Sunday, June 29, 2014

They Came Together: Movie Review


   


Skewers romantic comedies without insulting its fans leading to a very funny comedy.
“They Came Together” is a comedy, but not a romantic comedy. That distinction should be made very clear because as the former, it works very well, but as the latter it really doesn’t work at all. It is of course a satire of romantic comedies and begins with Joel (Paul Rudd) and Molly (Amy Poehler) telling the story of how they met and fell in love, which of course fits the plot of a movie perfectly! 2014

Directed by: David Wain

Screenplay by: Michael Showalter, and David Wain

Starring: Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Walk of Shame: Movie Review


   


A long walk of disbelief to get to some comedy, romance and feel-good acceptance.
“Walk of Shame” stars Elizabeth Banks as Meghan Miles a local LA news reporter. She’s a girl trying to uphold her good girl image but also get over the heartbreak of the end of her engagement. And thus one night out leads to a really, really long walk of shame across Los Angeles involving a little comedy, some romance and a lot of awkward misunderstandings. 2014

Directed by: Steven Brill

Screenplay by: Steven Brill

Starring: Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Repentance: Movie Review


A psychological thriller undone with philosophical pretense and unsympathetic characters.

Tommy Carter (Anthony Mackie) is a successful self-help author/life coach/spiritual advisor who is still tied to his blue-collar past. "Repentance" opens with a tragic car accident that Tommy is responsible for. Angel Sanchez (Forest Whitaker) is a blue-collar construction worker still reeling from the death of his mother with severe psychological issues leaving his current life in ruin. He insists that Tommy and only Tommy will help him.   2013

Directed by: Philippe Caland

Screenplay by: Shintaro Shimosawa
Based on film by Philippe Caland

Starring: Anthony Mackie, Forest Whitaker

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Joe: Movie Review


   


The complexities of Joe over-taken by the worst humanity has to offer.
“Joe” is set deep in the back woods of Texas where the people are lost in a sea of crimes, and where role models and criminals are often one in the same. Joe (Nicolas Cage) is an ex-con living day-to-day managing a road crew and coming home to his girlfriend of the night. Gary (Tye Sheridan) is a 15-year-old boy desperately needing a role model but his father is a lazy, racist, immoral scumbag and he’s left with either Joe or nothing. 2013

Directed by: David Gordon Green

Screenplay by: David Hawkins
Based on the novel by Larry Brown

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Jersey Boys: Movie Review


Get out of Jersey, get ready for some feel-good fun.

“Jersey Boys” is the rise and fall of The Four Seasons based on the true story and the stage musical. Director Clint Eastwood incorporated the feel of the stage musical in a subtle manner and it gave the film some great framing. They’re New Jersey boys torn between crime and anything other than crime in the early days. Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza) knew Frankie Valli (John Lloyd Young) could sing and putting him in the center, they might find their way out of jail.   2014

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Screenplay by: Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice

Starring: John Lloyd Young, Vincent Piazza, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Fading Gigolo: Movie Review


   


A very funny absurdist comedy featuring male prostitution, pimps and Jewish court.
Murray (Woody Allen) was the owner of a failed rare book store (“Only rare people buy rare books these days”) and Fioravente (John Turturro) works part-time at a failing flower shop. Murray also knows Dr. Parker (Sharon Stone) who’s looking for a man who might be interested in a ménage-a-trois. For a price, Murray says he does. 2013

Directed by: John Turturro

Screenplay by: John Turturro

Starring: John Turturro, Woody Allen

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Long Way Down: Movie Review


   


A new direction can seem uneven, but the original wit, whimsy, humour and insight is intact.
“A Long Way Down” is a dark comedy because, you know, suicide isn’t supposed to be funny. It’s like a light-hearted drama told straight and seriously. It is told with seriousness but includes characters and dialogue ripe for laughter. The movie makes the story more dramatic, but at the same time, not as dark as the book version it is based on. I’m a huge fan of author Nick Hornby and the same-titled novel. 2014

Directed by: Pascal Chaumeil

Screenplay by: Jack Thorne

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Ping Pong Summer: Movie Review



   


