taking care of her divorced mother (Verginia Madsen), who lies in her bed all day watching soap operas, and her father (Robert De Niro), who changes girl friends more frequently than his shabby clothes, and her two infant children. Her husband (Edgar Ramirez) also hangs out in the basement of her old rickety house.
Joy’s inspiring story line is somewhat marred by incoherent narration and poorly displayed and unresolved interpersonal family conflicts. Film’s most interesting material centers around Joy’s invention of her highly absorbent, self-wringing, washable “miracle mop”, followed by her struggle to scale. During formative years, Joy’s largely absentee father, Rudy, helps her get seed money for her project from his new rich girlfriend, Trudy (Isabella Rossellini) and along with her sinister half sister, Peggy (Elizabeth Rohm), appear to help her in her business endeavors. But their motives seem to be more complex and self-serving. The family scenes appear jumpy, somewhat random and do not adequately emphasize everything Joy had to overcome and how she did it. (It could so because some of these scenes were added and some information changed when the story moved in the hands of David O. Russell from Annie Mumolo, and the focus changed from an entirely biopic story to a more emotional, all-encompassing saga).
Joy’s initial attempt to sell her invention through QVC (Quality, Value, Convenience), flops and she enlists the help of Neil Walker (Bradley Cooper) who introduces her to the emerging concept of marketing through television. Joy herself appears in front of the camera to make her own pitch and soon her miracle mop was selling by thousands. She faces some serious struggles along the way, which almost brought her to bankruptcy, including dealing with patent infringement issues. Her resolve, persistence, and creativity carry her through the storm and by the end of the film, Joy is sitting in the head honcho chair, making decisions.
The story of a woman who was selling $10M worth of Miracle Mops a year in ten years after launch (as per Wikipedia), who invented HSN’s best selling product (by 2010), the “Huggable Hangers”, that were endorsed by Oprah Winfrey; story of a woman who invented “Forever Fragrant”, “Performance Platform”, “Clothes it all luggage system” and other awesome stuff, just fails to be what it should be, an epic saga of inspiration, entrepreneurship, and creativity. If not as inspiring as it could be, Joy is still an interesting and informative movie and if you some research on Wiki, you will find all the inspiring stuff on this entrepreneurial woman who ended up as President of Ingenious Designs, LLC that was later bought by US TV shopping channel, HSN (Home Shopping Network). She remains HSN’s most successful sellers, with annual sales topping $150M. If seemingly having holes, the film is still a rich tapestry of Joy’s life. I rate Joy as 4.8 on a 1 to 5 scale with 5 being “excellent”.
American Hustle – Movie Review
Posted by Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D. in Movie Reviews on January 9, 2014
The movie “American Hustle” is based on a series of real events that took place surrounding what was dubbed as the Abscam Washington scandal that rocked the nation during 1970s. American Hustle is a movie about quintessential hustle for money, power, royalty, plunging necklines, head full of hair, and ego and power, characteristic of the capitalistic west. Director David O. Russell has done a brilliant job, and the movie has a stellar cast to represent all the memorable characters. Entry of each character scales what is at stake and builds the excitement. Here is a spoiler alert for the entire review below.
SPOILER ALERT * * * *
The movie begins with the story of a brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld (superbly played by Christian Bale) who figures out “how easy it is to take money from desperate people”. Rosenfeld is hilarious, subscribes to his own set of principles, and is obsessive about his hair. (He is not the only one obsessing about hair but more on that later). Rosenfeld decided he needed a partner with some polish and finesse to grow his con business. He promised to secure mega loans for his trusting clients, some of whom got duped twice.
Amy Adams is superb in her role as Rosenfeld’s partner in crime, Sydney Prosser, who later becomes his mistress. To their clients, she goes by as a Brit, Lady Edith. She is nobility; smart, successful, flashy, and beautiful, who meticulously curls her hair, and dresses in exquisite clothes with plunging necklines. While enabling her lover, Prosser was not fully aware of the extent of his crime, until the feds targeted her and had a warrant for her arrest.
And so enters another colorful character, FBI agent Richie Di Maso (played by brilliant Bradley Cooper). Di Maso promises to drop charges against Rosenfeld and Prosser, if Rosenfeld would work with the FBI to uncover a bigger crime, involving politicians and other public figures. Rosenfeld agrees and the trio become new partners in crime with a goal to “trap” other high profile figures. If obsession with hair is any indication of vanity, DiMaso is as obsessed with hair as his other two partners. He is also obsessed with getting as many convictions as possible, regardless of costs in money or ethics or relationships. Lavish schemes are hatched, meetings are organized, money needs are identified, and Di Maso cajoles, begs, promises success and ultimately succeeds in convincing his budget conscious superiors to shell out money for a grand front, replete with dome Perignon, authentic Louis XVI furniture, and even rented Lear Jet with (Mexican American FBI agent Michael Pena) ridiculously funny, fake Arab Sheik.
The target of elaborate scheme to entrap the rich and famous begins with the beloved, popular, and family man; the charismatic Mayor of New Jersey, Carmine Polito (played beautifully by Jeremy Renner) and eventually involves several politicians and Mafia bosses, including notorious and violent Mafia overlord Victor Tellegio (Robert De Niro).
Even from such a stellar cast, Jennifer Lawrence manages to steal the thunder in her role as Rosenfeld’s wife. Her husband refers to her as “Picasso of passive-aggressive karate”. With her passive aggressive tactics, she holds Rosenfeld tightly on a leash, so he cannot leave her, but she isn’t afraid to hook up with a mafia underling and naively spills secrets, almost giving away the FBI sting operation.
I think enough secrets are spilled here. Watch the movie to learn about the scandal where the FBI agent himself got caught up in ego and greed and kept raising the stakes, a scandal that in the end trapped him in his own greed; a scandal that resulted in real-life, in sixteen convictions, and brought down famous people, hustling to acquire more of everything they had plentiful. With terrific star power, fantastic mix of mystery, evil, greed, and comic relief, this can quite possibly be the best movie of the year. I rate it a 4.8 on a 1 to 5
scale, with 5 being excellent.
Silver Linings Playbook – Movie Review
Posted by Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D. in Movie Reviews on May 11, 2013
After Jacki Weaver (as Pat’s mother), picks him up from the institution and brings him home, his father (played by Robert DeNiro), is unsure if his son will make a good transition, out of the institution, but towards the end, he gives the only advise that was needed to get his son to stop his girlfriend from walking away, “Let me tell ya. You gotta pay attention to signs. When life reaches out with a moment like this it’s a sin if you don’t reach back… I’m telling you.” Chris Tucker, as Pat’s friend, is so cool, even in his short role. And it is the community that helps Pat heal. Anupam Kher, is splendid in his role as non condescending and compassionate, optimistic and also realist therapist.
I loved this movie, not the least because I love happy endings. I strongly adhere in life, to the power of love. “Life is random and fucked-up and arbitrary, until you find someone who can make sense of it all for you— if only temporarily.” When life throws its own curve balls and drives you crazy, the ultimate healing does not come from therapy sessions, institutions, drugs or discipline, but from love and affection and kindness and from play – music, dancing, sports. This movie has it all; beautifully woven together!