Review Young Adult

Grow up.
Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) left her (fictional) hick town of Mercury, MN to move to the big city. In this case, that city is Minneapolis. Her job is a ghost writer for a once popular young adult series. When she gets an email letting her know that her old high school flame, Buddy (Patrick Wilson) has just welcomed a child. Mavis, recently divorced, decides that she's going to go "save" buddy from what she thinks is an unhappy marriage that traps him in the small down. She runs into fellow classmate, Matt, (Patton Oswald) whom she never gave the time of day before, and drunkenly tells him her master plan. He attempts to knock some sense into her.

Young Adult is Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody's 2nd collaboration, and you have to give them credit for being gutsy enough to center their film around a completely unlikable character. Diablo Cody's signature dialogue is thankfully toned down and Theron and Oswald thrive off of their off beat chemistry. What I didn't like about the film was there was no redemption. I suppose that sets it apart from most films where the main character gets a serious reality check, but not having that happy ending hurt it in my opinion. Sure, Mavis realizes she needs to get the hell away from her small town, and as a small town girl, I can relate, but she never stopped being a heinous bitch. Her one redeeming moment at the end of the film is ruined by the fact that she still doesn't care about other people and that soured the movie for me. I just wanted her to apologize, and she never does.

Young Adult isn't a bad film, but it's certainly Reitman's worse. Even though I didn't like the final note, I can't say that I hated watching it. One minor gripe from a Minnesotan - NO one refers to Minneapolis as just "the city." It's always "The Cities" because of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Minor gripe that I'm surprised wasn't addressed when making it.

Recommended: Yes, for Reitman fans.

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "I see you got a KenTacoHut." - Mavis (Charlize Theron)

Indie Gems: Ghost World

Back in the day when Thora Birch was more famous than Scarlett Johansson

Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) are two recent high school graduates who are total outsiders. They spend most of their days pestering creeps, when they decide to play a mean prank on Seymour ,(Steve Buscemi) a pathetic looking man they find in the classifieds. Enid actually finds herself feeling bad for him and forms a relationship that will test her friendship with Rebecca, and possibly reshape her future forever.

I'm a big fan of Birch's work and I think this is one of her best movies. She plays the outsider so well, yet she's so likable and relatable. Johansson doesn't have a lot to do here, which is fine because she's certainly the weaker of the two. Buscemi is perfect as Seymour. He's creepy and heartwarming at the same time.

Ghost World was the first film based off of a graphic novel to be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars. That alone is pretty cool.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "By the end of this summer, you're gonna be up to your neck in pussy." - Enid (Thora Birch)

DVD Review: Jane Eyre

Everyone has secrets.

Some are just a little more drastic than others. Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska) has had a tough life. Her parents died when she was young, she was forced to live with an aunt (Sally Hawkins, not her usual lovely self) that hates her. She goes to work for a man, Mr. Rochester (Michael Fassbender) and eventually falls in love. But it's not that simple.

I've never read Jane Eyre and had never seen any of the previous adaptations. This one interested me at first because Ellen Page was supposed to play the lead. I cannot imagine her in the role, I thought Mia did well. Both she and Fassbender were interesting leads, and it was nice to see small roles by Judi Dench and Jamie Bell thrown in there too. Since I had not read the book the ending genuinely surprised me. I have to admit I was expecting Jane and St John to start furiously making out there for a second. The film sets a dark and dreary town, but doesn't come off as overly depressing. I can't compare it to the other films, but I'm glad I started with this one.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Kill you? Those words are unfeminine and untrue." - St. John Rivers (Jamie Bell)

Indie Gems: Terri

We've all been there.

Terri (Jacob Wysocki) is an overweight teen who is teased at school and is tasked with taking care of his sick uncle at home. He forms a bond with his off beat vice principal, Mr. Fitzgerald. (John C. Reilly) Mr F takes notice of the outcasts and meets with them weekly. He pretends to ream them to amuse his secretary, but he generally cares about where they go in life. When Terri sticks up for another classmate, Heather (Olivia Crocicchia) his life starts to go in a different direction.


There's lots of dry humor in Terri, and Reilly and Wysocki carry the show. They have wonderful chemistry. You generally feel bad for Terri, and root for him even though he makes some questionable choices. For me, it was a little weird seeing Crocicchia, who played little Katy Gavin on Rescue Me in a more grown up and promiscuous role. In the end, it is a loving and cute little film. While not the best, nor the worst, it deserves to be seen if you are a fan of Reilly.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "I knew this kid growing up who tied flaming tennis balls to cats' tails and loved every minute of it. I think he's a cop now."

