Showing posts from December, 2011

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 d

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

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

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. Re

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 thin

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 aft

Indie Gems: Beautiful Boy

Do you blame the parents? W hile 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 b

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 L

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

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

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

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

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 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

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 re

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