Adam Rosenfelt

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Freshman Orientation Review


Weak
OK, it's official: I no longer care about 18 year olds. Freshman Orientation is the last hyperkenetic, oversexed, foul-mouthed, gender-bending, college frolic I'll watch. At this point I've simply eaten too much American Pie.

When Clay (Sam Huntington) arrives at a large state university, his only goal is to score a dumb blonde. At the same time, Amanda (Kaitlin Doubleday), the sorority girl of his dreams, is challenged by her sorority sisters to date a gay man and then dump him (to get revenge on the evil male of the species). Clay gladly pretends to be gay just so he can spend more time with her, but now he has to figure out "how to be gay." Amanda's Jewish friend Jessica (an especially foul-mouthed Heather Matarazzo) is similarly challenged to date and dump a Muslim. Off to the side, Clay's sensitive roommate Matt (Mike Erwin), a closeted gay teen, is slowly coming to terms with himself while simultaneously falling in love with Matt. And Matt's high-school girlfriend Majorie (Marla Sokoloff) also shows up as a newly self-identified lesbian.

Continue reading: Freshman Orientation Review

Mr. Brooks Review


OK
Don't feel bad if, during the opening salvos of Mr. Brooks, you question whether you've sat down at the midpoint of the film.

Director Bruce Evans structures his serial-killer thriller like a John Sandford or James Patterson page-turner, the kind that made household names of fictitious crime-solvers Alex Cross and Lucas Davenport. Evans intentionally paces his movie like the middle act of a longer story, which is a bold move until we realize Brooks raises more questions than the director and his co-writer, Raynold Gideon, can answer.

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The Last Time Review


Bad
For the most part, the bad movies of today are bad for a common, if somewhat broad, reason. They exist merely as products. They neither entertain nor enlighten. They simply fuel the engine of commerce. (Imagine any recent Nicolas Cage or talking animal movie.) Their hackery and awfulness is conspicuous, often involving meaningless action, puerile humor, blaring pop songs, and an unconvincing story. The Last Time is a different sort of bad. It's bad on a much smaller scale. Its hackery and awfulness masquerade as intelligence and crafty storytelling. It doesn't exist to fuel the engine of commerce. It exists to pad the resume of everyone whose name appears in the credits.

Writer-director Michael Caleo clearly fancies himself a David Mamet acolyte. Like Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, The Last Time's plot centers on the vicious and primal world of high-pressure sales, and the dialogue comes out fast and caustic. Michael Keaton plays Ted, the top seller at a high-tech company whose product is frequently referred to but never actually defined. Ted is lonely, angry, and mean and he runs roughshod over everyone in his office, including his toothless boss, John (Daniel Stern). Ted is openly pissed off when he's directed to help orient the new guy, Jamie (Brendan Fraser). Everything changes, however, when Jamie introduces Ted to his gorgeous fiancée, Belisa (Amber Valletta). Ted takes an immediate interest in Belisa -- and his feelings only strengthen when he discovers that Belisa and Jamie aren't entirely happy together.

Continue reading: The Last Time Review

Down In The Valley Review


Good

Harlan Carruthers is a blissful cowboy, all scuffed boots, aw-shucks mannerisms, and a negligent sort of sensuality. He's lightening-quick with his twin single-shot Colts and loves nothing more than riding his horse to the highest hill around and surveying the beauty of the landscape.

He's also a walking anachronism, because Down in the Valley is a modern-day tale, and the title refers to the overbuilt suburbia that is the San Fernando Valley, the land of crowded freeways and chain stores that marks the northern reaches of Los Angeles. But Harlan, played by Edward Norton, swaggers through, contentedly out of place, until he catches sight of Tobe (Evan Rachel Wood), a teenage nymph who pulls into the service station where Harlan works as she is on the way to the beach with her giggling friends. It's unclear why the group dismisses Harlan as out-of-place instead of in fashion, but Tobe is as instantly taken with him as he is with her, and he quits his job to catch his first sight of the ocean with her.

Continue reading: Down In The Valley Review

The Third Wheel Review


OK
After Good Will Hunting and a round of Project Greenlight, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon got their hooks into this odd choice, a screwball romantic comedy called The Third Wheel, which plays out exactly like you might expect.

After a half hour of setting up the leads (Luke Wilson and Denise Richards, co-workers in a finance film which is featured endlessly in the first act to the point of mind numbness), Wilson finally asks Richards out on a date -- after a year of pining for her. Things immediately take a turn for the worse when Wilson runs his car into a crazy homeless man (Jay Lacopo), who ends up joining them for the rest of the evening. Get it? He's a third wheel! And he's kooky. How do we know he's kooky? He sings on the bus and makes hand shadows on the wall.

Continue reading: The Third Wheel Review

Confessions Of An American Girl Review


OK
When a movie opens on a teenager's repeated attempts to kill herself, well, you know we're in for some wild comedy!

A darkly black comedy of the trailer trash variety, Waking Up in Reno director Jordan Brady mostly misses with this study of working class malaise, the prison system, teen pregnancy, and closeted homosexuality. Well, Brady gets an A for effort in trying to get across such a broad collection of social messages, but his execution is merely a solid C.

Continue reading: Confessions Of An American Girl Review

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Adam Rosenfelt Movies

Mr. Brooks Movie Review

Mr. Brooks Movie Review

Don't feel bad if, during the opening salvos of Mr. Brooks, you question whether you've...

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Down In The Valley Movie Review

Down In The Valley Movie Review

Harlan Carruthers is a blissful cowboy, all scuffed boots, aw-shucks mannerisms, and a negligent sort...

The Third Wheel Movie Review

The Third Wheel Movie Review

After Good Will Hunting and a round of Project Greenlight, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon...

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