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To Rome with Love

July 7th, 2012 · No Comments

Absent is the clever chatter that keeps us engaged in Woody Allen’s creative characters (Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Allen, Judy Davis, Ellen Paige).   Thankfully the local Italian cast including Roberto Benigi & Fabio Armiliato add color and flavor to this otherwise bland Italian tale of life, love and pursuit of self-gratification.

→ No CommentsTags: comedy

Secretariat

October 18th, 2010 · No Comments

A feel good film that energizes audiences with the stamina and vigor of the most famous race horse in history and his exemplary owner, Penny Chenery (played by classic favorite, Diane Lane).

→ No CommentsTags: Sports · drama · history

Hereafter

October 16th, 2010 · No Comments

More plot, less character development would have salvaged Clint Eastwood’s revelations about a reticent psychic (terrific performance by Matt Damon) who is trying to live a normal life.

→ No CommentsTags: drama

The Social Network

October 16th, 2010 · No Comments

A well crafted dramatization of the origins of Facebook that may not flatter the developers (Jesse Eisenberg playing Mark Zuckerberg and Armie Hammer playing the Winklevoss twins), but provides chow for chatter about the state of social networking.

→ No CommentsTags: biography · drama · history

Date Night

May 25th, 2010 · No Comments

Bored married couple (Steve Carell & Tina Fey) do their weekly date night with wild and crazy results after they are mistaken for a husband and wife team that has stolen “mob” money.  This contrived concoction does have its sweet spot as “issues” arise and are resolved between the believable husband and wife.

→ No CommentsTags: comedy · romance · thriller

Please Give

May 25th, 2010 · No Comments

Manhattanites, Kate (Catherine Keener) and her husband Alex (Oliver Platt) divide their time between buying up estate sales, interacting with their elderly neighbor (Ann Morgan Guilbert) and her two dramatically different granddaughters/heirs, Mary and Rebecca (Amanda Peet and Rebecca Hall) and trying to be proper parents to their 15-year-old, needy but independent daughter. Commendable performances and atypical scenarios offer viewers a treat despite the downbeat theme.

→ No CommentsTags: comedy · drama · dysfunctionality · family

Robin Hood

May 25th, 2010 · No Comments

Even top performances by the likes of Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett can’t redeem complex transitions and confusing historical references from this ill-fated intro to the Sherwood Forest expatriate.

→ No CommentsTags: Action · drama

Death at a Funeral

May 25th, 2010 · No Comments

This copy of the 2007 film is just that and is equally entertaining with heavy handed humor delivered by Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence, playing brothers who resolve their own differences in the course of dealing with upsetting information about dad, at his funeral.

→ No CommentsTags: African-American · comedy · family

City Island

April 3rd, 2010 · No Comments


The Rizzo family secrets are bountifully entertaining due in large part to the great casting (Andy Garcia, Julianna Margulies, Ezra Miller, Dominik García-Lorido, Emily Mortimer) and the scenic locale (City Island).

→ No CommentsTags: comedy · drama

Green Zone

April 3rd, 2010 · No Comments

Matt Damon adds credibility to this Iraq war film as an Army officer who must figure out a way to combat the constant stream of bad intelligence.

→ No CommentsTags: Action · drama · thriller · war

The Bounty Hunter

April 3rd, 2010 · No Comments

While a bounty hunter (Gerard Butler) is chasing his ex-wife (Jennifer Aniston) on a warrant, she is in hot pursuit of a journalistic scoop implicating bad cops in this lame comedy.

→ No CommentsTags: Action · comedy · crime · romance

She’s Out of My League

April 3rd, 2010 · No Comments

Is it possible that a really hot event planner (Alice Eve) could fall for a scrawny TSA security screener (Jay Baruchel) after a brief encounter at the Pittsburgh airport?

