James Legros

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Big Miracle Review


Good
A grounding in the real-life story makes this film much less sentimental than it looks. Strong characters, some surprisingly dark touches and a genuinely thrilling series of events helps to engage us right to the end.

In 1988 Barrow, at the top of Alaska, aspiring reporter Adam (Krasinski) stumbles across three whales trapped beneath the icecap. Unable to reach the open sea, there's just a tiny hole in the ice that lets them breathe. Adam's report goes viral, grabbing the attention of America's press as well as his Greenpeace-activist ex Rachel (Barrymore). And the rescue effort will require an L.A. journalist (Bell), military pilot (Mulroney), Inuit boy (Sweeney), whale expert (Nelson), oil baron (Danson), White House rep (Shaw), two chuckleheads from Minnesota (LeGros and Riggle) and the Russian Navy.

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Big Miracle Trailer


News reporter Adam Carlson is based in a remote part of Alaska, in a town called Point Barrow. As a consequence, there usually is little to talk about in the way of local news. After one news report, which saw him explaining how food can take up to four plane journeys to arrive in town, his boss rings to comment about how 'thin' his stories are. That is, until Adam sees something extraordinary out to sea. It transpires that there are three California gray whales stuck under the ice near Point Barrow. Adam captures the incident on his camera and rings his boss to tell him of his findings.

Adam's report on the whales makes it onto the news, where he tells stunned viewers that the ice the whales are trapped under extends five miles to the ocean. No one is more stunned than Rachel Kramer, a Greenpeace activist and Adam's ex-girlfriend. She rings him up to announce that she will help him rescue the whales. Soon enough, Adam not only has the support of his ex but of the entire town as well, all doing what they can to make a path to the ocean through the ice. Adam and Rachel soon find themselves united under a common goal and they slowly start to fall back in love again.

Starring: John Krasinski, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Bell, Dermot Mulroney, Vinessa Shaw, Ted Danson, Stephen Root, Tim Blake Nelson, James LeGros, Rob Riggle, Andrew Daly, Bruce Altman, Gregory Jbara, Michael Gaston, Mark Ivanir and Jonathan Slavin

Picture - James LeGros at the New... New York City, USA, Monday 21st March 2011

James LeGros Monday 21st March 2011 James LeGros at the New York Premiere of Mildred Pierce - Arrivals New York City, USA

Picture - James LeGros New York City, USA, Monday 21st March 2011

James LeGros Monday 21st March 2011 The New York Premiere of 'Mildred Pierce' - Arrivals New York City, USA

James LeGros

The Last Winter Review


Good
"This is the last winter. Total collapse. Hope dies." So writes an environmental researcher in a previously untouched part of Alaskan wilderness now being opened up for oil exploration in Larry Fessenden's The Last Winter. Using the doomsaying of climate change prognosticators as an effectively menacing backdrop, more so even than the bleak chill of the Alaskan tundra, Fessenden's film drops a knot of oil workers into an isolated research station and watches what happens as everyone realizes that something inexplicable is happening all around them. It's a horror film that sneaks up on you with an effectively unsettling and brooding atmosphere before unleashing an apocalyptic fury.

Clearly drawing heavily on films like John Carpenter's The Thing as inspiration, Fessenden builds his characters from the ground up before hurling them to the wolves. He's helped by a cast that's sharp as a tack, particularly the roaring and bear-like Ron Perlman as Ed Pollack, an oil company operative gung-ho on getting machinery up to their station as quick as possible, by any means necessary, and screw the environment. Facing him are a couple of "green flags" -- one of whom is the gloomy notebook scribbler, scientist James Hoffman, played close to the vest by the always reliable James LeGros -- environmental do-gooders hired by the company as sort of eco-fig leaves whom they want to pressure to sign off on impact statements so the drilling can begin. In between are Abby Sellers (Connie Britton), a tough-as-nails type caught in a love triangle, the dazed and confused mechanic Motor (Kevin Corrigan, nailing it), and their Native American cook Dawn Russell (singer Joanne Shenandoah).

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Trust the Man Review


Extraordinary
Something has made Bart Freundlich step away from torrid family melodrama, and thank goodness for it. The writer-director's Trust the Man is a grown-up and intelligent version of a romantic comedy, and for all that it is fluffy and simple entertainment, it's also very good.

