Story: There’s hell to pay, which generally is OK with Morticia Addams, when she suspects that her beloved husband, Gomez, is keeping a secret from her. That’s not happened before in their boisterous, 25-year marriage, which generally has been a quarter-century of good times in their decrepit home hidden (somehow) within New York City’s fabled Central Park.
Story: An infant boy, shipwrecked in the early 20th century with his parents off the west coast of Africa, is left alone after the boy’s parents are killed by a leopard. A nurturing gorilla named Kala, whose own infant is carried off by the same leopard, finds the boy and takes care of him as her own child.
Let me start off by saying I think Clint Eastwood is one of the greatest directors working today. He has an almost magical ability to capture the heart of a story, to let the audience connect with the human element. That makes it all the more difficult to understand what went wrong here.
Let me start by saying that I absolutely love an 80-minute movie. When did everyone decide that for a film to be legitimate, it has to hover around the two-hour mark? It’s like everyone’s back in high school, trying to get the term paper to 10 pages. The brilliance of this story is only amplified by its brevity.
I will be brief: On the one hand, I can appreciate the tongue-in-cheek references to big box-office sequels. We can almost chuckle at how the film beats a dead horse with constant quips about formula plots and increased production budgets…almost. Honestly, I really could have appreciated all the wink-and-a-smile,‘breaking-the-fourth-wall’ references if filmmakers had put an iota of thought into the script. It’s all well and good to joke about how sequels are more expensive, less amusing repeats of the original, but to then go ahead an actually be just that is mind-boggling. It would seem the joke is on us.
There are very few actors working today I would rather watch on screen than Clive Owen. He is talented and handsome, and capable of demonstrating that rare combination of strength and vulnerability. He’s an Oscar-caliber actor just waiting for the right film. His costar here, Juliette Binoche, is a beautiful and charming actress--and yes, she already has an Oscar. Together, one would think there would be very little that could keep them from making a terrific film--unless that one thing is the script.
In the wake of a string of atrocious big-budget bombs for Tom Cruise--and a title that makes it sound like a '70s soap opera--I was fully prepared to hate this movie. I was hoping it would be so bad I could walk out, get a little payback for having to sit through Oblivion. However, I should have known that if any movie star can weather the storm, it’s Tom Cruise. After countless maybe-I’ll-rent-it releases, he finally picked a winner.
I will be brief. People interested in seeing this movie want to know one of two things: 1) Is it tame enough for little kids? and 2) Is it interesting enough for adults? The answer to both is yes. Regarding the first point: This is Disney, after all. Regarding the second: This is Angelina Jolie.
Considering one of the plot points of this film is how critics—who have no talent or ability in their field of expertise—can devastate their subjects, I am a tad hesitant to proceed. Let me start by saying this: I have seen every film Jon Favreau has directed. He is an extremely talented director, and lets the movie speak without being heavy-handed or pretentious. Like his work in front of the camera, his direction is charming. When Favreau decided to make this movie, he came on board with a director, a screenwriter and a leading man. What he apparently did not have was an editor.
A film about a noble of mixed race in 18th-century England might evoke a lot of images, thoughts and questions. How would a child of a noble and a black commoner survive in such a rigidly structured society? What would her life be like? All interesting questions...sadly, this film does a remarkably unsatisfying job of answering them.
My brother and I used to spend the night at my grandmother’s house and watch the original Godzilla movies. I would bury my head in my pillow, begging for him to change the channel as he dangled the antique remote over my head with a sinister grin. That one sequel with the giant moth scarred me. So, you can imagine my surprise years later, when I realized I had had the dinner scared out of me by a puppet smashing cardboard models on a ping-pong table. Special effects have come a long way…as have film budgets.
In the spirit of Father’s Day, we take a look at five great father-and-son films. Some are uplifting, others are tragic, but all are well worth watching. We purposefully avoided more obvious choices like To Kill a Mockingbird, The Godfather and Road to Perdition, in favor of lesser-known gems that you may have missed.
I wanted to like this movie; I really, really did. I love the cast. I love the premise. I even love the tip of the hat to the underrated 1981 Belushi/Aykroyd film of the same name. And that’s where the compliments end.
It occurs to me that in movies, turning to the sex trade to supplement one’s income always seems to be a far more plausible proposition than in real life. So I guess we are just going to have to operate on the assumption that prostitution is—how should I put this—a viable option for the average Joe. Apparently, it also is an option for the average Josephine.
