Imagine putting a stranger on a pedestal and then seeing your dreams come crashing down upon meeting this person. That is exactly what happened to our hero in the new movie “Being Flynn.” The stranger in question was his own father.
Paul Dano, the actor who famously sparred with Oscar-winner Daniel Day Lewis in “There Will Be Blood,” is now trading barbs with Robert De Niro in “Being Flynn.” Dano plays the son, Nick Flynn, and De Niro is his wayward father, Jonathan Flynn.
Based on the 1997 memoir by the real Nick Flynn called “Another Bulls—t Night in Suck City,” “Being Flynn” is a thoughtful meditation on family relationships. The movie takes its time to get the message across but De Niro’s performance makes it all an ebullient experience.
Let’s be honest and admit that De Niro has not done a good movie worthy of his iconic stature in quite a while. It seemed that the actor has been wasting his talent starring in films like “Hide and Seek” and the “Meet the Parents” franchise. I’m happy to report that De Niro is back in top form in “Being Flynn.”
Jonathan is a tricky role to play. He’s unlikeable, he left his family to fend for themselves, and he’s an unreliable narrator who seemed to derive pleasure from emotionally hurting his son. Yet, as a viewer, you will believe in him and even champion his cause. And that’s largely due to De Niro’s performance.
Nick grew up longing for his dad. In replace of an absent father, he has a loving mother played by Julianne Moore. Many different father figures emerge throughout Nick’s life but no one can compare to the indelible image of the long-lost Jonathan.
At the heart of “Being Flynn” is the art of writing. Jonathan fancies himself as one of the few, real American authors. But the problem is he has not written anything. Nick, perhaps to emulate his father, decides to take writing as a profession. Guess who got published first?
It took nearly seven years for “Being Flynn” to be made. Writer-director Paul Weitz (“About a Boy”) wrote 30 different scripts to adapt the memoir. What he came up with is a darkly endearing tale to showcase De Niro.
You can tell that the actor relishes playing the role. Jonathan is a racist homophobe and De Niro was about a foot away from imitating the lovable bigot we all know as Archie Bunker in “All in the Family.” But the actor held back and chose to create palpable chemistry with Dano instead.
The younger actor is also commendable. Whether he is exchanging verbal blows with De Niro, or professing his love to his girlfriend Denise (Olivia Thilby), Dano holds his own and makes us care for the character. “Being Flynn” is really Nick’s story and Dano fleshes out his character. He is truly an interesting actor to watch.
Weitz makes great use of his stellar cast. It is intriguing that the writer-director chose to return to the father-son category. In “About a Boy,” Hugh Grant’s character learned how to be a grown-up with the help of a little boy and “In Good Company,” family drama takes center stage in a corporate setting.
In “Being Flynn,” Jonathan learns life lessons from his grown-up son. The message of the movie may be overly stretched, but the film spells it loud and clear that life is cyclical. You can be up one minute and down the second, just like De Niro’s career.
RATING: 3 KISSES
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Last year, we told you that Warner Bros. was interested in making a new film adaptation of the 1959 Broadway musical "Gypsy." Barbra Streisand was attached, which is a good thing because the Oscar-winning actress has not made a musical since 1983's "Yentl." Joel Silver, the uber-producer who gave us the very macho franchises such as "Lethal Weapon," "The Matrix," "Die Hard," and "Sherlock Holmes" is embracing his inner musical geek to co-produce the movie with Streisand. (See Barbra Streisand in Talks to Play Mama Rose in New "Gypsy" Movie Adaptation!)
Warner's involvement was fitting since they created the 1962 movie adaptation starring Rosalind Russell and Natalie Wood. But now, we heard Warner stepped out and Universal Pictures is stepping in and they brought a scriptwriter to adapt the musical!
Streisand and Silver are still very much in the picture, and helping them is Julianne Fellowes who will adapt the Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents' Tony Award-winning musical for the big screen. Fellowes won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for "Gosford Park," and he recently received an Emmy and Golden Globe for writing and creating the beloved PBS series "Downton Abbey." Fellowes also adapted the script for Disney's stage production of "Mary Poppins."
Based on the memoir by Gypsy Rose Lee, the musical and the original film explored the relationship between Gypsy Rose (Wood), a burlesque dancer, and her mom, Rose Hovick, a quintessential stage mother played to the hilt by Russell in the movie version, and Ethel Merman on Broadway.
Streisand would be playing the stage momma! You'll be swell, you'll be great Babs!
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All Hail Canada!
Our neighbors get it! "Bully," the all-important Lee Hirsch documentary about our bullying crisis here in the U.S., received the dreaded R rating from the MPAA which created a fight to get its classification changed to PG-13 so younger kids can watch the movie. After all, this film is all about them -- their struggles, their hopes.
But in Canada, their censors gave the Weinstein Company film a PG-rating. Hurray! So Canadian kids will be able to see "Bully" and hopefully, be able to change our world and fight our bullying crisis. Let's all convert them, one bully at a time.
"Bully" opens in the U.S. on March 30.
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Will the odds be ever in "Hunger Games'" favor?
British censors have demanded seven seconds of cuts from the movie according to The Hollywood Reporter. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, and Josh Hutcherson, the bloody footage must be cut in order for the film to receive a PG-13 equivalent rating known in the UK as a 12A rating.
When the film is released on March 23rd, "Hunger Games" will arrive with the advice tag of “Contains intense threat, moderate violence and occasional gory moments.”
Those gory moments are what the British censors want deleted or else!
Here in the good, old USA, "Hunger Games" received a PG-13 rating for “intense violent thematic material and disturbing images – all involving teens.”
So "Hunger Games" will be bloody -- the world will be watching!
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It's very gloomy at the House of Mouse. Their $250 million plus project, "John Carter," failed to reach box-office Nirvana and one executive even suggested that this could be the biggest Hollywood flop since Michael Cimino's "Heaven's Gate" in 1980.
Starring Taylor Kitsch and directed by Andrew Stanton ("Wall-E," "Finding Nemo"), I enjoyed "John Carter," it was not a great sci-fi flick but it was a good popcorn movie that its targeted audience would eat up. ("John Carter" movie review)
Well, I was wrong. Its targeted audience pretty much ignored the film given its domestic box-office take last weekend of $30.2 million. "John Carter" did better overseas with 55 markets reporting $70.6 million box-office total. Combined, "John Carter's" revenues were still a far cry from its over-bloated budget.
But its curious how Disney over-spends and under-performs. It has happened before in 2011 with "Mars Needs Moms," and in 2010 with the double-floppy of "The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" and "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."
So just how much with Disney lose with "John Carter?" Read the complete article right here and weep for the House of Mouse.
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