Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie this year. It's an almost outrageously quirky comedy that shamelessly plays every crowd-pleasing card, but in ways we've never seen before. The offbeat characters are ridiculously loveable, the music infectious and the plot strong enough to have us on our feet cheering at the end.
In suburban New Jersey, Patti (Danielle Macdonald) is a chunky white girl who dreams of being a rapper like her idol O-Z (Sahr Ngaujah). She lives with her larger-than-life mother Barb (Bridgett Everett) and her cranky wheelchair-bound Nana (Cathy Moriarty), both of whom had musical ambitions of their own. Against all odds, she forms an act with her best pal Jheri (Siddharth Dhananjay), and they're understandably struggling to get noticed. Then she meets Basterd (Mamoudou Athie), a death-metal anarchist who joins her, Jheri and Nana in perhaps the nuttiest band of all time, PBNJ. The surprise is that their demo tape is actually very good. The question is whether they can win an upcoming competition organised by O-Z himself.
Writer-director Geremy Jasper shoots the film like a documentary, staying close to the characters as the real world rumbles along obliviously in the background. This draws the audience in, making it very easy to identify with these talented, likeable people who produce exhilarating music. Australian newcomer Macdonald is simply amazing, a magnetic force to reckon with. She brings Patti's yearning to life, as well as her snarky sense of humour, rapping skills and more than a little bitterness. She also has superb chemistry with all of her costars, each of whom develops a fully formed character who defies easy description. But then each person in this story deserves an entire film of his or her own.
Continue reading: Patti Cake$ Review
Patricia 'Dumbo' Dombrowski (Danielle MacDonald) is a big girl with even bigger dreams who works for a catering company in Bergen County, New Jersey. But food is not her future. She is desperate to become a big time rap superstar. She's never really had any musical talent, but when it comes to the hip hop genre she absolutely slays. Dubbed Killa P aka Patti Cake$, she finds support in her best friend Jheri (Siddharth Dhananjay) who works at a local pharmacy, and is further encouraged by a scary-looking fellow rapper named Basterd (Mamoudou Athie). And while her mother Barb (Bridget Everett) is less than encouring with Patti's quest for fame and fortune, her Nana (Cathy Moriarty) has every faith in her granddaughter.
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Cathy Moriarty and children - Disney On Ice presents 'Frozen' at The Barclay's Center in Brooklyn - Arrivals at Barclays Center, Disney - New York City, New York, United States - Tuesday 11th November 2014
Simon is a timid, uncharismatic and largely forgettable man who doesn't seem to be getting anywhere in life. He is rarely acknowledge at work and is a stranger to all his colleagues, his mother is disappointed in his lacklustre life and to top it all off, the woman he loves, Hannah, remains firmly indifferent to his existence. With his future hanging in the balance as he fails to make an impression on anybody, his life is further thrust into oblivion with the arrival of his doppelganger and complete opposite, James - who is newly employed at Simon's work. Unlike Simon, James captivates everyone he meets and is destined for success - even Hannah has his attention as he rapidly takes over Simon's life. With everybody else totally ignorant of the creepy resemblance, Simon is forced to snatch his life back by any means possible.
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Simon is one of those sorts of people who can never seem to make an impression on anybody. His work colleagues barely know his name, his love interest Hannah remains stoically uninterested and his mother is unsupportive and, quite frankly, thinks he's rather strange. Already in danger of letting his life slowly slip from his grasp, things start to get dark when a new employee joins Simon at work. James is the spitting image of Simon in every way from the hair and clothes to the voice and smile; however, the very obvious difference is that James is brimming with confidence with a magnetic charisma that charms everyone he meets. Simon appears to be the only person who notices his resemblance - a frustrating prospect when Hannah starts to become extremely interested in James. Simon simply can't let this imposter infiltrate his world - but just how far will he go to stop him?
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Simon is already running the risk of seeing his life crash and burn around him, with his reticent personality forcing away any love interests (or even friends), attracting much disappointment from his mother and losing him support in his career, but things are about to go further downhill very soon. A new employee named James has taken up a position at his workplace but, to Simon's horror, he looks and sounds identical to him - only with a more extroverted disposition and captivating character. Simon's too afraid to try and change things in his life, feeling comfortable (if a little depressed) with remaining in the shadows, but when James starts to take over everything he holds most dear, he is forced to try. But can he battle his demons while remaining sane at the same time?
