Archive for June, 2012

Take This Waltz Poster

Michelle Williams Margot in Take This Waltz  exists in the middle between disenchanted housewife and on the fence mistress.  Her husband Lou (Seth Rogen in genial mode) is a nice safe guy and the hunky neighbor Daniel (Luke Kirby) across the street  skirts the line between stalker and earnest seducer, and who may or may not be Margot’s wet dream of desire– director Sarah Polley (Away From Her) taking the ambiguity of Margot’s mind as the film’s focus as it wavers between girlish immaturity and the tug of adult responsibility. Margot doesn’t gain wisdom, just experience, a little self-understanding she can apply to learning and living with others.  There is a brilliant Carousel of Progress like revolve that shows Margot progressing through the relationship with Daniel, from ardor, to sex, to familiarity to the same staid existence she had with Lou , to her being alone.  Again Polley blurs the lines between reality and fantasy leaving the moviegoers knowing  only that she left Lou but not entirely certain she is with Daniel or living alone.    Williams gives a graceful performance even though the male parts, more types than character really, don’t generate the sparks she and Ryan Gosling had in Blue Valentine.  Take This Waltz gets a B.

In The Silver Linings Playbook, based on the novel by Matthew Quick, two recovering manic depressives  fall in love.   Bradley Cooper plays the man and Jennifer Lawrence the woman –and the results look anything but depressing.  Cooper jogs in a black trash bag outfit, Lawrence has nymphomaniac tendencies, so they spend the trailer saying appropriately inappropriate things to each other, calling each other crazy, compare their antidepressants and generally bickering like true movie soul-mates do. Robert De Niro, Jackie Weaver, Chris Tucker and Julia Stiles are also part of the madness.  The nimble and mentally agile lunatic David O. Russell directs.  The Silver Linings Playbook opens wide on November 21st.

The red-headed snark-icisms and exasperated expression of Jane Levy from Suburgatory  get full airing in the first trailer from Fun Size.  The comedy centers on a sarcastic teen (Victoria Justice) who is forced to take her little brother-trick-or-treating on Halloween only to lose him along the way. She must enlist the help of her best friend and a couple of “non-cool” kids in order to find her brother before the night is over.    The film also stars Thomas Mann, Johnny Knoxville, and Chelsea Handler.  Fun Size opens on October 26th.

The Sessions features John Hawkes as man in an iron lung machine who hires a sexual surrogate (Helen Hunt) to help him learn the intricacies of sex.  William H. Macy is the Catholic priest who takes a little too much pleasure in hearing Hawke’s sexual confessions.  The Sessions opens limited October 6th.


Here Comes the Boom Poster

Kevin James’ in  Here Comes the Boom is a high school science teacher who gets mixed up in the violent world of mixed martial arts in order to earn money to save school projects from budget cuts.  Zookeeper’s Frank Coraci directs and Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler, Melissa Peterman, Greg Germann, Joe Rogan and Reggie Lee  also star.  Here Comes the Boom opens wide October 12th.

Spike Lee returns to the role of  Mookie from Do The Right Thing in Red Hook Summer a continuation of his Brooklyn chronicles series of films.  Red Hook Summer is about Flik ( Bas Rutten), a boy from the middle class suburbs of Atlanta sent to the Brooklyn projects for a summer to live with his evangelical grandfather Enoch (Clarke Peters).  Opens limited August 10th.

Looper a science fiction time travel thriller written and directed by Rian Johnson (The Brothers Bloom) about a hit-man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)  hired  to kill his future self (Bruce Willis), still has me pondering the question if you kill one version of yourself what keeps the other from dying or not existing at all? After a few chase scenes, shoot outs and long thoughtful conversations with yourself I suspect the old and new will team up to get the real villains (Jeff Daniels?).  Looper opens wide September 28th.

I don’t know if the same reveals about wives hired to kill their surprised husbands works straight in the new version of  Total Recall.  I am still debating if its better to get smashed in the face by Sharon Stone or head-locked by Kate Beckinsale?  Arnold Schwarzenegger had that winking, self-deprecating charm, while Colin Farrell has better acting chops.  Read my decision  August 3rd when Total Recall opens wide.

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have come up with that’s a spicy meatball of an idea for their Lego movie now titled Lego: The Piece of Resistance. They will be adding Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) and Superman (maybe voiced by Channing Tatum if he can fit it into his busy shooting schedule). The bickering dynamic duo are featured in the trailer snippet even though the main story revolves around Emmett (Chris Pratt) an “instruction worker” in the Lego world who has zero creative skills and can only build from the provided manual and his quest to prevent an evil tyrant from gluing the world together. Other Justice League of America superheroes, including Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, make micro-cameos. Despite what the end title cards say, this Lego masterpiece doesn’t bow until early 2014.

The first trailer for 20th Century Fox’s animation group’s Epic features a teenage girl magically transported into a micro world that is in civil war between good and evil forest creatures. Directed by Chris Wedge (Ice Age), the film features the voices of Beyonce Knowles, Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried and Johnny Knoxville. Epic opens in 3D on May 24th, 2013.

Tim Burton productions Dark Shadows and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter both underwhelmed at the box office. Burton’s Frankenweenie hopefully will avoid giving the master of macabre the dreaded dud hat trick. Frankenweenie takes Burton back to his first short films roots with this re-imagined expansion of his own first demon seed- a gothic-meets-suburbia tale of young Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) and his beloved, suddenly deceased pet pooch, Sparky. Frankenweenie opens wide October 17th.

In Seeking a Friend for the End of World, a romantic comedy about Apocalypse by giant meteor, it’s nice that the director Lorene Scafaria takes the time to dawdle with her characters.  Steve Carell and Kiera Knightley may be the only two people on the planet with hearts that innately do the right thing and just enough time to find each other in the gentlest ways.  Seeking a Friend for the End of World takes the two on a road trip looking for lost love and far away family with stops  along the way at deep places in the heart,  only to find that each other was what the search was about.  The Apocalypse plot takes what would have been a wee rom-com between a free spirit (Knightley) and a lonely sad sack (Carell) who dodged the big chances of life, a couple maybe at the edge of being too old for each other, and turns it into a  religious example devoid of sex of what true heart, soul mates, true friends by definition do before they meet God.  It is  almost like before the end of the world God grants Adam and Eve a return to Eden.  Seeking a Friend for the End of World gets a B+.