→ No CommentsTags: comedy · romance

The Hurt Locker

January 15th, 2010 · No Comments

Katherine Bigelow’s precision direction brings home the tension and energy of Bravo Company, the elite bomb diffusing unit in Iraq.   With the focus on the adrenaline driven staff seargeant (Jeremy Renner) and his explosive techies (Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty) viewers are given a gritty glimpse of the personal and mechanical dynamics of war in Iraq.

→ No CommentsTags: Action · drama · war

Avatar

January 15th, 2010 · No Comments

This fairy-tale/love story is rendered even more surreal by the sheer multitude of CGI’s that take you across imaginary forests and rivers.  While a US “Global Giant” tries to take over rare resources owned by the Avatar people, a scientist (Sigourney Weave) uses an injured soldier to try and win over the hearts and minds of the indigenous population.  While the effects and certainly the 3D make a special impression, the 3 hour running time tends to temper that allure, just a bit.

→ No CommentsTags: Action · Sci-Fi · imaginary

Broken Embraces 

January 15th, 2010 · No Comments

Pedro Almodovar once again charms and beguiles audiences with his intriguing characters (Penelope Cruz, Lluis Homar, Blanca Portillo, José Luis Gómez, Rubén Ochandiano) and finely layered storyline that focuses on a blind writer/director (Homar) who must address his past in order to move on with his life.

→ No CommentsTags: drama · romance · thriller

It’s Complicated

December 29th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin and some savory culinary creations more than compensate for a waffling story line (ex-spouses having an affair) that generates laughs in spite of it’s composition.

→ 1 CommentTags: comedy · romance

The Blind Side

December 28th, 2009 · No Comments

Sandra Bullock scores a touchdown in bringing to life the story of Leigh Anne Tuohy and her husband, Sean Tuohy (Tim McGraw) who rescued a homeless Afrcian-American teenager Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) and gave him an opportunity to achieve academically & athletically.  There’s enough inspiration in this faith-based film to cover an entire football field.

→ No CommentsTags: African-American · Sports · drama

Up in the Air

December 28th, 2009 · No Comments

A roving employee terminator Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is forced to change his flight patterns when his company mandates his mentoring of a new ivy league junior executive Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) just as he’s beginning to enjoy the company of another frequent flyer   Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga).

→ No CommentsTags: comedy · drama · romance

The Young Victoria

December 28th, 2009 · No Comments

Audiences might have gained a better appreciation of regal routines with a bit more detail and historical perspective.  However the majestic costuming, noble venues, and striking characters (notably Emily Blunt as Victoria and Rupert Friend as Albert) allowed audiences to get a flavor for the period.

→ No CommentsTags: drama · history · romance

A Serious Man

October 29th, 2009 · No Comments

Infidelity, academic tenure, undisciplined children, family dyfunctionality and spiritual searches for answers to universal questions become the focus of the latest Coen brothers dark comedy set in 1967 suburbia.  Michael Stuhlbarg, embodies the role of the mid-western University professor who becomes victimized by his daily routine and outlook with strong supporting roles by Sari Lennick as his wife, Richard Kind as his distressed brother, Fred Melamed an overbearing friend, and Aaron Wolff and Jessica McManus as his squabbling kids.

→ No CommentsTags: comedy · drama

The Damned United

October 29th, 2009 · No Comments

Michael Sheen (The Queen, The Last King of Scotland, Frost/Nixon) shines in Peter Morgan’s adaptation of David Peace’s best selling novel about  legendary English football coach Brian Clough and his bitter rival, Don Revie (Colm Meaney).  You don’t have to be a sports fan to appreciate the tension and triumph brought to life by the characters and production crew.

→ No CommentsTags: Sports · biography

500 DAYS OF SUMMER

September 7th, 2009 · No Comments

  A baritoned narrator chronicles 500 days in the life of aspiring architect, current day greeting card writer, Tom Hanson (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and the object of his affection, Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel).

