Let’s get this out of the way – this movie is about someone trying to make and sell a mop. It is entertaining, but the entertainment value doesn’t come from the fact that it’s very loosely based on Joy Mangano, the inventor and entrepreneur behind the self-wringing Miracle Mop and Huggable Hangers, who made a name on the Home Shopping Network. No, Jennifer Lawrence earns her headlining status and proves what a powerhouse actor she is by owning scene after scene. This is her third collaboration with director David O. Russell, each of which she’s garnered an Oscar nomination and one win. Russell surrounds her with the right components. This is the fourth time Lawrence and Bradley Cooper have teamed up. This is the fourth time Cooper and Robert De Niro have worked together. Toss in Diane Ladd, Edgar Ramírez, Isabella Rossellini and Virginia Madsen, and what you have is a mess of the right chemistry to mop up and wring onto the screen – worth a watch.
Charlie Kaufman is the big brain who makes odd films that somehow attach to you like a catchy song. He examined identity in “Being John Malkovich.” He internally and externally deconstructed a love affair in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” Here, he converts his stage play about the delusion of appearances and disguises into a stop-motion animated feature. It’s not your typical animated film. There’s drinking and sex, and the main character spirals out of control. It’s quite a melancholy spectacle. It was also the first R-rated animated film to be nominated for a Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards. David Thewlis voices the main character. Jennifer Jason Leigh voices his love interest. And Tom Noonan plays all the other voices, and there are quite a lot of them. Like every Kaufman outing, it’s not your normal movie, but it’s worth a watch.
“The 5th Wave”
Look out – here comes the newest young adult novel adaptation, splashing down for teens and the young at heart. Just like “The Hunger Games,” “Twilight” and “Divergent” book series, this is the first book of author Rick Yancey’s trilogy, and just like those books, we see a strong female protagonist. This time, Chloe Grace Moretz brings the character to life. Moretz has shown in the past she has acting chops, and she’s strong here, maybe one of the few strengths in this movie. But the plot falls victim to age-old tedium. The love triangle rears its ugly head. Convenient devices drop in place to soothe out bumpy plotlines. Director J Blakeson lost all the edginess he brought to 2009’s “The Disappearance of Alice Creed.” Not even the talented and dangerous Liev Schreiber can save audiences from this tsunami of blah – pass.