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Movie 43 Review


Weak

A collection of random shorts that focus mainly on idiotic male behaviour, this portmanteau comedy is only occasionally amusing, never making anything of its astonishing cast. Frankly, we spend most of the time wondering how the filmmakers lured these A-listers to appear in these pointless, nasty little films. And while the premises have potential, not a single one has a decent punchline.

As a prank, two teens make up a banned online film called Movie 43. While their brainly little brother searches for it, he runs across a series of clips that mainly focus on awkward vulgarity between the sexes. Bitter exes (Culkin and Stone) have a rude exchange that's broadcast on a supermarket sound system. Pratt is shocked when his girlfriend (Faris) asks him to "poop" on her, and agrees because he loves her. Parents (Watts and Schreiber) homeschool their teen son (White) with the goal of showing him how excruciating life will be. Two pals (Scott and Knoxville) kidnap a leprechaun (Butler) who's reluctant to give them his gold. And a 1950s basketball coach (Howard) tries to convince his players that they're winners because they're black.

Others are dating scenarios: Winslet goes on a blind date with a guy (Jackman) who has testicles on his neck; Berry and Merchant play an increasingly deranged game of Truth or Dare in a Mexican restaurant; a pre-teen (Bennett) can't cope when his young date (Moretz) has her first period; Batman (Sudeikis) messes up Robin's (Long) attempt at speed-dating; Banks struggles to cope with her new boyfriend's (Duhamel) obsessive cartoon cat. There are also a few random advert spoofs, including one for the naked-woman shaped iBabe, which leads to trouble for the company CEO (Gere).

Continue reading: Movie 43 Review

Wedding Daze Review


OK
I've come across some absurd premises for movies in my day, but Wedding Daze (now bearing its third title) has to be one of the strangest.

Here's the setup: Hopeless romantic/loser Anderson (Jason Biggs, playing his usual persona yet again) proposes to his girlfriend so elaborately that she has a heart attack and dies on the spot. He mopes endlessly until his best friend (Michael Weston) goads him into getting back in the game. Anderson misunderstands... and proposes to the next girl he sees, Katie (Isla Fisher), the waitress at the diner where they're eating. It just so happens that Katie was proposed to the very day before all this happens; she doesn't want to marry that guy, so she agrees to marry Anderson on the spot. Who'd a thunk?

Continue reading: Wedding Daze Review

Swimfan Review


Bad
Erika Christensen goes from zoned-out druggie (Traffic) to lame vanilla psycho in Swimfan, unequivocally one of the worst films of the year.

Stop me if you've heard this one before. A cute young gal named Madison (Christensen) moves to a New Jersey town and instantly becomes smitten with star swimmer Ben (Jesse Bradford). But there's trouble: Ben's got a girlfriend (Shiri Appleby), and he's got a rough past... trouble with drugs and a stint in juvie. Now he's cleaned up and is eyeing a scholarship to Stanford, but an ill-conceived one-nighter with Madison lands him in all kinds of trouble once again.

Continue reading: Swimfan Review

I'm Not Rappaport Review


OK
Turning a play into a movie is always a hit-or-miss process, and I still don't know quite what to make of the latest film to take that journey, I'm Not Rappaport.

Based on the critically-acclaimed play of the same name, I'm Not Rappaport as the story of two elderly men, Nat, a Jewish/socialist radical and compulsive liar (Walter Matthau), and Midge, a black, nearly blind apartment superintendent (Ossie Davis). The pair has an uneasy friendship based on the fact that they sit on the same bench in Central Park, where Nat fills Midge's head with fabrications. Nat's flair for creating new personae for himself draws the pair into one minor adventure after another, involving a young artist-in-training (Martha Plimpton), a drug dealer (Craig T. Nelson), a mugger (Guillermo Diaz), and threats from Nat's daughter (Amy Irving) regarding the ever-looming old folks' home.

Continue reading: I'm Not Rappaport Review

Uptown Girls Review


Bad
You have to pay close attention, but there's a subtle hint in an early scene of Boaz Yakin's unwatchable Uptown Girls that let's us know what's in store: A TV playing in the background of a useless scene shows Looney Tunes scoundrel Wile E. Coyote plunging off a cliff to his umpteenth demise. Those who pay good money to sit through this dud will relate to that sinking feeling.

