Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hot Tub Time Machine: Movie Review




For all its ridiculousness and asshole-ness, it's still fun and enjoyable.

"Hot Tub Time Machine" is actually quite enjoyable. The ridiculous title and its obvious concept turned me off at first but it turned out to be a lot of fun.

As a fan of John Cusack, it was pleasing to see his character, Adam, reminiscent of Rob from "High Fidelity" (2000), especially when his girlfriend moved out on him at the very beginning. "She basically called me an asshole, like I'm a narcissistic asshole." His friend replies, "Yeah, she has a point though." The movie does spend a significant amount of time with the guys being assholes and calling each other assholes, but it is probably the best guys-acting-as-assholes movie.

Three middle-aged men are despondent with the sad state of their lives, Rob Corddry being the worst of the bunch, is in the hospital with another not-suicide attempt (beause if he really wanted to, he would kick ass at killing himself), and Cusack and Craig Robinson are called in as the only people who could be described as his friends. Believe it or not, but the movie's opening with all this unhappiness is quite funny and real at the same time. To cheer themselves up, they are off to a ski resort where they used to hang out in the 80s. I think we all know why it's called "Hot Tub Time Machine".

As ridiculous and inane as this all sounds, there is a lot of clever humour in the movie, and the characters, as much as they are assholes, they are also real and genuine. I know them and that just makes them all the more fun. I was annoyed with the inclusion of Jacob (Clark Duke) as Cusack's nephew because I think one Jonah Hill is enough.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Confessions of a Shopaholic: Movie Review




Enjoyable, if you gloss over its flaws.

"Confessions of a Shopaholic" really isn't a good story. I had known enough to stay away from the books. It is also, though, light, frivolous fun.

The starting scenes are a lot of fun with Rebecca (Isla Fisher) eyeing the magic of credit cards, and then store mannequins telling her what to buy. It has a great pace especially with the frenetic dashings to get away from the debt collector. It is a simple story and they know that, so they advance it quickly and keep it fun.

The issues with the film is that perhaps they take credit card debt too lightly, but hey, this is supposed to be an escape film. Remember that it's supposed to be an escape film because it of course can be too hard to believe that Rebecca gets a job writing financial advice. The jokes at times get drawn out too much, so it's not as funny as I would have hoped.

All in all, Isla Fisher is a joy to watch, and if you allow yourself to gloss over its flaws, then "Confessions of a Shopaholic" is enjoyable.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Movie Review




Not worthy of the rights to Fitzgerald's short story.

This film has the audacity to claim that it is based on the short story "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" by the incomparable F. Scott Fitzgerald (published in 1922) who credits Mark Twain and Samuel Butler for the philosophical idea that 'it's a pity that the best part of life came at the beginning and the worst part at the end'.

This film version of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" did not retain any of the cogitative ideas presented in the book when a man ages backwards. So when watching, there is no deep thought-provoking concepts explored, and nothing to engage you in a philosophical exploration of life. I'm guessing that the only thing of value is supposed to be that part of the film has Brad Pitt looking not attractive. That is as far as Hollywood can take a good book.

Clearly the film does have high production values and they may have done a lot of good things, but they lost their right to be judged fairly as a film once they bought the rights to Fitzgerald's story. Now nobody will even have a chance to see this great story brought to visual life, and that is a travesty.

Please go to your local public library and borrow a copy of "Tales of the Jazz Age", you will be able to read the short story and get so much more out of it than the film and in less time and money.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Our Family Wedding: Movie Review




A really poor version of the "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" genre.

"Our Family Wedding" has some good actors and two great actors, Forest Whitaker and America Ferrera, but a horrible script. A young interracial couple travel back home to tell their families they're getting married and to plan a quick wedding. Their fathers, their cultures and their families clash. This is just rehashed material and no better than a poor man's "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner".

They were going for laughs, and although I did laugh-out-loud in a few scenes, most of the lines were just rude, and all of the characters, especially Whitaker's, were just being insubordinate. Every character had friction with one another and sometimes we weren't even privy to the reasons, so not only were we not laughing, we're frustrated as well.

