Underrated war film directed, co-written, co-produced and starring George Clooney as Lt. Frank Stokes (loosely based on George L. Stout) who recruits six men to help him track down great works of art that Hitler has been stealing for a personal museum. With John Goodman and Bill Murray in tow, the movie easily hits most of its laughs with excellent timing, while at the same time also delivering sincerity in its message. Unfortunately, the moral of the story might be overlooked by the masses; you probably need to have a great appreciation for art or be an artist yourself to fully appreciate this movie. However, the film's greatest downfall is that the comedic moments do not segue well into dramatic moments, and vice versa. Clooney requested to have the release of this film pushed a couple of months, causing it to miss out on deserved Oscar buzz. Loosely based on the non-fiction book, THE MONUMENTS MEN: ALLIED HEROES, NAZI THIEVES AND THE GREATEST TREASURE HUNT IN HISTORY by Robert M. Edsel.
Monday, May 26, 2014
Career-oriented pushover Heigl finally has enough when another woman swoops in on the man she secretly loves (Burns), the only problem… the woman is her sister (Åkerman). Ugh. Then there's Marsden's character pushing his way into conflict, as a cynical writer who tries to win the heart of Heigl. Typical chick-flick that offers as little originality as it does laughs. While the acting may not be terrible, it certainly is insincere—maybe the cast had a difficult time hiding their frustration with being a part of such a dull and empty movie. Even the Elton John music can't lift this cookie-cutter rom-com.
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Dear Diary: Veronica Sawyer (played by Winona Ryder) is part of a four-girl clique and is the only one NOT named Heather. She becomes mesmerized by the mysterious Jason "J.D." Dean (played by a young Christian Slater—the forehead wrinkles and receding hairline absent) and gets bored of the shallowness that comes with being popular. When faced with retaliation and even more pressure after trying to break free from the Heathers, Veronica turns to J.D. for help. A prank would be a good way to get back at the Heathers? Perhaps. But J.D. has other plans… Definitely meets the definition of black-comedy, but the audience has to suspend a little too much disbelief. Not to mention, much of the main character's conflicts could be easily resolved by simply dialing 9-1-1. The movie is lucky it got made when it did, as a satire on teen suicide or a student bent on mass-murder would probably never fly after the 1990s.
Cash-grab adaptation of Hank Ketcham's comic strip centered around a "mischievous" ("annoying" is a far better word) boy Gamble and cranky next door neighbor Matthau. Although one can find many issues with Gamble's portrayal of Dennis Mitchell—one being that the character just doesn't seem like a little boy of the 1990s—he and Matthau end up making a pretty decent duo; while Plowright, Stanton and Thompson all fit nicely into supporting roles. Perhaps the greatest thing about this movie is the chillingly disgusting drifter, played excellently by Christopher Lloyd, who creeps slowly through the cookie-cutter town like a python in a rose-garden. Lots of dull jokes, but the movie never ceases to be boring. Very anti-climatic. Followed by direct-to-video sequel and Saturday morning cartoon.
Weight defines the performer, apparently, with Lifetime casting their boniest actress over 40 (O'Kelley) as a woman trying to save adopted daughter Kell (who couldn't be more stereotypical) from criminal Gavin (who's more an idiot-daredevil than a menace), and finds the girl's biological mother and brother (Hinkle and Alberti, respectively—both delivering more depth than any of the other principal characters) as unlikely allies. Frequently inexplicable: officer Pettis would never just give out an address just because someone asked for it; O'Kelley is such a hypocrite, that it's difficult to root for her; oh, and then there's the little kid Hopkins, who hasn't got a clue as to what's going on, but can still conveniently hack needed information by visiting one website. As if the story weren't lame enough, the movie fluffs itself by pointless subplots and other detours. Pretty close to being bottom-of-the-barrel, but is saved halfway decent acting and polished editing.
Christopher Nolan's breakthrough feature (second overall feature after the equally awesome "FOLLOWING") is a psychological-thriller told in two different sequences (one, black-and-white and in chronological order; another, color and in reverse order) about anterograde-amnesiac Pearce searching for the mysterious John G. (the man who raped and murdered his wife Fox and caused his short-term memory loss) all the while gaining information from people who appear to be sympathizers but may be using his condition to their advantage, and piecing together the puzzle through numerous Polaroid photographs. Incredibly original and incessantly intense; however, lots of holes begin to unveil upon replay. Based on the then-unpublished short-story MEMENTO MORI, written by director's brother Jonathan.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
8-year-old Wilson (still as sweet as when we saw her in MRS. DOUBTFIRE) wishes for her cabbie father Pastorelli to win the leading role in a Broadway adaptation of Dickens' A TALE OF TWO CITIES, and Short (still called a "fairy godmother" despite being a male) arrives to (attempt to) grant it to her. Fans of Short's comedy will get it, and even if you're not a fan of his work there are still some worthy moments; however, the story takes way too long to get going for a movie targeted at children. Capra's character also slows the movie down as Wilson's stereotypical punk older brother who's protective of his younger sister but is too cool to show it. The musical numbers in the theatre scenes are a nice touch, but it's difficult to give the movie brownie-points for it since the film itself is not a musical. Jaro Dick's set decoration and Luke Reichle's costume design is terrific. Hey! one of the Fairy Godmother's (Bunty Webb) was the 'Ay Caramba' Lady in TOMMY BOY!