Andrew Miano

Andrew Miano

Andrew Miano Quick Links

Pictures Film RSS

Admission Review


Good

We generally expect more wacky humour from Fey and Rudd than this comedy, which is packed with perhaps too-smart dialog and a lot of warm sentiment. It's an odd mix, looking for jokes in gender roles and higher education, while also finding dramatic and romantic moments along the way. But in the end, the engaging actors make it worth a look.

Fey plays Portia, an admissions officer at the prestigious Princeton University, who's in competition with her office rival (Reuben) for a big promotion as their boss (Shawn) gets ready to retire. Unhelpfully, Portia's long-term boyfriend (Sheen) chooses this moment to leave her. Diving into her job, she visits a progressive high school where the director John (Rudd) is trying a bit too hard to get her to consider unconventionally gifted student Jeremiah (Wolff) for admission to Princeton. Then John tells Portia that he thinks Jeremiah is the son she gave up for adoption 18 years earlier. Meanwhile, Portia's aggressive feminist mother (the superb Tomlin) brings up even more past issues she's never quite dealt with.

The way the screenplay piles all of this on Portia at the same time is more than a little contrived, but Fey juggles it effortlessly, throwing hilariously intelligent one-liners around even in the more intensely serious scenes. Opposite her, Rudd is more understated than usual, and also creates a strongly defined character as a rootless wanderer who just wants to help make the world a better place, but needs to pay more attention to his adopted Ugandan son (Spears). Yes, screenwriter Kroner throws in every variety of parent-child issues too.

Continue reading: Admission Review

Picture - Andrew Miano , Thursday 1st March 2012

Andrew Miano and Tribeca Grand Hotel Thursday 1st March 2012 Attending a screening of Being Flynn at The Tribeca Grand Hotel

Andrew Miano and Tribeca Grand Hotel

A Single Man Review


Excellent
As you'd expect from a designer, every frame in this film is visual perfection, capturing settings and characters with artistry that packs a real wallop. And if the overall film feels a little icy, it's also remarkably involving.

In 1962 Los Angeles, George (Firth) is a university professor whose boyfriend (Goode) has died in a car crash. Unable to cope with his grief, or to show it to anyone, he tries to go through his day as usual. His next lecture derails into a message about fear in society, and he decides to put his life in order before committing suicide. But a last evening with his boozy best friend Charlotte (Moore) and the attentions of a Spanish hunk (Kortajarena) and a bright-eyed student (Hoult) test his resolve.

Continue reading: A Single Man Review

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist Review


OK
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist is a high school fantasy for indie rock nerds.

Imagine if back when you were 17, instead of playing CDs in your bedroom and dreaming about getting up the nerve to talk to a girl or guy, you played bass in a punk band that performed gigs in New York City. After your show, you hopped around the Lower East Side with a cute girl who knew all your favorite I-liked-'em-first bands, and who could get you into any club in town. You and she and your buddies partied until dawn with nary a care for the consequences, the law, or your parents.