The few laughs were not enough to overcome the frustration and many pointless scenes. Even if they were going for drama instead, there is no sense of drama just from watching characters act in horrible ways because the script tells them to. I can't really recommend "Our Family Wedding", only possibly to die-hard fans of the genre and fans of America Ferrera. This is a Ferrera we haven't seen before, mature and subdued, and she at least was nice to watch.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Imagine Me & You: Movie Review




Romantic comedy, sometimes sad, but with its sympathies in place.

"Imagine Me & You" is a type of romantic comedy, but it's drama too. When Rachel (Piper Perabo) marries Hector (Matthew Goode) she meets Luce (Lena Headey). Problem is Rachel finds herself increasingly more interested in and attracted to Luce than to her husband.

The film presents us with a sometimes dark, and sometimes painfully sad story of what happens when someone gets married before they meet their one true love. But here that story is told to us beautifully, yes with drama, but also with humour and love. The characters are all written beautifully, and performed even better, so that we are actually able to sympathize with all of them and still have a smile on our face most of the time.

If you are looking for a romantic comedy that's romantic and funny but also told with empathy, then "Imagine Me & You" is a perfect choice. Not to trivialize some of the elements that they have in common, but "Kissing Jessica Stein" (2001) fans should enjoy it.

Inception: Movie Review


Merges style with substance.

"Inception" is what you get when a filmmaker knows how to merge style with substance. Christopher Nolan has crafted a story (not an original one, but that's OK) that takes slightly abstract ideas and places it in a reality you can almost grasp, and then tells it with little complexity. It's a movie for all the masses - and that's where Nolan's genius comes in.   2010

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Screenplay by: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio

He gives us characters, many of them in fact, and all performed expertly by the stellar cast. The dreams all have their own architecture which is visually stunning. And no it's not redundant to say again that he managed to merge style with substance.

"Inception" is filled with special effects, action running all over the place and loud dramatic scores. Remember this is Nolan with a big budget. But it's also just a straight-forward story with characters and romance - it does star Leonardo DiCaprio after all.
Best of 2010




Recommended:

Mr. Nobody (2009) - One man's search for the truth about himself over multiple possible lives.

Broken Flowers: Movie Review


A character study with better romance, comedy and travel elements.

It took awhile, but Bill Murray was finally able to break away from society's comedian view of him. Now, he has shown that he is even more of an accomplished actor with "Broken Flowers".
Independent, Don Johnston (Murray) moves emotionlessly from relationship to relationship, and when he is informed that he has a son, he revisits all of them.
2005

Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

Screenplay by: Jim Jarmusch

Starring: Bill Murray

Murray carries the film, along with an enchanting score, as he explores his past and ponders his future. With better 'romance' and comedy elements than any romantic comedy, and better travel elements than "Elizabethtown" (2005) or any road-trip film, "Broken Flowers" is better than most other character study dramas, and most other films, period.

"Broken Flowers" isn't about whether Murray has a son, or if he'll meet his son, it's just about who he is as a man. And that is explored subtly and beautifully. Highly recommended.


Current Status:

"Broken Flowers" is available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Recommended:

Somewhere (2010) - Empty Hollywood actor finding a place of substance.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Inglourious Basterds: Movie Review




Torturous... and good?

"Inglourious Basterds" is Quentin Tarantino. At his best? Perhaps.

It has in-your-face violence with left-field characters. I expected that, and I got that. I don't like Tarantino because of the extreme violence and the absurdity of situations that his characters get themselves into. I am usually confident with my decisions to avoid his movies. But here, I became increasingly restless, with it being a comedy, starring Brad Pitt, and all of its award nominations, including Best Screenplay? What?

It's one of those films that deserves its accolades, but it still doesn't mean it's good. I certainly didn't like it, but I watched the full two and a half hours. It's like a World War II epic, and told very slowly. But every time I had enough with a scene, Tarantino knew to switch up the narrative, so I kept watching. The story narratives changed often enough to keep me watching but not too often to get confusing. I will admit, that's good writing.

I got frustrated with the characters because I didn't know them well enough, but that is classic Tarantino. Violence, although necessary at times, was used way too heavily - again, that's classic Tarantino. There was just no sign of comedy, maybe a few non-sense lines for humour, but come on, this is World War II. I'm not one for being offended, but I don't find war particularly funny.

