Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer: Movie Review


A thoughtful ride with characters and intriguing conflicts of innocence and guilt.

The titular Lincoln lawyer is smooth Mick Haller who is just as smooth as Matthew McConaughey. His sleaziness is entertaining, but his lawyering is smart and intriguing. This film has pretty much the perfect mix of a smart plot, with inventive twists, amusing one-liners, and captivating thought-out characters. 2011

Directed by: Brad Furman

Screenplay by: John Romano

Starring: Matthew McConaughey

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Another Year: Movie Review


   


Hidden humour in the script keeps us above all the misery.
It's just another year for Gerri (Ruth Sheen) and Tom (Jim Broadbent). With each passing season their friends become more disheartened and weary, if not downright delirious as is the case with Mary (Lesley Manville). Mike Leigh's "Another Year" is driven with dialogue—surprisingly humorous given the misery of its characters. 2010

Directed by: Mike Leigh

Screenplay by: Mike Leigh

Starring: Ruth Sheen, Jim Broadbent and Lesley Manville

Paul: Movie Review

 

You should meet "Paul" - a classic alien who is charming and funny.

Two nerds from London, Clive (Nick Frost) and Graeme (Simon Pegg), are on the lam after Comic Con. So begins the road trip element of "Paul". The humour begins when they meet Paul, an alien, on the run from the men in black. Some of the humour is along the lines of Clive peeing his pants when he sees Paul—yes, pretty childish, but funny enough. 2011

Directed by: Greg Mottola

Screenplay by: Nick Frost and Simon Pegg

Starring: Nick Frost, Simon Pegg and Seth Rogen

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Limitless: Movie Review

     


A limitless source of stupidity.

Ever thought about what you could do if a magical pill could turn your life into its most promising form? Hollywood execs have and "Limitless" just shows that they wish they could be smart. And it is just a magical pill because any scientific explanation is lacking, at best. 2011

Directed by: Neil Burger

Screenplay by: Leslie Dixon

Starring: Bradley Cooper

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Four Lions: Movie Review

(2010, directed by: Chris Morris, written by: Chris Morris, Simon Blackwell, Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, starring: Riz Ahmed)
(Available now on DVD and Blu-ray)




Take Pinky and the Brain, clone Pinky twice more, convert them to Muslim extremists and place them in today's London.

"What are we going to do tonight, Brain?" "Same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world!" Is it wrong of me to compare "Four Lions" to the WB animated series "Pinky and the Brain"? I don't think so. This film is filled with side-splitting laughter and satirical takes on suicide-bombers plotting one ridiculous terrorist attempt after another even more ridiculous terrorist attempt. Clone Pinky two more times, convert the four of them to Muslim extremists and place them in London in today's world, and you've got Omar and his fellow anarchists trying to teach the world a lesson.

Their incompetence is taken to the same extremes as their beliefs. Their possible targets include expletive-described Disney theme parks, their own Mosque, and using such genius methods as strapping a bomb to a crow, or to themselves as they are running around a field. You will laugh until you cry.

Laughs aside, it takes a special kind of film to create four protagonists out of inept suicide-bombers and emotionally connect you. And we haven't even touched the moxie that these filmmakers have to tackle such a subject. Comparisons to "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" and Monty Python are all valid here. Even if this story isn't your style, it's hard not to be impressed with how they pulled off "Four Lions".

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monsters: Movie Review


Interesting mix between science fiction and the reality of mankind.

"Monsters" is an interesting mix between science fiction and the reality of mankind. By "the reality of mankind", I mean, the universal feelings of love and the ability of all humans to make really stupid mistakes at the worst opportune times. When you're fighting for your lives against an alien race, momentary stupidity can really cost you. And it costs the film from being a more enthralling narrative.   2010

Directed by: Gareth Edwards

Screenplay by: Gareth Edwards

Starring: Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Every Day: Movie Review

(2010, written and directed by: Richard Levine, starring: Liev Schreiber, Helen Hunt and Ezra Miller)
(Available now on DVD and Blu-ray)




Sharp comedy rises above the flat story lines.

"Every Day" may feel a little stale because isn't that how life is supposed to be when everything is the same routine? The family dramedy is an over-worked genre, but this film overcomes the monotony with some clever humour and great performances.

Ned (Liev Schreiber) is just yet another lead character who is having a hard time dealing with his teenage son, losing connection with his frustrated wife, and getting annoyed with his demanding boss. But Schreiber is a good actor, and despite all these rather dull character traits, he made Ned quite likable and enjoyable. The implied depth to Helen Hunt's stressed-out wife, is more than made up for with the wonderfully comedic and sympathetic Ezra Miller. He plays their teenage son who has recently come "out of the closet". Similar to his role in "City Island", he's a scene-stealer with a bright future in the comic drama genre. Eddie Izzard as Ned's demanding boss is more outrageous than you would expect him to be and adds some life to this film about life's problems.

I was impressed enough with the sharp comedy that rose above the flat story lines, and with the accomplished actors who rose above the tedium of the characters, that I can recommend "Every Day". It's independent, but not original, but significantly better than how it comes across.

Also recommended: City Island

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Love You Phillip Morris: Movie Review

     


Unabashedly hilarious, wildly inventive and real - in more ways than one.
Steven (Jim Carrey) wants to be the best person he can be. But then petty things like morality and understanding the differences between right and wrong would get in the way. And then frequently land him in the hospital and jail. He also said the he wanted to be the best person he could be back when he was an upstanding Christian citizen who loved his wife and daughter. Sometimes he would forget that he was a homosexual. Or at least forget to tell us.2009

Directed by: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa

Screenplay by: John Requa and Glenn Ficarra
Based on the book by Steven McVicker

Starring: Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau: Movie Review


Intelligence in a big-budget Hollywood action form the new science fiction romance genre.

I'm starting to like this new genre of science fiction romance that "The Adjustment Bureau" falls into. Hollywood seems to have learned how to add a significant amount thought to their films, just with their usual dumbing-down procedures. David (Matt Damon) has met Elise (Emily Blunt) and based on one spontaneous kiss and one flirtatious encounter, he's determined that she's the one he's supposed to be with.   2011

Directed by: George Nolfi

Screenplay by: George Nolfi

Starring: Matt Damon, John Slattery and Emily Blunt

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Somewhere: Movie Review

     


Somewhere is an indescribable place, but a beautiful one.
In the beginning, "Somewhere" is L.A. as Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) lives it up with fast cars, easy women, and lots and lots of alcohol. The simplistic shots of the film and minimal dialogue belie the depth to which we get to know him. It's quite amusing when his 11-year-old daughter, Cleo (Elle Fanning), shows up and knows less about his lifestyle than we do. 2010

Directed by: Sofia Coppola

Screenplay by: Sofia Coppola

Starring: Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning