The summer movie season is in full swing! We’ve got men of steel and men of iron. Space epics, car chases, explosions . . . and I didn’t get to watch any of those yet. Oh no, my friends, I’ve been studying for finals like you guys. Instead, I’ve tried to catch up on things I missed earlier this year. And I’m kinda glad I did.
But I’m going to see the new Star Trek, folks. And the new Fast and the Furious. And the new Superman. And . . .
Searching For Sugar Man (2012) – [PG-13]
So, probably the furthest thing from a summer blockbuster, let’s start with a documentary.
In the early 70’s, there was a folk singer named, Sixto Rodriguez (or just Rodriguez, as his albums are labelled). Don’t worry if you can’t remember hearing anything by him. He only made two albums and they didn’t sell very well at all. At least, not in the U.S. or U.K.
Instead, unbeknownst to him, Rodriguez found popularity in South Africa. Unfortunately, according to legend, shortly after recording the two albums, Rodriguez committed suicide.
This movie follows a group of Rodriguez fans as they try to find out what really happened to their favorite pop star. Not only is it a celebration of the power of music, it is a great detective story and an amazing human interest piece. Normally, I would link you to the trailer here but do yourself a favor and don’t watch it. Just rent the movie and let the story play itself out. If you don’t come away feeling a little warmer inside that cold, cold heart of yours, I’ll . . . I’ll . . .we’ll, I’d be surprised.
Sounds weird for the old Cougs to be talking about how heart-warming a movie is? Trust me, that sort of stuff usually just makes me groan but when it is real, like it is here in Searching for Sugar Man, it’s hard to ignore.
8.5 Paws out of 10
Silver Linings Playbook (2012) – [R]
You remember how I just said that movies that are supposed to be heart-warming usually make me groan? Just keep that little nugget in the back of your mind for a minute. We have more important things to discuss first.
You can go on about how good (or not good) you thought Bradley Cooper was in this. You can talk about how good Jennifer Lawrence was in this. You could even talk about DeNiro’s turn as the father. But let’s face it, the best part of this movie is seeing Chris Tucker back. We haven’t seen poor Chris “Tax Evasion” Tucker since 2007. Does this mean we get Rush Hour 4 now? Please?
But okay, I get it, you want to talk about Cooper and Lawrence. Look, the thing is, Lawrence is a great actress. She was great in The Burning Plan. She was great in Winter’s Bone. She was great in X-Men. And she’s great here. And the script is great, too. David O. Russell is a magnificent director. And Bradley Cooper is . . . well, he’s handsome.
At it’s core, Silver Linings Playbook is about the healing power of love. Be it familial or romantic or just the love of self, love is the center of every thing that happens in the movie. And that would be a wonderful thing if I actually cared about Bradley Cooper’s character since he is the catalyst for all that happens. What’s weird is, I really liked and believed in all of the other characters in the movie.
Here, watch the trailer. Am I being too hard on Cooper here?
It’s a well-made movie. David O. Russell hasn’t made a movie I didn’t like yet (yes, even I Heart Huckabees). But this just didn’t reach me like his previous movie, The Fighter. It’s not bad but it doesn’t feel real. It was supposed to be heart-warming. Ugh…
7 Paws out of 10