FIlm Notes: Paul Feig & Melissa McCarthy’s “SPY”

I missed the screening of Paul Feig’s “Spy,” which I was so looking forward to watching. Well, I made up for it by watching it on the first day. I was not disappointed, and neither was the audience in the theatre. It was a houseful show as they say in India when you have a packed cinema theatre.

I am not going to spend time on the storyline, and instead just make a couple of quick observations. The opening scenes reminded me of James Bond 007 with shades of Peter Sellers from his famous “Pink Panther,” series.  Mid-way through the film I thought I spotted dashes of Bollywood flavor. No, I am not talking about Nargis Fakhri, but a chase scene that takes place during a song and dance sequence. You will have to watch the film to see what I am talking about. Maybe, it was just me that saw that Bollywood flavor. There was a strong Anglophile flavor in the film and that is to be expected. Feig is a self-confessed Anglophile as he told me in this interivew for his film “Heat.”

McCarthy & Feig make a great team and it is clear that they are on the same wavelength. It is evident from the film that Feig is a big believer in McCarthy’s talent as an actor and a comic with brilliant timing.  McCarthy takes center stage in the film and does a superb job. This is, I believe, the first film where McCarthy plays the central character and carries it through with support from Jude Law, Jason Statham and others. And may I say that it is quite a treat to see Statham play a bit of a bumbling sort of a spy? That was a masterstroke on the part of Feig and his team.

The film stars Melissa McCarthy, Allison Janney, Jude Law, Jason Statham, Rose ByrneBobby Cannavale  and Miranda Hart.

  • Title: SPY
  • Running Time: 120 minutes
  • Status: Released
  • Country: USA
  • Genre: Hollywood

 

 

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FILM NOTES: “SPY,” “LOVE & MERCY” and “THE BATKID BEGINS”

Love & Mercy

Love & Mercy

Summer is here, which means a whole lot of new films are coming your way. And if you live in the San Francisco Bay area you are in for a treat with a clutch of film festivals ranging from San Francisco Green Film Festival (May 28-June 3, 2015),  SF DocFest/SF IndieFest Festival (June 4-18, 2015)  to the San Francisco Silent Film Festival (May 28 – June 1, 2015), which is the longest running one in the country.

Here are my 3 picks of films releasing in June. Each belongs to a different category. I have seen two of the films and watiing to see the third.

The first film is Paul Feig’sSpy,” starring the funny lady Melissa McCarthy paired with Jason Statham. Now, this defintely is an unlikely pair since we associate Statham with action films. Others in the film include Jude Law, Rose Byrne and others. The film is written by Feig, who loves making  funny, women-centric films. He made “Bridesmaids,” and “Heat.” I have not seen “Spy,” yet. But, I have seen a trailer of the film and it looks like I might enjoy watching it. The film releases on June 5, 2015.

Director Bill Pohlad’s Love & Mercy,” is about Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, an incredibly gifted composer and singer. But behind that beautiful and peppy music was lot of pain and suffering and that is what we get to see in “Love & Mercy,” Pohlad focusses on two important segments of Wilson’s life and shows us how Wilson dealt with his inner demons and addictions. This is a touching film and I came away learning so much about Wilson. And if you area a fan of  Beach Boys like I am, you will want to see this film. Yes, one has read the stories and seen TV interviews of Wilson, but Pohlad’s film brings it all together and helps  you understand Wilson a little better. The film releases June 5, 2015. Stay tune for my interview  with Pohlad about the making of the film.

Dana Bachman’s “The Batkid Begins: The Wish Heard Around The World,” was the opening night film at this year’s Cinequest Film Festival. This is a touching documentary that shows how Make-A-Wish Foundation and the city of San Francisco came together to make Miles Scott, a 5 year old boy’s dream come true. Scott was diagnosed with leukemia and fighting for his life and one of his wishes was to hang out with his super hero Batman. His wish came true in such an incredible way that it reinforces your faith in the kind and generous spirit of human beings. The cynic in you is pushed to the background for a few second when you watch this film and see how the entire city of San Francisco changed into Gotham, and Scott got to hang out with Batman as Batkid and rescue quite a few people. The mayor San Francisco pitched in, as did the Police Chief, the San Franciso Giants and others. This was a moving and inspirational film and it was wonderful to see so many people come out to support Batkid realize his dreams. The film releases June 26, 2015.

“SPY”

“LOVE & MERCY”

“THE BATKID BEGINS”

 

Photo courtesy: Roadside Attracations