"Inglourious Basterds" is Quentin Tarantino mastering what he is good at. For those that like him, this is a quality film experience, but for others like me, just because you can sit through two and a half hours of torture, doesn't mean it's good.

Everybody's Fine: Movie Review




"Everybody's Fine" is just, well, fine.

"Everybody's Fine" is one of those quieter holiday movies. They weren't going for a big awards push, no splashy CGI/animation, and no grandiose plot line. They did everything they were going for just fine.

We have Robert De Niro, a widower, travelling to each of his grown children's houses for Christmas. David (Austin Lysy) is in New York; Amy (Kate Beckinsale) is in Chicago; Robert (Sam Rockwell) is in Denver; and Rosie (Drew Barrymore) is in Las Vegas. They each of course have their own problems (in their own niche of their big city) which belie their constant refrain, "Everybody's fine, dad".

These are all competent actors doing a good job, with story lines which work well for them. The issue with the movie is, that we as the audience know the trouble and lies that are brooding beneath the surface, and we know them long before De Niro finds out. So all we get is a sense of frustration along with the sadness they are currently facing. I also wouldn't want to keep secrets from De Niro for very long.

The jokes are minimal, and too often, drawn out for no good purpose. "Everybody's Fine" is a weeping drama which espouses on some of life's important(?) lessons. This is all just fine, but do we really want Hollywood teaching us values in parent-child relationships?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging: Movie Review




Age-appropriate, light-hearted fun.

"Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging" is like a teen romantic comedy, but it's better than its contemporaries.

We have a group of 14 year-old girls, mainly focused on Georgia (Georgia Groome), who try to find romance, learn how to kiss, and just go through the ups and downs of life as all teenagers do. It's mostly done with comedy, and some light-hearted 'real-life' moments. I find it is one of the better looks at teen girls while remaining cute and funny.

I am older than its target audience, and while it's perfectly suited for its audience of teen and pre-teen girls, I was able to look back with amusement on all their trials of love.

I am relieved that we have a teen comedy that doesn't go for a more mature audience and doesn't show the girls as more mature than they actually are. Finally with "Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging" we have an age-appropriate romantic comedy filled with light-hearted fun.

Monday, July 12, 2010

John Tucker Must Die: Movie Review




Just not funny enough to make the content OK.

"John Tucker Must Die" has cliché characters and a story line where everything is telegraphed miles away. The few laugh-out-loud moments and funny lines are not enough to make this good.

Brittany Snow is the 'new girl', she gets played by the cheerleader, the smart chick, and the new-age hippie girl, just as they play John Tucker. It is just a mess about making people feel bad about themselves and then succumbing to peer-pressure. I thought movies like this were supposed to have positive messages?

The good things are that Snow is adorable, Penn Badgley as 'the other Tucker' is endearing, and it has a catchy soundtrack. It has a pretty fast pace through most of it with some funny moments, but not enough to recommend "John Tucker Must Die".



This film introduced me to Brittany Snow - explore the Films That Introduced Me To My Favourite Actors

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Break-Up: Movie Review




"The Break-Up" pulls out emotion in the right way and right amount.

When I first saw "The Break-Up" I was expecting your standard romantic comedy, but what I got was just a little bit different and it actually moved me.

The first parts of the movie are fairly typical, you know exactly how the girl (Jennifer Aniston) and the boy (Vince Vaughn) are going to behave, but it's still funny. And we also got to see enough of these characters that they weren't as thin and underdeveloped as your usual romantic comedy heroes and heroines.

Most of the actors, especially Jon Favreau, Jason Bateman, Joey Lauren Adams, John Michael Higgins, and Justin Long (huh, casting department must have something for 'J' names), are all great comedic actors, so they effortlessly add comedy to pretty much every scene. That makes breaking up much easier to take.

What I particularly enjoyed about "The Break-Up" is that it just tip-toes the line of predictability. You think you know what happens next, and you are almost right, but not entirely. That combination heightens the sense of comedy and heartache. I watch "The Break-Up" every time that it's on TV because it pulls emotion out of me in just the right way and the right amount.

Pretty Bird: Movie Review

 

"Pretty Bird" doesn't have much of a story but it does have great characters.