DVD Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love

Love hurts.

Cal (Steve Carell) and Emily (Julianne Moore) are getting a divorce. Their young son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo) has a thing for his babysitter Jessica. (Analeigh Tipton) Jessica has a thing for Cal. Cal goes to a swanky bar to drink his depression away when he meets Jacob, (Ryan Gosling) a ladies man that shows him how to pick up chicks. Jacob eventually finds himself settling down when he meets Hannah. (Emma Stone) Did you catch all that? Everyone is connected in Crazy, Stupid, Love; a comedy that tells you how love really is.

The movie was filled with cliches, but still managed to stay aware of them. It also contained one of the most interesting "family show down" moments I've seen in awhile. Kevin Bacon and Marisa Tomei have small roles, but they feel wasted after being so heavily focused on in the movie's many trailers. I didn't find the movie particularly funny, there weren't any scenes that made me laugh out loud. I can appreciate the little things, like the costume designs for the folks in the bar (dapper suits, sophisticated dresses, fashionable heels.) The babysitter and son storyline was actually pretty funny. Oh, and Ryan Gosling is really, really hot. Any movie featuring him nearly naked automatically gets a higher grade than it deserves.

Recommended: Yes, it's a mediocre movie, but I wouldn't call it bad.

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "He doesn't know that I'm in love with him and he doesn't know about the naked pictures!" - Jessica (Analeigh Tipton) 

Review: The Descendants

Now what?

Matt King (George Clooney) is a lawyer and the trustee of a large chunk of land on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. While he's making the difficult decision on who to sell it too, he suffers a personal blow much greater: His wife has been in a boating accident, and will never come out of the coma it has put her in. This leaves Matt to raise his two daughters, the bad girl Alexandra (Shailene Woodley) and the middle finger loving Scottie. (Amara Miller) on his own. Matt knows that Alexandra and her mother fought about something before her accident, and he encourages her to let it go. But she can't. You see, his wife had been cheating on him. Matt had no idea, now he's trying to find the man that his wife was in love with.

The Descendants at first felt a lot like Up In The Air, which I loved, so I didn't mind. It eventually morphed into it's own movie. I've never been on the Clooney bandwagon, but after Up In The Air I started to take more notice, and after this film, I'm firmly on board. I thought Clooney was tremendous as a grieving father with some tough choices to make. I was also very impressed with Woodley, who I've only seen in passing on her show The Secret Life. I enjoyed the classic Hawaiian music they played through out, and of course the beautiful scenery. The story was fantastic, instead of being the revenge flick that it very well could be, it's endearing and even a tear jerker. Small parts by Judy Greer and Matthew Lillard were a nice touch as well.

The Descendants is by far one of the best films I've seen all year.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "Why did you tell me in the pool!?" - Alexandra (Shailene Woodley)

Indie Gems: Beautiful Boy

Do you blame the parents?

While I've been waiting patiently for We Need To Talk About Kevin to come my way, I started looking around for movies like it just for kicks. This is how I came across Beautiful Boy.

Kate (Maria Bello) and Bill (Michael Sheen) are a couple that's possibly on the edge of getting a divorce. They're growing apart, and with their only son away at college what's holding them back? That is until their son, Sam (Kyle Gallner) opens fire on campus and kills 17 other people before killing himself. They are now not only faced with the difficult decision of what to do in wake of this tragedy, but now their feelings towards each other will get the ultimate test.

What this movie did very well was show us the raw emotions that Kate and Bill are going through. They don't know why Sammy did what he did, and neither do  we. A video Sammy made for the world to see is only shown in part, so we don't get an answer. It shows us how miserable that must be to be the parents of a murderer, you ask yourself "Is this my fault?" "Was I a bad parent?" I thought Bello and Sheen were top notch as the troubled couple, and a scene with them in their hotel room is particularly powerful.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I wish we never would've had him!" - Bill (Michael Sheen)



2010 Golden Globe Nominees:

My thoughts, as always are in green.

Best Drama
The Descendants
The Help
Hugo
The Ides of March
Moneyball
War Horse

The biggest surprise here for me is The Ides of March. That movie had a tremendous cast, but was very mediocre. I thought Deathly Hallows 2 might have slipped in here since it's the Globes, but I guess not. I would've had Drive and Martha Marcy May Marlene in here instead of Ides and Hugo.

