RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, AWESOME

Do you have your Action/Adventure fill for summer, or are you ready for more?  Try Rise of the Planet of the Apes for a thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat.  I like the way Director Rupert Wyatt makes sure each exciting scene develops with emotion, first creating interest, then suspense finalizing in aggressive thrills.  If you are ready for a creative story that connects to the original, then swing down to your nearest movie theater.

 

The story goes something like this; Will Rodman (James Franco) a budding scientist has developed a virus that has signs of curing Alzheimer disease called ALZ112.  Testing it on chimpanzees he finds that it makes them smart and easier to manage.  His test subject Bright Eyes seems to be progressing nicely till one day where she starts to shy away from her handlers.

 

Because of her aggressive emotional state, one handler tries to move Bright Eyes to another cage and that’s when she bolts escaping from the lab into the foyer. Fearing that she will hurt someone a security guard shoots her, revealing that she was about to give birth.  The ape child Caesar gets taken and raised by Rodman.  When she starts showing signs of over aggressiveness by injuring a neighbor, Rodman is forced to take Caesar to a special primate compound.  When the virus ALZ113 gets discovered things take a serious turn for the worse.

You can see the detail and realism in this shot of the revolt by the apes

The CGI, make-up, puppetry, performance capture, stuntmen and special effects make the film a success. With the film wholly dependent on the realistic look of the apes, the creators do a superb job of binging the animals to life.  I am amazed on how the personalities of each of the animals progress as the film goes on.  Showing the playfulness, cleverness and then aggression of the primates, the crew makes the film work.

Caesar (Andy Serkis) examins the ALZ113 container

Director Rupert Wyatt does a great job of moving the story along at a pretty fast clip introducing his characters, interacting them within storyline and keeping his audience on the edge of their seats.  His selection of Franco as Will Rodman proves to be a perfect choice making the scientist a caring and instinctive person who can relate to the apes.  But the most creative role goes to Andy Serkis as the ape Caesar who Wyatt hones into the most amazing performance this year.

 

The Rise of the Planet of the Apes is PG-13 for intense and frightening sequences of action and violence. The film has very little flaws during the nearly two-hour playtime.  All the apes looked real and dangerous when need be.  The support acting is flawless, cinematography bright and expansive, storyline interesting and certainly well worth watching.

 

Stay after the credits start to roll for the thread that makes the final connection to the original Planet of the Apes.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS: A thriller with a gorilla. (A)



 

 

THE CHANGE UP, MISSES TERRIBLY

Not much to say positive about The Change UP a lame film that tries every old trick in the book to grab your attention and make you think it’s comedy.  The film suffers from ‘I’ve seen that before’ and a sick humor syndrome.  If you think that watching a baby try to stick its hand in a blender is funny, then this is your kind of weird.

 

Two long time buddies, Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) and Dave (Jason Bateman), go out to a bar to watch a Braves game, get drunk and end up peeing in a magic fountain that swaps their brains to live in each other’s bodies.  Now straight arrow Dave, a family guy with a gorgeous wife (Lisa Mann) and three kids, has worked hard all his life to be this amazing lawyer on the verge of becoming a Vice President of his firm, while Mitch has been hanging out being a playboy wannabe actor.  So when the two exchange lives the craziness begins.

Olivia Wilde plays office hottie Sabrina

Although I do like what Bateman (Extract) and Reynolds (The Proposal) have done in the past, the script the two have to act out is far too kinky, sleazy and ridiculous for anyone other than hormonal males that need a stimulating brain fix.  That said, Olivia Wilde looks great in the raw, and if she didn’t use a body double, so does Lisa Mann.

Mitch tries his best to be Dave

The Change Up has an inordinate amount of site gags that in most cases cause laughter and for this the film does entertain.  However, that’s not enough here because I really didn’t find myself accepting Bateman inside Reynolds nor Reynolds inside Bateman’s skin.  The two are too much alike to become different and this predictable film proves it.  I really can’t say that any film of this one’s ilk ever worked including Freaky Friday, Like Father Like Son and Vice Versa.  The only one that came close is Face Off where you could feel the sinister coming out of Nick Cage’s Caster Troy and the softening of John Travolta’s Sean Archer.

 

The film is rated R for pervasive strong crude sexual content and language, some graphic nudity and drug use. In the film they present a new term, ‘lorno’ meaning a light porno film and after watching The Change Up I had the feeling I just saw one.  Although comically presented, the over the top scenes tend to be more of a gross out than a misadventure.  Other scenes show babies handling knives, sticking their tongue in an electrical socket and a hand in a blender, all of which are more shocking than funny.

