Movie Review: The Photograph

The new movie “The Photograph” is about life’s many trade-offs. Do I take that risky job that may not work out, to realize my life long dream or take the safer route and be happy in my personal life but miserable in my professional life. If I get married now, what will this mean to my professional future and perhaps being able to retire young, much later in life or maybe never. All of us face these questions, challenges and decisions about what direction we are going, every day. Life is not an Excel spreadsheet where we can do “what-if” analysis and instantly know if that decision is ultimately the correct one. Life is a crap shoot for most of us and we all hope that the decisions we make will ultimately make us happy in the long term.

The Photograph is one of the few movies I have seen that is entirely about the consequences of life decisions within 2 stories about a woman who meets a man she eventually dates in the present day. Versus her mother 30 years earlier who falls in love but decides to make entirely different life choices based on her dream of being a Photographer in New York. This very well written story teaches us that at a minimum we can learn from the life decisions of our parents or other people to help us decide what is the right choice to make in our own lives..

The Photograph stars newcomers LaKeith Stanfield and Issa Rae who both do an outstanding job with this very well written screenplay. The Rotten Tomatoes ratings are a solid 76% and I agree with this rating and recommend this film.

Movie Review: Downhill

What I disliked the most about the new film “Downhill” starring Will Ferrell and Julia Louise Dreyfus is the blatant trickery involved. In every trailer and talk show appearance, this movie marketed as a comedy, but it is a serious drama. Understanding that this is a serious drama, why did the producers market this film as a comedy? Why did the producers hire two very well known comedy actors to appear in this movie? My guess is that they knew this was a bad script and thought they could rescue this production by hiring and maybe even begging two famous comedy actors to star in this very bad movie. Ultimately, the marketing of this movie is nothing more than an example of false advertising.

This entire story, which is a remake of the Swedish film “Force Majeure”, released in 2014 has one of the strangest story ideas I have ever seen. While in a vacation at a ski resort a family consisting of a husband, wife and 2 boys, is sitting at an outdoor patio and is almost hit by an oncoming avalanche. This avalanche is triggered purposefully by the resort to prevent a major avalanche. The father, played by Will Ferrell, grabs his cell phone and runs away, leaving his wife and two boys behind. The rest of this story, is mostly about his family trying to adjust and understand why he ran away, rather than protect his family. Believe it or not, this is the entire idea behind this very strange film. The tragedy here is that this story could have been re-written to make it a real comedy, rather than a drama. As a comedy, considering the talents of both Dreyfus and Ferrell, perhaps this bad idea for a movie could have been saved, but instead the producers decided to trick the audience into believing that this is a comedy, to try and make this bad film profitable.

Will Ferrell has made many bad choices over the years with many of the movies he has been in, and this is a shame because he is one of the most natural comedic talents. With Ferrell, he can get a laugh with his eyes, or with just a subtle look or remark, but other than two or three movies over the years, he has yet to make a movie worthy of his talents. I hope this pattern of bad movie choices changes, because Ferrell can be extremely funny with the right script.

The reviews of this movie on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB are very low 41% and 4.3 respectively. I agree with both of these very low marks and recommend that this film is skipped by everyone.