Continue reading: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist Review

American Dreamz Review


Grim
There's a peculiarly painful sensation one gets when witnessing a comedy build toward its big moment, having carefully laid all out all the correct elements and primed you for all the gags as it leads up to the orchestrated finale and then... Just. Doesn't. Get. There. You get that feeling quite a lot in Paul Weitz's American Dreamz, about an American Idol-like reality show which becomes the linchpin in a dangerously rickety skit about wannabe celebrities, and yes, the war on terror (because one must be relevant). There's another feeling one gets, and it comes from that oft-ignored voice in the back of your head, the one that says, Hey, maybe we shouldn't be laughing at this, even if it was funny.What are we supposed to make of this queasy and uncertain concoction that lands a few weak punches and then dances safely back out of range? Weitz is no Wilder, but he's done better than most in comedy. American Pie may have brought us an unfortunate amount of Chris Klein, and In Good Company was hardly a beacon of originality, but they both possessed a refreshing amount of heart; while About a Boy proved that Hugh Grant's louche side is his best one. These were all films of modest means that succeeded beyond their stated intent. With American Dreamz, writer/director Weitz not only bites off more than he can chew, he (not to mention we) can barely get his mouth around the thing.The constellation of players include: Britney-like Ohioan pop striver Sally Kendoo (Mandy Moore), Simon Cowell-esque host Martin Tweed (Hugh Grant), a president and vice-president (Dennis Quaid and Willem Dafoe) who just may resemble a pair currently in power over there in D.C., and Omer (Sam Golzari), a clumsy, showtunes-loving terrorist (you read that right) who accidentally gets on the show after being sent to join a sleeper cell in Orange County. There's also Sally's sweet but dumb-as-rocks boyfriend William Williams (Chris Klein), who runs off to the army after she dumps him, and Omer's flaming-gay cousin Iqbal (Tony Yalda) who thinks he deserves to be on the show, and a number of fine performers like Shohreh Aghdashloo, Judy Greer, and John Cho wasted in dead-end roles. With all this at hand, Weiss aims to plug into some sort of vein of current American irreality, juxtaposing the fanatic public adulation of this TV show with the grinding presence of the war and the terrorist threat, but ends up splashing them all with the same cartoonish colors and scoring only the easiest of points.There is ample opportunity here, it's just not utilized. Quaid plays his Bush stand-in with ardent vigor as a decent but none-too-bright man who wakes up the day after his reelection and announces to his stunned manservant, "I'm going to read the newspaper." Cut to weeks later and the president bedroom is thick with papers and books, the commander in chief's head dangerously expanding, saying incredulously to his Cheney-like VP (Dafoe, mixing just the right amount of malice and buffoonery), "Did you know there were three different kinds of Iraqistanis?" But then this line of broad mockery is abandoned for a "Terrorist Training Camp" in some California desert masquerading as the generic Middle East, where Omer - who became a terrorist because his mom was killed by an American bomb; funny, that - dances to showtunes in his tent. Then it switches again to Ohio for some dreadfully unfunny reality-show-contestant satire that flops dead on arrival due to Moore's dead fish of a performance. Like Grant - who should have turned in a killer Cowell impression here, and whose soulless character bonds with Moore - she remains on the leash, never fully engaging. About the only thing in the too widely ranging American Dreamz that works is Omer, a sweetheart of a character whose earnest lack of talent is as endearing in the film as it would be on a reality show - for a satire aimed at modern society, he's about the only character who could actually exist in it.It has been said by some that Paul Greengrass's United 93 - prior to its opening, at least - is an exploitation of a national tragedy, a shameless attempt to make dramaturgical hay from an episode that should be treated with more respect. The jury of public opinion has yet, of course, to make a ruling in that matter. Until then, though, we have American Dreamz, which seems to think that the Iraq War, terrorism, the death of innocent Middle Easterners by American hands, and the current White House situation are all just as equally worthy targets of spoofery and fun as is reality TV. It's not really a cynical or outrageous point of view, but just a really lazy one, and offensively, exploitatively so.Who likes pizza?

In Good Company Review


Weak
It's one of those nightmare scenarios of which feel-good stories are made: Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid), middle-aged family man and top sales guy at a big, Sports Illustrated-like magazine, gets thrown for a loop when his company is bought and he gets demoted to make room for Carter Duryea (Topher Grace), some whiz kid half his age. Oh, and his daughter wants to transfer from SUNY to the much more expensive NYU. Oh, and that night when he gets home, his wife tells him she's pregnant. At first it seems that In Good Company is not going to go for the feel-good resolution in which lessons are learned, lives are improved, and everybody fades into a happy sunset... but then it does, and it's hard not to feel cheated.

Whatever else may be said, this film is the work of consummate professionals, and that doesn't mean it's soulless but competent hackwork. Writer/director Paul Weitz showed with his wonderful, glowing adaptation of Nick Hornby's About a Boy that he could tell heartwarming stories that didn't insult the mind and could inject just enough acidity into a romance to keep a movie from flopping into a messy, Love, Actually-style mess. The directing and writing here are superbly crisp, and one really couldn't ask for better performances, both from the stars and supporting cast.

Continue reading: In Good Company Review

Andrew Miano

Andrew Miano Quick Links

Pictures Film RSS
Advertisement

Suggested

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Film Review

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Film Review

Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie brings a dark and gritty tone to this larger-than-life franchise.

American Ultra - Trailer

American Ultra - Trailer

Mike's current life revolves around his girlfriend, a healthy amount of weed and his job at the local cash & carry.

Advertisement
Is Calvin Harris About To Pop The Question?

Is Calvin Harris About To Pop The Question?

As soon a pop partnership Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift got together, we knew it...

Surprise New One Direction Single Tops iTunes Chart Within An Hour

Surprise New One Direction Single Tops iTunes Chart Within An Hour

Just a day after Zayn Malik said that he had left them to make “#realmusic”, One Direction...

Advertisement