FINAL ANALYSIS:  Only if you and your buddy have nothing else to do. (D)

 

 

 

 

 

 

SNOW FLOWER, BLOOMS

Beautifully photographed the drama Snow Flower and the Secret Fan provides a stunning window into the lives of four women.  Although the film is a bit long, I found the journey well worth taking. Although a major chick flick, the film still plays well to older males.

 

The film features the custom of laotung a binding of friends for life as soul mates.  The tradition comforts the main characters Snow Flower (Ji-hyeon) and Lilly (Li Bingbing) through the best of times and then the toughest tests of their lives.

 

In a parallel story in present day Shanghai, the laotong’s descendants, Nina and Sophia, struggle to maintain the intimacy of their own childhood friendship in the face of demanding careers, complicated love lives, and a relentlessly evolving Shanghai.  Drawing on the lessons of the past, the two modern women must understand the story of their ancestral connection, hidden from them in the folds of the antique white silk fan, or risk losing one another forever.

Snow Flower and Lilly become laotung

Director Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club) pulls excellent performances from his cast although I found myself struggling at times to separate the modern day female pair from their ancestors because he used the same actors.  Even with the make up and costume differences, the ploy just doesn’t work for me.  That said, Ji-hyeon as Snow Flower/Sofia and Li Bingbing as Nina/Lilly are brilliant in their roles portraying the delicate women who have to live through some very hard times.

 

The film does have some drawbacks however; the transitions between the modern day laotung women to their 1800’s counterparts happen a little too frequently, which causes a disjointing of the storyline.  Although director Wang found it a necessary bridge between eras, larger spans of each couples lives would have made the film more compelling.  Continuity suffered from a possible shorting of some scenes, especially the invasion of the Chinese rebels that displace a whole village only to find them returned in such a short span of time.

 

The customs of the early Chinese involve foot binding whereby the parents of young girls wrap their feet tightly so they will not grow.  Since most high-class suitors like women with small feet it becomes a way for most families to increase their station in life. Nicely inserted this binding process generates empathy and sadness for Sunflower and Lilly adding to the emotional charged film.

 

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is rated PG-13 for sexuality, violence/disturbing images and drug use. Be cautions on dragging along immature pre-teens due to the subject matter. English subtitles are used during Chinese dialog.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS: A challenging film for viewers and the filmmaker. (B-)


 

Fast Five Announces Blu-ray Street Date

Universal City, California (July 26 2011)—Spectacular street chases and pulse-pounding physical action are set against the mesmerizing beauty of Rio de Janeiro’s exotic thoroughfares in Fast Five, the most successful installment of the Fast & Furious franchise.  Vin Diesel and Paul Walker lead a reunion of returning all-stars from every chapter of the phenomenally successful franchise built on speed plus action superstar Dwayne Johnson (Faster) in the all-new action caper available October 4, 2011 on Blu-ray™ and DVD Combo Packs, DVD, Digital Download and On Demand.

Available for a limited time only, the Blu-rayand DVD Combo Packs bring the full-throttle excitement of the ultimate Fast Five experience to the screen with perfect picture and the purest digital sound available on Blu-ray™, as well as an extended edition of the film with even more explosive action, exclusive bonus features, a DVD to enjoy in the car or on the go, and a Digital Copy of the film that can be downloaded and viewed on an array of electronic and portable devices anytime, anywhere including laptops, tablets, and smartphones as well as Internet-connected TVs and Blu-ray™ set top boxes.  Debuting on the Fast Five Blu-ray™ is Universal’s Second Screen, an all-new app for tablets and computers that provides an innovative and interactive viewing experience. To preview Universal’s all-new Second Screen for Fast Five visit http://preview.tinyurl.com/UniSecondScreenF5preview. Read more

CENTRAL FLORIDA FILM FESTIVAL – NEWS

 

6th Annual Central Florida Film Festival

SEPTEMBER 2-5, 2011

OCOEE HOSTS ANNUAL FILM FESTIVAL

 

(Ocoee, Florida)  Did you know that each Labor Day weekend (September 2-5, 2011) hundreds of actors, producers and directors converge in Ocoee, Florida, to showcase their work on the “Big Screen”?  The city of Ocoee, for the third consecutive year is proud to host the Central Florida Film Festival (CENFLO) at the West Orange 5 Cinemas (McGuire Avenue & RT #50).  This four day event is where new and veteran film makers alike showcase their work.