Julianne Moore, who has kept her talent for comedy a secret, plays Rebecca, a successful (if neurotic) actress who spends much of her time spurning advances from her bored, sex-addicted stay-at-home husband, Tom (David Duchovny). Tom's best friend is Rebecca's younger brother Tobey (Billy Crudup, ditto on the keen and heretofore hidden comedy prowess), a slacker freelance writer who is far more preoccupied with his therapist, his parking spot, and his own mortality than he is with the mounting frustration of longtime girlfriend Elaine (Maggie Gyllenhaal), an aspiring children's book author with a ticking biological clock.

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Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle Review


Good
Alan Rudolph's loving portrayal of Dorothy Parker (a spot-on yet frequently incomprehensible Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a film for historians and literary fans alike, with a cast featuring more art-house favorites than any other movie in recent memory (just look at the cast list!). The film drips into treacle with its treatment of the love triangle among Parker, her husband (Matthew Broderick), and Robert Benchley (Campbell Scott). It's the primary focus of the movie but also its weakest link. The film is at its heights when the ensemble is in full force as Parker plies her wit around the Algonquin Round Table and various social affairs (all during the age of Prohibition). Leigh was snubbed on an Oscar nomination here despite a strong performance in a very weak year (Jessica Lange won for the tepid Blue Sky).

Point Break Review


Excellent
It's hard to decide whether Point Break is a really bad good movie or a really good bad movie. On one hand, it boasts thrilling, original action sequences, a tightly woven caper plot, and a cast jam-packed with Hollywood middleweights acting -- and surfing -- their asses off. On the other hand, it also suffers from terrifying leaps of story logic, a vacuous emotional core, and some of the silliest dialogue ever spoken onscreen. It's a Hollywood formula movie at its best and worst. At the center of this conundrum is the greatest acting enigma of the age -- Keanu Reeves. Never has a man acted so poorly, spoken lines so blandly, for the cinematic enjoyment of so many. He churns out unintentionally comic performances in blockbuster after blockbuster, each time raising the question of how exactly he landed the role, and how much worse the movie would be without him. I suppose the answers to these riddles don't matter much, because, no matter how you come down on these weighty issues, when the dust settles, two indisputable points clearly emerge: Point Break is great fun to watch and Reeves was born to play the part of FBI agent Johnny Utah.

The story is your basic high-concept Hollywood action premise. Utah is a young, eager FBI agent assigned to the Los Angeles bank robbery task force. His crusty veteran partner, Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey), has been trying for years to bring down a highly professional crew of bank robbers called the Ex-Presidents (known as such because they disguise themselves with novelty masks of former presidents during their robberies). Despite the ridicule of his colleagues, Pappas has long held the belief that the Ex-Presidents are surfers who use the robbery money to fund their presumably lavish lifestyle. So, with nothing else to go on, Pappas and Utah come up with the plan that Utah will go undercover as a surfer in order to infiltrate the beach-loving subculture and bring down the Ex-Presidents.

