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The Wedding Ringer Review


Very Good

An unapologetically silly movie that manages to hit the right notes, this free-wheeling comedy makes up for its corny premise with sharp writing and acting. And as it keeps the audience laughing, it's also quietly finding some rather intriguing things to say about masculinity in American society. Thankfully, preaching a message is never this film's intention. And both Kevin Hart and Josh Gad bring so much charm and energy to their roles that they instantly become a movie duo we'd like to see together again and again.

Gad plays Doug, the nervous groom preparing for his wedding to Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting), a girl far hotter than he ever imagined he'd get for a wife. But Doug has no friends who are willing to be his best man and groomsmen, so he turns to his wedding planner (Serricchio) for help getting in touch with an underground service that provides them. Enter Jimmy (Hart), the fast-talking, quick-thinking best man for hire who assembles a hilariously rag-tag group of "friends" as groomsmen. As they indulge in some condensed bonding so they can convince everyone they're best pals, these guys actually begin to have fun together. And Doug begins to hope that maybe this isn't just a professional partnership.

Yes, what we have here is a bromance between Doug and Jimmy, two friendless guys who discover that maybe together they can change their lives. Filmmaker Jeremy Garelick never tries to obscure the standard rom-com structure, and the simple plot is utterly predictable, but there are surprising currents of comedy and emotion running everywhere. Hart and Gad manage to bring out all kinds of riotous humour, underlying insecurities and general comic mayhem in each scene. Hart's cocky run-on dialogue is hilarious, and matched perfectly by Gad's gung-ho physicality. But even more intriguing are the darker layers beneath the silly surface. And everything is livened up by a raucously ridiculous supporting cast, including veterans Ken Howard and Mimi Rogers as Gretchen's too-intense parents and an underused Cloris Leachman as her bedraggled granny.

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S. Darko Review


Terrible
Some movies don't deserve a sequel. Not because they weren't successful or have a storyline incapable of carrying a franchise. No, some films are so inherently insular, so completely and utterly self-contained that to try and extrapolate them out over one (or more) additional entries makes little or no sense. Richard Kelly's surprising cult phenomenon Donnie Darko is a good example of such a cinematic solo shot. It remains an original and disturbing vision of suburban ennui and teenage angst wrapped up in a surreal science fiction fable about time travel and the tangential universes it can create. Thanks to its massive success on DVD, a follow-up is now being offered. Sadly, if it accomplishes anything, S. Darko proves that once was definitely enough.

It's been seven years since the events involving Samantha Darko (Daveigh Chase, reprising her role from the original film) and her family, including big brother Donnie, played out. Now 18, she decides to join her best friend Corey (Briana Evigan) on a road trip to California. There, Sam hopes to become a professional dancer. Unfortunately, their car breaks down outside a one-horse town in the middle of Utah. While they wait for replacement parts, the girls meet up with local rebel Randy (Ed Westwick), crazed preacher John Mellit (Matthew Davis), and equally fanatical parishioner Trudy Potter (Elizabeth Berkley). When a meteor hits the tiny burg late one night, it sets into motion a chain of events that has Samantha having horrific visions of the end of the world. It's a fate she shares with a Gulf War veteran (James Lafferty) who is convinced that Armageddon will occur on July 4, 1995.

Continue reading: S. Darko Review

Brokedown Palace Review


Excellent
So the words "justice system" are an oxymoron in Thailand. Last year, Return to Paradise vividly portrayed just how corrupt and ruthless the law can be for ignorant tourists who presume that an American passport is a "get out of jail free" card in Southeast Asia. Brokedown Palace, directed by Jonathan Kaplan (The Accused, Love Field) elaborates on this theme, only this time it's two juvenile girls from Upland, Ohio facing trouble inparadise.

To celebrate high school graduation, Alice Mareno (Claire Daines) and Darlene Davis (Kate Beckinsale) plan an eleven day sojourn to Bangkok. ("Las Vegas without parents and laws," Alice proclaims to the more cautious Arlene) After a few days of fun in the sun, the two get a little more than they bargained for after they meet the seductive and alluring Nick Parks (Daniel Lapaine) who invites them on a weekend excursion to Hong Kong. In their rush to get to the airport, they fail to realize that Nick has planted over a kilo of heroin in Darlene's backpack. They both are arrested in the airport and once in prison, Darlene is tricked into signing a confession. They are each convicted of drug trafficking and given 33 years apiece in a hideous prison ruefully described by it's inmates as "The Brokedown Palace." Desperate for help and down to their last hope, the girls turn to "Yankee Hank" (Bill Pullman) a maverick American lawyer who takes up the daunting challenge of defending them. Together the three attempt to salvage their lives and their freedom against the tyrannical Thai government and outlandish justice system.

Continue reading: Brokedown Palace Review

Ravenous Review


Weak
"You are who you eat." So goes the tongue-in-cheek (so to speak) tagline of Ravenous, the inexplicable black comedy by iffy directress Antonia Bird.

Set during the Mexican-American War, Ravenous starts with the promising tale of a soldier named Boyd (Pearce, from L.A. Confidential) who finds himself transferred to a remote Sierra Nevada outpost in the dead of winter. Enter Colqhoun (Carlyle), a traveller suffering from frostbite and famine... and who turns out to be, well, a bit of a cannibal.

Continue reading: Ravenous Review

Donnie Darko Review


Very Good
Donnie Darko is a writer-director's debut that takes on schizophrenia, time travel, teenage angst, dysfunctional suburban family life, societal farce, and hallucinations of an evil bunny in a gorgeously filmed two-hour package deserves serious props. But Richard Kelly's fascinating film is seriously flawed in that it never brings all these disparate elements together in the end. Not to mention that it bears the worst title of the year.

Set in 1988, Donnie Darko is a John Hughes teen movie tinged with David Lynch-ian gloom and perversity. It begins innocently enough around the Darko's dining room table, where we find out the older sister (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is rebelliously voting for Dukakis and Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal, Bubble Boy) is off his meds. From here, the film churns forward at a hypnotic pace, revealing facts about its disturbed but endearing title character.

Continue reading: Donnie Darko Review

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Adam Fields Movies

The Wedding Ringer Movie Review

The Wedding Ringer Movie Review

An unapologetically silly movie that manages to hit the right notes, this free-wheeling comedy makes...

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Brokedown Palace Movie Review

Brokedown Palace Movie Review

So the words "justice system" are an oxymoron in Thailand. Last year, Return to...

Ravenous Movie Review

Ravenous Movie Review

"You are who you eat." So goes the tongue-in-cheek (so to speak) tagline of...

Donnie Darko Movie Review

Donnie Darko Movie Review

Donnie Darko is a writer-director's debut that takes on schizophrenia, time travel, teenage angst, dysfunctional...

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