Thanksgiving Movie Preview
Life of Pi, Red Dawn, Silver Linings Playbook and more
Published: Sunday, November 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
Life of Pi
Ang Lee is a relatively new director for the American audience but something tells me as soon as audiences see his work in Life of Pi, the Taiwanese-born director will become a household name.
Based on the 2006 book of the same name, Life of Pi follows a young Indian man after he survives a harrowing shipwreck that took everything from him in its wake.
Lee’s movie takes on an ethereal artistic direction that is very much the most visually appealing movie of the year, if not the past decade.
While the movie may be in 3D format, Lee’s seamless storytelling makes the viewer forget their 3D glasses were ever worn.
Suraj Sharma plays the young Pi. Sharma, also relatively unknown name, makes a breakout performance as the shippwrrecked youth. Life of Pi’s story forces Sharma to reach deep within himself and display a character so absent of mind and basic humanities that, at points, it’s hard to watch.
Considering that a bulk of the story revolves around the young Pi and his fate on the trepid Pacific oceans, there are not many supporting characters to mention. However, Lee and the visual department do a superb job of crafting the tiger that Pi is shipwrecked with.
The tiger, which may or may not be a metaphor for Pi, is the source for much conflict in the film, as Pi struggles to keep both their hungers at bay.
While the movie may have a far-fetched concept, the underlying lessons attached to Life of Pi make the payoff worthwhile. Life of Pi opens Nov. 21.
- Chase Wade
Silver Linings Playbook
It’s not often that Bradley Cooper takes a serious turn in acting, but when he does it’s a treat for all of us.
Cooper sheds his “heartthrob” status in exchange for a deeper role in Silver Linings Playbook, a brilliantly penned story that follows a recent mental hospital exoneree and the adaptations he’s forced to make outside the walls of a mental hospital.
Cooper landed himself in said hospital after walking in on his wife and her boss in the shower.
Jennifer Lawrence, per usual, is at the top of her game as Tiffany, an equally crazy counterpart to Cooper, who lost her husband in war.
Together, Lawrence and Cooper make for a quirky, completely crazy couple that end up competing in a ballroom dance competition as the film nears completion.
The real heart behind Silver Linings Playbook comes from its story. Based on the 2008 book of the same name, Playbook is a rare look into the American family that often goes untouched on the silver screen.
David O. Russell is back in the director’s chair after his Oscar worthy performance for The Fighter and once again impresses with his adaptation of the story.
While the film may not be near as gritty as The Fighter, there are times in Playbook where the two films closely resemble each other.
Robert De Niro turns up in the film as Cooper’s father. De Niro’s character has severe obsessive compulsive disorder and an even worse gambling problem, which makes him just as crazy as his certifiable son.
De Niro’s slow burning acting skills are perfect for the role. Expect for the veteran actor to make a strong case in the Supporting Actor category at the Academy Awards come February.
Silver Linings Playbookopens Nov. 21.
- Chase Wade
In 1984, when the original Red Dawn was released, Cold War tensions were at their peak and burgeoning actors Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey and Charlie Sheen were on their way toward superstardom. The Russian invasion of the United States featured in the movie’s plot was not as unlikely as it seems today.
Flash forward almost 30 years and an invasion of the United States seems less plausible. Nonetheless, the recent of reproduction of Red Dawn poorly makes the case for a North Korean invasion.
While paratroopers and tanks roam the streets of Spokane, Wash., a ragtag group of teenagers gather together with an Iraq war veteran, played by Chris Hemsworth, to rebel against the North Korean invaders.
By picking off random officers here and there, blowing up check-in stations and generally irritating the new government of Spokane, the teen resistance fighters, known by their school mascot’s name the Wolverines, try to unite their city against the attack. The movie is almost exclusively intense, long-lasting action scenes filled with fire fights and incredible stunts.
“Dude, we’re living Call of Duty,” one Wolverine said.
Red Dawn relies heavily on these well-executed action montages, making up for the flat but supposedly romantic and sentimental dialogue scenes. Both Hemsworth and on-screen brother Josh Peck struggle to convey any semblance of sibling chemistry or rivalry. Connor Cruise, son of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, delivers the most emotional lines and scenes of the movie and exemplifies the themes of sacrifice and national pride that run overtly throughout the film. For fans of the original Red Dawn, the remake provides an entirely new perspective and an even thinner plot, but still holds the same emotional message conveyed in the 1984 flick.