"Pretty Bird" is about entrepeneuring a 'rocket belt', which is a real invention. It centers on Curtis Prentiss (Billy Crudup) who at one point in the film says "It's not just a rocket belt, it's an attitude." That says exactly what this film is, it's not about a rocket belt, it's about the attitude of its characters.   2008 (with 2010 DVD release)

Directed by: Paul Schneider

Screenplay by: Paul Schneider

Starring: Billy Crudup, Paul Giamatti

Opening and closing with Billy Crudup's Curtis, he brings together Rick (Paul Giamatti) and Kenny (David Hornsby) as partners in his rocket belt innovation company. It's not about what they do, but who they are. They are all deeply troubled men. The characteristics that we see in Crudup's and Giamatti's characters completely drive this film; they are flawed and we can almost put our finger on all of their insecurities and needs but there is more ticking beneath the surface. Without sounding like a love song to Billy Crudup, I have rarely seen a character brought to life the way Curtis was. In one word, phenomenal. In three words, breathtaking, heartbreaking, pioneering.

Unfortunately for all of its brilliant character work, the film stumbled with its story line. At times it was a little slow moving and as it neared the finish line it started meandering in other directions. It does seem pretty disjointed but it also just wanted to build up its characters even more.

Listed as a dark comedy, that is probably accurate. A very intelligent film with its humour, and its many dramatic elements makes it seem dark. Kristen Wiig, as usual for her, comes away with one of the most memorable, funny scenes in the movie.

Its ending can seem unsatisfying, but don't see "Pretty Bird" for its story line, see it for its characters, its smart humour, and Billy Crudup in the role of a lifetime.




Saturday, July 10, 2010

Penelope: Movie Review




We need more "Penelope"s in the world.

"Penelope" opens with Christina Ricci narrating the story to us of how she, Penelope, was born with a curse - a pig nose. The film may seem childish and too fairy tale-like but Ricci speaks with such a soft pleasing manner that she reminds us of the best kindergarten teachers reading to us so we relax and settle in and comfortably enjoy the film.

Then we meet Penelope's mother (Catherine O'Hara) she is everything that Penelope is not: high-strung, over-bearing, intolerant. Of course she's just being a protective mother but she's painted in such a light so the audience can relate more and laugh with Penelope. Most of the supporting characters are cliché but they are done over the top so they are actually funny. At this point I should make a caveat, I am a James McAvoy votary. Such that I would be glowing about his role and performance no matter what, so I will be conspicuously quiet on McAvoy to not over-colour this review.

Listed as a modern-day fairy tale for the entire family, I actually found the movie much more slanted towards young adults (a few jokes would go over kids' heads). This would probably explain the casting of twenty-something and 30-year-old popular actors. I, for one, am glad that they made a film for me with no violence, vulgarity, action or effects and instead filled it with light-hearted, romantic, feel-good messages about loving yourself. And they somehow did that with out being saccharine or sappy.

Greenberg: Movie Review




Too hard to like "Greenberg".

I wouldn't call myself a fan of Noah Baumbach, more just that I respect his work, but unfortunately "Greenberg" doesn't raise my opinion.

I could like Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller) as a character - he's mentally ill, speaks his mind and you can definitely see some of yourself in him. Having the main character unlikable but still relatable in a way, could work, but it would work better if any of the other characters were likable. Greta Gerwig stars as Florence, Greenberg's love interest, and I found her even less likable and she wasn't given reasons that were as beautifully portrayed as in Greenberg. Perhaps I am still influenced by her obnoxious Hannah (who took the stairs).

There were subtle points being made, for instance the differences in life-views between the older Generation Xs (Greenberg) and the Generation Ys (Florence), and there were probably even more statements in the film. They are just too subtle to be found.

"Greenberg" is just a character study, wonderfully portrayed by Stiller, with anticipation to his evolution as a person, but it was done way too slowly. This is a hard film to watch, but Baumbach's fans should enjoy. His previous films include "Margot at the Wedding"(2007), "The Squid and the Whale"(2005) and "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou"(2004), and with "Greenberg" he seems to be getting darker (on the surface) and more abstruse.

Orphan: Movie Review




A different kind of horror movie.