Best Comedy/Musical
50/50
The Artist
Bridesmaids
Carnage
Midnight in Paris
My Week with Marilyn
SO Happy that 50/50 deservingly got in here! I would definitely say it's between this and the Artist. I haven't seen My Week with Marilyn yet, but I thought it looked like a drama. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope Bridesmaids doesn't win.

Best Animated Film
Arthur Christmas
Cars 2
Rango
Puss in Boots
The Adventures of Tintin

There wasn't a single animated film that interested me this year. The closest to it was probably Rango.
Best Foreign Language Film
The Flowers of War
In the Land of Blood and Honey
The Kid With a Bike
A Separation
The Skin I Live In
I haven't seen any of these, but thanks to a dork at work, I know exactly what happens in The Skin I Live In.

Best Actor in a Drama
George Clooney, The Descendants
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Ryan Gosling, The Ides of March
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
The Usual Suspects, It's a shame Michael Shannon didn't sneak in there for Take Shelter. Gosling should've been nominated for Drive, not Ides of March. At least Fassbender got in there after being forgotten at the SAGs.

Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Brendan Gleeson, The Guard
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50
Ryan Gosling, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris
Yay! Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Who's bias? Me, and I don't care. He's really the only nom I care about in this category, sadly it will probably go to Dujardin. Though, I here he was wonderful in The Artist.

Best Supporting Actor
 in a Motion Picture
Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Albert Brooks, Drive
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method
Viggo is a nice surprise! Jonah Hill is not.

Best Actress in a Drama
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Where the hell is Elizabeth Olsen? I feel like Mara only got in there because The Globes love big budget movies and Dragon Tattoo is falling under that. I'm sure she's fine in it, but newcomer Olsen was great in Martha Marcy May Marlene.

Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy
Jodie Foster, Carnage
Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids
Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
Kate Winslet, Carnage
Carnage is something I've been wanting to see, but it hasn't come out in my area. Glad to see it's getting some love.

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
I have a feeling this is what the Oscar's will look like too. This list, exactly.

Best Director

Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
George Clooney, The Ides of March
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Again with the Ides of March. That's so surprising. They must really like Clooney. Thank God Von Trier and Malik aren't in here.

Best Screenplay for a Motion Picture
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, Kaui Hart Hemmings, The Descendants
Steve Zallian, Aaron Sorkin, Stan Chervin, Michael Lewis, Moneyball
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, The Ides of March
I would've thrown out Ides and added 50/50. They are a dark horse for an Oscar nom.

Best Original Score in a Motion Picture
Ludovic Bource, The Artist
Abel Korzeniowski, W.E.
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Howard Shore, Hugo
John Williams, War Horse

Best Original Song in a Motion Picture
“Hello Hello,” Gnomeo & Juliet
“The Keeper,” Machine Gun Preacher
“Lay Your Head Down,” Albert Nobbs
“The Living Proof,” The Help
“Masterpiece,” W.E.

Best TV Drama
American Horror Story
Boardwalk Empire
Boss
Game of Thrones
Homeland
Leaving out Breaking Bad is absurd. That's the best drama on television. Boss and Homeland? Really? I'll be rooting for Boardwalk I guess.

Best TV Comedy or Musical
Enlightened
Episodes
Glee
Modern Family
New Girl

I can't believe they left out 30 Rock. Wow.

Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture
Cinema Verite
Downton Abbey
The Hour
Mildred Pierce
Too Big To Fail


Best Actor in a TV Drama
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Jeremy Irons, The Borgias
Kelsey Grammer, Boss
Well at least they had the decency to nominate Bryan Cranston, if they didn't the Globes would seriously be fucked. Lots of people turn in great performances, but Cranston kills it every time.

Best Actor in a TV Musical or Comedy
Alec Baldwin, 30 RockDavid Duchovny,
Californication
Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory
Thomas Jane, Hung
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
That's pretty cool that Galecki got in here over Jim Parsons. I love Parsons, but seeing Galecki get some love is just as good.

Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Made-for-TV Movie
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Idris Elba, Luther
William Hurt, Too Big To Fail
Bill Nighy, Page Eight
Dominic West, The Hour

Best Supporting Actor in TV Series, Mini-Series, or Made-for-TV Movie
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Paul Giamatti, Too Big To Fail
Guy Pearce, Mildred Pierce
Tim Robbins, Cinema Verite
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
No Aaron Paul? Fail.

Best Actress in a TV Drama
Claire Danes, Homeland
Mireille Enos, The Killing
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Madeleine Stowe, Revenge
Callie Thorne, Necessary Roughness
Callie Thorne for Necessary Roughness? This is like last year's Piper Perabo.


Best Actress in a TV Musical or Comedy
Laura Dern, Enlightened
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Laura Linney, The Big C
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
I'm glad to see Zooey, but I hear that show is awful. I'll have to watch it for myself.

Best Actress in a Mini-Series or Made-for-TV Movie
Romola Garai, The Hour
Diane Lane, Cinema Verite
Elizabeth McGovern, Downton Abbey
Emily Watson, Appropriate Adult
Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce

Best Supporting Actress in TV Series, Mini-Series, or Made-for-TV Movie

Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Evan Rachel Wood, Mildred Pierce
Evan Rachel Wood!! FTW!

2012 SAG Award Nominations

My 2 cents are in green as always.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
DEMIÁN BICHIR / A BETTER LIFE
GEORGE CLOONEY / THE DESCENDANTS
LEONARDO DiCAPRIO / J. EDGAR
JEAN DUJARDIN /THE ARTIST
BRAD PITT /MONEYBALL
I'm surprised Michael Fassebender isn't in here for Shame. Or Ryan Gosling for Drive. I'm a bit disappointed Joseph Gordon-Levitt didn't get in there for 50/50. I think he'll have a better chance of a nom at the Globes. I find Pitt's nomination sort of amusing, he was great in Moneyball, but this was hardly his most difficult role.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
GLENN CLOSE /ALBERT NOBBS
VIOLA DAVIS /THE HELP
MERYL STREEP /THE IRON LADY
TILDA SWINTON /WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN
MICHELLE WILLIAMS /MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
Does it seem like Meryl Streep gets nominated just for being herself? I think Elizabeth Olsen deserved to be here for Martha Marcy May Marlene. She should have Streep's spot. I haven't seen Swinton's performance, but I'm dying too. I expect Glenn Close takes it, her part seems the trickiest. No Kirsten Dunst for Melancholia, The movie really ruined it for her, her performance was great.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
KENNETH BRANAGH / MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
ARMIE HAMMER /J. EDGAR
JONAH HILL /MONEYBALL
NICK NOLTE /WARRIOR
CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER /BEGINNERS
Jonah Hill doesn't belong here in my opinion. He wasn't spectacular in Moneyball, he just was playing a different character for once. I guess this is positive encouragement?

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
BÉRÉNICE BEJO /THE ARTIST
JESSICA CHASTAIN /THE HELP
MELISSA McCARTHY /BRIDESMAIDS
JANET McTEER /ALBERT NOBBS
OCTAVIA SPENCER /THE HELP
Love that Spencer and Chastain are here! Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids? She had some great lines but that movie is vastly overrated.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
THE ARTIST
BRIDESMAIDS
THE DESCENDANTS
THE HELP
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
The Help deserves this in my opinion. Again, I think Bridesmaids is overrated and it doesn't feel like it belongs here. I thought the cast of 50/50 was great. Why not them? Or Martha Marcy May Marlene? or Drive?

