I thought The Upside was terrific. Kevin Hart is wonderful, and gives a rich performance unlike any he’s done before. And given the confines of his role, Bryan Cranston can only act with his face and voice, and yet is tremendous. Also, there's a smart script that’s very well directed. It telescopes things a bit more on occasion, which simplifies events, though that also makes it a much-easier movie to watch. The film is based on a true story and a French film, telling of the relationship of an incredibly wealthy quadriplegic who intentionally hires a wildly-unqualified ex-con to be his caregiver since he's no longer interested in being well-cared for. The movie is often very funny, but in no regard is it "a comedy," and often very serious. But it blends the humor and drama well.
This is a rarity, a trailer that does an excellent job giving a sense of the film. It does give away a couple of good , important scenes, though not really "plot points" per se, so if you want to avoid those you've been warned.
The other was a documentary. The Great Buster: A Celebration. This was written, directed and narrated by Peter Bogdanovich. I’m a huge Buster Keaton fan, so I was anxious to see this, and it was well-done, and extremely enjoyable. Lots of famous talking heads – and absolutely great material throughout. Above all, it was SO wonderful to hear a theater full of people laughing at Keaton's voluminous clips that remain hilarious and often (without exaggerating) awe-inspiring. (One very tiny quibble: when showing the famous flood sequence from Steamboat Bill Jr,, Bogdanovich leaves out mentioning that it wasn't part of the original script -- they'd been filming in New Orleans when there was a terrible hurricane and flood that devastated the city. But rather than having to scrap the film, Keaton worked it into the story.)
Here’s the trailer. And it's the opposite of the one above -- despite the great clips I don’t like it at all because it doesn’t remotely give a sense of the documentary, making it look MUCH darker than it is. In fact, the film is hilarious. Bogdanovich deals seriously with the sad part of Keaton's life, to be sure, but he doesn’t dwell on it. And importantly he doesn’t end on it, but (at length) shows how Keaton had a resurgence later in his life and got his career back, including the remarkable 10-minute ovation at the Venice Film Festival that overwhelmed Keaton. And even that isn’t the end of the film, since Bogdanovich structures the documentary in a way that he saves the best -- Keaton's classic feature-length films -- for last. So, it ends very upbeat, and the whole film is a joy.
But here’s the trailer regardless, because it has some great clips, and shows some of the many talking heads involved. Just know that the movie is much funnier and upbeat. (Note: you'll see a brief clip here of Keaton grabbing a streetcar as it zips by. and there is commentary about it in the film by Dick Van Dyke who knew Keaton and says, "I asked him if they sped the film up, and he said no. And there were no special effects. He just grabbed it." How on earth his arm wasn't ripped off is a wonder, but that scene -- and some other otherworldly stunts -- are what I was referring to by "awe-inspiring." You watch much of the material and wonder, "How on earth..." -- while laughing...)