Haphazardly slapped together without an original bone in its anorexic frame, the film stars Brittany Murphy as Molly Gunn, daughter of a late rock icon. Since day one, Molly has been living like a pig in you-know-what off her father's royalties. One day, though, her accountant bolts for South America with all of her savings, forcing our intrepid heroine to climb down from her pedestal and find a paying job.

Continue reading: Uptown Girls Review

Illuminata Review


Weak
The art of acting is fascinating and mysterious, even for the actors who practice it. Unfortunately, for many artists, acting is too fascinating, and they can't resist the temptation to over-analyze it and to make plays/films about it. Playwright Brandon Cole and actor-director John Turturro, creators of Illuminata, are the latest to succumb.

Turturro plays a dramatist, Tuccio, struggling to make his name in the Manhattan theater scene at the turn of the century. Tuccio uses the unexpected illness of an actor (played by Matthew Sussman) to convince the owners of a Manhattan theater to chance his play, Illuminata. Unfortunately, that is not only the movie's premise, but also most of the plot.

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Company Man Review


Very Good
I have to admit something before I write this review. I am a die-hard conspiracy nut who loves the outrageous claims of betrayals and back-stabbing that the CIA and other governmental agencies have been dealing out like drunken blackjack dealers at Circus Circus for the past 40 years. The only problem is that people like Oliver Stone, Chris Carter, and Christopher Hitchens have basically ripped apart all the really good conspiracy theories already.

What we really need is a satire of those good conspiracies from the 1960s. With that in mind, Company Man, a brazen new comedy by Douglas McGrath and Peter Askin, supplies that swift kick in the confidential files of the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, and even the Boy Scouts. It's a quick-witted, grammatically correct, and often hilarious satire aimed dead center at the conspiracy nutcases and their shining theories.

Continue reading: Company Man Review

Piñero Review


Good
Talented and tragic historical figures often make for riveting drama, particularly if the aforementioned individuals leave the scene way before their time. This certainly can be said of Puerto Rican playwright-poet-actor Miguel Piñero, the drug-addicted protagonist of writer-director Leon Ichaso's impassioned but uneven biopic Piñero.

Benjamin Bratt is provocative in the role of Miguel Piñero, the troubled and disillusioned force behind the notable work Short Eyes, produced during one of Piñero's incarceration stints in the mid '70s. Bratt effectively exudes the pain and anger that transcends some posturing material, with a portrayal as lyrical as the throbbing beat of the movie's Latin-induced soundtrack. While the propensity for audiences to get caught up in Piñero's wayward world of instability is almost inevitable, the movie follows an uncharted path by trying to reinforce the demons without really being perceptive about Piñero's undeniable skill as a writer. The cliché about creative minds who become consumed by their art is almost a manipulation here. The film is valiant in the way it strides for that redemptive note as it tries to make us accept (and understand) his premature death of cirrhosis in 1988.

Continue reading: Piñero Review

A Price Above Rubies Review


Good
Ok. When I reviewed Kundun, I reached the conclusion that I needed the raw thrill of ripping a movie to shreads in my bare hands. As almost an answer to my prayers, a movie comes along that can do just that... well, kindof. I can't really rip A Price Above Rubies, since it wasn't actually a terrible movie. Instead it was a movie that is, in my modern apotheosis of a negative utopia, a rarity: a movie neither good nor bad, the place between substance and shadow that does not quite reside in The Twilight Zone.

So I am sitting down and now pondering which to write: the good review or the bad review, each a definite possibility, and the decision is reached: heads for good, tails for bad. But alas, the coins are upstairs and I am a lazy bum. So I guess I write option C: the mediocre review. The movie really wasn't either.

Continue reading: A Price Above Rubies Review

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John Penotti Movies

Movie 43 Movie Review

Movie 43 Movie Review

A collection of random shorts that focus mainly on idiotic male behaviour, this portmanteau comedy...

Swimfan Movie Review

Swimfan Movie Review

Erika Christensen goes from zoned-out druggie (Traffic) to lame vanilla psycho in Swimfan, unequivocally one...

I'm Not Rappaport Movie Review

I'm Not Rappaport Movie Review

Turning a play into a movie is always a hit-or-miss process, and I still don't...

Advertisement
Uptown Girls Movie Review

Uptown Girls Movie Review

You have to pay close attention, but there's a subtle hint in an early scene...

Company Man Movie Review

Company Man Movie Review

I have to admit something before I write this review. I am a die-hard...

Piñero Movie Review

Piñero Movie Review

Talented and tragic historical figures often make for riveting drama, particularly if the aforementioned individuals...

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