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Trust the Man Review


Extraordinary
Something has made Bart Freundlich step away from torrid family melodrama, and thank goodness for it. The writer-director's Trust the Man is a grown-up and intelligent version of a romantic comedy, and for all that it is fluffy and simple entertainment, it's also very good.Julianne Moore, who has kept her talent for comedy a secret, plays Rebecca, a successful (if neurotic) actress who spends much of her time spurning advances from her bored, sex-addicted stay-at-home husband, Tom (David Duchovny). Tom's best friend is Rebecca's younger brother Tobey (Billy Crudup, ditto on the keen and heretofore hidden comedy prowess), a slacker freelance writer who is far more preoccupied with his therapist, his parking spot, and his own mortality than he is with the mounting frustration of longtime girlfriend Elaine (Maggie Gyllenhaal), an aspiring children's book author with a ticking biological clock.Each couple is in one of those familiar ruts always showing up in advice columns. Since Tom became a house husband, sex is pretty much his only hobby, and it makes Rebecca less and less interested. And Elaine wants to know when Tobey will snap out of his immature haze, marry her already - after seven years of dating - and give her babies.Their problems are not unique, certainly, and hardly groundbreaking, but they are relatable, as are their strategies for coping. Being savvy modern New Yorkers, they mostly rely on a steady dose of therapy, meeting for meals at an endless parade of Manhattan eateries, and talking. Lots and lots of talking, over coffee, at a hot dog stand, on the phone, Tom with Tobey, Elaine with Rebecca, Rebecca with Tobey. These people are nothing if not self-involved and self-aware.But surprisingly, they are not as annoying as hyper-verbal, problem-ridden New Yorkers of the movies can often be. Freundlich created characters who are whiny indeed, but are so darn affable and charming that they aren't aggravating about it. Though Rebecca and Elaine are clearly set up to be "right" in their relationship woes, they easily could have been uncommunicative nags. And the guys bumble around with clueless selfishness, dipping into infidelity and cloaking themselves in smart ass comments and defiant irresponsibility. But Freundlich dresses them both in such a charming mien that they are precisely the men that women fall for despite themselves. Plus, everyone clings to witty sarcasm as the defense mechanism of choice, making them entertaining and likable despite (or because of) their faults.It certainly helps that the entire cast is first rate and playing to their considerable strengths. Duchovny is charming and every inch a leading man, even within an ensemble, and Gyllenhaal can make even baby mania appealing. But both Crudup - always packaging himself as a "serious actor" despite his pin-up idol good looks - and Moore, who is arguably one of the best actresses working today, are winsome and goofy and veritable revelations of comedic acting. He's gawky and playful and she's self-deprecating and sharp, and both need to vow, right now, to do more grown-up comedies. We know how funny they can be; they can't hole up in serious drama forever.The leads are aided by a wonderful supporting cast that is really a parade of hilarious cameos - Bob Balaban and Garry Shandling as psychiatrists, Ellen Barkin as a book editor interested in a little more than Elaine's manuscript, Eva Mendes as a friend of Tobey's from college who still causes him to embarrass himself horribly.Trust the Man does have a few issues - for all that it is intelligent and mature, it's still a slight and breezy romantic comedy. And though Freundlich is a sharp writer, he goes a little adrift in the third act, not really able to wrap everything up without resorting to the handy clichés of the genre and an overly tidy little bow. But as far as quibbles go, these are rather small, when compared to the funny and entertaining whole.Trust the lady, too.

If You Only Knew Review


OK
Where else in the world do crazy, wacked-out romantic comedies invariably involve nutty roommate situations? Well, New York City, and If You Only Knew is no exception to the rule, following on the heels of some of its more capable brethren like Addicted to Love and Ed's Next Move. This time out, writer Johnathon Schaech is hot in pursuit of painter Alison Eastwood in a Village romance... ah, if only she didn't think he was gay! Moderately entertaining and certainly better than a lot of attempts at the genre.

Thursday Review


OK
A definite sleeper, not for the faint of heart. Thursday features 24 hours in the life of a reformed drug dealer, who has been trying to put his life in order for the last four years. When his old partner rolls into town and drops a load of smack in his L.A. house, all manner of nefarious sorts stop by to collect it. Body count ensues, plus Paulina Porizkova in (and out of) a red, rubber dress. I'll buy that for a dollar.

Sexual Life Review


OK
Deja vu. I've now seen this movie three times: Only the first two times it was called Chain of Desire and Love in the Time of Money. Fortunately, Sexual Life is the marginal best of these three remarkably similar films: Each of which uses the new cliche of "six degrees of (sexual) separation" to tell its story. We start with one couple: Then she goes off to another guy, then he hooks up with another girl, and so on and so on until the movie comes full circle, of course. See, we're all screwing each other! Deep? Hardly, but a number of engaging performances here, most notably Elizabeth Banks and a less-crazy Anne Heche, elevate this into reasonable watchability.

November Review


OK
I remember when Greg Harrison was going to be The Next Big Thing. It was 1999, and he was shooting Groove, a movie about this crazy "rave" scene that the kids were into, which was going to be the next Blair Witch Project.

Well, the lackluster Groove eventually made a little over a million dollars at theaters, despite a crush of marketing and hype. (Blair Witch earned $140 million in the U.S.) And Harrison slipped back into obscurity.

Continue reading: November Review

Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle Review


Good
Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle stars Jennifer Jason Leigh as the infamous Dorothy Parker, in what I feel to be the best performance by an actress in 1994. Leigh is surrounded by some great supporting players also, and their exploits in prohibition-era New York are both interesting and entertaining. Although the story occasionally wanders into irrelevance and obscurity, it is ultimately a solid piece of work.

Singles Review


Good
Crowe's guilty pleasure of a confection outlines the struggles of Gen-X singles in the 1990s, but doesn't portray a wholly realistic version of them. Instead, Singles survives on its charming humor and inadvertant status as the de facto chronicle of the Seattle grunge scene. Watch for endless cameos and stars who would later go on to much higher heights.
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