I don't like horror films, but "Orphan" was different. It was written well enough to be able to hold my sense of disbelief and keep me suspensed.

In this horror film we actually have characters. Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John (Peter Sarsgaard) have two kids, Daniel and Max, and they all have back-stories that are significant to the film, and they each struggle with who they are and how to grow as individuals and as a family. Then they adopt Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman). All we know is that there's something wrong with Esther.

Esther greatly disrupts the family's life - with a lot of violence and psychosis. Don't forget this is a horror film. Although that is easy to forget because the plot is driven by characters - perhaps a first for this genre? The characters are integral to a story that was so well researched that it's actually legit. That fact probably makes it even scarier.

Even if you don't watch horror films, you could start with "Orphan".

Definitely, Maybe: Movie Review




Maybe, just maybe, "the best romantic comedy since Annie Hall".

"Definitely, Maybe" was marketed with the line "Best romantic comedy since Annie Hall." At first I was appalled because it must be a lie, and how dare they put it in the same sentence as Woody Allen. But as I struggled to find many examples of what could be the best, I relented my negativities towards this film.

It is just your standard romantic comedy but with a few differences to set it apart. Instead of just one, we have three main relationship stories being told. And they set it all to the rise and fall of Bill Clinton's presidency. A fitting and very refreshing political addition.

Ryan Reynolds, as handsome and funny as ever, tells us and his 11 year-old daughter about his three past relationships. They spend way too long building up these relationships because the course they take is pretty obvious from the get-go, but at least he ends up with the right girl.

I view "Definitely, Maybe" as just a collection of some very funny scenes. As Reynolds picks up his daughter after school and she tells him about the sex ed class they just had, it's impossible not to laugh at the confused and crude Abigail Breslin. It may be wrong to have kids saying some of the things they did, but it's hilarious.

The filmmakers seem to view it as more ground-breaking than it really is, but "Definitely, Maybe" is still good and funny and maybe (only maybe) the best romantic comedy since "Annie Hall"(1977).

The Last House on the Left: Movie Review




"Last House on the Left" is not really a movie - it's just a vehicle for gruesome violence.

I was not aware that "The Last House on the Left" was a remake, and yes I do like my sheltered movie existence where I don't watch horror movies. I should have known better. But every week I watch "Breaking Bad" raptured with Aaron Paul, and I had to watch him in a feature film.

All that I got out of watching this was how bad horror films are and it was a good reminder that I'm not missing anything. The film starts by giving us back-stories to our protagonists, all of which were unnecessary, as the rest of the film is as follows: girl gets herself in bad situation, meet creepy bad guys, have four minute rape scene, family meets creepy bad guys, and then revenge. I guess there's a plot in that, but no point.

I was asked if the actors did a good job, my answer was, I don't know. They weren't characters, just vehicles for destruction. Just as this movie is not a film, just a channel for gruesome violence.

If you don't watch horror movies, don't start with "The Last House on the Left".

Friday, July 9, 2010

Juno: Movie Review


"Juno" can't live up to its undeserving expectations.

The problem with "Juno" is Juno. Juno (Ellen Page) is our main character, a high school teenager that gets pregnant. Shenanigans, as she says, emanate.

I adhere to the school of thought that main characters should be likable, or that we can at least relate to or empathize with in some way, but Juno doesn't inhabit any qualities of a good character.
  2007

Directed by: Jason Reitman

Screenplay by: Diablo Cody

Starring: Ellen Page and Michael Cera
She is not similar to any real high school teenagers, and has that ultra-cool, I'm-smarter-and-better-than-everybody-else vibe that young adults only wish they were like. We are to know that Juno is really, really smart – (just ignore the fact that she accidentally got pregnant) – we can tell by her speech. Unfortunately, the dialogue is not smart writing. It's just pop-culture persiflage and quick witted repartee. It may be funny, but it's not smart - especially when no actual teenagers talk like that.

Then, to hide the fact that Juno is not a complete character, they have her listen to cool, indie music. But someone must have forgotten to tell writer Diablo Cody that listening to cool, indie music does not automatically add dimension or emotion to a character. That's supposed to be done through a character's actions, reactions as they evolve over the course of the film. None of which are demonstrated in Juno. To be clear, for all of the faults with the character of Juno, none of the blame is to be placed on Ellen Page. Unanimously heralded to be the next great actress, that is just a matter of time.

