Ebon Moss-bachrach - Meet and greet with the cast of Lost Girls at the MCC Theater rehearsal space. at MCC Theater rehearsal space, - New York City, New York, United States - Tuesday 22nd September 2015
Romantic comedies depend on the sympathies of an audience, but in this scruffy movie actor-filmmaker Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory) plays a character so relentlessly naive and self-absorbed that it's impossible to root for him. This also makes it difficult to laugh at his goofy antics, because he's more pathetic than funny. Viewers looking for something offbeat and a bit dorky may find the film somewhat charming, but it feels oddly under-developed.
Helberg plays Quinn, a 28-year-old hypochondriac who works as a florist, afraid to pursue his desired career as a jazz musician. He's only ever had one girlfriend, Devon (Melanie Lynskey), and after 10 years together feels like it's time to propose. But this thought sparks a doubt in his mind, which is fanned into a flame when his sexy work colleague Kelsey (Maggie Grace) confesses that she has a crush on him. Quinn's best pal Jameson (Zachary Quinto) isn't much help, and soon Devon has had enough with Quinn's sudden distance. So she moves to Paris to stay with family friends and get some perspective. In a state of confusion, Quinn follows her there and is shocked to discover that she has already struck up a perhaps too-close friendship with handsome violinist Guillaume (Ebon Moss-Bachrach).
Right from the start it's clear that Helberg's stammering nerd Quinn is only with Lynskey's witty-thoughtful Devon because they've known each other so long. There isn't a moment in this film when they feel even remotely suited to each other. And when Grace's slutty Kelsey throws herself at Quinn, the movie takes on a Woody Allen-style leeriness, as a geeky filmmaker makes a movie in which gorgeous women throw themselves at him. Helberg has some innate charm, but Quinn is so socially inept that it's obvious to everyone but him that he needs to go off and become a mature human being before getting into any sort of relationship.
Continue reading: We'll Never Have Paris Review
Ebon Moss-bachrach, Alicia Silverstone and Central Park - Ebon Moss-Bachrach and Alicia Silverstone New York City, USA - on the film set of 'Gods Behaving Badly' in Central Park Monday 26th September 2011
With the distinct aura of a plot that might have been dreamed up over bong hits, writer/directors Gregg Kavet and Andy Robin cobble together a seriously strange and only ocassionally compelling look at the hero myth, updated for COPS era. Said hero is John "Rugged" Rudgate (Aaron Stanford, best known as Pyro in X-Men 2 and 3), an utter loser whose primary source of income is scraping UPC labels from bottles of gin at the local liquor store and mailing them in for rebates. He fashions himself an outlaw and a gangster, but even his plan to sell trucking school diplomas can't earn much more than beer money. With a wreck of a van and various scams costing more than they bring in, he tries to weasel into the U-Lock storage shed business of old friend Lagrand (Paul Schneider), fashioning himself as an elite security guard.
Continue reading: Live Free Or Die Review
Director Alejandro Agresti's The Lake House, based on a South Korean film called Il Mare, takes the premise that launched movies such as Back to the Future and Frequency and asks, "What would a good boyfriend do with these powers?" The powers in this case involve a mystical mailbox that connects two would-be lovers who are living two years apart. Unfortunately, the answer to that question ends up being "Nothing interesting enough to last for almost two hours."
Alex Wyler (Keanu Reeves) is an architect living in Chicago who has recently bought the lake house built by his cold, uncaring father (Christopher Plummer). Kate Forster (Sandra Bullock) is a doctor living in Chicago who has recently moved out of the same house. She leaves a note in the mailbox for the next tenant, which is received by Alex who, puzzled by the note's references to objects that aren't there (yet), writes back. Eventually the two figure out that they are, in fact, living in different years - Alex in 2004, and Kate in 2006. She doesn't bother to tell him how the election turned out.
Being lonely workaholic types and apparently lacking a broadband connection, they decide to continue the correspondence. Rather than ask for stock tips or sports scores, Alex opts instead to do little favors for Kate, planting a tree that will later grow out in front of her apartment complex, or leaving graffiti for her on a wall that no one bothers to clean or write over for two years. As they grow closer, Alex discovers why he can't be with Kate in his present, while Kate struggles with trying to meet him in hers.
The Lake House is the type of film that could make a fantastic half hour episode of The Twilight Zone, but needs to bring a lot more to the table if it wants to stretch to feature length. For starters, the dialogue does not sound like it came from the pen of a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, but that's David Auburn's name right there in the opening credits. Reeves and Bullock are serviceable in their roles, with Reeves playing 10 percent less wooden than usual and Bullock conveying forlorn with aplomb, but none of this is terribly new or interesting. If anything, Alex's B-plot relationship with his father, which prompts a speech Auburn must have copied and pasted from a better script he had lying around, merits more screen time than the A-plot it barely services.
Agresti's direction at times results in some interesting visuals, including clever attempts to show the pair occupying the same space at different times in one shot. Meanwhile, attempts to have the characters verbalize their written correspondence just make them seem like they're talking to themselves. And while the story has some fun with the notion of a postal bridge across time, the poorly concealed plot points make it seem like there's some mystical mailbox at the end of the film sending us everything that's going to happen before we're halfway into the movie.
In the end, The Lake House is not a particularly bad film, but it's not a particularly good one, either. It smacks mostly of wasted potential, and the sense that the phrase "close enough" informed too many choices. If I were sending letters back in time to someone advising them on which films to skip, I'd probably forget to even mention this.
Pass the salt, Sady.
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