The rather astonishing true story of the creation of the Wonder Woman character, this is certainly not your run-of-the-mill biopic. It's a sharply well-observed story of three intellectual people who choose to live a scandalously counterculture lifestyle in the 1920s, then come up with a comic book character who goes against all the rules. Frankly, they still seem radical today.
It opens at Harvard University in the mid-1920s, where Bill Marston (Luke Evans) and his wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) are psychology professors who have just invented what will become the modern lie-detector. They have hired grad student Olive (Bella Heathcote) as an assistant and, after some blatant flirting, both Bill and Elizabeth fall for her, deciding to create a three-way relationship. As they work on the details of how they will live together, Bill conceives a comic book hero who will help preach a message of female empowerment, inspired by both Elizabeth and Olive. And he infuses the comics with sadomasochistic imagery to make his point. Publishers are shocked by this, but one (Oliver Platt) gives the new character a shot. And Wonder Woman outsells Superman.
The story is told in flashbacks as Bill defends his work in the mid-1940s to a representative of the Catholic decency league (Connie Britton), who of course hates the comics' feminist ideas and sexualised imagery. She has no idea about Bill's three-way relationship, or the fact that he fathered two children with each woman. Writer-director Angela Robinson (The L Word) uses this cross-cutting structure to develop some tension between Bill, Elizabeth and Olive that feels more cinematic than realistic. But the three actors keep the characters remarkably grounded, with a brainy and open-minded approach to their life together. Evans is superb in the central role, while Hall shines as the prickly Elizabeth, who wants to be liberal but can't control her jealous impulses. By comparison, Heathcote's Olive feels rather passive, even though she has moments of steely energy.
Continue reading: Professor Marston And The Wonder Women Review
Miles Teller and Analeigh Tipton are smart enough actors to make the most of this uneven romantic comedy, which never manages to disguise the standard formula, even with a gimmicky premise. So while the plot and characters are simplistic and artificial, at least there's some charisma on the screen to keep us entertained. There's also a spark of lively chemistry that makes the hokey romance somewhat amusing.
It's set in New York, where Megan (Tipton) has moved in with her loved-up friends (Jessica Szohr and Scott Mescudi) to recover from a bad break-up. After a run-in with her ex (Josh Salatin), she goes online in a moment of desperation and then heads to Brooklyn for a one-night stand with Alec (Teller). But when she tries to sneak out in the morning, she finds that they're snowed-in, unable to leave the building. Super-defensive for no real reason, she creates a war-zone in the flat, and they eventually agree to be ruthlessly honest with each other. If they're going to be trapped together, they might as well learn something useful.
There's never a question of where this is heading, although the script makes Megan such an angry shrew that we really don't like her at all for much of the film. She only calms down when Alec produces some weed (a misogynistic plot point), and as they finally begin to communicate Tipton and Teller are able to inject an enjoyable mixture of intelligence and wit into their rambling conversation. This makes them feel more realistic, and lets the film make some sharp observations about the nature of courtship in the world of dating apps. Yes, looking for a partner online is difficult even when "the bar is set so very low".
Continue reading: Two Night Stand Review
When Megan (Analeigh Tipton) is asked to move out of her by her best friend (Jessica Szohr) and her boyfriend (Scott Mescudi), she begins online dating by looking for a one night stand. The next morning, she awkwardly wakes up next to Alec (Miles Teller), and soon rejoices in the ephemeral nature of their relationship. But upon attempting to leave, Megan discovers that she has been snowed into Alec's apartment, causing the couple's one night stand to continue longer than it should have. As the two twenty-something New Yorkers are forced to get to know each other, in this quirky romantic comedy, they finally decide that they should perhaps try again, to see if they can successfully take on board their advice.
Continue: Two Night Stand Trailer
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Miles Teller and Analeigh Tipton are smart enough actors to make the most of this...