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Picture - Howard Rosenman and Lisa Thrasher Hollywood, California, Sunday 6th November 2011

Howard Rosenman - Howard Rosenman and Lisa Thrasher Hollywood, California - 2011 POWER UP Annual Power Premiere Awards at EDEN Sunday 6th November 2011

Picture - Howard Rosenman Hollywood, California, Sunday 6th November 2011

Howard Rosenman Sunday 6th November 2011 2011 POWER UP Annual Power Premiere Awards at EDEN Hollywood, California

Howard Rosenman

Breakfast With Scot Review

A lively, realistic tone helps make this Toronto-set comedy much more than we expect, stirring in some thoughtful themes and honest emotion.

After being badly injured during a hockey game, cocky Maple Leafs player Eric (Cavanagh) finds a new career as a sports commentator. No one knows he's gay, living with his long-term partner Sam (Shenkman). When Sam's sister-in-law dies suddenly, he inherits his 11-year-old nephew Scot (Bernett), who is far more interested in musicals than hockey ("Who's Wayne Gretzky?"). As Sam is busy with work, Eric ends up trying to bond with Scot, adapting Scot's figure-skating skills to the hockey arena even as Scot helps Eric relax his mask of masculinity.

Frankly, the plot sounds like the premise for either a bad sitcom or a lame movie farce. Fortunately, the filmmakers take a refreshingly layered route through the story, breathing new life into the fish-out-of-water foster child genre in the process. It's the well-rounded characters that make this work, as they never settle into the stereotypes they could so easily have become. And the cast is likeable and engaging.

Bernett is the discovery here, creating an effeminate young character in just 90 minutes who's just as complex as Mark Indelicato's Justin after three seasons on Ugly Betty. Scot also brings a strong tinge of emotion to the comedy as a boy grieving over his mother even as he struggles to find his identity in a new setting. And his interaction with Cavanagh is telling and entertaining, especially when Eric starts worrying that Scot might be making him too gay.

The film's overall tone is a little uneven, wavering between Mighty Ducks-style silliness and much more serious family drama, including extremely heavy themes like drugs, death and sexuality in both school and the workplace. But it's written with a natural honesty that keeps us thoroughly involved. And even when the standard movie structure kicks in for the final act, we're caught off guard by how sweet and touching the predictable finale actually is.

You Kill Me Review

Ben Kingsley can do just about anything, and that's basically why he is able to walk the tightrope he does. As popular and talented as Kingsley is, he also has an unmistakable air of anonymity. He's one of the few actors in the game who can play any character and somehow trick us into believing he's not Ben Kingsley playing a character; we just accept him as the character. It's this very talent that gives lesser material (House of Sand and Fog, Suspect Zero) a needed kick of rhythm and believability. Though he's not the only good thing in John Dahl's pulpy You Kill Me, his presence makes the fun all the more refreshing.

As Polish-mob hit-man Frank Falenczyk (pronounced Fail-an-chik), Kingsley has the most fun he's had onscreen since he muttered a red-streak as the frenzied madman Don Logan in Jonathan Glazer's superb Sexy Beast. This time, his gangster-take has a more reserved and subdued nature, playing more for deadpan hilarity than ballistic scares. That deadpan ability serves Frank best when he's banished from his New York home to San Francisco for botching a job after too many drinks. His boss (Philip Baker Hall) has had enough of his alcoholism, and his best friend (Marcus Thomas) can't help him any more. So, it's off to the Bay for him.

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Noel Review

Susan Sarandon starring in your movie ought to guarantee a box office bonanza, no? Well, not always. This terribly ill-advised film (which got only the barest of theatrical releases) is a textbook example of just about everything that guarantees disaster. That includes putting Robin Williams in a non-comedic role, giving Penélope Cruz too much dialogue, having Alan Arkin believe that Paul Walker is his reincarnated wife, and, worst of all, setting your Christmas movie among the horrors of an urban hospital.

The idea here is that our central characters (including all of the above, plus one guy who breaks his own hand so he can relive his Best Christmas Ever as he did as a kid in the E.R.) have problems. You know, New Yorker problems: Walker is a jealous cop (and Cruz is his flirtatious girlfriend), and Sarandon's geriatric mother is an a sort of dazed funk -- just staring at the walls, refusing to eat. Sarandon is the centerpiece of the film: She's a mopey creature who's faced endless disaster in her life (a stillborn baby, even), but she's trying to keep up appearances.

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Buffy The Vampire Slayer Review

I'll admit to it - I watch the series. Occasionally, I'm tuned to Pittsburgh's WB 31 and it just happens to be Tuesdays and I decide: OK, tonight I'm going to watch cheap horror and dammit, I'm going to do my best to enjoy it! Why Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my drug of choice I don't know. I've only been watching it for a few weeks and teen angst films and TV shows were never perennial favorites, but I'd like to think I see something in the show that most people don't. What is it? I would have to say that, like The X-Files, Millennium, ER, and Ally McBeal, four other shows that I watch about every week, Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a sick sense of humor.

I've always been a fan of dark comedies, as anyone reading my reviews for a long time will know, and I've always found that, if a dark comedy doesn't try to have any point beyond humor, it's much more enjoyable. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", in catering to the acne center of the nation (both figuratively and literally), ends up putting all of this stupid crap of love and relationships and "well-built" characters which are actually cardboard cutouts. It would be much stronger without all this teen angst crap.

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Father Of The Bride Review

It's really hard to feel too terribly sorry for the uptight George Banks (Steve Martin) when he bitches and moans about the ever-rising costs of his daughter's wedding in Father of the Bride. After all, he lives in overstuffed opulence in a Pasadena mini-mansion, runs his own company, drives an antique sports car, has a perfect and gainfully employed wife (Diane Keaton), and two perfect kids (Kimberly Williams and Kieran Culkin). Is the wedding cake outrageously expensive? Get over it, George.

In fact, that's what wife Nina (Keaton) spends most of the movie saying. And that's what you'll be saying, too, as George whines about having to buy a tuxedo, mopes about the disruption to the house, disapproves of the perfect young man (George Newbern) who has deflowered his daughter, and gets all frantic about meeting his future in-laws (who are even richer than he is). What's really happening, of course, is that George simply doesn't want his daughter to grow up, and his way of raging against life's forward progression is to get cranky about the upcoming wedding day. How do we know? Because George tells us in his self-pitying narration. This is the kind of movie that has plenty of both show and tell.

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Shining Through Review

Shining Through, the 1992 Melanie Griffith WWII espionage vehicle, scares me. If the U.S. government really behaved in any way as it does here, then "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" would be our national anthem. Shining Through is not a documentary or a Stephen Ambrose adaptation, but director/writer David Seltzer (Lucas) is presenting this as historical drama.

The movie revolves around baby-voiced Griffith posing as a domestic (from Düsseldorf, no less) for a high-ranking Nazi (Liam Neeson), tending to his kids while picking up information on the sly. That's not a bad idea, but it becomes a terrible idea since Griffith makes no attempt at a German accent. You keep wondering how the Nazis were able to make a sandwich. They maintained a military juggernaut? Thank God they were so oblivious.

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