Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Education of Charlie Banks: Movie Review


Internalizing thoughts against violence and injustice on a college campus.

"The Education of Charlie Banks" is not as grim as suggested. It primarily takes place at college. A beautiful college with beautiful books and beautiful girls. The darkness is within the inner characteristics of most of the characters. Charlie Banks is expected to fight against injustice but it's much easier to ignore it. 2007

Directed by: Fred Durst

Screenplay by: Peter Elkoff

Starring: Jason Ritter and Jesse Eisenberg

Monday, May 30, 2011

Crashing: Movie Review


A well written film about writing; not a comedy but it is funny.

An example of mis-marketing just to make it seem more appealing to the popular audience, but completely misses the point of what makes "Crashing" so good. This is not a comedy about the sexual misadventures of a middle-aged man and two sexy co-eds. This is a funny, smart, well written film about writing.
2007

Directed by: Gary Walkow

Screenplay by: Gary Walkow

Starring: Campbell Scott, Lizzy Caplan and Izabella Miko

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Jackie Brown: Movie Review


Slick characters and slick dealings in one perfectly executed film.

I never thought that I would actually like a Quentin Tarantino movie, let alone think that it's a brilliant film that should be revered. "Pulp Fiction" (1994) was entertaining but most of his other violent, ridiculous "artistry" I couldn't even sit through. "Jackie Brown" though, gives us some powerful characters to connect to, a drug and money plot which for the most part makes sense, and relatively, very little violence.   1997

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Screenplay by: Quentin Tarantino
Based on the novel by Elmore Leonard

Starring: Pam Grier and Samuel L. Jackson

All Good Things: Movie Review


   


Extreme manipulation in telling what could have been a great story.
The opening statement that this is "based on events that occurred" suggests how far it is from the true story. And that is its unfortunate downfall because "All Good Things" is a good movie. It's a good story with interesting characters portrayed by phenomenal actors with appealing atmosphere and engaging transitions to advance it along. 2010

Directed by: Andrew Jarecki

Screenplay by: Marcus Hinchey and Marc Smerling

Starring: Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Symmetry of Love: Movie Review


Interweaving relationships of nameless, distant characters.

"The Symmetry of Love" is a romantic comedy of interweaving relationships set in London with an interweaving relationship with Spain. I could tell you who is in love with whom, and who is friends with whom and who used to be in love with whom. But that gets way too confusing. I had to use the back of the DVD case as a cheat sheet to get me through it. 2010

Directed by: Aitor Gaizka

Screenplay by: Aitor Gaizka

Starring: Giles Alderson and Jemma Powell

Intolerable Cruelty: Movie Review


Taking a romantic comedy to cynical and hilarious extremes.

A romantic comedy where love is completely removed from the equation but the comedy is multiplied. "Intolerable Cruelty" takes place in a time and place where marriages fall apart. All marriages will collapse, implode, and be completely annihilated. And if it doesn't happen on the day of the wedding, divorce lawyers will make sure it happens soon thereafter.   2003

Directed by: Joel Coen

Screenplay by: Robert Ramsey, Matthew Stone, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen

Starring: George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Hangover Part II: Movie Review


An extreme comedy that focuses more on shock than on creativity.

This time around they are in Thailand. Like last time, they have forgotten their night out, and as Phil confesses on a cell phone call to Tracy, things are bad this time. The good news is, Doug is okay, bad news is brother-in-law Teddy is missing and their answers may have gone crashing into a glass table. 2011
Directed by: Todd Phillips

Written by: Craig Mazin, Scot Armstrong and Todd Phillips

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Hangover: Movie Review


From nowhere to Las Vegas and answered the funniest questions ever asked.

The Vegas comedy done right. Mostly because "The Hangover" is funny. Very funny. As the guys start out on their bachelor party trip to Las Vegas we quickly get a sense of how funny this will be because of the sense of humour the characters have. Phil (Bradley Cooper) is completely unscrupulous, but that's okay he's only a school teacher. Alan (Zach Galifianakis) thinks the prospect of killing someone or being killed is hilarious.   2009

Directed by: Todd Phillips

Screenplay by: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mixing Karma: Movie Review


Romantic comedy on an unfortunately low budget, but art can save it.

In "Mixing Karma", Ryan (Collin Stark) is sure he's destined to become an artist. His father thinks otherwise, but the Indian family across the street is happy to support, until their daughter gets involved. It's a low-budget romantic comedy about family, pursuing your dreams and then pursuing the girl.   2009 (with 2011 DVD release)

Directed by: Ken Oelerich

Screenplay by: Ken Oelerich and Colleen Patrick

Starring: Collin Stark and Shazia

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Bang Bang Club: Movie Review


Internal conflict between observation and action.