Apart from the lack of an integral character in Juno, the film certainly has some positives. Allison Janney and J.K. Simmons play Juno's step-mother and father. They could very well be the best parents displayed in the teen, pregnancy genre. Janney adds depth and humour to a character that turns out to be not your cliché step-mother; while Simmons adds heart and humour to a father that steers clear of melodrama but can still provide the adjective 'heartfelt' to the film. Also starring Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner, who are both accomplished actors, their characters are exactly as you expect them to be. Which are fine characters, but they don't provide the platforms for Juno's supposed maturation.

If it weren't for the fact that "Juno" was the recipient of an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for screenwriter Diablo Cody, it would have been forgotten as just a flash-in-the-pan with some funny lines and a young Ellen Page. But just as America fell to the charms of its marketing team, the Academy fell to the charms of another stripper-turned-screenwriter, and we have a sub-par film getting lauded as one of the best ever. "Juno" may have some good acting, and great supporting characters and humour and heart, but from everything pointed above it's lacking too much to be deserving of its Best Original Screenplay win. A year later, the Academy snubbed John Patrick Shanley's "Doubt" – now that's a film with complex, multi-dimensional characters and layers of meaning into a seemingly simple story. "Juno" doesn't even come close to that kind of brilliant writing. (Normally such a comparison can not be made but when they are nominated for the same award and both attempt a multi-meaning story arc with engaging characters the comparison somehow becomes valid but of course not fair).

Watch "Juno" if you like the teen comedy, pregnancy kind of film and enjoy it for what it offers, but don't expect it to live up to its hype.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Baby Formula: Movie Review




"The Baby Formula" certainly does not deliver.

"The Baby Formula" is a low-budget independent 'comedy'. Two women want to have a baby together, so they find this scientific lab that will make a 'female sperm' from stem cells. I thought that was a pretty cool premise that could make for a pretty good film, but I was greatly disappointed.

It is shot in documentary style, but it's just too fantastical that the documentary angle does not work. Instead of even trying to come up with a sci-fi explanation they had the scientists make little 'jokes'. These so called jokes aren't even funny.

On top of claiming that this is laugh-out-loud funny, the marketing department also claims that this film is moving. The so-called 'moving' parts must be when the two women get angry with each other for various things as they go through this journey. I'm calling them women because even though they have names, they aren't characters - I don't know them, all I know about them is that they are having a baby. There is nothing to connect me to these women so I don't care about them at all.

I normally want to recommend independent films, but I can't do that this time. "The Baby Formula" is not worth being seen.

Check out "TiMER" (2009) instead - it's an independent romantic comedy with a sci-fi/fantasy angle and it's great.

Election: Movie Review

(1999, directed by: Alexander Payne, written by: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, starring: Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon)
(Based on the novel "Election" by Tom Perrotta)
(Available now on DVD and Blu-ray)




One of the best 'high school' movies.

"Election" is a dark comedy - dark and funny. Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) is an over-achiever and creates havoc in the life of her teacher (Matthew Broderick) as the school elections approach.

I have to echo the sentiment that this is one of the best (if not the best) movie set in a high school. It's hard to even call it a high school movie as the topics encompass a broader range, and it's a very intelligent and thoughtful script. It's dramatic with its dark situations, and at the same time it's a very smart comedy.

Starring a young Reese Witherspoon who proves her bright future and Matthew Broderick who is perfect in the role and floats effortlessly between drama and comedy. A well deserved Oscar nomination for Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor for the screenplay. Their other movies include "About Schmidt" (2002) and "Sideways" (2004).

"Election" is one of the best films of its kind. I highly recommend it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Adam: Movie Review


"Adam" is one of the best written films of its kind.

The adjectives used to market "Adam" include: romantic, funny, delightful, poignant, uplifting, humorous. I have to disagree with most of those, especially: funny, humorous and delightful. A comedy it is not. But that's not to say that it isn't good. It's actually quite good. 2009

Directed by: Max Mayer

Screenplay by: Max Mayer

Starring: Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I Could Never Be Your Woman: Movie Review




Amy Heckerling triumphantly takes on Hollywood and could never be their woman.

