Film review: Vice packs great performances, but a less than fascinating story line

Though The Sleepless Critic does not usually tackle films, since awards season is here and Sleepless Critic is associated with the Screen Actors Guild Awards, a review will pop up here and there about a nominee.

The hype about the political satire film, Vice has been mounting.  With Christian Bale’s recent Golden Globe win for his portrayal as Vice President Dick Cheney, it seems that this film has its sights set on the Academy Awards.  Christian Bale and Amy Adams have been nominated for Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Male Actor in a Motion Picture and Outstanding Female Actor in a Motion Picture, respectively. The performances are definitely worth seeing and this biting satire has a lot to say, if it only the actual story line was that good.

Vice has its clever moments, but those moments were much more interesting in Adam McKay’s far superior film, The Big Short.  Narrated by a mystery man who plays a significant role in Dick Cheney’s life, this satirical tale is slow and a bit muddled from the start as it describes Cheney’s path into politics.

The second half picks up quite a bit as Cheney rises to power, but not enough to make up for the first half.  Accentuated by a crooked sneer, Bale is almost unrecognizable as the former Vice President, his performance quiet and calculating.  As the film warns, “Beware the quiet man.”  However, I was waiting to see how brazen he truly was and with the exception of a brilliant monologue toward the end, I was left waiting for the payoff.  His motivation is never really clear other than desire for power.

Underneath that plastered smile, Amy Adams is ruthless, power hungry Lynn Cheney.  Although it becomes clear why Lynn Cheney is with Dick Chaney, it is unclear why Dick seemingly will give anything to impress Lynn.  Steve Carell offers a steely and momentarily sympathetic portrayal of Donald RumsfeldSam Rockwell delivers an amusing performance as ill-prepared for the presidency, George W. Bush, but sadly, is not in the film nearly as much as he should be.

sag 2019 nominees

Screen Actors Guild Awards will be broadcast on Sunday, January 27! Photo credit to SAG

The 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, hosted by Megan Mullally, will be broadcast on Sunday, January 27.  Click here for more information.

Vice is still in theatres now.

 

FILM REVIEW: A nail-biting, clever, and mostly unpredictable ‘A Quiet Place’

Talk about bone-chilling.

Though The Sleepless Critic does not usually tackle films, since awards season is here and Sleepless Critic is associated with the Screen Actors Guild Awards, a review will pop up here and there about a nominee.   Emily Blunt has been nominated for Screen Actor’s Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actress in a Supporting Role for the post-apocalyptic horror film, A Quiet Place.

The Abbots are embarking on a quiet journey.  Not by choice, but in fear for their lives.  Every moment of this nail biting PG-13 horror flick will keep you at the edge of your seat.  John Krasinski makes his directorial debut in A Quiet Place starring alongside his beautiful, IRL Emily Blunt, who has had a strong presence this awards season and was pregnant IRL during its filming.  See the trailer here.

It may seem like too simple a premise that just might put you to sleep.  Not a word is spoken for the majority of the film, but Krasinski makes some clever and bold choices to build the film’s tension to hair raising suspense.  It’s a mostly unpredictable movie about the Abbot family trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.  Everyday tasks are harrowing under the threat of being attacked at the hint of any noise.

John Krasinki brings this world to life and is likable as a courageous father and husband.  Emily Blunt is quite the warrior (especially in a perilous scene not to be revealed here), but it is Millicent Simmonds as Regan who is the real standout in this film, a young actress deaf in real life.

sag 2019 nominees

Screen Actors Guild Awards will be broadcast on Sunday, January 27.  Photo credit to SAG

The 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, hosted by Megan Mullally, will be broadcast on Sunday, January 27.  Click here for more information.

A Quiet Place is available for streaming on ITunes, OnDemand, on Blu-Ray, DVD, and where I found it – at my local library.

The 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Award winners and New England viewing party at Laugh Boston

Kicking off without a hitch, the 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards was an evening of political statements, undeniable talent, and surprises on Sunday, January 29 at 8 p.m.  To celebrate, SAG-AFTRA’s New England chapter celebrated with their 5th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Viewing Party at Laugh Boston.  The festive evening included an official red carpet for photos, cash bar, full dinner, cake, raffles, and prizes.  Television screens showcased the awards show throughout the venue.  Click here to learn more about the New England chapter and where all the viewing parties take place here.

Broadcast on TNT and TBS, The Screen Actors Guild Awards had its share of excitement and surprises.  Among the many acceptance speeches that delved into the state of the world, winner Julia-Louis Dreyfus of Veep shared her story of her immigrant father and her love for the United States.  Perhaps the most powerful moment of the evening was the surprise win for the popular Sci-Fi Netflix series Stranger Things.  Bringing the crowd to its feet, David Harbour, who portrays Chief Jim Hopper, made a metaphorical statement about fighting fear and exclusivity through great acting in a mostly narcissistic culture.  He spoke about battling the monsters and bullies of real life, helping to bring unity to the world.

Unfortunately, Jane Fonda could not attend the awards show to complete the 9 to 5 reunion, but Dolly Parton was her usual engaging, humorous self presenting friend, comedian, and actress Lily Tomlin with the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.  The Screen Actors Guild Awards also took a moment to acknowledge actors lost in 2016, an especially tough year.  Prince, Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher, Mary Tyler Moore, Garry Shandling, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Gene Wilder, and Garry Marshall were among the long list of memorable faces in a tear-jerking tribute.

The Screen Actors Guild Awards are awarded to actors in the film and television industry from fellow actors, some of the big winners of the evening included Denzel Washington and Viola Davis for Fences, Emma Stone for La La Land, the cast of Hidden Figures, as well as Claire Foy and John Lithgow for The Crown, Click here for the full list of recipients.