Gary Goetzman

Gary Goetzman

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My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Review

OK

It's been 14 years since Nia Vardalos' warm comedy about her raucous extended family became the sleeper hit of the 2002, and now she's back with more of the same silliness. It all feels rather predictable this time around, although there are some terrific comical moments along the way. And the cast is genuinely likeable, even if the characters are fairly thin.

So after all this time, Toula (Vardalos) and her husband Ian (John Corbett) are still living on the same street as Toula's many relatives. She's also running the family cafe with her parents Gus and Maria (Michael Constantine and Lainie Kazan), who are bickering because they just discovered that they're not legally married. Meanwhile, Toula and Ian are struggling to rekindle the spark in their marriage as they both worry about the coming day when their 17-year-old daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris) goes off to university. As meddling Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin) tries to find a suitable Greek boy for Paris, everyone is planning Gus and Maria's wedding. Which of course can't be a small occasion.

None of the movie's interwoven plot threads has any tension at all in it, so the film meanders amiably along. There's never any doubt that Toula and Ian will reawaken their romance, that Gus and Maria will renew their vows or that Paris will find her independence. And without any proper conflict, the film struggles to get the audience involved in any meaningful way beyond laughing at the engaging characters. Director Kirk Jones (who made the original Nanny McPhee) occasionally tips things over into physical slapstick or full-on farce, plus several very cheap gags, but most of the humour is centred on the wacky cultural antics of these colourful family members. The actors invest plenty of charm into their roles, with Martin once again stealing the film as the uproariously over-involved Voula.

Continue reading: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Review

Parkland Review


OK

This starry drama has documentary realism going for it, although without a single well-developed character it never finds any resonance. By recounting JFK's assassination from a variety of previously unseen angles, we learn some new things about that fateful day in November 1963. Oddly, the script doesn't even focus on the hospital that gives the film its name. That might have helped give the film some focus.

We watch the shooting in Dallas through the eyes of Abraham Zapruder (Giamatti), famously the only person to capture the event on film. He is immediately contacted by a Secret Service agent (Thornton), who helps him process the film and make copies. Meanwhile at Parkland Hospital, two residents (Efron and Hanks) and a tenacious nurse (Harden) are working against the odds to save Kennedy's life. And elsewhere, an FBI agent (Livingston) is following the trail of the shooter, whose brother and mother (Dale and Weaver) have very different reactions to what has just happened.

Writer-director Landesman jumps straight into the events without properly establishing the characters. But it's impossible to feel emotion when we don't know anything about the people we're watching, and we can't feel suspense when we know what's going to happen. So we're left to soak up the details, which are often fascinating (ever wonder how to get a coffin into a plane?). And while the actors are good enough to play the intensity of each scene for all it's worth, the only ones who register with us are Giamatti and Dale, because what their characters go through is more complex than we expect.

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Danny Strong, Jay Roach, Gary Goetzman, Julianne Moore and Tom Hanks - Danny Strong, Jay Roach, Gary Goetzman; Julianne Moore and Tom Hanks Sunday 23rd September 2012 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live - Press Room

Danny Strong, Jay Roach, Gary Goetzman, Julianne Moore and Tom Hanks
Danny Strong
Danny Strong
Danny Strong

Larry Crowne Review


OK
A painfully squishy centre completely undoes this rom-com, although it's difficult to know what might have made it less goofy. The diminished dual star-wattage of Hanks and Roberts just about makes it watchable.

After being sacked for his lack of a degree, Larry (Hanks) enrols in a community college. There isn't much else going on in his life, so he dives into his studies: Mercedes (Roberts) teaches speech, while Dr Matsutani (Takei) teaches economics. When Larry downsizes to a scooter to save money, he befriends the cool scooter-riding Talia (Mbatha-Raw), who gives him a style makeover. He also joins her biker gang, led by her boyfriend Gordo (Valderrama). Meanwhile, Mercedes is struggling with her marriage to Dean (Cranston). So maybe she and Larry can help each other outside the classroom as well.