→ No CommentsTags: Relationships · comedy · romance

District 9

September 7th, 2009 · No Comments

  Writer/director, Neil Blomkamp’s creepy alien creatures have become a blot on the present day Johannesburg landscape on which their spaceship landed two decades earlier.  A naive bureaucrat (Sharlto Copley) is assigned to spearhead the eviction and transfer the two million “prawn” population, totally unprepared for the mental and physical mutation that awaits him.   A series of mock commentaries  on the political and humanitarian issues provide a welcome relief from the bloody body counts and creature discomfort zone.

→ No CommentsTags: Sci-Fi · comedy · violence

Julie & Julia

July 12th, 2009 · No Comments

Nora Ephron flashes back and forth between Julia Childs’ (Meryl Streep) early entrée into the male dominated world of French cuisine and Julie Powell’s (Amy Adams) modern day blog that chronicles her attempt to find focus in her life by cooking up every recipe in Julia Childs’ French cookbook.  The highlight of this film is a truly brilliant performance by  Meryl Streep who has managed to totally transform herself into the gourmand herself.

→ No CommentsTags: biography · drama

The Proposal

July 12th, 2009 · No Comments

A hard-hearted editor (Sandra Bullock) engages her hard-working assistant (Ryan Reynolds) to put in overtime on a scheme that will prevent her deportation to her native Canada.  While the plot holds few surprises, a warm emotive cast boosts ratings and happy feelings throughout (Betty White, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T Nelson, Oscar Nunez).

→ No CommentsTags: comedy · drama · romance

Cheri

July 1st, 2009 · No Comments

Michelle Pfeiffer radiates as the classy prostitute who takes up with the son (Rupert Friend) of one of her collegues (Kathy Bates); not without consequences.

→ No CommentsTags: Relationships · Sex · drama

Up

July 1st, 2009 · No Comments

Wonderful Disney animation mixes melancholy and fantasy in this lenghty “never too late to pursue your dreams” adventure.

→ No CommentsTags: family · imaginary

Star Trek

July 1st, 2009 · No Comments

J.J. Abrams directs a compatible crew through their intergalactic early years (Chris Pine as the charismatic Captain Kirk, Zachary Quinto as the half Vulcan, half human Spock, Zoe Saldana as the poised Lt Uhura, Anton Yelchinas as the chirpy Chekov and Karl Urban as everyone’s favorite Doctor).

→ No CommentsTags: Action · Sci-Fi · imaginary · thriller

Summer Hours

June 3rd, 2009 · No Comments

Adult children (Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling, and Jeremie Renier) dwell upon the disbursement of their deceased mother’s artwork, heirlooms, and the country home in french writer/director, Olivier Assayas’ contemplative composition.

 

→ No CommentsTags: Foreign Language · Relationships

Angels & Demons

May 25th, 2009 · No Comments

Harvard symbologist, Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is called to the Vatican to rescue four preferrati Cardinals from a death threat  by the Illuminati (a secret underground organization with a 400 year old revenge motive against the Catholic Church).  An attractive scientist (Ayelet Zurer), a charismatic priest (Ewan McGregor), a stalwart Swiss guard (Stellan Skarsgård), and an old guard cleric (Armin Mueller-Stahl) help to further a far-fetched story line with underlying science/religion conflicts.

→ No CommentsTags: crime · drama · mystery · thriller

Every Little Step

May 21st, 2009 · No Comments

Lively auditions for the revival of “A Chorus Line” are spliced with footage of the original production and it’s roots. Hopeful dancers strut their stuff, belt out popular tunes, and open up about their personal lives as the judges; Bob Avian (the original choreographer with Michael Bennett) and dancing dynamo Baayork Lee (played the role of Connie) transport audiences into the elimination process. You don’t have to be a dance fan to rock to the rhythm of this upbeat documentary.

→ No CommentsTags: Documentary · musical

The Soloist

May 4th, 2009 · No Comments

Real life Los Angeles Times journalist, Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) befriends a homeless man/schizophrenic/musical prodigy (Jamie Foxx) and gains a new perspective on the plight of the homeless as he writes a series of articles and eventually a book. While the relationship and personalities are inspiring, the time spent is tedious as viewers struggle to find a detour out of this depression.