Continue: The Double - 2 Snakes Clip
Being diffident, introverted and generally awkward in social situations, Simon finds his life increasingly difficult as he feels unappreciated in his work life, disparaged by his disappointed mother and rejected by his only love interest. Unable to find the courage to turn his life around, things are about to get much, much worse as a new employee at his company named James shows up. James is Simon's ultimate doppelganger, and his appearance only serves to make Simon increasingly more nervous as, although they are identical in looks, they are total opposites in personalities with James possessing a much more confident and magnetic character. Gradually, James starts to infiltrate Simon's life, taking over everything he holds most dear with Simon being driven completely insane in the process.
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By Rich Cline
Aniston and Butler mysteriously rustle up just enough chemistry in this simplistic rom-com to make it enjoyable. We never really like their characters, but some of the film's contrived situations are genuinely funny.
Nicole (Aniston) is a New York journalist who's so busy with a breaking story that she neglects to turn up for a court date and ends up on the bail-jumper list of bounty hunter Milo (Butler), her ex-husband. Their stormy marriage didn't last long, and Milo is happy for the chance to get some revenge. But he's being chased by the goons (Coster and Garland) of an Atlantic City loan shark (Moriarty). Meanwhile, Nicole also has a lovelorn colleague (Sudeikis) and a vicious henchman (Greene) after her.
Continue reading: The Bounty Hunter Review
Watch the trailer for The Bounty Hunter
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By Jay Antani
Twenty-five years since its release, Martin Scorsese's masterpiece Raging Bull has been crowned with so many critical laurels that another word in praise of it might seem hopelessly redundant. To claim that it puts to shame virtually any American film made since sounds about right, but it might be more worthwhile to note how the film showcases Scorsese's artistic genius in its purest form -- unsullied by ego, commercial pressures, or the self-doubt that can cloud a more jaded artist's vision. Raging Bull is a work of religious devotion by a filmmaker to his craft and an apotheosis of Scorsese's promise.The film charts the life and career of boxer Jake LaMotta (Robert De Niro) from his rise to glory in the 1940s to his fall into washed-up grotesquery in the '50s, a lounge lizard parody of his former self. That LaMotta turns into the very sort of schmuck, fat-bellied and dissipated, that he would've abhorred in his youth marks one of Scorsese's most poignant treatments of his trademark theme of the individual struggling to transcend his worst instincts to achieve greatness and grace. Anger and bitterness are ever-present here, either churning at the film's surface or roiling just below in slow burn. LaMotta, the insecure hothead who chafes at the underworld hoods who've ensnared him, directs his rage outward in the form of sexual jealousy at his wife, Vickie (Cathy Moriarty), and through his tornado-like fury in the ring. The boxer's battle for self-acceptance even threatens the most meaningful and enduring relationship he's got, the one with his brother and manager, Joey (Joe Pesci); indeed, Raging Bull is, to a large extent, about the effect of blind ambition on our most meaningful, enduring relationships.
Continue reading: Raging Bull Review
"But I'm a Cheerleader" is pure camp, from its often hammy acting to its candy-colored ambience to its plot about an in-crowd high schooler whose panicked suburban parents pack her away to retreat where sexually tilted teenagers are supposed to be "cured" of homosexual tendencies.
A social satire with a John Waters-inspired bent, the picture casts caustic Natasha Lyonne ("Slums of Beverly Hills") deliberately against type as a peppy-under-peer-pressure cheerleader who eats tofu, listens to Melissa Ethridge and is so indifferent to the drooling advances of her hunky super-jock boyfriend that her friends and Bible-beater family hold an intervention and confront her with the fact that they all think she must be a lesbian.
In spite of cheer-like protests, Lyonne is sent to a group home called True Directions, where effeminate boys in baby blue shirts and ties, and butch girls in crisp, pink Donna Reed attire are inundated with antiquated ideals about sex roles and encouraged to dry-hump inmates of the opposite sex by a staff of heavily in denial "reformed" gays.
Continue reading: But I'm A Cheerleader Review