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Gary Goetzman - Saturday 22nd January 2011 at Beverly Hilton Hotel Los Angeles, California

Gary Goetzman
Gary Goetzman

Where The Wild Things Are Review


Excellent
Jonze's inventive approach to Maurice Sendak's classic children's book continually confounds our expectations with an approach that's so offhanded and fresh that it might feel awkward or strange. But it's a real grower.

Max (Records) is a mischievous, imaginative pre-teen with a dismissive big sister (Emmerichs) and an understanding mum (Keener). But a series of events get him thinking about the fragility of life, so he takes a flight of fantasy to a distant island populated by furry creatures who at first threaten to eat him but then adopt him as their king. Playful games ensue, as he leads them in the construction of a giant fortress. But even here, relationships become tricky to navigate.

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My Life In Ruins Review


Terrible
Nia Vardalos is the new Yakov Smirnoff. Her entire act revolves around her European heritage -- she's Greek, while Smirnoff's a Russkie. Without it, she's just another unemployable actress with a limited range. (See Connie and Carla, Vardalos' flat follow-up to her breakout hit, My Big Fat Greek Wedding.)

Her latest pseudo-comedy, My Life in Ruins, demonstrates that the tired Greek gags have taken her about as far as she's ever going to go. Even the characters in Vardalos' pictures are begging her to quit. "You're not funny. Stop trying," a manager tells self-absorbed tour guide Georgia (Vardalos) as she prepares to take a busload of imbecilic vacationers on a four-day Grecian jaunt.

Continue reading: My Life In Ruins Review

The Great Buck Howard Review


OK
How can a film that features a lofty tribute to The Amazing Kreskin before the end credits go wrong? Well, in Sean McGinly's sweet and mushy comedy The Great Buck Howard, the film doesn't really go wrong... but then it doesn't really go right either.

The film celebrates the D-list world of third-rate celebrities, celebrities whose popularity has waned, whose 15 minutes of fame were over a long time ago, with one-night stands not in Vegas or L.A., but Bakersfield and Akron.

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Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman - Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman Sunday 11th January 2009 at Beverly Hilton Hotel Los Angeles, California

Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman
Tom Hanks

City Of Ember Review


Very Good
We critics like to argue that Hollywood defangs most family fare. Unless it can find a viable commercial tie-in, or lead to a series of equally superficial sequels, studio suits avoid anything remotely dark or contentious. Apparently, the applicable philosophy argues that childhood is a time of innocence and fun, therefore, any movie aimed at said audience should be even more fluffy and non-threatening. Watching City of Ember, the latest live-action effort from Monster House director Gil Kenan, a couple of questions instantly come to mind. One, who authorized such a wonderfully rich yet exceedingly grim adventure? And two, who exactly will show up on opening day?

For the residents of the city of Ember, these are troubled times. The massive generator that keeps the town functioning is failing, and Mayor Cole (Bill Murray) is at a loss for answers. A bumbling bureaucrat through and through, he'd rather maintain order than find a viable solution. Two young members of the community, Doon Harrow (Harry Treadway) and Lina Mayfleet (Saoirse Ronan) don't want to give up. He wants his father (Tim Robbins) and an elderly co-worker Sul (Martin Landau) to help him get to the damaged energy source. She discovers a strange box which may hold a key to saving the day. Unfortunately, a hidden cabal of city leaders may be trying to undermine any effort to bring Ember back from the brink.

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Gary Goetzman Tuesday 7th October 2008 'The City of Ember' New York premiere held at AMC Loews 19th Street East - Arrivals New York City, USA

Gary Goetzman
Gary Goetzman

Gary Goetzman Sunday 21st September 2008 HBO Emmy afterparty at the Pacific Design Centre Los Angeles, California

Gary Goetzman
Gary Goetzman

Mamma Mia! Review


Good
Not everyone can make a movie. The motion picture art form, while not incredibly complicated, contains enough nuances and pitfalls to circumvent even the most seasoned show business veteran. Perfect proof of celluloid's selective process arrives in the form of Mamma Mia!, the big screen adaptation of the hit jukebox musical. While it ends up being a whimsical and quite wonderful experience on a superficial level, the vision behind the lens is radioactive in its undeniable cluelessness.

Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) lives on a remote Greek island with her ex-rock star mother Donna (Meryl Streep). She is about to marry the British bo-hunk Sky (Dominic Hooper), and she really wants her dad to give her away. Unfortunately, Sophie doesn't know who her father is. Finding her mother's diary, she invites the three men Donna was involved with at the time. Bill (Stellan Skarsgård) writes travel guides, while Sam (Pierce Brosnan) and Harry (Colin Firth) are a big time businessman and banker, respectively. Naturally, Donna is dumbfounded to see her exes. Even worse, when she discovers Sophie's motives, it will take her best friends/former back-up singers Rosie (Julie Walters) and Tanya (Christine Baranski) to save the day... and the wedding.

Continue reading: Mamma Mia! Review

Charlie Wilson's War Review


Good
Director Mike Nichols and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin made two exceedingly smart choices in adapting George Crile's book Charlie Wilson's War. First, they consented to a brisk 95-minute running time, rather than fall prey to the "prestige" mentality that can saddle such projects, and that bloats them out to beyond two hours. The other choice was leavening their material with a snappy, devil-may-care attitude -- a sure-fire strategy to skim over their story's weakest areas of story and character development.

Charlie Wilson's War is entertaining, and that's about the extent of it. Nichols and Sorkin's end result is decidedly a gloss on Crile's account of how the eponymous Texas congressman managed to supply military support to the Afghan Mujahideen fighting the Soviet occupation in the 1980s. While their movie mostly avoids the Hollywood trappings of political correctness and underdog sentimentality, it also doesn't have the chutzpah of its own conniving characters to offer much in the way of an incisive interpretation of those events.

Continue reading: Charlie Wilson's War Review

Beloved Review


Bad
Long-awaited before its release, most viewers of Beloved have tried to forget the multi-hour ordeal of a train wreck that their beloved Toni Morrison novel became on the big screen. As befits any Oprah pet project, Beloved the movie is indulgent, egocentric to its star (Winfrey, of course), heavy-handed, and sanctimonious. The story of emancipated slave Sethe (Winfrey), her daughter Denver and the drooling, gibbering zombie named Beloved (Thandie Newton, in a role that is as embarrassing as it is horrific) is somehow simplistic and utterly nonsensical at the same time. Director Jonathan Demme is also at fault for failing to exhibit even a modicum of restraint in making this film. After 3 hours of excrutiating torture on screen (costumes and set design aside), you'll probably agree with me that the worst thing about Beloved is that it's simply too long. By about 3 hours.
Gary Goetzman

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Gary Goetzman Movies

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Movie Review

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Movie Review

It's been 14 years since Nia Vardalos' warm comedy about her raucous extended family became...

Parkland Movie Review

Parkland Movie Review

This starry drama has documentary realism going for it, although without a single well-developed character...

Larry Crowne Movie Review

Larry Crowne Movie Review

A painfully squishy centre completely undoes this rom-com, although it's difficult to know what might...

Where the Wild Things Are Movie Review

Where the Wild Things Are Movie Review

Jonze's inventive approach to Maurice Sendak's classic children's book continually confounds our expectations with an...

City Of Ember Movie Review

City Of Ember Movie Review

We critics like to argue that Hollywood defangs most family fare. Unless it can find...

Advertisement
Mamma Mia! Movie Review

Mamma Mia! Movie Review

Not everyone can make a movie. The motion picture art form, while not incredibly complicated,...

Starter for Ten Movie Review

Starter for Ten Movie Review

Using '80s nostalgia and the ever-reliable British love of embarrassment to maximum effect, Starter for...

The Polar Express Movie Review

The Polar Express Movie Review

The first 10 minutes and the last 10 minutes of Robert Zemeckis' digital banquet The...

Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D Movie Review

Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D Movie Review

When Tom Hanks gets his mitts on a topic, he squeezes it within an inch...

Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D Movie Review

Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D Movie Review

When Tom Hanks gets his mitts on a topic, he squeezes it within an inch...

That Thing You Do! Movie Review

That Thing You Do! Movie Review

When you're a star as big as Tom Hanks, you can do whatever the hell...

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