While the age of 65 is the brass ring the average person strives to reach for retirement, it was not for a majority of my family members. My father worked seven days a week and continued to work beyond retirement age. I had a couple of uncles where one worked every day at a tavern and the other traveled around the country as a manufacturer’s rep. Both worked past the age of 65. The goal was to do whatever was necessary to provide for one’s family. As for myself, I have not given much thought to the idea of retirement. In this powerful drama I was fascinated with the juxtaposition of methods used by two fathers to provide for their families. Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine, Drive) played stunt motorcycle driver Luke, a single man who found out he was the father of a baby boy. Romina, the woman he had the fling with a year ago and now the mother of his child, was played by Eva Mendes (Hitch, We Own the Night). Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook, Limitless) played Avery Cross, a police officer who worked in a department riddled with corruption. When Luke chose to rob banks as a way to provide for his son, it would set in motion a series of events that would affect his family and officer Cross’ family for generations. Already being a fan of Ryan’s acting, his part of the story was incredible to watch. From the opening sequence, where we follow Luke as he prepares for his motorcycle stunt, everyone did a great job of acting. Ben Medelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises, Killing Them Softly) as auto repair shop owner Robin was terrific. Because the first part of the film was thrilling for me, Bradley’s story was a slight letdown; but not by much. His acting was excellent as was Ray Liotta (Identity, Smokin’ Aces) as policeman Deluca. With outstanding direction and camera work, the span of years the story covered did not seem long at all. Sometimes choices made cause a ripple effect that last a lifetime. A couple of scenes with violence and blood.
3 1/3 stars
One could assume from the title we would be watching a female who still had some work to do; let us say, in her personal growth. However, the title could just as well been called movie in progress. This film was a perfect example of taking a decent idea and ruining it with poor execution. Eva Mendes (Hitch, The Other Guys) as Grace was a single mother, trying to make ends meet, while carrying on an affair with a married man. Her daughter Ansiedad, played by relative newcomer Cierra Ramierz, believed she could speed up her transformation from an angst ridden adolescent to adult woman by following a list of experiences. Think of it as a “bucket list” for teens. Eva who I have liked in the past, I only found annoying in this movie. I thought Cierra did an okay job of acting with the horrible script. Several of the scenes in this boring movie were not believable to me. It really was a mess, where I suspected the movie studio used focus groups to determine what should be added or deleted from the story line. Bouncing between moments of drama to scenes of attempted humor, the film makers really had no idea what teenagers were all about. If I were to use the pass/fail grading system, this poor movie would receive a fail grade.
1 1/2 stars