One of those mopey independent dramas that drifts through a mere hint of a plot, this film is worth a look for its unusual setting and a superb central performance from Paul Dano (last seen in Looper). Filmmaker Kim focusses so closely on him that everything else on screen kind of fades into the background, turning the movie into a deeply personal odyssey. Although there isn't much more to it than that.
Dano plays an aimless rocker named Joby, who travels to a snowy town to settle his divorce from Claire (Levieva). She's so angry with him that she won't even see him for the sake of their young daughter Ellen (Mandigo), preferring to talk through lawyers. And since she knows Joby is deeply in debt, she makes a cruel offer: he can have half the value of their marital home if he signs over sole custody of Ellen, whom he barely knows anyway. But this isn't an easy decision, and Joby can only get so much help from his inexperienced lawyer (Heder). As part of the negotiations, Joby gets to spend two hours with his daughter. And then he has to make up his mind.
Dano is superb as the hapless Joby, who finds it so difficult to concentrate on his life that he's about to be thrown out of his own band. As a result, his life seems to be one mess after another, leading to this key moment when he needs to snap to attention. So it's especially intriguing that we can feel the internal pull toward his daughter: he wants to be a good dad, but is terrified of doing something wrong. And the film finds a lively counterpoint in Heder's comically clueless lawyer, another grown man who is painfully ill-equipped to face the real world.
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Guggenheim curator Beth (Bell) is organising an important museum event when she has to dash to Rome for her sister's sudden wedding, where she begins to fall for best man Nick (Duhamel), who rescues her from a few embarrassing moments but lets her down romantically. In a funk, she swipes some coins from a fountain then ends up being stalked back in New York by the lovelorn guys (painter Arnett, wannabe model Shepard, street magician Heder and art patron DeVito) who threw them into the water.
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When Beth attends her sisters sporadic wedding in Rome, she expects to fulfil her duties as maid of honour and return to her job focused life in New York. Sick of waiting for love to take its natural course, Beth takes matters into her own hands and jumps into the Fontana di Amore from which she takes a few of the coins to bring her luck on her quest to find love.
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Start watching Mama's Boy and you still won't understand. Yes, the premise is tired -- kid won't leave home even at 29; mom meets a new guy who moves in and wreaks havoc on kid's cushy lifestyle -- and even though we already had a Grandma's Boy a year earlier, Mama's Boy starts out funny enough to merit a few chuckles and hands off the fast-forward button.
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You'd have to be awfully new to moviegoing to be surprised by any of the plot points in Moving McAllister, a pleasant, though completely by-the-numbers, rom-trip (to coin a phrase). Rick (Ben Gourley) is about to take the Bar exam, but he's so eager to please his new boss (Rutger Hauer) that he accepts an assignment to drive from Miami to L.A. with the boss's niece Michelle (Mila Kunis), who's moving to Hollywood to pursue her dreams of becoming an actress. Naturally, they'll be driving a rundown moving truck and carting Michelle's pet pig, too. Because that's where the cuteness is.
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Forty years later, the art of mastering tubular waves has inspired Surf's Up, an animated fish-out-of-water story that opens in the summer (great) but feels endless (groan).
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Blades begins with the backstory of figure skating prodigy Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder). Plucked from an orphanage and given his last name by creepy entrepreneur Darren MacElroy (William Fichtner), Jimmy is groomed to become a champion. His only competition is the exquisitely named Chazz Michael Michaels (Ferrell) who brings the swagger only a self-proclaimed sex addict can to the sport.
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Napoleon Dynamite isn't much of a film, when you break it down outside the theater, when the cheers have died away and you're left with the nagging question: But what was it about? Napoleon attends high school in a small Idaho town, living with his much older but just as dweeby brother, Kip (Aaron Ruell) and his grandmother who, at the start of the film, has just landed herself in the hospital after a four-wheeler accident. This precipitates sleazoid Uncle Rico (Jon Gries), with his dreams of lost football glory and ideas about door-to-door sales, moving into the house to watch the boys and generally make them feel crappy about themselves. There's the barest hint of a storyline about Napoleon getting a crush on a girl from his class, Deb (Tina Majorino), but that's really only there to give him somebody to dance with at the prom. Slightly better is Napoleon's friendship with the nearly-mute Pedro (Efren Ramierez), the new kid in school, and the battle they wage against the cool clique in order to win Pedro the school presidency. Oh, and there's a big joke about tater tots - Election it ain't.
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Scoundrels gets off to a sluggish start as it introduces its main character, Roger (Jon Heder), a geeky New York City meter maid (meter butler?) whose life is falling apart. He gets robbed at work. His boss is unsympathetic to his problems and his coworkers ridicule him. He regularly humiliates himself in front of his gorgeous neighbor, Amanda (Jacinda Barrett). And even his volunteer work is a disaster, as his Little Brother asks to be assigned to someone else. Heder channels the inner nerd that carried Napoleon Dynamite to its stratospheric success, but the script doesn't provide enough originality or comic punch to bring his character to life. The opening 15 minutes are flat, dimensionless, and largely laugh-free.
Continue reading: School for Scoundrels Review