Everybody Into the Pool
You’ve got to hand it to Ryan Reynolds. He’s a decent actor, not even the best Ryan out there. (Camp Gosling here). But he’s got this Deadpool thing down pat. From the trailers to Twitter and talk shows, and of course, the big screen, Reynolds has given us a Marvel superhero worth spending a couple of hours with.
In “Deadpool 2,” the sequel to the 2016 box office hit, Deadpool, Wade is despondent over a tragic loss early in the film and tries to commit suicide but because he is indestructible (really, is there a better super power?), it doesn’t work. Instead he decides to save a teenage mutant named Russell, a.k.a. Firefist, (and because Amanda’s readers are so intelligent, she knows you can guess his super power.) Meanwhile, Cable (Josh Brolin), a seriously cool soldier from the future, wants to kill Firefist before he grows up to be a really bad guy.
By now you probably know that those two hours you spend with Deadpool, will be filled with profanity, jokes and laughs, but also with death and dismemberment. Here’s your Amanda at “Deadpool 2” - Watch, laugh, cringe, cover eyes, hear audience say “Ewww,” hear audience laugh, uncover eyes. Repeat.
I like the “Deadpool” movies because they’re funny. Deadpool hurls insults and jokes nonstop. Who cares if I didn’t get the joke about Black Widow (another Marvel character), I got dozens of others and many made me laugh out loud. I also like that Deadpool/Wade breaks the fourth wall and talks directly to the audience. When was the last time Spiderman took the time to talk to me? I’ll tell you when, NEVER.
What I don’t like is the nonstop mayhem and carnage. As I said after seeing the first, “Deadpool,” do we really need that many severed limbs? In “Deadpool 2” (a very hard R) we meet characters, kind of get to like them and before you can say “I wonder if that guy will be in Deadpool 3,” he’s brutally dispatched. Even Deadpool “dies” like four times.
But back to Reynolds, he made the movie (when I wasn’t covering my eyes), cheeky fun. He and Brolin have great chemistry. I really enjoyed Zazie Beetz as Domino, even though I think Zazie Beetz is a much better hero name. Domino’s superpower is luck, which is kind of brilliant.
So, yes the body count is too high in “Deadpool 2,” but the relationships, humor, a funny credit sequence and a bonus at the end credits are enough to make it worth seeing, even if like me, you only actually “see” 3/4ths of it.
Deadpool 2: 4 stars
Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool
Now, on to a pool of a different sort. “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool” (R for nudity) made a teeny tiny fraction of what “Deadpool 2” will make at the box office. It’s the true story of Oscar winning actress Gloria Grahame’s romance with young British actor Peter Turner in the three years before her death in 1981 at 57 from cancer. The movie is based on Turner’s memoir of the same name.
When we meet Grahame (Annette Bening), she’s fled Hollywood and is living in a boarding house in London doing theater. She meets Turner (Jamie Bell) and they begin an affair. Peter doesn’t know who Gloria is so we never really understand why a handsome, outgoing young man, is so deliriously happy with an older woman who behaves erratically.
The movie flips back and forth in time and we learn that Gloria is hiding her illness from Peter. But she ends up living with his family in her last days. Peter’s mother, the always wonderful Julie Walters, is very nurturing to Gloria and seems to have no problem with the relationship.
How Bening wasn’t nominated for an Academy Award is beyond me. The screenplay doesn’t really give her enough to work with but she makes the most of every moment and she doesn’t overplay anything. When she confesses that she didn’t seek treatment because as an actress she couldn’t afford to lose her hair, it’s heartbreaking. And when she dances with Bell in the very beginning of their relationship it’s exhilarating. Bell is very good but his role isn’t that well defined, surprising since he’s playing the author. “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool” offers a rare look at the older woman-younger man relationship and made me want to watch Grahame’s old movies.
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool: 3½ stars