CENFLO will screen more than seventy films from nine foreign countries and nineteen states during the Labor Day weekend.  The West Orange 5 Cinemas became the host of the festival in 2009.  For the first three years the festival was presented in Kissimmee, Florida.  Film attendees will see Indie feature films, shorts and documentaries. “Those who attend our festival are treated to a fun filled weekend. Films, seminars, panel discussions, and an awards show are presented to inspire film makers and watchers alike,’’ said Bob Cook, CENFLO executive director. “ We love Ocoee and are excited to screen in a beautiful movie theater which gives our film makers a feeling of accomplishment and valuable exposure.”

“The twenty-five dollar ($25) “Movie Watcher” pass is an excellent value,” continued, Cook, “You can spent the entire day at the movies and receive a medium popcorn and medium soft drink for one low price.”  Guest speakers include, Glenn Morshower from the Fox TV series “24” and director, Griff Furst of the film “Swamp Shark.”

Date:     September 2-5, 2011 (Labor Day weekend)

Place:   West Orange 5 Cinemas (McGuire & Route #50) in Ocoee, Florida

Tickets: Movie Watcher (All Day) Pass = $25 (Includes medium popcorn and medium soft drink)

Single movie tickets = $10

Information:  www.CentralFloridaFilmFestival.com


Check Out Escape 2 New York Festival This Weekend

 

Let’s get some more festival madness out of the way, shall we? Starting with Southampton’s Escape 2 New York coming up this weekend. Another brain-child from the creator of The Secret Garden Party UK, Freddy Fellowes,  Escape touts itself as being not your average music festival. It seems up to the boast with a pretty solid line-up of musical acts as well as some out of the ordinary tricks hidden up it’s fancy sleeve: everything from massive brunches to cool art installations. Read on for more info …

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‘Deathly Hallows’ Composer Alexandre Desplat on the Final Score

 

If you have seen the superb final installments of the Harry Potter series, The Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and  2 (and who hasn’t by now, seriously), you already know how seamlessly composer Alexandre Desplat’s (The King’s Speech, Twilight: New Moon, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) beautiful scores fuse with and bolster each films’ stunning visuals.

Now here’s your opportunity to learn how he managed to produce two of the best scores in the popular film series’ history. Read our interview below for an in depth look at the composer’s creative process as well as his thoughts on the finished product …

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Beer-Soaked & Sweatin’ It Out at the Village Voice 4Knots Music Fest

 

[In case you missed it] … Every summer for ten years straight, The Village Voice has tossed New York a golden indie-rock bone with its popular (not a dirty word in this case) Siren Music Festival showcasing a well-curated roster of artists. This year they decided to pull a switch-a-roo, doing away with Coney Island’s Siren to debut Manhattan’s 4Knots Music Festival – a showcase with basically the same vibe as before, only written in a different font and held at a better location. Land ahead…

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An Interview with the Cast of Torchwood

A hugely successful British import that’s creating quite a buzz, Torchwood hit American shores with a bigger budget, lots of action and just the right blend of humor and romance. In this cast interview, Torchwood newbies and regulars express their thoughts about their characters and what excites them about the amped-up series everyone’s talking about.

Gwen is such a complex character. How will she change?

Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper): She changes in every episode. She’s got a new threat, a new man to fight.  She changes all the time. She adapts all the time. She’s unstoppable. She’s so militant, so driven.

Do you have a direction that you want your character to go?

EM: Well, not that it would mean anything, but Gwen is going in the direction that I love to play. I love the action and her witty-ness. I could never come up with a better idea than the writers. I mean, I could say something, but it would be so lame. So, she’s going in the right direction. With all the fighting that Gwen does, my friends are starting to call me Kung Fu Cooper.

The action and martial arts are great. Do you have a stunt double for the fight scenes?

EM: Oh, I do. And she probably hates my guts. At the end, she comes in and gets all done up and she does the stunt. But I do all the fight scenes myself. Their staff is great. They’ll go through the fight scenes with me. It’s like a choreographed dance. I do all of it. I love it.

Did you go through any martial arts training?