PRIMETIME TELEVISION

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
LAURENCE FISHBURNE /THURGOOD
PAUL GIAMATTI /TOO BIG TO FAIL
GREG KINNEAR /THE KENNEDYS
GUY PEARCE /MILDRED PIERCE
JAMES WOODS/TOO BIG TO FAIL
Mildred Pierce will take it home.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
DIANE LANE /CINEMA VERITE
MAGGIE SMITH /DOWNTON ABBEY
EMILY WATSON /APPROPRIATE ADULT
BETTY WHITE /HALLMARK HALL OF FAME: THE LOST VALENTINE
KATE WINSLET /MILDRED PIERCE
Again, Mildred Pierce will take it home.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
PATRICK J. ADAMS /SUITS
STEVE BUSCEMI /BOARDWALK EMPIRE
KYLE CHANDLER /FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
BRYAN CRANSTON /BREAKING BAD
MICHAEL C. HALL /DEXTER
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that Bryan Cranston is in here. Nobody deserves his award more. Nobody.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
KATHY BATES /HARRY’S LAW
GLENN CLOSE /DAMAGES
JESSICA LANGE /AMERICAN HORROR STORY
JULIANNA MARGULIES /THE GOOD WIFE
KYRA SEDGWICK / THE CLOSER
That's kind of cool that American Horror Story got in here, I don't watch the show, but I always applaud when a Freshman show snags it's first big nomination.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
ALEC BALDWIN /30 ROCK
TY BURRELL MODERN FAMILY
STEVE CARELL / THE OFFICE
JON CRYER /TWO AND A HALF MEN
ERIC STONESTREET MODERN FAMILY
Apparently the Critic's love Jim Parson's in The Big Bang Theory but not his peers? He's snubbed every year. Normally I'd assume Alec Baldwin will take it for the 5th or 6th time in a row, but after this whole Airplane business I'm not so sure anymore.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
JULIE BOWEN / MODERN FAMILY
EDIE FALCO / NURSE JACKIE
TINA FEY /30 ROCK
SOFIA VERGARA /MODERN FAMILY
BETTY WHITE /HOT IN CLEVELAND
I'm sick of Betty White. Plain and simple.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
BOARDWALK EMPIRE
BREAKING BAD
DEXTER
GAME OF THRONES
THE GOOD WIFE
Again, LOVE that Breaking Bad is in here. I hope it wins, it deserves it. On a side note I love that Boardwalk Empire included the child actors in the cast nomination. That's really sweet.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
30 ROCK
THE BIG BANG THEORY
GLEE
MODERN FAMILY
THE OFFICE
So happy The Big Bang Theory is in here! I know a lot of people hate it, but I'm not one of them. I expect Modern Family to win, but I'd love TBBT to.

DVD Review: 30 Minutes or Less

Life is hard when you're a pizza delivery guy.

Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) learns this the hard way. He's in a dead end job delivering pizzas, he hates his boss, oh, and two lazy lunatics (played by Danny McBride, in full Kenny Powers mode and Nick Swardson) strap a bomb to his chest and force him to rob a bank so that they can get $100,000 to kill Dwayne's (McBride) father. Nick pulls his reluctant friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari) along for the ride.

30 Minutes or Less is filled with laughs and some great one liners. The banter between Swardson and McBride is strong, they are clearly very talented comedic actors, but it's Eisenberg who carries the film. He's witty and amusing, yet convincing when he needs to be scared or stressed out. Michael Pena also has a hilarious part as the hit man that is hired to kill of Dwayne's father. At this point I'm not sure if Ansari has a lot to offer. He delivers every line exactly the same way. Thankfully he had some good material to work with.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "No, I'm holding the bomb." - Nick (Jesse Eisenberg)

Indie Gems: This Is Spinal Tap

Very loud.

Ahh Rob Reiner's cult classic. Most people love it, some think it's overrated. Even though I'm with the former, I can see the latter's point as well.

Marty DiBergi (Reiner) is filming a come back tour for an aging British band known as Spinal Tap. (Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer) He follows them around and gets up close and personal with their love lives, their friendship, and their determination to get people to their shows..even if they are confusing most of their fans.

The film felt very real and the soundtrack is top notch. At only 82 mins, it's a short film, but some scenes drag and make it feel longer. All of the actors fit their parts well (hell they've even performed as Spinal Tap live and made albums together), but it's really Reiner who stands out here. His directing intends to make Spinal Tap into a parody, but he adds on layers. There's plenty of laughs, and great dialogue.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Well, this piece is called 'Lick my Love Pump.'" - Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) 

DVD Review: Bad Teacher

Missed opportunities.

Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz) is a selfish gold digger, who after being dumped by her rich fiance finds herself going back to her day job of teaching. Her life now consists of raising money to get breast implants, finding a man to look after her, (possibly handsome new sub, Mr. Delacourte (Justin Timberlake) and dodging the come on's of gym teacher Mr. Gettis. (Jason Segal) There's also that feud with super peppy fellow teacher, Amy Squirrel. (Lucy Puch)


Bad Teacher had the raunch factor going, but failed to capitalize on almost every level. The comedic talent of Jason Segal is horribly wasted, Cameron Diaz seemed out of place and Lucy Punch's over dramatic schtick is getting a little old. The main problem exists in the script. Elizabeth is our main character. Therefore, she has to have something the audience can relate to right? Nope. There's nothing likable about Elizabeth. Her priorities are a mess, she's completely inappropriate, when she bests Amy Squirrel, are we supposed to be happy for her? We surely can't sympathize with her.

