Dana Ivey , Robert Joy - Concert version of The Nutty Professor, the last Marvin Hamlisch musical, held at Birdland Jazz Club. at Birdland Jazz Club, - New York, New York, United States - Tuesday 16th February 2016
Skeeter has always dreamt of becoming a writer; fresh out of college she attempts to get a job at one of New York's best publishing houses but unfortunately isn't successful at landing the job. Returning home she starts to write a column for the local news paper but is distracted by personal matters when she learns that the family maid, who raised Skeeter, has gone missing.
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If you want to make money, you go to David Koepp. Three of the 20 films he has written are on the top 25 highest-grossing American box office list and another two show up in the top 100. The man makes hits and, most of the time anyways, they are well-written and focused scripts that attempt to keep exposition to a minimum. These are the traits of a very talented screenwriter... but unfortunately they do not necessarily translate into a positive resume for a feature film director.
Ghost Town is Koepp's fourth film as a director and it is the first film to feature UK comedian Ricky Gervais in a starring role. It tells the story of a dentist named Bertram Pincus (Gervais) who wakes from a friendly colonoscopy with the ability to see and hear the dead. It is inferred that this Shyamalanian gift was caused by a seven-minute interval during his operation where he died due to a two-strikes-already anesthesiologist. Ghosts of every color and creed begin hassling the chronically-introverted Pincus for favors, the leader of which seems to be Frank (Greg Kinnear).
A tux-donning victim of a high-speed Manhattan bus, Frank promises to get the other ghosts to leave if Bertram will help him derail his widow's pending nuptials. Turns out Frank's widow, Gwen (Téa Leoni), has been snubbed by Pincus on a dozen occasions (they live in the same apartment building), and her fiancé (Billy Campbell) is a civil-rights attorney. Not the easiest assignment for Pincus. But when the dentist helps crack the autopsy of a long-dead Egyptian king that Gwen is studying, she invites him to dinner, Pincus makes her laugh, and the end is already in sight. Morals are dished out on the side when Pincus agrees to help some other ghosts settle their unfinished business and there's also some stuff about "a life lived for others" passed on by a fellow dentist (Aasif Mandvi).
Much like the recent Hamlet 2, most of the film's success rides on the comic inventiveness of its star, and in this he is given little support from his director/screenwriter. At first, Gervais seems completely up to the task, employing the cracker-dry wit that made him such a phenomenon on the BBC version of The Office, the show he created and wrote with partner Stephen Merchant. There is a bright moment of hope as he has a particularly sharp exchange with Kristen Wiig of Saturday Night Live fame, who plays his surgeon. But then he script quickly shifts into standard operating procedure and comedy is swallowed by template.
Ghost Town has a smidgen more class than most contemporary romantic comedies but it is seemingly unaware of its strengths. Gervais' interplay with Leoni has a brisk charm to it but it seems too-often rushed and stuffed with jokes about dog poop, Chinese names, and naked ghosts, all of which seem out of place and drawn out. Egregiously over-sentimentalized, the last 30 minutes of the film rush through a half-dozen major conflicts in a mad dash to build to a predictable emotional climax. It's a total con and it sells Gervais' tremendous abilities up the river. Koepp's talents at structure falter slightly here, adding a few too many storylines than he seems capable of handling. Will Ghost Town make money? Probably, but it's the kind of film that gives box-office rankings a bad name.
The house belongs to Mrs. Aaronson (Polly Bergen), a feisty old woman who has a terminal illness and knows this will be her last summer. She's invited her 13-year-old grandson Gil (P.J. Verhoest) to spend it with her and her longtime maid and helper Betty (Dana Ivey). Gil is an interesting kid, an arts and crafts specialist who loves watching Gone With the Wind and dressing up. He's clearly on his way to being gay, and he knows it, although he's not quite sure what to do with that knowledge. Mrs. Aaronson indulges him. For her, it's not an issue. She just wishes he'd go outside long enough to learn how to swim.
Continue reading: A Very Serious Person Review
Loren Dean (Enemy of the State, Apollo 13) does a decent job as Dr. Mumford, the most popular psychologist in the small town to which he just moved. Listening attentively to the tormented visitors of the treatment couch, his apparent peace of mind and even temper become infectious. Ubiquitously available and sounding less like a shrink than a wise uncle who gives just enough advice at just the right time, it's no wonder Dr. Mumford is everyone's favorite confidant. But will those he's helped to see through their own faults be just as understanding if they find out the truth of his past?
Continue reading: Mumford Review
Continue reading: Addams Family Values Review
The very fact that the trailers and commercials for "Two Weeks Notice" feature Sandra Bullock blushing with allegedly comedic embarrassment as she answers her cell phone during a wedding should serve as a mammoth red flag for the shallowness and unoriginality of this cookie-cutter romantic comedy.
That hackneyed and humdrum joke feels 20 years older than the technology it depends on -- and it's still the freshest gag in the superficial, hand-me-down script of writer-director Marc Lawrence.
Bullock plays a community activist lawyer -- a frumpy but desirable granola babe with a one-dimensional passion for preserving historical buildings in her native Brooklyn. Hugh Grant plays the oil to her water -- a charming, bumbling billionaire in charge of a development conglomerate that knocks down historical landmarks to build skyscrapers.
Continue reading: Two Weeks Notice Review
"Mumford" is a weightless comedy with old-fashioned appeal, the kind of innocuous, affable picture in which happiness is just a musical montage sequence away.
Fifty years ago, it might have been a Jimmy Stewart movie, with a few subject matter alterations. Twenty-five years ago, Dustin Hoffman could have been the lead. In 1999 though, the title role goes to Loren Dean ("Gattaca"), who plays a warmhearted con man winging it as a psychologist in a small mountain town, where his unconventional therapy methods turn around the distressed lives for a smattering of eccentric residents.
Handsome, open and amiable, he's been in town only four months and already he's everyone's friend. He's just the kind of guy strangers tell their problems to, which is why he decided to give it a go in the head shrinking game.
Continue reading: Mumford Review
After using her coincidentally convenient knowledge of hair care products to acquit a murder suspect in "Legally Blonde," one-dimensionally ditzy Harvard Law grad Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) has become a naively sanguine congressional aide for the insipid sequel "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde" -- and once again her dumb luck masquerades as unsuspected smarts.
With Elle in Washington to lobby against animal testing by cosmetics companies, the plot turns on her ability to win over two bitterly conservative senators -- not with reason, facts or even charm, but simply because one of them happens to be a sorority sister (they have a secret dance instead of a secret handshake) and another has a big male Rottweiler who just happens to fall in love with Bruiser, her little male Chihuahua, during a walk in the park.
Yes, that's right -- this feebly scripted, Barbie-brained, Gucci-accessorized so-called comedy actually climbs up on a designer-pink soapbox of social consciousness to preach in platitudes about both animal rights and gay rights. Advocates in both camps should feel insulted.
Continue reading: Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde Review
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