EM: I’ve always done that sort of thing. I started boxing at a young age. You get taught stagecraft combat. Some people can do it, others can’t. If I thought for one minute that I was really taking a chance in doing something, that I’d risk breaking my neck, I’d tell the stunt double, okay, you can take over from here.  There are so many great fight scenes coming up. I can’t wait for you to see them. Actually, there’s one scene where my stunt double smashes through a wall and into a shop. They wouldn’t let me do that one.

Will Esther’s character grow in the CIA?

Alexa Havins (Esther Drummond): She changes drastically. She’s the character that changes the most and grows the most. She’s a little meek and by-the-book. And we all know that you can’t do that with Torchwood. When you’re out there, there are no rules. It’s crazy. It’s dangerous and it’s raw and real. You’ll see an emotional growth and a physical growth with Esther.

What’s going to happen to Esther romantically?

ED: She wants a little Mekhi in her life. You’ll see that in the first couple of episodes–he’s rough, emotionally shut off from the world and he’s focused on work. So she’s trying to get through, “knocking at the door.” You’ll see their relationship develop but it kind of takes a turn, so it develops in a different direction. The biggest relationship is with Captain Jack and Gwen. They [writers] really take her under their wing and develop that.

Do you work with the writers on the script?

ED: No, we don’t. We talk. And say, “wouldn’t it be great.” But the writers are so darn good. Every script you get is great. They put so much time and thought into story development. Some ideas have been bounced around for years–like the Miracle Day concept. Russell [Davies] is a brilliant storyteller and he brings in Jane [Espenson]. I did sit down with them and they said this is kind of where we are and this is where we want Esther to go.  It was a really strong place for her. She’s initially a little nervous, a little out of her element. But she has a fun place to go. It’s a good experience.

Your character is perhaps the most fascinating. What’s his journey?

Bill Pullman (Oswald Danes): Well, he’s trying not to go to Hell.  He’s got a great journey and I think it comes from Russell’s sense of humanity, which never abandons characters. He’s ready for any character to take surprising moves. Russell is always appreciative of his audience.  But he doesn’t want to be told what to write or how to tell a story. And I think there’s a kind of mischief in him that wants to set up an expectation and then turn it around and around again. Some of that is just good storytelling. And some of it is just heh, heh, heh!

How did you prepare to play such a creepy guy?

BP: You know actors. That’s kind of the gift you get, to go off and build a separate reality. I have always found that sometimes clearly delineated characters are the easiest to do–rather than, like, a male lead in a romantic comedy, which is the hardest thing to prepare for. Oswald is great because you got stuff to read, you got YouTube, and you got your own time alone. You know you’re going to a place that’s different from yourself, so you give yourself the time to separate from the father, the check writer, the kid’s school chauffer. So you go, “okay, I got some work to do. I’m going to be away for three hours now.” It’s like a joy. I love getting a job because it’s like, I don’t have to figure out how to fix that tractor anymore.

We’re already seeing changes in Rex. Where’s your character going this season?

Mekhi Phifer (Rex Matheson): What’s great about playing a strong character like Rex– who’s thrown into this Torchwood world–is the arc that I get to play. He’s hard edged and a little set in his ways, and he can be a bit abrasive at times, but once he really realizes–and Torchwood realizes–that we need each other, you start to see the change in him. We peel back his layers like an onion and you begin to see what makes him tick. We get a glimpse of what his family life was like and what his lifestyle was like. So he’s going places. It’s a really good journey.

Did you do some background research on the CIA to get up to speed on how they operate?

MP: You know, it didn’t really require that much background work, although I did my own personal research on the Internet. On my last show, I got to play an FBI agent, so I worked with the FBI. I’m also a big espionage film buff. I’ve seen a lot of movies about the CIA and what they go through. But the show is really character driven rather than procedural driven. So we don’t have to be so locked into procedure. And the CIA is more unorthodox, not like the FBI who wear suits and ties. The CIA get to wear whatever they need to blend in to do their job efficiently, so it changes to whatever’s on the page.

Do you like the humor in the show?

MP: I love it. It’s not slapstick. It’s borne out of real situations.

Interview with the Cast of Spartacus: Vengeance

The epic story of Spartacus continues in Season 3 with rich storytelling, stunning visuals and realistic gladiatorial combat unlike anything seen on TV. Australian actor Liam McIntyre takes over the role as the fierce Thracian warrior in Spartacus: Vengeance.  The part of Spartacus was played in the first season by acclaimed Andy Whitfield, who was forced to leave the show due to health issues. In this interview, cast members and Executive Producer Steven S. DeKnight reveal their passion and emotional investment in the series that has captivated so many fans.