"I Could Never Be Your Woman" is written and directed by Amy Heckerling, she of "Clueless" (1995) fame. Now she has triumphantly returned and is taking on the TV and film industry.

This movie is for the young Generation Xers who watched "Clueless" en masse. Now that we have grown up and Heckerling has too, she is skewering the beauty-obsession of Hollywood and its desire to look and be younger.

Michelle Pfeiffer stars as the producer of a teen-based TV show, she's 40 and she's a single mom. The main storyline is that she casts Paul Rudd in her show and starts dating him. A romantic comedy with a younger man-older woman relationship. Yes that's been done before, and yes, the standard lame rom-com story isn't great. But that doesn't matter here because it's the right vehicle for all the hilarious Hollywood-bashing jokes.

Heckerling is right-on-target with her many jokes, and her audience should appreciate the casting of "Clueless" vets Stacey Dash and Paul Rudd as actors playing high school teenagers. Also stars Jon Lovitz as the ex-husband, and Academy Award nominee Saoirse Ronan as the daughter, plus even more great comedic actors.

The right audience (teenagers of the 90s) should thoroughly enjoy "I Could Never Be Your Woman". Anybody frustrated with the beauty-obsession and thin bodies thrown at us from a Hollywood-induced society, will also find themselves laughing all the way through to the end credits.

Sydney White: Movie Review




Feel good to the 7th power!

"Sydney White" is the typical losers-become-winners where we cheer for the underdogs.

Amanda Bynes is Sydney White, a freshman in college, who doesn't fit in with her Greek sorority. Determined to fight them she teams up with 7 'dorks' and launches a campaign to win back the school. Yes it is supposed to be a modern update of Snow White which I find lame, but it's easy to ignore that.

It has all of the characters you expect to find, the cute tomboy, the pretty and popular mean girl, the cute and popular but also sweet guy, and the geek (7 of them in this case). The great thing about these characters is that the important ones, who are supposed to be more than just caricatures, actually are.

And of course the highlight is Amanda Bynes, she is funny and sweet and pretty and very easy to like. Most people are familiar with Bynes so if you have liked her previous films ("What a Girl Wants" (2003) or "She's the Man" (2006)) then you should like her here. If you are not a fan of hers then I respect your opinion but think you're missing something, and you should probably also skip this.

"Sydney White" is everything that you want in a cute, sweet, feel good PG movie. I recommend it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Girl Next Door: Movie Review


"The Girl Next Door" raises the teen sex comedy genre.

Matt is a studious, hard-working high school senior bound for Georgetown University. Then he meets the girl next door and all hell breaks loose.

"The Girl Next Door" is the type of film that gently breaks down the door of a genre. Take your typical teen comedy with geeks hanging out in the A/V room, guys being obsessed with meeting porn
  2004

Directed by: Luke Greenfield

Screenplay by: Stuart Blumberg, David T. Wangler and Brent Goldberg

Starring: Emile Hirsch and Elisha Cuthbert
stars, with some contrived plot which allows for breasts galore and lots of lame sex jokes. But this film sees that bet and raises it. It has your geeks obsessed with meeting porn stars, but it also has an actually well-written good comedy story, which then allows for breasts galore and some mild sex jokes.

Emile Hirsch is the perfect actor for the role of Matt. He's handsome so women will love to watch him, but not too handsome that men will want to watch him too. After this, his peers started watching him and he's been getting accolades for his talent.

"The Girl Next Door" is for everybody getting frustrated with the poor state of teen comedies. You can watch this without hanging your head in shame.


The Trotsky: Movie Review

     


Part teen comedy and part political history, but completely smart and hilarious.
Meet Leon Trotsky: born Leon Bronstein, a revolutionist, a Marxist leader, and killed in 1940 by a devout Stalinist. Oh wait, wrong one. Meet Leon Bronstein: a revolutionist, a Marxist, and high school teenager living in Montreal. Except to this Leon, he's the same person, the reincarnate of Leon Trotsky the famous Russian revolutionist. He's "The Trotsky" stuck in a public high school.
2009

Directed by: Jacob Tierney

Screenplay by: Jacob Tierney

Starring: Jay Baruchel