A year after they met, San Francisco chef Tom (Segel) proposes to his girlfriend Violet (Blunt), but their excited wedding plans are interrupted when Violet gets a post-doc position at the University of Michigan. So they postpone the wedding and head to the snowy Midwest. There, Violet's career soars while Tom has little to do beyond making sandwiches in a deli and going hunting with his new friends. And before they can set a new date, Violet's sister (Brie) marries and has two kids with Tom's best pal (Pratt).
Continue reading: The Five-Year Engagement Review
When an experiment in laser beam research goes awry, a talking duck named Howard is whisked away from his home planet and down to Earth. Arriving in Cleveland, Ohio, he meets up with wannabe rock star Beverly Switzler (Lea Thompson), and the two form a fragile friendship. Howard wants to get back home, and his gal pal sets up a meeting with local scientist Phil Blumburtt (Tim Robbins). He in turn contacts Dr. Walter Jenning (Jeffrey Jones) who's in charge of the laser project. As Howard tries to adjust to his new surroundings, there's a bigger problem looming. Seems our avian hero is not the only "alien" contacted by the laser. The evil Dark Overlord of the Universe has been looking for a conduit for taking over the galaxy -- and the beam might just be the answer.
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With Nixon, Stone struggles to present a thoughtful biography of one of history's most reviled leaders and the only President in modern times to voluntarily leave office before the end of his term. Richard Nixon of course needs no introduction, and Stone takes a much different approach to the material here than he did with JFK, which remains one of my favorite films ever. Rather than focus on a single incident -- Watergate -- Stone endeavors to encompass Nixon's entire life and career, from his days as a young Quaker (complete with dying brothers) to two big failed runs at political office to the entirety of his troubled political career. All the highlights are here, at least in part: Kent State, China, Vietnam and Cambodia, and of course the tragic events of Watergate.
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Let me quickly establish some caveats. Redbelt is one of the most unapologetically macho movies made in the last several years, and the story ultimately buckles under the weight of its earnestness. The plot is constructed on the theme of warrior culture, personified by the lead character Mike Terry, played soulfully by Chiwetel Ejiofor (American Gangster, Dirty Pretty Things), who seems incapable of anything short of brilliance. Terry is a mixed martial arts instructor who lives his life by a code. His ethos is never really explained, but it clearly involves things like honor, integrity, and a bunch of other quiet, old-fashioned virtues most people don't think too much about. But Terry has a problem: Despite a loyal stable of disciples, his gym doesn't make any money and he has to do something to dig his way out of debt.
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When Erik first comes upon the man they call "Champ" (Samuel L. Jackson), the homeless resident has just been violently attacked by a small gang of vicious delinquents trying to prove their manhood with an act of cowardice typical of the goons and bullies in this part of town. After suffering their blows, the victim lies nearly helpless on the grounds of his minimal stakeout in a downtown alley. Once more, Champ is down, but this is the life he's accepted and adapted to with stoic resolve.
Continue reading: Resurrecting the Champ Review
That's some dedication to your story, but it turns out that neither the original Hotchkiss nor the updated one merit that much consideration. The short is your expected coming-of-age tale: A kid named Steve hates girls, but over time (and thanks to Hotchkiss) he comes to love them, particularly a gal named Lisa.
Continue reading: Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School Review
It's a backwards machismo, I suppose, the urge to see the things which you so loathe; but I need to see a bad film every once in a while. And, you know what, Mighty Joe Young doesn't qualify.
Continue reading: Mighty Joe Young (1998) Review
Its dialogue like that that makes Payback the first great film of 1999. Everybody likes to watch jerks on screen. They walk around with a cockiness and lack of respect for anything and everyone that you can't help but love to watch them. In this movie, I think everybody falls into this category.
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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?
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Saddled with the worst title you could give to a comedy, Enemies of Laughter gives us David Paymer as Paul, a semi-failed sitcom writer whose experiences in Hollywood are echoed in his love life. He ends up on dozens of dates with your typical collection of L.A. airheads, but it isn't until he meets Carla (Rosalind Chao) that Paul figures he's met his match. Too bad he ruins their date with paranoid crazy-talk, sending Carla running for the hills.
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