→ No CommentsTags: biography · drama

State of Play

April 29th, 2009 · No Comments

A journalist’s credibility and life are on the line when he (Russell Crowe) and a young colleague (Rachel McAdams) investigate two seemingly unrelated deaths. Crowe’s relationship with an up and coming congressman (Ben Affleck) and his wife (Robin Wright Penn), pressure from his editor (Helen Mirren), and pursuit of the truth at all costs makes for an adrenaline driven drama, worthy of watching.

→ No CommentsTags: crime · drama · thriller

17 Again

April 29th, 2009 · No Comments

When Mike O’Donnell (Matthew Perry) gets his wish to relive a pivotal point as a high school senior, it’s not exactly what he wished for. Instead of going back in time, he (Zac Efron) is plopped into real time with his geek friend (Thomas Lennon) posing as dad to enroll him in high school where his classmates are his teenage kids and he views his estranged wife (Leslie Mann) from afar.

→ No CommentsTags: comedy

Sugar

April 6th, 2009 · No Comments

First time actor, Algenis Perez Soto breathes life into the young Dominican baseball player, Miguel “Sugar” Santos, a character created by critically acclaimed writer/director team, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.  They coach audiences through the obstacles at a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic,  spring training in Arizona, and minor league games in Iowa, while “Sugar” Santos confronts his own motivation for going through the motions.

→ No CommentsTags: Sports · drama

I Love You, Man

April 1st, 2009 · No Comments

An easygoing real estate agent (Paul Rudd) feels compelled to find a best friend when his fiancee (Rashida Jones) notices that he doesn’t have any male friends to fill the role of “best man” at their upcoming wedding.  What could have been sappy, turns out to be sweet and sassy thanks to the characters’ charisma and comic timing including a Venice beach bum (Jason Segel) a perky pal (Jaime Pressly), prying parents (Jane Curtain & J.K. Simmons)  and body builder, Lou Ferrigno, as himself.

→ No CommentsTags: Relationships · comedy · romance

Sin Nombre

April 1st, 2009 · No Comments

Sayra, a young Central American girl (Paulina Gaitan) confronts peril when she joins her father on his journey back to the US where he has made a life with a new family.  While audiences are struck by the cinematic ride across Central America, Sayra is captivated by a young gang member (Edgar Flores), running from his past.  The portrait of violence and cruelty that is depicted is equally memorable and is unfortunately too true.

→ No CommentsTags: Foreign Language · crime · drama · violence

Gomorra

March 25th, 2009 · No Comments

Five stories with unhappy endings are splayed out on the screen, directed by Italian director, Matteo Garrone, and based upon journalist Roberto Saviano’s best selling book detaling the far reaching tennacles of the Camorra, (Naples mafia).

→ No CommentsTags: Foreign Language · crime · drama

Madea Goes to Jail

March 24th, 2009 · No Comments

The latest installment in the Tyler Perry franchise features amusing confrontations (including a frustrated Dr. Phil) with the anger management deficient Madea (Tyler Perry) and her clan. The humor offsets the serious relationship issues that are tackled amongst a group of young attorneys (Derek Luke, Ion Overman, RonReaco Lee) working their way up through the
court system.

→ No CommentsTags: African-American · comedy · crime · drama

Sunshine Cleaning

March 24th, 2009 · No Comments

A former high school cheerleader (Amy Adams) is now working as a maid, raising a son (Jason Spevack) and carrying on an affair with a her high school boyfriend (Steve Zahn), while trying to be supportive of her dysfunctional father (Alan Arkin) and sister (Emily Blunt). When a new business opportunity emerges, it provides a chance for everyone to work out their emotional issues as well as financial setbacks.

→ No CommentsTags: comedy · crime