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Posts Tagged ‘Linda Cardellini’

Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali

“GREEN BOOK”  My rating: B 

130 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

Most of us will go into “Green Book” knowing — thanks to the ads — what the film is about. We can predict with some certainty what notes it’s going to hit, what emotional buttons it’ll be pushing.

None of this detracts from the movie’s immense pleasures.

The latest from director Peter Farrelly (yes, of the raunch-humor Farrelly Brothers) is a fact-based buddy film that dabbles in race and ethnicity, the universal appeal of music, and the glory of Detroit engineering at a time when bigger was definitely better.

It’s 1962 in NYC where Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) is bouncing drunks at the Copacabana nightclub. He’s Brooklyn Italian down to his toenails…which he can barely see thanks to his pasta-packed middle-aged spread.

Looking for a temporary gig while the club is undergoing a facelift, Tony signs up for a job driving a musician on  a tour of the Deep South.  And not just any musician.

Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) is a Phd. pianist who studied music in the Soviet Union, writes and performs classical scores (although on this tour he’s offering a popular jazz sound) and also has doctorates in psychology and liturgical arts. (The real-life Shirley also was fluent in six languages.)

Oh, yeah. He’s black, too.

But the money is good and Tony swallows his ethnic prejudices. He kisses the Missus (Linda Cardelli) goodbye and gets behind the wheel of a big aquamarine land shark for an eight-week tour leading up to Christmas.  (more…)

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Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg

Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg

“DADDY’S HOME”  My rating : B-

96 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13.

Going in, “Daddy’s Home” looks like another case of been-there-done-that.

A needy, good-guy stepdad (Will Ferrell) is threatened by the arrival of the kids’ natural father, a hunky rover (Mark Wahlberg) who will stop at nothing to reclaim his family.

Pretty familiar stuff. Except that “Daddy’s Home” is often screamingly funny. It even has a bit of heart.

Brad (Ferrell) has been married for six months to Sarah (Linda Cardellini).  Over that time he has struggled to gain the acceptance of her two young children.  Being sterile, Brad knows that this is as close to fatherhood as he’s going to get.

And just when the kids are warming to him, word arrives that their real Daddy, Dusty (Wahlberg), is returning to town.  Dusty wasn’t much of a husband and father, but now he wants to start over. And he doesn’t much appreciate Brad being in the way.

Neither Ferrell nor Wahlberg are going out on a limb here. They’ve each been cast in roles that play to their strengths — good-natured klutz and cycle-riding bad boy.

But here familiarity doesn’t breed contempt. Director Sean Anders (“Horrible Bosses II”) and co-writers Brian Burns and John Morris develop very amusing situations that give the cast members room to have fun, and many of the laughs take us by surprise.

Cardellini does a nice job of playing a woman who knows her original husband was bad news but can’t help being swayed by his machismo, and Thomas Haden Church is a scream as Brad’s boss, a much-married Lothario with an absurd real-life story to illuminate (usually inappropriately) any situation.

| Robert W. Butler

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