“Deadpool”

The top grossing film in 2016 after two months is “Deadpool”. Oh, my! How many “sommerassaults” and sideway pistol shots can one take before one is bored with the tumultuous tumble! Are we making fun of one-on-one violence or marveling at it? Tim Miller has directed an anti-hero film which is half vigilante and half  personal revenge film. Tarantino comes to mind. Viewers seem to love the fast action and irreverent fast paced repartee and put downs. I was yawning, when not gleefully enjoying the masterful subtleties. Who doesn’t want a doppelganger cabbie, or a  haunted Segway tour pamphlet ?

A daffodil daydream this is not, the only essence in this film is to marvel at all the ways to multilate a body. Sometimes this means sharing a bullet. A continually smacked head changes the radio stations multiple times. There is a tornado of fly bys. The 80’s sound track and the  annoying voice of Ryan Reynolds gave me a headache.

Reynolds playing Wade Wilson or Deadpool is in love with Vanessa ( Morena Baccarin). He is diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. Wade makes light of it in litany singsong, ” It’s only in my liver, lungs, prostate and brain.” In flashback we revisit Wade and Vanessa’s romancing. Oh, my! Here the writers really ” eased up on the bedazzling”!  As Vanessa says, ” My crazy versus your crazy.”

With hopelessness not the stuff of action movies, especially the comedic kind, Wade accepts a recruiters ploy to cure Wade’s cancer and give him super hero powers to boot. As a Special Forces mercenary with an impressive kill count, Wade agrees. His disfigurement in the processes leads to his revenge saga against Ajax, whose birth name “Francis” seems to be funny to those who don’t hold Assisi in high esteem. I will watch for Francis’ ranking in most popular baby names for the next few years before I get too sullen.

Wade is tortured by Ajax until he mutates. Super heroes are not being made but super slaves are. A greenish serum is intravenously delivered and the film is literally fast-forwarded to catch-up to the story chronologically. When “Hit The Road Jack” began as the back score, I was ready to ,well , hit the road. More so after the animated unicorns split off the container ship with imprisoned Vanessa. Enjoy the clever  beginning credits hyping ” a hot chick”, “a moody teen”, and  slugs like ” directed by an overpaid tool” and “produced by asshats”. Wallow in the sexual asides like ” I never say this, but don’t swallow”. Now, do what Deadpool tells you, ” Go Home”, and maybe pray. Adolescent to the core.

 

 

 

 

“Woman In Gold”

Helen Mirren does a mean glance and a meaner stare. Both show up many times in the much-advertised “Woman In Gold”. When her young attorney,the son of a friend exclaimed that an event happened a half century ago,she eyes him incredulously and questions, “You think that is a long time?” We are drawn in with her demeanor and her carriage of a life having been lived. The remainder of the film bravely intertwines her past with the future.

This is a story of survivor’s guilt,art and music’s evocations,and Austria’s soul. Based on the true story of Maria Altmann, niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer the subject of Klimt’s portrait “Lady In Gold”, and of her dogged attorney ,  E. Randolph Schoenberg ( grandson of the Vienese composer, Arnold Schoenberg), who sacrificed family and job to pay homage to his ancestry.The past asking sacrifice of the present is a central theme.

Reasons to see this film besides learning about art restitution laws and adding to the genre of “less we forget” pieces would be the cast. Ryan Reynolds is so believable as he passionately prepares and delivers his Supreme Court remarks:” She came to America for peace. Let us give her justice,too.” We root for this man who began for money and finished for heart and justice. The “can of worms” imagery will delight any litigator, by the way. Katie Holmes is sweet, supportive and savvy.Helen Mirren funny and heartrendingly responsible. Her “I left them there” will bring tears to your eyes.

The music and lyrics “Mary, don’t you weep no more”  is just perfect as Maria faces her ghosts. The screenplay written by Alexi Kaye Campbell  is rife with understatement. Mirren delivers “The postcard doesn’t do her justice” and “I wish they would have accepted him (Hitler) to the art academy” with aplomb. Explaining the stacks of boxes in one room after her sister Louisa’s death, Mirren smiles and says “my sister moved in with me when she died.”

Gustav Klimt’s portrait of Adele introduces the film. We watch him as he prepares a section of the gold leaf to embellish his canvas.I thought this was an ingenious way to showcase the care and preparation required to produce this masterwork. Later, I considered the attorney’s verbal preparation and brief a masterwork,too. Back and forth, our understanding comes from Maria’s memories: her wedding, her aunt’s tutelage, and the most realistic foot chase scene as Nazi police try to stop Maria and her husband from fleeing Vienna.

The scenes of 1940 Vienna are extreme. Maria’s father’s cello playing,her husband’s operatic serenade, and then the humiliation of Jews made to scrub the pavement with acid, and the jack-booting Nazi parades. After 1998, a different kind of patriotism is called for, and the investigative reporter who aids their cause in Austria tries to make up for the sins of his Nazi father and his Fatherland. Again,the past is asking for something of the present lest we forget. See this film directed by Simon Curtis  and remember anew.