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Deadpool • The Choice

How To Be Single

February 11, 2016

Deadpool (***) R

In my humble opinion, any film in the Marvel comics universe that dares opening to the strains of singer Juice Newton’s 1981 pop hit Angel of the Morning is okay. It was then that any fears I had for this latest addition to the comic-book-to-film trend began to subside. The opening credits sequence, which appropriately riffs on all of the stereotypes found in these types of films, had the entire audience I attended the screening with in uproarious laughter. It serves to set the tone for what has to be the funniest and most subversive film that the powers at Marvel have yet allowed to see the light of day. In short, it’s loads of fun and not just for the fans of the Deadpool comics. It’s a mainstream film that, while not aimed at the juvenile set (it is rated R for very good reasons), is certain to satisfy practically anyone who seeks it out.

Apparently actor Ryan Reynolds, who stars as the title character, had been lobbying the Marvel folks for years to bring the Deadpool character to the big screen.

Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool

He turned up initially as the character seven years ago where he appeared as the alter ego of Deadpool, Wade Wilson, in the 2009 film X Men Origins: Wolverine. After his disastrous previous attempt to portray a super hero on the big screen in the 2010 film The Green Lantern, the odds didn’t look good for that to happen, but thankfully wiser heads have prevailed. Reynolds is the sort of smart aleck, sarcastic type of superhero that’s needed right now to keep the genre from burning itself out. In that respect, this is just what the movie doctor ordered.

As expected, the plot of the film is an origins story, mostly told in flashback. This is one clichéd trapping that Deadpool embraces but in this instance it works out just fine for the type of film that director Tim Miller has fashioned. The Reynolds character, Wade Wilson, is an ex military man who essentially falls head over heels for a hooker (Morena Baccarin), albeit one with the atypical heart of gold we’ve all seen in the movies but seldom in real life. Just when life seems to be getting good for Wade, he’s diagnosed with cancer and then offered a cure by a shady organization. He is disfigured in the process but also left with amazing healing powers. As expected, Deadpool goes after those who did him wrong in spectacularly bloody fashion.

Deadpool is a good film, although it does have a few weak spots. Most prominently, weak villains and a plot that seems pretty generic. That’s okay because the film does such a good job entertaining that it’s awfully hard not to overlook its faults.
     
The Choice (** ½) PG 13

How To Be Single (*) R
 
Valentine’s Day always serves as an excuse for the studios to dish out a love story or two at cinema multiplexes and this year is no different than any other. This year’s offerings, The Choice and How To Be Single, won’t get any awards for breaking new ground but at least one of them is watchable, a claim that can’t be made for the latter film.

The Choice is based on one of Nicholas Sparks’ novels that had not been filmed up to this point. That in and of itself is more of a surprise than anything that actually turns up in the proceedings. Still, the film, while corny and clichéd as it is, also turns out to be surprisingly effective every now and again. Shamelessly manipulative? Yes, but I can promise you that you’ve seen worse.

The Choice takes place in one of those idyllic NC seaside towns that populate all of Sparks’ works where all of the citizens have a dog and life goes by at a leisurely pace.

Teresa Palmer & Tom Welling in The Choice

Here the protagonists are Travis (Benjamin Walker) and Gabby (Teresa Palmer). He runs a veterinary practice with his father (the great Tom Wilkinson, doing the best he can here) while she is a medical intern who happens to live next door to Travis. Predictably, they fall in love and, even more predictably, tragedy strikes, leaving Travis being forced to make the ‘choice’ of the film’s title, which I won’t reveal here.  Suffice it to say that there are a few genuinely moving moments here and there which keep The Choice from being a total misfire.

How to Be Single on the other hand is a film that’s likely to set the women’s liberation movement back about forty years or so. The existence of practically all of the female characters that populate the film seems to hinge on whether they will be able to fall in love or not. The take away from the pic seems to be that a woman’s life cannot be validated unless she has a man in her life, a sickening statement to make, if you ask me.

The most ridiculous character in the film has to be the one played by Dakota Johnson, the colorless actress who made such a splash last year in Fifty Shades of Grey. She spends three fourths of the film with no discernible hobbies or interests other than said goal of finding a man, only to realize during the film’s final fifteen minutes that it’s okay to be alone. The shot of her ‘finding’ herself by reading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar on the her apartment stairwell is laughable at best and funnier than any of the trite one liners that litter the film’s script. It’s too bad that a truly talented actress, the great Leslie Mann, is wasted here as well in a very underwritten part. If this is the best Valentine Day’s offering we can get at movie houses then I hope next year the studios will boycott the holiday altogether.

These movies are playing at the Carmike in Hickory and all over the area.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at filmfan1970@hotmail.com.

 

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