Denise Di Novi

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Focus Review


Good

A very odd blend of caper action, dark drama and romantic comedy, this slickly made con-artist romp never quite finds its stride. There's a merciful vein of sharp wit in the script, thanks to writer-directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Crazy Stupid Love) and a spiky performance from Margot Robbie. But Will Smith's presence leaves everything feeling rather tame, compromising his character by making him a nice-guy crook rather than the unpredictable black-comedy protagonist he really should have been.

It opens as the wide-eyed Jess (Robbie) approaches veteran grifter Nicky (Smith) about learning the art of the con. She follows him to New Orleans for some major pickpocketing and double-crossing in the run-up to a big football championship, but Nicky unceremoniously dumps her afterwards. Three years later, they meet again in Buenos Aires, where both appear to be running scams centred around the Formula One team owned by Garriga (Rodrigo Santoro), who's never far from his right-hand goon (Gerald McRaney). With help from his old pal Farhad (Adrian Martinez), Nicky sets out to run his sting. But Jess is a distraction, and the stakes are too high for him to take his eye off the game.

While it's one of the running gags, Nicky's soft centre is a serious problem here, making the movie feel like a vanity project for Smith, who seems far too determined to be sympathetic. (Ficarra and Requa know how to make an anti-hero likeable: see Bad Santa.) Instead, Smith is a jarring combination of beefy physicality, fast-talking thievery and squidgy emotions. Robbie is able to more effectively merge Jess' gung-ho personality with her gleeful criminality, but when they're both together on-screen it's impossible not to feel like everything about the characters' relationship is a big con. So we wait for the script to reveal its clever twists and turns. But they're surprisingly few and oddly inconsequential.

Continue reading: Focus Review

The Best Of Me Premiere

Michelle Monaghan, James Marsden, Nicholas Sparks and Denise Di Novi - Photographs of the stars on the red carpet for the premiere of "The Best Of Me" in Los Angeles at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live - Los Angeles, California, United States - Wednesday 8th October 2014

Michelle Monaghan, James Marsden, Nicholas Sparks and Denise Di Novi
Michelle Monaghan, James Marsden, Luke Bracey, Liana Liberato and Michael Hoffman
Michelle Monaghan
Michelle Monaghan
Michelle Monaghan
Michelle Monaghan

If I Stay Review


Very Good

Based on the Gayle Forman novel, this teen weepie is wrenchingly emotional and packed with girly fantasies. But the characters and situations have a lot more earthy honesty to them than this summer's other big adolescent tearjerker The Fault in Our Stars. It may be just as relentlessly sentimentalised, but the issues involved are faced with a lot more grit and realism, so the film earns its sob-inducing emotions.

Set in Portland, Oregon, the story centres on the Hall family. Parents Kat and Denny (Mireille Enos and Joshua Leonard) are former rockers who have mildly toned down their wild ways as they have raised their children: 17-year-old Mia (Chloe Grace Moretz) and the younger Teddy (Jakob Davies) to be independent and artistic. Although Kat and Denny are rather taken aback by Mia's obsessive love of classical music and prodigious gift with the cello. Then Mia is shocked to discover that the cool rock-god Adam (Jamie Blackley) at her high school is interested in her. As their relationship develops over the next year, it hits a few bumps along the way. And it's during one of these bad patches that Mia is in a life-threatening car crash with her family. In an out-of-body experience, she watches everyone react to her life-and-death situation, wondering, "Should I stay or should I go?"

Which of course would be a much better title for a rock-n-roll movie than this one. Never mind, since the film is structured as a peeling-onion of flashbacks and out-of-sequence revelations, Mia's conundrum is genuinely complicated, in a movie sort of way. But then everything about this film exists only in the movies, most notably Adam, the most perfect boyfriend in the history of cinema: a bad boy musician with a deep soul, open emotions and thoughtful reactions. He has so clearly been devised to appeal to the teen-girl audience that it's occasionally a bit ridiculous.

Continue reading: If I Stay Review

Katherine Heigl Is A 'difficult' Actress?


Katherine Heigl Denise Di Novi

Katherine Heigl has been branded a ''difficult'' actress.

The former 'Greys Anatomy' star allegedly caused ''desperately difficult situations'' on the set of her 2010 movie 'Life As We Know It', in which she starred opposite Josh Duhamel, and has developed a bad reputation in Hollywood.

A source, who worked on the movie, told the Hollywood Reporter: ''She can cost you time every single day of shooting. Wardrobe issues, not getting out of the trailer, questioning the script every single day.''

Continue reading: Katherine Heigl Is A 'difficult' Actress?

The Lucky One Review


Weak
Zac Efron isn't a bad actor, but this kind of sappy movie will do nothing to build his credibility. The flimsy plot might just about hold a pre-teen girl's interest, but lazy writing and bland production waste the decent filmmaking and acting.

After three tours of duty, shellshocked Marine Logan (Efron) heads home with no plan for the future. At one point in battle he'd found a picture of a pretty girl who became a sort-of guardian angel, so he decides to locate her based on landmarks in the photo. Eventually he meets kennel-owner Beth (Schilling) in down-home Louisiana. Without telling her how he knows her, he takes a job and reluctantly falls for her while charming her smart son (Stewart) and sassy granny (Danner). But Beth's sheriff ex-husband (Ferguson) isn't happy about this interloper.