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "I'm going to suck your dick like I'm mad at it!" - Elizabeth (Cameron Diaz)

DVD Review: The Tree of Life

Did I miss something?

The movie I just watched is nothing like I thought it would be. Was Malick doing his best impression of Lars Von Trier?


Jack as an adult is played by Sean Penn. He's questioning the meaning of life and faith as an adult. His brother R.L died when he was 19 (we don't know how, we can just assume.) Jack reminisces about his childhood in Texas. His father, played by Brad Pitt is strict, his mother, played by Jessica Chastain is ethereal and meek. He thinks of the time spent with his two brothers. The lessons they learned, the things they did, both good and bad. All of this is littered with shots of oceans, stars, dinosaurs, (yep) and other things that are supposed to represent how God created the world we live in. It reminded me of something I might find on Deviantart.com.

Malick never shoots his actors straight on. The camera is always looking up, looking to the side, or behind them. The cast talk as if they are in a dream, they walk, and walk, and walk while mumbling what's going on in their minds. This works for a few scenes, then grows old. The shots of special effects made the film feel twice as long as it really was. Sean Penn stated in an interview that the movie that Malick put together on screen was not at all like the script he read, he said the emotion wasn't there. I completely understand where he is coming from. On paper, I bet this story was fantastic, it had all the makings to be a great coming of age story about a family that is halted by tragedy, but the way our director chose to edit it completely ruined whatever heart this film had. The ending in particular frustrated me. If Malick had chosen to shoot the film like a normal drama, the ending would've been beautiful and meaningful. Since the entire movie was filmed that way, it didn't feel special at all.

What a shame.

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "The nuns taught us there were two ways through life - the way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you'll follow."  - Mrs. O'Brien (Jessican Chastain)


Indie Gems: SLC Punk

Anarchy.

Stevo (Matthew Lillard) and Heroin Bob, (Michael A. Goorjian) who doesn't actually do heroin, or any other drug for that matter are two punks living in Salt Lake City, Utah. They are obviously out of place, Stevo's father wants him to go to Harvard like he did, but Stevo is more interested in anarchy than the law. The film follows the two men as they encounter various things in the punk rock scene.

SLC Punk is shot like a jerky documentary, which works tremendously with the theme of the film. Stevo narrates, and occasionally breaks the fourth wall to tell us about his daily routine, how he hates rednecks and neo-nazis, what a good concert is like, and ultimately the important life lesson he learns at the end. This role is perfect for Lillard who's usually accustomed to playing obnoxious characters, but he digs a little deeper into Stevo, and that's what makes this his best performance to date.

Recommended Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I wasn't ready for this!" - Stevo (Matthew Lillard)



Review: Martha Marcy May Marlene.

This is the only Olsen you need to care about.

I wanted to be the Olsen Twins when I was a child/tween. They had it all. As an adult I can look back and note that they did have it all...except acting talent. Luckily for us, little sister Elizabeth got all those acting chops and is getting off to a good start.


Martha, Marcy May, and Marlene are all the same person. Martha, (Elizabeth Olsen) is the real thing. A young woman that has spent the last two years of her life as part of a cult and has recently run away. Marcy May is what they called her there, and Marlene was the fake name her and the other women used when answering the phone. Martha has taken refuge with her older sister, Lucy (Sarah Paulson) and her husband Ted. (Hugh Dancy) She lies to them about where she's been, but that doesn't stop her from having disturbing flashbacks and dreams about her life with the cult and it's cunning leader, Patrick. (John Hawkes) She begins a downward spiral, and Lucy and Ted just aren't fit to help her.

We don't know why Martha ran away to a cult, and in a way it doesn't matter. What matters is she made a mistake and she was obviously messed with to the point where normal things about society are now abnormal and her outlook on life is naive. Olsen really captures a lot of emotion in her first role and has a bright future. Hawkes is creepy, and their scenes together are completely uncomfortable. The ending of the film is extremely abrupt and left opened. It's hard to be bothered by it when you think of the near endless possibilities that could happen to Martha after that final scene. It's quite fascinating.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A-

Memorable Quote: "I am a teacher and a leader." - Martha (Elizabeth Olsen)