Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Reviews pouring in for "Ricki and the Flash"

The embargo from Sony has been lifted and we're getting several reviews for Ricki and the Flash, which of course opens nationwide on Friday.  At the time of this posting, there are thirteen reviews on Rotten Tomatoes with a "fresh" rating of 69%.  If that holds up this will be a critical hit.  Of course, we can ultimately expect to get well over a hundred reviews, but it's encouraging to see its relatively positive start.

Regardless of the film's overall quality, I have not read a single negative comment about Meryl's performance.  In fact, a few people are praising her as the best part of a good film.  I'll have the opportunity to see it this weekend so hopefully I'll agree with the majority of reactions we've had thus far.  A bit too early to tell if this will gain any awards traction.  Golden Globe nod seems a slam dunk, but it may be more in the realm of Hope Springs when it comes to Oscar.  If Pathé wanted to spice things up, they could speed up the release of Florence Foster Jenkins to December.  Not out of the realm of possibility to have a film that completed shooting in July ready for cinemas five months later...but I doubt it.

30 comments:

  1. I'm frustrated by the reviews, none of them are raves and no critic gives Meryl a amazing review. It feels like a disappointment so far but I always reserve my own judgement. I still think Doubt and Osage County were each one of the best films of their respective years. Critics don;t know it all!

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    1. You're correct, they don't know it all. This may just be a nice film with great acting. She's always in the conversation for awards, but we know that it doesn't happen EVERY year.

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    2. Long Winded PessimistAugust 4, 2015 at 5:37 PM

      I agree. This is really disappointing but not unexpected. Like I feared, the reviews for this movie are not going to be strong enough to change anyone's mind about seeing it and this film will likely be forgettable both at the box office and by critics. No one's really saying anything negative about Meryl's performance but they're also not giving her the credit she deserves for this kind of role. Any lesser actress would have screwed this up royally or would be getting crazy raves- the just the fact that Meryl seemingly pulled off the impossible merits more praise than she's getting. She's being taken for granted big time which sucks because with Sony's terribly botched promo campaign for this movie, it really needs stonger notices to bring more people to the theater. The worst part about it is that I fear this could be the end to seeing Meryl as the star of more commercial films. It's almost as if the novelty of Meryl's great talent in commercial films is no longer enough for people. It seems like her performance is expected to be great and no one is shocked and awed by her talent anymore... and with the forgettable films she's been doing lately, she alone isn't enough for people anymore. So yeah I'm disappointed. This project seemed so promising on paper- like another Devil Wears Prada for Meryl but I'm more convinced than ever after reading that the script/plot are a mess that Meryl only said yes for Mamie's sake.
      At least we got to see a ton of Meryl yesterday and she was looking unbelievably amazing and as charming as ever. I was pleasantly shocked by what she wore on The Tonight Show! Wow.

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  2. Jeeze! I know you're a pessimist, but that's rough even for you. Do you think you may be jumping the gun a bit? It hasn't even been release yet, there are fewer than 15 reviews and you're saying her appeal is over. It doesn't mean you're wrong, but if we're just being doom and gloom to soften disappointment, you're never going to enjoy her!

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  3. Long Winded PessimistAugust 4, 2015 at 5:57 PM

    Oh don't worry I enjoy her! I just enjoy her so much that I get too preoccupied with hoping that everyone else enjoys her as much as I do- an unrealistic and frankly very unnecessary exercise for someone as revered as Meryl. It just frustrates me that she's in so many movies that are beneath her. An actress as great as she is should have a much better filmography than she does... As much as I like that Meryl is almost always the best thing about her movies- its been years since the film around her has been up to her caliber of excellence.

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    1. But is it Meryl's choice to not be in those movies you want her to be in? Which movies? I always wonder this when people say she chooses movies beneath her. Who took her roles? Would she want a small, inconsequential role in a great film or a potentially super challenging, satisfying role in a fair to good movie? I wager the latter.

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    2. Now we finally agree on that point, Meryl seldom is in a film good enough to house her performance these days. The Iron Lady was like a Da Vinci painting wrapped up in newspaper...

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    4. Long Winded PessimistAugust 4, 2015 at 9:15 PM

      "Da Vinci in a newspaper" HA!!! Love that... And Jeff the problem is that in the last couple years many of her movies have been slipping from fair to bad. It reflects badly on Meryl when she's repeatedly in badly written/executed movies, especially since she's supposedly the greatest living actress that gets first dibs on scripts. I mean, it's almost like what's the point of being a great actress if no one's into the overall story you're telling? All that's left is basically just showing off your talent just for the sake of proving how great you are- which seems like the impression Meryl is giving off right now and I think people are getting tired of it. Already many think her more recent nominations were unearned from a critical perspective and now I don't think this is going to do well critically or commercially- that stings when the movie is considered a "Meryl Streep movie" more than anything else.

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    5. Again, I challenge you What else would you have Meryl do? Are you saying she's not choosing the right scripts? If so, who in her demographic is? Do you think she should be producing her own pictures? If so, she never has and likely never will. Do you think she should not act until something "better" comes along?

      Personally, I think the past 10 years of her career are arguably her best. Both commercially and performance-wise.

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  4. That reply was to our resident pessimist!

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  5. I hardly think it is that dire Pessimist! Reviews are very favorable to Meryl and if it makes back its 18 million it will be a success. A golden globe nod is a sure thing and Meryl looks like she had a great time filming it.

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  6. so sad this movie doesn't receive rave reviews in totality.
    but quite happy no one bashed meryl's performance though not awards material.
    maybe she'll just secure musical best actress in Golden Globes and that's it. Oscars is out of reach

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    1. I do agree with Jeff that we shouldn't be too hasty, this is far from a blip in Meryl's career. The film will almost certainly do well at the box office and get some awards attention. It just stings a little when I so hoped for something extraordinary.

      However, I think some critics will never be pleased, both in general and especially with Meryl movies as she is arguably held to a higher standard than her peers. Part of this comes from the unexpected success she has enjoyed and suddenly becoming a movie star in 2006. Also, because she has never really fallen out of favour when it comes to awards etc I think they scrutinise everything all the more.

      Finally, let's remember the subject matter of Ricki and its tone will never play across the board - some critics will already have all but made their minds up before laying eyes on it..

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  7. Name one other strong reviewed film starring and actress Meryl's age in the last 10 years aside from The Queen. Movies about older women aren't critical hits.

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    1. Philomena, Notes on a Scandal, Away from her, 45 Years. There are loads but Meryl picks the best from what she is offered. What can we say. I wish she produced some great scripts herself but at least she funded the writing lab and has spoken out on the lack of great roles for her contemporaries. It is what it is.

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  8. Long Winded PessimistAugust 5, 2015 at 10:54 PM

    I'm sorry but now that more reviews are coming in...I think my pessimism is justified...this is getting downright trashed in some of the reviews I've been reading... and on twitter it seems like a common sentiment is why? Why was this film even made (like who exactly is this geared towards anyways) and why exactly did Meryl do it when it's as lame as it is? Box Office has reduced its opening weekend prediction to just 8-9 million so I don't think a commercial success is likely at this point either- the reviews are just too mixed/negative. It just sucks that now Meryl's gonna have this movie on her record that many think she didn't pull off. It just seems like an embarrassment for her. And unlike Mamma Mia, this isn't going to get that kind of razy box office to back up a lack of critical success. I mean the NY Post downright said it was a "waste of Meryl's talent" and US Weekly was really rough and basically didn't like her or the film at all.

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    1. Ok. I think you may need to take a few deep breaths. I too sometimes have a hard time not taking it personally if everything Meryl touches isn't considered one of the greatest things ever put on the screen. But there's also a fine line between being pessimistic and purely irrational.

      Up until last week, I never considered the possibility that Ricki and the Flash was going to be a critical darling. Maybe 60s on Rotten Tomatoes. Hoping more for some box office success. It's possible it won't do well, but any word of mouth that is pessimistic or dwelling on tid bits of negativity don't contribute to potential success. The film only cost $18 million to make. Not an impossible to make that back (which would mean doubling its budget). In fact, I think it willl.

      More important is the work. I'd rather have Meryl be in another film such as this that let's us see her (again) different from any other role she's done. She continues to challenge herself with her characterizations, in the process entertaining us by how limitless her talent appears to be.

      I am very much looking forward to seeing this tomorrow.

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  9. Wow... I have actually been ok with the reviews and still think the movie will be a success..... Are you a Streep fan Pessimist or a troll?

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  10. Long Winded PessimistAugust 6, 2015 at 12:54 AM

    Definitely a fan here- too strong of one I admit. I've got to stop reading these reviews because they're just all over the board and some of these negative ones are brutal to read. Showbiz 411 had the headline "Meryl is Sort of Amazing, but Will People Get It?"- and talks about the film probably being misunderstood... maybe that's what's happening here b/c some seem to love it while others either just don't get it or found it tired, cliched, and shallow. I don't know... I just don't foresee audiences "getting it" if some of these experience film critics don't- and the bad promotion really hurt it's box office potential in my opinion. Oh well- I should just enjoy it for myself and look forward to Suffragette and Florence which seem more in the critical success wheelhouse.

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  11. I want to see Meryl win her 4th oscar- possible with Suffeagette if her role
    Is large enough or 2016 with Flrence If not she needs something like The
    Good House to challenge her gifts

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    1. Hehe I don't think she has a prayer for her cameo in Suffragette and with Florence it really depends on what tone they adopt and how much good material she is given.

      I would love to see Meryl putting her talents to The Good House which Jeff raves about or another challenging piece. The ideal is to have these popcorn movies like Julia/Ricki/Woods/Prada/Complicated interspersed with thoughtful... dare I say "serious" pieces like Doubt and The Hours.

      I'm just going to stop reading reviews now as in the end all that matters is my opinion of this film. I'm grateful Meryl still gets the chance to play such a diverse range of characters and whether the film is a hit or not, she has yet again raised the bar by extending that seemingly limitless range....