The producers have sworn you to secrecy. That said, where do you hope Gannicus will go? What’s his journey?

Dustin Clare (Gannicus): He’s pretty solo, really. He’s a journeyman. He continues to be a man of his own world. He’s got a pack on his back and he gets to make his own decisions when we find him again.  He doesn’t have anyone to answer to. He’s not controlled by the caste structure of the ludus. He’s very much a master of his own destiny.

You put a challenge out to Crixus. Will you be running into him? Or at least looking for him?

DC: He’s going to run into everyone again.  He’ll be visiting new characters. He definitely has relationships that he’ll have to re-establish and re-connect with. We also see a change in the man, a change from where we saw him in the prequel. He hasn’t exactly been away studying how to be a hairdresser. He’s been changing and growing. We’ll see a different man. A man who has a lot of skeletons to deal with. I’m excited to see where the writer’s will be taking the character.  I like to keep the audience guessing as to where he’s going and where he’s coming from.  Some of his foibles will remain intact, but after 5 years, we’ll be seeing a change in Gannicus.

Will Gannicus have a love interest? Will he find someone?

DC: I think Gannicus always has love interests.

Will he be fighting for pay?  How will he survive?

DC: Good question. Just scraps, basically. He’ll live off the earth.

What will happen to Lucretia?

Steven S. DeKnight: She’ll be introduced in episode one. You’ll get an inkling of what’s going on with her.  How she survived the stabbing, you won’t know right off, but it will be explained.

Will the baby Survive?

SD: I can’t tell you that. But it’s one of my favorite story lines.

What was your boot camp like?

Liam McIntyre (Spartacus): It’s agony, obviously. That’s kind of a prerequisite. But because I come from a place where the last film I did, I had to lose weight and get in shape, by the time the official boot camp came up, I’d already done like four months of boot camp, so I was like, I’m feeling up to this. It’s exciting, too, to be able to keep up with the grueling routine. It was very demanding.

Where do you hope your character will go?

LM: The beauty of this is that it’s kind of a vaguely pre-written history with enough dot, dot, dots to make it as exciting as you want it to be. So, I’ve got no complaints with the way the history goes. I think leading a massive army is a pretty exciting job.

Lucretia took a sword in the abdomen the last time we saw her. Are you hoping her unborn child will live?

Lucy Lawless (Lucretia): I’m hoping for that, yes. I don’t know how that’s going to go down.  If the baby dies, she would have lost the promise of a nuclear family. She would have lost all support, all male support. She would have had nothing in ancient Rome.  Without a man to prop her up, she would have no money, no talent. So what’s she going to do to survive? I don’t know. And raising that kid. Whew!

Now that you and Ilithyia (Viva Bianca) have become such close friends, will you be looking her up?

LL: Close? Et tu Brutus. Our relationship becomes much more tangled. I love that Viva Bianca is the actress playing Ilithyia. She’s a great colleague and a great acting partner. We like to mess with the audience’s mind. You’ll get to see more of her. The episode is called Angel and my character has a lot of payback to dish out.

You have a family. Do your kids watch the show?

LL: All of my children have survived to at least 8 years old and they’ve never seen the show. One of my kids loves horror–the youngest one. He can totally handle those types of shows. My daughter, who is now 12 years old, works on the show.

Can you give us any clues about Lucretia’s romance in the new season?

LL: All I can tell is that she continues to use sex as a weapon.

You have a score to settle with Gannicus. Will you run into each other?

Manu Bennett (Crixus): Words were exchanged at the end of the prequel along the lines of “We’ve not yet proved ourselves in proper challenge.”  There’s a lot of scores to settle in the show. I don’t think I’d place that one as the most important. It’s a big possibility. All the characters that the fans expect to see will show up at some point. Even some characters they don’t expect to see, like Lucretia.  The season’s called Vengeance, so that’s where a lot more of the energy lies. I don’t have vengeance against Gannicus, necessarily, but I do have an eagerness to test my mettle against him. This season is definitely more about retribution–on both ends.  The Romans want vengeance against us for staining their pride, and we’re now free men with swords in our hands. That said, we’re in the middle of the enemy’s country. If they can find us, we’ll take our vengeance upon them. There are a lot of things that are plotted through the series so far that give us even more reason to want vengeance. It’s a good title for this season.

Will your character change this season?