Continue reading: The Lucky One Review

Denise Di Novi,

Denise Di Novi and Grauman's Chinese Theatre Monday 16th April 2012 Denise Di Novi,

Denise Di Novi and Grauman's Chinese Theatre

Crazy, Stupid, Love. Review


Excellent
A strong cast makes the most of an insightful, jaggedly hilarious script. And it also helps that the actors and directors cleverly depict real-life situations in ways that are both witty and emotionally engaging.

Cal (Carell) is shocked when his wife Emily (Moore) tells him she's had an affair and wants a divorce. He has never even dated another woman and has no idea how to start, but one night in a singles' bar the slick womaniser Jacob (Gosling) inexplicably offers to mentor him. But even though he learns quickly, Cal is still hung up on Emily. Meanwhile, Jacob finally meets his match in the spiky-sexy Hannah (Stone), while Cal and Emily's teen son (Bobo) pines after his babysitter (Tipton), who has a crush of her own.

Continue reading: Crazy, Stupid, Love. Review

Emma Watson Signs Up For Beauty And The Beast


Emma Watson Alex Pettyfer Denise Di Novi Guillermo Del Toro Harry Potter Lord Of The Rings Walt Disney

Emma Watson will star in a film adaptation of 'Beauty and the Beast'.

The 'Harry Potter' actress will take the lead role in a new version of the traditional fairy tale, to be made by 'Lord Of The Rings' director Guillermo Del Toro.

The film's producer, Denise Di Novi, told comingsoon.net about the casting, but little else about the film is known at present.

Continue reading: Emma Watson Signs Up For Beauty And The Beast

Happy Campers Review


Good
It may be a bit of an acquired taste, but Happy Campers (from Heathers writer Daniel Waters), but the film definitely deserved a better fate than being dumped on home video. Nonetheless it's worth a spin if you happen to come across it: It's the usual hijinks at Camp Bleeding Dove, with horny counselors running amok when camp leader (Peter Stormare) is incapacitated and a hurricane strikes the grounds. Dominique Swain steals the show as a Jan Brady-like innocent who wants to entertain her young charges and keep them pristine, but also pines for Wichita (Brad Renfro) all the same. The film gets a little muddy as the movie gets weirder, suffering from the same problems that made Wet Hot American Summer a curious oddity instead of a cult classic. Characters make abrupt personality shifts, and the in-joke just goes a bit too far. Funny? Yes. Another Heathers? Not quite.

A Walk To Remember Review


Very Good
A Walk to Remember can and will be known best as "The Mandy Moore Project," the first feature where the popular teen singer stars on the big screen. She is the focal point of the marketing, the reason that most kids will see the movie, and the one player to be under the microscope. Luckily for Moore, and the film, her flaws are few, as she slides easily into one of the more interesting teen roles in recent adolescent films, as the originality of her character, her well-metered performance, and director Adam Shankman's lively delivery lift this movie above most of its counterparts.

The film may look like a relative to the Freddie Prinze Jr. vehicle She's All That (1999), but it's more like a cousin to Robert Mulligan's The Man in the Moon (1991). The story begins predictably enough: Landon (Shane West), a young teen sowing his oats through his high school years, is forced to take on charity work after orchestrating a stupid stunt that nearly paralyzes a kid. While mopping up hallways and tutoring youngsters, he comes across Jamie Sullivan (Moore), a level-headed duckling (not so ugly), with a good heart and religion at her core. If this were Prinze pap, Landon would spruce her up and show the world what it's been missing. Instead, in this Karen Janszen adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel, Jamie stays true to herself, and the shy girl has a life-changing effect on the guy.

Continue reading: A Walk To Remember Review

What A Girl Wants Review


Weak
Don't be fooled by the title. Despite being named after a Christina Aguilera song, What a Girl Wants is not a movie about a good-girl-turned-trashy-ho. Rather, it's the story of a sweet, all-American girl who generally enjoys her life but can't get past one thing: She's never met her father. As her high school days come to an end, young Daphne Reynolds (Amanda Bynes) decides it's time to meet this mysterious man who managed to woo her mother so many years ago, and so she throws her passport into her backpack and heads off to London.

What ensues is a standard fairy tale: Daphne quickly finds her father, Henry (Colin Firth), but is hindered in her attempt to forge a meaningful relationship thanks to an evil stepmother and debutante stepsister who are only interested in Henry's status and wealth. Fortunately, Daphne's got her American charm on her side and, with the help of her wise grandmother and cute new boyfriend, she's able to win Henry's heart and even manages to get him back together with mom. They all live happily ever after, as we are told at the end.

Continue reading: What A Girl Wants Review

Edward Scissorhands Review


Excellent
If anyone, Tim Burton needs a serious haircut. In most interviews, he looks like he's been dragged from a two week bender (got a better explanation for those obnoxious shades?). For a man who has based his entire career on being the most visually-daring, commercial director, he looks awfully drab and unkempt. One can see how a character like Edward Scissorhands made his way into Burton's home, with his ability to make everything pretty except himself.

In the middle of a suburbs stylized to the nines, the Boggs have made a modest, any-day home for them and their two children. Peg Boggs (Dianne Weist) makes her living as an Avon lady, going door-to-door with second rate beauty products, trying to make the outside meet the (supposed) inside. She is the gentlest woman in her neighborhood by a long shot. So, when she stumbles upon poor Edward Scissorhands (Johnny Depp), a Frankenstein-like creature who has scissors instead of fingers, she feels the motherly instinct to take care of the assembled fellow.

Continue reading: Edward Scissorhands Review

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Denise Di Novi Movies

Focus Movie Review

Focus Movie Review

A very odd blend of caper action, dark drama and romantic comedy, this slickly made...

If I Stay Movie Review

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