Honestly I don’t have a lot to tell you here that you can’t figure out on your own. I will say this, though: The fact that these movies are coming on the heels of the deluge of Marvel superhero movies makes me feel like Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange having to watch all those films with his eyes held open. Thor, Ironman, Captain America, The Avengers all with sequels, prequels, spinoffs and remakes. As Ben Affleck heads off to distant parts to start shooting the latest Batman incarnation--sorry, reimagining--I can only shake my head and sigh. Maybe we need a new superhero, say a studio executive with the ability to spot originality and wit, or maybe a mild-mannered editor with the ability to trim a film down to under two hours. A girl can dream.
Let’s just jump right in, shall we? Here, we have yet another in a long line of 'female-empowerment' comedies—movies where Hollywood announces loud and proud that if you can’t see 40-something women like Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann as gorgeous, sexy prizes, you’re going to get what’s coming to you. Think First Wives Club or The Witches of Eastwick. Honestly, I would think the message was absurd if Diaz herself didn’t have so much trouble hanging on to a man—maybe there’s a point to be made.
A great sports movie needs to have three things: an unsung hero, a heart-stopping victory and an inspirational message. I am happy to report that this movie has those thee components. And fortunately, great acting and compelling subplots are not a requirement for a great sports film.
I have to admit I've been curious about this film. As an Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature, I thought to myself that it must drive these animators nuts to create something so precious, only to be trampled by the Goliath that is Disney. Nothing against Frozen, it’s a delightful film, but this is art.
As we near the end of Hollywood’s self-proclaimed dead time (why on earth one exists is a question for another day) movie goers approach the Cineplex with the caution of a squirrel. And much like that squirrel, you may discover that the treat is not where you left it. So if you aren’t interested in seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger trying to convince everyone that he’s 45, or witnessing a lot of teen drama—both on screen and in the audience—you may want to wait a few more weeks before venturing back to the big screen. Here’s what’s new and interesting:
Story: A dark, brooding Irish musician is at an unpleasant crossroads in his life. His girlfriend left Dublin six months ago for New York City, and he’s been carrying the torch for her ever since.
Story: To paraphrase protagonist Clifford Bradshaw, “there was a place called The Kit Kat Klub in a city called Berlin in a country called Germany…and we were all fast asleep.” Bradshaw, an American novelist wannabe, has traveled to Europe in 1929 in search of his muse, first in London, then in Paris and now in Berlin.
I don’t want to give anything away. No matter your religious beliefs, you really can’t argue the fact that Bible stories make wonderful theatrical productions: The Ten Commandments, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Passion of the Christ. Frankly, it’s surprising no one has brought the story of Noah’s ark to the big screen before now. Well, actually, they have. There was a respectable feature film in the '20s—you can almost picture the stagehands throwing buckets of water from off-stage—and a somewhat embarrassing mini-series in 1999 starring Jon Voight and Mary Steenburgen that just about everyone seems to want to forget. This new movie version fares the flood waters with greater success.
I think it’s fair to say that Jason Bateman is one of the most likable actors working today. In movies like The Change-Up and Horrible Bosses, he puts an edge to the classic straight-man role. On top of that, he seems like a smart guy, which is why I was eager to see his directorial debut, this black comedy. I have no doubt Bateman himself would like the film referred to as a 'twisted' black comedy, sadly there is no plot to twist.
Let’s face it: Tragic career spirals are as common in Hollywood as Botox and traffic jams. Nobody seriously asks the question, Whatever happened to (fill in the blank)? because the answer is obvious and unsurprising: He chose a couple of bad projects (Zac Efron); his ego got the better of him (Vin Diesel); drugs (Lindsay Lohan); bad reviews (Ryan Reynolds); people forgot about him (whatshisname). It’s the nature of the business. Did you know, for example, that the actor who portrayed the magnetic bad boy Kelly Leak form the original Bad News Bears movie, Jackie Earle Haley, is a renowned and busy character actor these days; or that Karate Kid nemesis William Zabka has been popping up in television shows of late?
Let me state for the record that I have never met Wes Anderson. Let me also state that I would very much like to. If I am ever stuck on an elevator with a stranger or stranded on a desert island with an unknown companion, or pinned next to someone on an international flight, I would like that person to be Wes Anderson. That being said, I don’t know where to begin with this movie. Like most of his films, it has the beaming charm of a French children’s book, but it also has a similar tendency to meander.