MB: I’ve always tried to change my character all of the time. One of the things I’m always thankful for as an actor in portraying Crixus is that he’s always changing. He always has to confront something—either of the heart or a physical challenge or the darkness. There are things in the mix going on that make this season for me especially challenging. Things about manhood and leadership that keep changing my character. But I think that’s what makes our show interesting for the audience. The stagnation of potentially one set, one character, one neighborhood, is not the case with our show. One of the great things about this season is that instead of being shot around the ludus and the fighting arenas, we actually go out in the real world. And one of the biggest things we were discussing was exactly what that world would look like. On a television budget, can you do it, can you have a great result? Episode one of season one was pretty challenging for our creative team because they had to start off with nothing and we got a lot of criticism about how that world looked a bit unreal. But in season three, you’ll see an aerial shot of the mines. It looks like the diamond mines in Africa. And it’s so real, we wondered how we did it on our budget. The world that we’re in looks amazing. The forests, mountains, valleys, rivers, seaside villages, everything looks amazing.

Will you run into Ashur (Nick Tarabay)? You didn’t exactly leave on the best of terms.

MB: Well, he didn’t die. He’s a sneaky bugger. Everyone knows he’s going to show up at some point. It’s called Vengeance.

 

THE SMURFS, A KIDS DELIGHT

Reviewed by Marisa Ings

 

Hidden deep within an enchanted forest is a small village with houses made of mushroom and little blue men (and one woman) living together in peace. The magical blue creatures are called The Smurfs and they have lived in their town for hundreds of years. But, in one instance that all changes when an evil wizard named Gargamel discovers the village and goes on a rampage destroying their happy homes with the dastardly intent to capture all smurfs for their magical essence.

The little blue beings frantically try to escape Gargamel’s wrath when six of them are sucked into a vortex that plunges them in the middle of New York City. In the Big Apple, the estranged smurfs cross paths with Patrick Winslow VP of Marketing of Anjelou cosmetics, turning his life upside down and painting the town blue while doing it. Missing their home and friends, the smurfs are determined to find a way back to the enchanted forest.

Neal Patrick Harris has a run in with The Smurfs

Honestly, I was a bit excited when I discovered that a movie based on one of my favorite cartoons was coming to the big screen and I would be able to see it! The little blue people often entertained me on Saturday mornings as I sat, eyes glued to the TV while eating a bowl of cereal. Parents and children alike will enjoy this film as I observed during the screening I attended. There was much laughter in the theatre and the kids really enjoyed the pummeling of the foolish antagonist that is Gargamel.

Hank Azaria does a fantastic job portraying the sometimes-gullible Gargamel and all his wackiness. Besides the CGI smurfs, Gargamel is the best entertainment in the film. While Neil Patrick Harris does a fine job playing Patrick Winslow, Jayma Mays as Grace Winslow just does not flow well. Luckily, most children don’t see a movie for it’s acting anyway instead they are excited about the laughs and the outrageous scenes.

Similar to the movies Enchanted and Alvin and the Chipmunks, I would suggest that if your film tastes are too sophisticated to enjoy a simple child-targeted movie you will not enjoy this film. However, if you are still a hipster, in tune with your inner child, you may enjoy the slapstick comedy and cute CGI smurfs.

Final Grade: C+



Great, now I have the song stuck in my head again “La la la-la la la, Sing a happy song”…enjoy everyone!

 

REVIEWED BY Marisa Ings for John Delia’s page on the ACED Magazine Network

 


CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE – ROMANTIC NONSENSE

It’s crazy and yes it’s stupid and not much more than that.  While I found myself wondering why Steve Carell would make a movie this mediocre, hackneyed and not a lot of fun to watch, I realized he just didn’t have his “Office” on for Crazy, Stupid, Love.  A below average romancer, this flick is perfect for young couples who want to smooch in the back row of the theater and don’t have to pay attention to the dialogue.

 

The movie centers on Carl (Steve Carell) married to his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) for nearly 25 years.  One evening while driving home from a parent’s night out Emily tells Carl that she wants a divorce.  Carl’s stunned by the announcement and so are the children, especially their 13-year-old son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) who has reached puberty and lusts for the baby sitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton) who lusts for Carl. After moving out of the house Carl frequents a local bar where he meets Jacob (Ryan Gosling) a local womanizer. Jacob takes Carl under his wing and gives him a new look setting off a chain of events that puts his family life in a tizzy.

