Archive for Eddie Marsan

HAPPY-GO-LUCKY :: COMEDY :: 012

Posted in Comedy with tags , , , , , , , , on 11/05/2009 by joycereview

4bearHappyGoLucky200811671_fI’ve never given up on a movie, so I didn’t start here.  But I wanted, very badly, to be somewhere else… that is, except for the scenes with Eddie (played by the always brilliant Eddie Marsan).  The critical acclaim for this film is astounding and begs the question of, “Who’s paying these people off?”  The protagonist, Poppy (Sally Hawkins) isn’t in my opinion what the director implies through the title of his picture, as “Happy-Go-Lucky.”  She’s actually more of a… oh darn. I can’t sugar-coat this… – A dump trunk of giggly, jabbering, retardation that leaves you begging that she’d answer at least one question straight.  But no, she answers in non sequiturs and flops about the entire movie with no real aim but to stop a child from bullying another (which seemed like only an excuse to bring in hunky, romantic interest social worker, Tim [Samuel Roukin]) and to learn how to drive.

I discovered this film after watching Gangster No. 1 and it’s stunning interrogation scene with Eddie Marsan.  I was so impressed with his ability to play the fear oozing “snail” of a man in that film that I immediately looked up some of his other roles.  In Happy-Go-Lucky, he plays not-so happy-go-lucky driving instructor, Scott.  His character has a temper a mile long and is the polar opposite of Poppy, as he constantly reminds her to wear proper footwear and to watch her mirrors.  Of course, each and every demand is returned with giddy chuckles and sassy remarks that only aids in the audiences compulsion to strangle her.

There doesn’t seem to be any real plot and the dialogue is simply trite and hard to chew.  But I have to “give it up” to Sally Hawkins for playing, for nearly every scene in the movie, a character that exudes imbecilic happiness.  That’d be one monumental task for any good actor and she does it quite naturally.  I can’t help but to think of the Friends character of Janice when I look at her garb, and just praise Mike Leigh that he didn’t give her character an obnoxious laugh to-boot.

Another aspect that is hard to place is the precise setting.  The girls make mention of “texting,” which is clearly something from this decade… however, there is an awful lot of denim-wearing, colorful leggings, and loopy jewelry that seems to suggest the 1980’s.

There are two scenes that stand out, but only like an irritating herpes sore on the face of this review.  What Roger Ebert called a “profoundly effective scene” in which Poppy encounters a nonsense-jabbering homeless man came across to me as a moronic and dangerous attempt to connect with yet another character – but this time to show her empathetic side.  What Mike Leigh was trying to create comes up short and only makes me doubt the intelligence of Poppy further.  The second scene that I have a problem with is when she takes a flamingo dancing class.  She creates a wonderful first impression by not only coming in late (not her fault however) but then by disrupting class the moment the teacher is ready to get started.  She half-asses her lesson by making mocking faces and by barely participating in the classes opening stretches.  “Happy-Go-Lucky” in this case, just appears to the viewer as an appalling lack of maturity.

Not completely dreadful.  Worth seeing the clips with Eddie Marsan in it.  The rest… ( shrugs ).  Your views?

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GANGSTER No.1 :: DRAMA :: 010

Posted in Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 11/04/2009 by joycereview

8bearGangster No. 1 (2000) What if Alex DeLarge, from A Clockwork Orange, was able to parlay his “ultra-violent”-tendencies into an East Ender crime lord?  You’d have one hell of a brutal, sadistic.., and likely, sensational mob flick.  And that is just what you get with Gangster No. 1!

As a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (back when I first saw it in the early 90’s) a grin crept to my face when I saw Young Gangster (Paul Bettany) look across, intense and sinister, from under a lowered brow.  He even had the mannerisms of an “Alex” as he would disregard his victims sobs for sympathy with a smile that either meant “you amuse me” or “you have no idea you’re about to die.”

Gangster No. 1, directed by Paul McGuigan, is the story of a young gangster hired to work for The Butcher of Mayfair, Freddie Mays (David Thewlis).  It was 1968.  The young gangster is mesmerized by Freddie’s sense of style, reputation and panache but falls out of love when Freddie’s sensitivities get the best of him and falls for nightclub singer Karen (Saffron Burrows).  Now in his crazed mind, as the only gangster with a pair of yarbles, he sets out to become king.  Malcolm McDowell (Gangster 55) plays the role of the aged Young Gangster, high on his throne, in the present time, 1999.

One of my favorite scenes of the film, was the “coming-to-power” of Young Gangster after his mentor Freddie Mays gets “put away.”  In A Clockwork Orange, when Alex senses dissension in his group, he puts his droogs into their place, proper-like, with swift and brutal lashings of the ultra-violent.  Quite similar does the young gangster confronts the only member of the party with seniority, correctively squelching his tongue-wagging, and sits, decisively, assuming his throne; the exact spot that Mr. Freddie Mays used to occupy.

The best scene, and one that may go down as one of my favorite interrogation scenes of all-time, comes about half-way in the film when Paul Bettany’s character pays Eddie Miller (played by Eddie Marsan) a visit.  Eddie winces and shutters as if he knows in his gutty-works that he’s about to be snuffed out.  Every gross fascial fluid seeps from his blubbering face as he attempts to explain that his “meeting” with rival boss, Lennie Taylor (Jamie Foreman) “wasn’t what you think.”

For those who like: Reservoir Dogs, Snatch, and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels…I viddy this one’s for you.  As clear as an azure sky of deepest summer… you can rely on me!  And although the ending could deliver more, the rest leaves you shagged, fagged and fashed… in a good way!

What where your thoughts on this film?