This wonderfully haunting film from the always artfully unique Charlie Kauffman has received worldwide praise for its innovative style and heart-piercing story. It’s an animated movie for adults (seriously — this is not akid’s picture) and it explores themes of existential despair and the depression that comes with the monotony of life. But don’t worry — it has plenty of funny moments, too. The story follows Michael Stone, a middle-aged man struggling to enjoy his dull life. He’s married, he has a son, he has an interesting job — but nothing excites him anymore. That is, until he meets Lisa, a fairly unremarkable woman who nonetheless reignites Michael’s spirit. With a surreal style that eerily reaches into the soul, “Anomalisa” is nothing like any film you’ve seen before.
By all logic, this should be a film tailored to a very specific audience. “Man gets mauled by bear, seeks revenge against those who wronged him” doesn’t exactly scream like a pitch that would appeal to anyone who falls outside the category of Burly, Woodsy Men. But speaking on behalf of all those on the opposite end of the entertainment spectrum (AKA Fragile, Indoorsy Disney Enthusiasts), this movie is surprisingly entertaining. Does it consist of little more than Leonardo DiCaprio crawling across beautiful landscapes for nearly two hours? Yes. But is it still weirdly engaging? Double yes. Against all logic, “The Revenant” will keep you engaged for the length of its running time, regardless of what movies you’re normally drawn to. You can thank the beautiful cinematography, top-notch performances and astonishing (and mostly true) tale of Hugh Glass’ quest for revenge against the man who left him for dead and killed his son. A must-see for anyone wondering what Leonardo DiCaprio got that Oscar for.
Not the best collaboration between director David O. Russell and his muse, Jennifer Lawrence, but it’s certainly not the worst film out there, either. “Joy” is a fictionalized take on the life of real-life inventor and business wizard, Joy Mangano. The film has taken some heavy liberties with Mangano’s life, so don’t expect to find every plot point enumerated on her Wikipedia page. The film follows Joy’s journey from housewife to successful inventor, from manufacturing Miracle Mops in her father’s automotive shop to building a business empire. “Joy” showcases Jennifer Lawrence’s incomparable acting skills, and audiences are treated with seeing her channel Joy as a hopeful young woman, a harried young mother, a pioneering inventor, a forceful business mogul and a reflective middle-aged woman. The film is a tad too scattered to be considered great, but it’s an interesting enough diversion.
Special Note: The Procrastinator will also be hosting “SEAL Team 6 Week” in honor of An Evening with Rob O’Neill on April 11. The Procrastinator will be showing three films that showcase successful missions that O’Neill, a former SEAL, was involved with. “Captain Phillips” (April 3), “Zero Dark Thirty” (April 4), and “Lone Survivor” (April 5) will be showing at 6:30 p.m. on their respective nights. Admission is free.