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    2. I know I talk about The Good House a lot, but of course it will still be a gamble as to whether that film would actually be good. I really enjoyed the book. The character of Hildy got me excited about picturing Meryl interpreting her. The script will likely be fairly different from the book, but the meat and potatoes of it would still be Meryl. It's a great, captivating, complicated, funny story. Although less "funny" than likely Rikci or even Florence seem to be described.

      If she does it, I imagine it being filmed this fall. On paper, there appears to be funding set aside for from Roadshow's alliance with FilmNation. As described this winter, the merger was set to provide funding to both this and The Founder, which just wrapped. The peculiar thing is that I've never heard of a director even hinted at being attached to The Good House. As usual, time will tell.

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  12. Honestly- I am not seeing horrible reviews or horrible box office predictions. I am seeing mixed reviews that have more to do with the film seeming uneven- which people either hate or love. As for Streep- I am happy at the praise that she is getting - some saying a return to form.

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  13. Rotten Tomatoes Critcis Concensus: Meryl Streep's outstanding work helps Ricki and the Flash overcome its inconsistent tone and fairly predictable premise.

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  14. To be frank, Meryl has been more and more hammy in the last ten years (after Devil Wears Prada - incidentally her best performance in the last decade). She overacted in Doubt, Iron Lady, August Osage County, Into The Woods and even in Hope Springs and It's complicated where the roles were supposed to be less showy and grandstanding (if you don't believe, just compare Adaptation to the latter roles and you can tell she was free of tics, mannered gestures and try-too-hard intensity). It's sad because I used to admire her a lot in the 70s all the way to Devil Wears Prada. Hopefully Ricki is a 'return to form' but I highly doubt it based on what I've seen from the trailer. And it doesn't help that her movies since Devil (except Julie/Julia where she's a delight) were not very memorable. As for the 4th Oscar, I won't hold my breath unless Florence turns out to be a critical surprise. I bet Cate Blanchett will win her 3rd before Meryl wins her 4th. She reminds me of how much I used to enjoy Meryl's gift in the 80s and early 90s.

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    1. Long Winded PessimistAugust 7, 2015 at 12:38 AM

      I agree that I think people are getting tired of how hammy and show off-y so many recent Meryl performances seem...(though I personally disagree about the overacting). I feel like her acting reputation has been going downhill recently- at least since The Iron Lady win. That's why I was so praying for great reviews for this.. to justify what seems like another "show off" vanity role...but it's getting utterly destroyed on Rotten Tomatoes... Her performance is usually praised but everyone who didn't like the movie is basically saying Meryl wasn't good enough to save it either. It just really seems that no one is interested in seeing an older woman "trying to be hip"- it comes off as lame even if it is in character and according to these reviews the script/plot are just a mess. I feel like I've seen a million "I love Meryl Streep but..." comments. Even if she personally isn't getting panned in the reviews- she's basically the only reason this film got greenlit for wide release and it reflects badly on her judgement in my opinion that she chose to do this movie that it sounds like Cody and Demme apparently really botched. I so admire Meryl for her intelligence and perspective so it just baffles me that she would agree to do a movie that is so uneven, has cliched dialogue, and is filled with plot holes. I mean Mamma Mia was one thing b/c that movie didn't even try to have a plot- this one tried and failed. I just remember her saying in the Times Talks in 2009- "I'm just astounded by the range of talent and the numbers of really, really talented actors that are applying themselves wholeheartedly to material that just isn't worth it." but I feel like that's exactly what Meryl herself has been doing a lot of recently.

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  15. To be fair to Meryl, I think the number of great leading roles for actress of her age is not as rampant as say, those for Cate Blanchett (I just read that Meryl's daughter Mamie idolises Blanchett). She's already the exception to the rule compared to many of her peers. Maybe she should go back to the theatre now that she has acquired the 'hamminess' in her recent string of performances...she'll be more suited to that platform. Maybe she needs to act with the likes of Blanchett and Tilda Swinton to up her game...I don't really know. If nothing else, I can always watch some of old movies like Plenty, Bridges, of Madison, Silkwood, Cry in the Dark to remind me how great she was back then. At her best, she's untouchable (except for Blanchett who's equally if not more luminous).

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  16. Why are there Streep haters on this site now? Have we been hijacked?

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  17. Anonymous...I noticed that also. I am thrilled to be seeing Ricki and the Flash around noon today. Very excited. I do not care if it's not a hit with the critics. It's not a big deal to me if this is not an Oscar nominated typed movie. It's only opening in about 1500 theaters so it's not going to take in a bunch of money. I'm thrilled to be able to watch Streeps greatness and it's nice to see her having fun with a movie. She deserves that. If she played the same type part from 30 years ago she would be criticized for that. She is going to be criticized no matter what she does because she is the best. She can't get an Oscar nomination for everything she does but even so she will give a heck of a performance. I'm excited and proud of her for taking on this role.

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