Jacob (Ryan Gosling) teaching Carl (Steve Carell) his pick-up tricks

The film falls flat after the first fifteen minutes and I found myself trying to figure out whether it’s nice to laugh at divorce and the circumstances surrounding the life choice.  The plot has some funny stuff watching Carl being set free after a makeover to run with the bulls bedding every hot lady he can drop a line on, but haven’t wee seen that before in a film.  Beyond that the writer thinks he needs to treat us to a somewhat awkward attempt by a 13-year-old (Carl’s son) to connect with his 17-year-old babysitter; and that babysitter’s cruel imagination of taking pictures of her body as bait to hook up with her boss (Carl).

 

Well you can see where I am going with this.  Crazy, Stupid, Love just doesn’t work as a comedy or a romance and it may be due to the story written by Dan Fogelman (Cars, Bolt, Tangled and Fred Claus) who doesn’t seem to have made it to the PG-13 Romantic Comedy big league.  There’s nothing in this film that’s realistic enough for teens or the pre-teens who will sneak in to see it.

 

Some of the problem could be attributed to the fact that Crazy, Stupid, Love had TWO directors, John Requa and Glenn Ficarra.  The two also collaborated on I Love You Phillip Morris that was about romance of a completely different variety.  That film took on a dark comedic theme, but the change over to a lighter theme here just doesn’t come off the screen in their Crazy, Stupid, Love.

 

The film is rated PG-13 for coarse humor, sexual content and language and contains some material that may be a bit over-the-top for immature teens.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Romantic Nonsense. (D)

COWBOYS & ALIENS, A RIP SNORTER

Strap your six-gun to your waist, tie the string around your leg and ride over to see the movie Cowboys & Aliens a rip snorting account of a universe invasion.  Seriously now, there will be no guns allowed in the movie theatre, not even toy type.  If you want some action with great special effects that make a film come alive with awesome space creatures then check this one out.

 

The story centers on Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig), a badass cowboy who awakens with memory loss.  With a weird bracelet attached to his wrist he rides into a small 1870’s town where he gets caught in the middle of an incident where Percy Dolarhyde (Paul Dano) the son of a domineering rancher gets arrested.  Shortly thereafter Percy’s dad, Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) comes to town to get him released. But, just when the Colonel and Percy think they can ride out of town the place gets invaded by space ships snatching people off the streets, including Percy.  When Jake finds he can use the bracelet to shoot down a couple of fighters, the Colonel enlists him to go after his son.

Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) awakens in the desert

The acting here is very good with Daniel Craig doing his best western accent, Harrison Ford working his serious face and Olivia Wilde showing her, well you’ll have to see that for yourself.  Although the story’s a little campy and sometimes ridiculous, the actors are so much fun to watch in this ‘Gun Fight at the OK Corral’ facing the ugliest aliens in recent film history.  If you really want to enjoy this movie, leave your serious face at home.

Jake (Craig) and the Colonel (Harrison Ford) take on the aliens

The direction here by Jon Favreau (Iron Man) fits well with his style of science fiction fantasy, especially working with a huge popular cast.  He gets into the action quickly and keeps it coming so there isn’t any time for your mind to wander.  I like the way he introduces Jake Lonergan lying face down in the dust, slowly getting up and with a lost look on his face.  It’s classic western and he shows his audience that they are in for an unusual ride.

 

If there is a downside to the film, it’s the resiliency of the characters and fast recovery from mayhem, but it is a movie however and much like other Favreau work we are dealing with fantasy.  Also if I were a town’s person in the 1870’s and saw a metal airship come flying out of the sky shooting at the ground, I would be terror stricken, and a lot of them acted a little dumbfounded, yet ready for action. With flaws like this however, it’s really something easily overlooked if you are a true science fiction fan.

 

Cowboy’s & Aliens has been rated PG-13 for intense sequences of western and sci-fi action and violence, some partial nudity and a brief crude reference, but nothing your X-Box users haven’t already seen.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A fun Sci-Fi action film with a lot of whimsical exaggeration. (B)

 

The Wave Pictures To Release New Single “In Her Kitchen” August 22nd

 

English rockers The Wave Pictures and Moshi Moshi Records will release “In Her Kitchen”, the latest single off their recently released album Beer In The Breakers (May 2011) on August 22nd. “In Her Kitchen” is one of the oldest songs in the Wymeswold trio’s catalogue. To promote the single, The Wave Pictures have also planned an August trip to the United States to play shows in New York and Philadelphia.  Dates below …
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