Updated: 09/16/2016 5:15 PM | Print Story |  Email

9/16 Movie Trip

TCL film critic Paul McGuire Grimes from Paul's Trip to the Movies reviews the latest film in the Bridget Jones saga, the newest film by Oliver Stone, and a home release starring Susan Sarandon.  
 
BRIDGET JONES’S BABY (theatrical release)
 
It’s been fifteen years since Renée Zellweger first brought Bridget Jones to the big screen. She’s back and celebrating her 43rd birthday with a mixed bag of emotions. She’d rather not celebrate, but her adoring coworkers throw her an “R.I.P” party at the office to celebrate. This birthday also means a surprise getaway to a music festival thanks to her friend and colleague, Miranda, at the news station.  In pure Bridget Jones fashion, she tends to make a fool of herself and promptly falls face first in a pile of mud. Luckily for her, the extremely good-looking Jack Qwant is there to pick her and flirt with her in pure Prince Charming style. They depart for a majority of the night until Bridget drunkenly stumbles into his tent. Naturally a passionate sexual encounter ensues. Bridget is perfectly content with her one-night stand. A few days later, she runs into ex-flame Mark Darcy at a christening, as both of them are now godparents for a mutual friend’s newborn. They can’t quite seem to take their eyes off each other, which leads to another steamy one-night only affair for Bridget. A month later Bridget discovers she is pregnant, and thanks to the timing of both of her sexual conquests, she doesn’t know if the father is the all-American Jack or her forever flame, Mark. Oddly enough, both men are perfectly content with being the father, which makes it all the harder for Bridget to come clean about the fact there is another guy in the picture.
 
-Starring: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Emma Thompson, Jim Broadbent
 
-Creative team of the first film including director Sharon Maguire, and author Helen Fielding is back as one of the film’s screenwriters along with Emma Thompson. 
 
-Utter joy to see Renée Zellweger back on the big screen. She’s been gone for too long, and Bridget Jones perfectly captures how great she is with comedic timing. We’re seeing an older, more mature Bridget, but she’s still a fumbling mess around her Prince Charmings. She reminds us all of our dating faux pas. 
 
-Easy, silly humor that has the audience consistently laughing throughout the entire movie. It definitely lives in the world of a frothy, British rom-com. You have the classic unfortunate accidents, the getting caught in the rain, embarrassing yourself at work, two men duking it out to prove who will be the better daddy, and other lavish comedic moments.
 
-You do find out what happens to Hugh Grant’s character, but Dempsey is a nice substitute for him. He plays the CEO of a dating website which brings online dating in the world of Bridget Jones. He’s an admirable character, which makes it a bit harder for her to decide who she wants to be the father of the baby.
 
-With Dempsey’s character, the movie asks the question of what makes more sense between falling in love the old fashioned way or meeting someone who’s right on paper based on algorithms and statistics.
 
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? For those who hated the second movie, fear not as we’re back to the Bridget Jones we all love and adore.
 
RATING: 3.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
 
SNOWDEN (theatrical release)
 
Director Oliver Stone is no stranger at tackling controversial true-life subjects. His latest is that of infamous whistleblower Edward Snowden. The film is shaped around Snowden’s filmed confession in 2013 where he identifies himself as the man who leaked thousands of classified documents as evidence to how the government tracks our every move. As he’s meeting with a documentarian and two journalists in a Hong Kong hotel, the film cuts back and forth going back to 2004 to when he was discharged from the army. He is told to find another way to serve our country. He decides to join the CIA in 2006 where his programming skills and knowledge of code don’t go unnoticed. His work eventually takes him to the NSA and another rabbit hole of security and governmental cover-ups eat away at his soul. Throughout all of this, he attempts to have a relationship with a photographer named Lindsay who remains innocent and void of the conspiracy bug that hits Snowden. No matter the harm it ends up doing on his body and on their relationship, he feels that he is the only one out there that can put a stop to the government’s actions or at least put the information out in the open for the public to view.
 
--Written and directed by Oliver Stone who has made a variety of political films like Born on the Fourth of July, World Trade Center, and various films about the presidents like JFK, Nixon, and W.  
 
-Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Rhys Ifans, Scott Eastwood, Nicolas Cage
 
-Joseph Gordon-Levitt is ideally cast. He has those geeky, but good-looking qualities. He completely morphs his voice into a lower, more monotone sound void of the musicality his voice usually carries. Stone makes good of his smaller stature to play up the towering aspects of some of the CIA instructors and government figures that get in his way. 
 
-Stone makes his opinion of Snowden very clear in how he treats him as an innocent genius who got in too deep but should be thought of as a hero for bringing this information to the forefront.
 
-The script keeps the language very clear and easy to follow Snowden’s work. It never gets bogged down in government intel or computer jargon.
 
-If you go in with a very neutral stance or lack of knowledge of Snowden, your opinion of him may change to fit the movie. If you’re leery about government conspiracies or illegal hacks, Snowden will irk you even more.
 
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Stone’s best film in many years
 
RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
 
THE MEDDLER (home release)
 
I’m sure we’ve all had those moments where we just wish our parents would leave us alone. I don’t mean that in a bad way or insulting way, but we sometimes need personal space. For Rose Byrne’s Lori, she knows this feeling all too well. After her father died, it seems like her mother Marnie, played by Susan Sarandon, just doesn’t know what to do with herself to pass the time. This results in Marnie calling all the time and dropping by unannounced. There are both feeling bouts of depression and loss. Lori winds up getting a job in Los Angeles to film a pilot for a TV show she’s written. This could be a nice break away from her mother, but Marnie believes this is the perfect opportunity for her to start a new life as well. She packs up and joins Lori out in L.A. much to Lori’s chagrin. Marnie starts to realize that Lori has no time for mother/daughter get togethers and seeks out other friends and relationships who need her help instead, many of whom are Lori’s best friends. 
 
-Starring: Susan Sarandon, Rose Byrne, J.K. Simmons, Cecily Strong, Casey Wilson, Michael McKean
 
-Writer/Director Lorene Scafaria has created spot-on dialogue and situations for Susan Sarandon’s character and her overbearing ways. It feels grounded in a real relationship that she may have had with her mother.
 
-Sarandon’s best performance in years
 
-Marnie can be frustrating at time, but her intentions are always coming from a place of good intentions. Many people can relate to having a Marnie in their life whether it’s their mom, grandma, friends’ mothers
 
-If you like Hello, My Name is Doris or I’ll See You in My Dreams, you will get a kick out of The Meddler. All three have that “coming of age” feel with flawed central characters facing a new chapter in their life. 
 
-Wonderful look at the struggles and joys with many mother/daughter relationships