The war rages on in the final days of apartheid in South Africa. "The Bang Bang Club" is a group of four, young, fearless photographers who drove in head first into the racial fighting. Why they did such a thing is certainly in question. At first, I would chalk it up to the male-driven need for action. Other reasons will be there, but even they question it after awhile.2010

Directed by: Steven Silver

Screenplay by: Steven Silver

Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Malin Akerman and Taylor Kitsch

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bridesmaids: Movie Review


Apparently, women swearing really is funny to everybody.

A movie for women, about women, and by women. Well, make that last one written by women but directed and produced with the Paul Feig and Judd Apatow touch. This means that we get comedy and emotion in equal parts. But it also means that we get perverted humour, cliché cat-fights, and sweet romance.2011

Directed by: Paul Feig

Screenplay by: Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo

Starring: Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Conspirator: Movie Review

     


Guilty or innocent, "The Conspirator" gets everything right.
"The Conspirator" is an impossible trial to win, but it's tried by the best cast in the best manner possible. Heroes returned home from the Civil War to be greeted by the Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton (Kevin Kline) and other high-profile members of the War Department. President Abraham Lincoln was occupied elsewhere.2010

Directed by: Robert Redford

Screenplay by: James D. Solomon

Starring: James McAvoy and Robin Wright

Counting Backwards: Movie Review


Valiant efforts but the viewer isn't rewarded with much of anything.

For a film about the journey of its main character, it didn’t do a good job of introducing us to Joe. Taking the usually-good approach that less says more, I may appreciate that, but it doesn’t work here. He quit his job, but I don’t know why. His doctor gave him bad news, but what exactly I don’t know.   2007 (with 2011 DVD release)

Directed by: Aprill Winney

Screenplay by: Ryan Tavlin

Starring: Benjamin Montague

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Own Love Song: Movie Review


Forced empathy that takes us nowhere, slowly.

A road trip drama where lost souls are looking for their lost dreams, or as the title suggests, their own love song. The filmmakers used characters who suffer from opposite inflictions to increase the sense of conflict, sympathy, and drama. Jane (Renée Zellweger) is in a wheelchair and Joey (Forest Whitaker) is schizophrenic. Do you feel sorry for them? You should. 2010

Directed by: Olivier Dahan

Screenplay by: Olivier Dahan

Starring: Renée Zellweger and Forest Whitaker

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I Am You: Movie Review


A potentially good story ruined first by structure and then by cruelty.

An Australian independent film which I'm assuming got its North American release because of the current popularity of "Black Swan". Be prepared for some twisted films if ballet-turned-thriller becomes a popular genre. At times, "I Am You" is a very sensual portrayal of a beautiful ballet dancer but then becomes a very sadistic introspection of a killer. 2009 (with 2011 DVD release)

Directed by: Simon North

Screenplay by: Simon North

Starring: Guy Pearce and Miranda Otto

Monday, May 16, 2011

That's What I Am: Movie Review


Teaching tolerance and loving one's self in a realistic, mature way.

Human Dignity + Compassion = PEACE. That’s Mr. Simon’s (Ed Harris) award-winning four-word solution to world peace. Unfortunately, children are cruel, and there isn’t even peace in his 1965 junior high classroom. “That’s What I Am” is narrated by an adult Andy Nichol, who, as an awkward 13 year-old is popular enough that he gets bypassed by the bullies but he wouldn’t want to jeopardize that by socializing with the outcasts.2011

Directed by: Michael Pavone

Screenplay by: Michael Pavone

Starring: Ed Harris and Chase Ellison

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Barry Munday: Movie Review


   


A possibly funny premise ruined by inconsistencies, boring comedy, and rude characters.
Barry Munday (Patrick Wilson) is a ladies man. At first the movie is trying to tell us that he just thinks of himself as one, but they did show us him getting his way with a lot of women. I guess I'm supposed to think that since it's just a comedy, there's no point to being consistent. 2010 (with 2011 DVD release)

Directed by: Chris D'Arienzo

Screenplay by: Chris D'Arienzo

Starring: Patrick Wilson

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Henry Poole Is Here: Movie Review


Henry Poole is a character who will stay with you.

Henry Poole is here, but to him, only for awhile. Luke Wilson in a very mature and refined role plays Henry Poole, a character who has given up on the future—in every sense of it. He just wants to be left alone. But that becomes increasingly difficult when a devout Christian neighbour thinks a water stain on his wall is actually the face of Christ.   2008

Directed by: Mark Pellington

Screenplay by: Albert Torres

Starring: Luke Wilson and Radha Mitchell

No Strings Attached: Movie Review


No romance, comedy or even friendship - what kind of romantic comedy is that?

"No Strings Attached", friends with benefits, and as they described it to their friends and family, they're friends who have sex. First there are the obvious jokes, "Nope. That's not possible!" But my problem with that set-up is that these characters—if they are even characters—are definitely not friends. "Acquaintances who have sex." Really takes away some of the potential, doesn't it? 2011

Directed by: Ivan Reitman

Screenplay by: Elizabeth Meriwether

Starring: Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman

Friday, May 13, 2011

Helena from the Wedding: Movie Review


The uninteresting answers are in the eyes (of alcoholics).