Recreating 1985 but the funny premise quickly becomes stale and tiring.
“Ping Pong Summer” is a coming-of-age tale set in 1985. Like a full-on comedic version of “The Way Way Back” (2013), except quirkier and way less funny. This film tried to survive solely on the cultural jokes of the ‘80s, and what seems like a very funny set-up, quickly becomes a 29-year-old stale joke and there’s nothing else to make the film fresh or funny. 2014

Directed by: Michael Tully

Screenplay by: Michael Tully

Starring: Marcello Conte, Susan Sarandon

Friday, June 13, 2014

Lullaby: Movie Review


Thoughtful questions and ideas give way to a simple family drama.

Patriarch Robert Lowenstein (Richard Jenkins) is dying. However, as his son Jonathan (Garrett Hedlund) informs us, he always says he’s dying and who knows if it’s going to stick this time. Suggesting that he could be dying or he could be lying, or his son is lying, and somebody is being insensitive, and somebody is going to have to figure out their place in life sooner rather than later. And thus begins a rather interesting angle for a grieving family drama.   2014

Directed by: Andrew Levitas

Screenplay by: Andrew Levitas

Starring: Garrett Hedlund, Richard Jenkins, Amy Adams and Jessica Brown Findlay

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Normal Heart: Movie Review


A story of the human heart.

“The Normal Heart” is the fictionalized, feature film version of “How to Survive a Plague” (2012, documentary) which features Larry Kramer and his fellow gay activists. This HBO film is based on the same-titled play written by Larry Kramer and features fictional characters based on him and his fellow gay activists set in 1980s during the rise of AIDs crisis.   2014

Directed by: Ryan Murphy

Screenplay by: Larry Kramer

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer

Monday, June 9, 2014

She Loves Me Not: Movie Review


Three chapters about one writer tied together thematically but poorly executed.

“She Loves Me Not” is categorized as a comedy and romance, suggesting a romantic comedy, but that couldn't be further from the truth. It’s also described as being three vignettes. In that regard, it’s better. “She Loves Me Not” really tells one story of struggling novelist Brady Olinson (Cary Elwes), told in three chapters. While each chapter is distinct, the slow evolution of Brady ties them all together.   2013

Directed by: Brian Jun, Jack Sanderson

Screenplay by: Brian Jun, Jack Sanderson

Starring: Cary Elwes

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Pretty One: Movie Review


An uneven beginning gives way to a cute and sweet story of love and finding yourself.

“The Pretty One” is the story of identical twins Laurel and Audrey (Zoe Kazan), except Laurel is told she should look more like Audrey. Following the death of their mother, Audrey moved to the city and Laurel retreated farther into herself. This leaves one twin more rejuvenated looking hot and modern while the other is just a mess. Audrey wants Laurel to change, Laurel doesn’t know what she wants.   2013

Directed by: Jenée LaMarque

Screenplay by: Jenée LaMarque

Starring: Zoe Kazan, Jake M. Johnson

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Claire: Movie Review


   


Themes of popularity and friendship are beautifully played up as Jack evolves and Claire is dead.
Jack (Aidan Bristow) is the popular guy at school; the football quarterback. Claire (Jennifer Baute) is a nice, pretty, shy girl. A football injury leaves Jack in a cast and on crutches; soon thereafter, following a drunk-driving accident, Claire is dead. The problem as Jack sees it is that he didn’t know her, but everybody else seemed to. And he starts looking into Claire’s past and her death. 2013

Directed by: Dan Ast

Screenplay by: Dan Ast

Starring: Aidan Bristow, Cory Driscoll

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Filth: Movie Review


   


A brilliant character study underneath the layers of filthy superficiality.
In “Filth”, Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) is a Scottish cop who’s determined to solve a murder case. But more important than that, he’s also determined to get promoted to Inspector. And more important than that, there’s lots of women to bed, drugs to imbibe, alcohol to drink and general debauchery to embark on. He has zero concern for the people around him and the laws that govern society. 2013

Directed by: Jon S. Baird

Screenplay by: Jon S. Baird
Based on the novel "Filth" by Irvine Welsh

Starring: James McAvoy