It's New Year's Eve and we have an assembly of couples all in varying stages of happiness, meaning unhappiness, in their relationships. But each relationship status is likely to change when Helena shows up. You know, the character that we seem to know about before we've even met her, and the one that they all met at the wedding. Whose wedding? I don't know, just one of the unhappy nameless couples. 2010

Directed by: Joseph Infantolino

Screenplay by: Joseph Infantolino

Starring: Melanie Lynskey, Lee Tergesen and Gillian Jacobs

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Daydream Nation: Movie Review


An edge-of-your-seat coming-of-age drama.

In a small town where teachers sit in front of apathetic kids in the classroom and teenagers have nothing better to do than find household items that might get them high, "Daydream Nation" sneaks in and takes everything by storm. Caroline (Kat Dennings) is new in town and it's not that she loves to cause strife or turmoil, but she's smarter than her fellow classmates and she's looking to define herself just as any smart, lonely teenager would do. This is the year that everything happens. 2010

Directed by: Michael Goldbach

Screenplay by: Michael Goldbach

Starring: Kat Dennings, Josh Lucas, Andie MacDowell and Reece Thompson

Friday, May 6, 2011

Revolution Summer: Movie Review


Revolutionaries who aren't going to change a thing.

"Revolution Summer" is about young revolutionaries; a group of young, smart, aimless twenty-somethings who are going to change the world with their aspirations, plans and brilliant ideas. But the film and its young heroes-of-sorts, get seriously sidetracked by parties, drugs and the mistaken belief that they are more evolved than the rest of us. Sound familiar? Yes, you have met them, during college, or after college (or even before because they ended up being too cool for school).
  2007 (with 2011 DVD release)

Directed by: Miles Montalbano

Screenplay by: Miles Montalbano

Starring: Mackenzie Firgens and Samuel Child

Something Borrowed: Movie Review


Borrowed emotions on borrowed time.

Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) is turning 30, but it's the immature Darcy (Kate Hudson) who is getting married. "Something Borrowed" is a romantic comedy, so obviously that inverse world will right itself, eventually. It was a longer process than would seem necessary.   2011
Directed by: Luke Greenfield

Screenplay by: Jennie Snyder
Based on the novel by Emily Giffin

Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin and Kate Hudson

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Year of Getting to Know Us: Movie Review


Home is not where the heart is.

In "The Year of Getting to Know Us", Christopher Rocket (Jimmy Fallon) returns home after news that his father is dying. Home is Florida, where he was raised by his emotionally-abusing, distant and womanizing father (Tom Arnold) and his soon-to-be-hippie and emotionally-abused mother (Sharon Stone). Home is not where the heart is.   2008 (with 2010 DVD release)

Directed by: Patrick Sisam

Screenplay by: Patrick Sisam and Rick Velleu; Based on short stories by Ethan Canin

Starring: Jimmy Fallon

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Midsummer Madness: Movie Review


Lives up the madness in its title and the beauty of its country.

It's midsummer in Latvia, and everybody has gone mad. Although for most of these characters, they are probably just as crazy any day of the year. A group of British firemen are in search of the "magic fern"; two brothers hatch a plan so those damn capitalists will stop raising gas prices; a French woman picks up flirtatious men as she's on her way to distribute her late husband's ashes; a sex-crazed stewardess is on the prowl for Mr. Right or Mr. Right-now; an American and his taxi driver are trying to find his half-sister; and then there's a kangaroo... 2007 (with 2011 DVD release)

Directed by: Alexander Hahn

Screenplay by: Alexander Hahn, Alexander Mahler and Norman Hudis

Starring: Orlando Wells and Gundars Abolins

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Moon: Movie Review


A limited atmosphere where Sam (Rockwell, that is) matters.

Astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is alone on the moon in a lunar module, save a computer named GERTY voiced by Kevin Spacey. Although we're never quite sure what his mission is, he becomes increasingly less certain about what he's doing there, how long he's been there, and how long he's going to be there. Internal conflicts abound, and "Moon" does an outstanding job of portraying those internal and personal struggles that Sam is experiencing.   2009

Directed by: Duncan Jones

Screenplay by: Nathan Parker
Story by: Duncan Jones

Starring: Sam Rockwell

Source Code: Movie Review


Hero tries to save the world and get the girl, but loses track of which world it is.

"Source Code" is a movie about trains blowing up, but with far more intelligence put into it than explosive action. The former is why I didn't see it at first, the latter is why I finally had to. Another movie that belongs to the science fiction romance genre. Heavy on the science fiction, light on the romance.2011

Directed by: Duncan Jones

Written by: Ben Ripley

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal and Vera Farmiga