Joseph Drake

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Last Vegas Review


Very Good

An almost ridiculously strong cast and a witty script by the writer of Crazy Stupid Love make this silly film a lot more entertaining than it should be. As it playfully explores long friendships and the struggles of ageing, it turns into a four-sided bromance. So even if the film feels a little under-powered, it's still thoroughly charming.

At the centre are four lifelong buddies who are determined not to grow old. Paddy (De Niro) is trying to recover from grief over his wife's death, while Archie (Freeman) is tired of being fussed over by his son (Ealy) and Sam (Kline) hates living in a retirement community with his spirited wife (Gleason). So they jump on the chance to travel to Vegas for a stag weekend for their pal Billy (Douglas), who is marrying a woman (Blair) in her 30s. And getting together sparks their youthful sense of mischief as they plan a lavish party. Especially when two of them begin to fall for lounge singer Diana (Steenburgen).

Having five Oscar winners in the lead roles gives considerable oomph to the whole project, as these seasoned veterans bring out engaging details of their characters. Douglas has the safest role as a hapless lover-boy, while De Niro does the emotional heavy lifting and Kline endures the cheapest jokes (because his wife has given him a "free pass" for the weekend). Meanwhile, Freeman is clearly having the most fun: cool and relaxed with a naughty glint in his eye. And Steenburgen provides some badly needed female feistiness.

Continue reading: Last Vegas Review

Drag Me To Hell Review


Excellent
With the Spider-Man films sitting out there like tarted-up, tawdry trophy wives, it's easy to forget how good a filmmaker Sam Raimi really is. If it weren't for the commercial strictures of the comic book movie, mandates which tend to stifle outright creativity, he might still be churning out the quality spine-tinglers. Instead, he's been lost in a sea of sparkle and spectacle, forgetting us fright fans who propped him up and suggested he might sell to a strict Tinseltown demo. Now, he's back crafting the kind of spook shows that made us all fall in love with him in the first place -- and Drag Me to Hell is quite an act of crazed contrition.

Loan Officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) wants the available assistant manager position in her bank. She hopes it will impress the parents of her psychology professor boyfriend Clay Dalton (Justin Long). But when a need for cutthroat tactics causes her to deny a geriatric gypsy woman (Lorna Raver) a third extension on her mortgage, there is literally hell to pay. Seems the old lady places a curse on Christine, guaranteeing that, in three days, a demon will arrive to drag her down to Satan's dominion. Hoping to avoid such a horrible fate, she seeks the aid of psychic Rham Jas (Dileep Rao). He suggests a medium (Adriana Barraza) who had a run in with the same spirit several years before. Unfortunately, it seems Christine's soul is condemned, and nothing can save her.

Continue reading: Drag Me To Hell Review

Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay Review


OK
They say that familiarity breeds contempt. No wonder sequels suck. Audiences are so ready for more of what made the first movie memorable that by the time part two delivers the repetitive goods, the sameness starts to stink. Four years ago, a couple of dope smoking dudes named Harold and Kumar took a massive case of the munchies and turned it into a New Jersey night from hell. Now they're back for more herb-induced adventures -- and oddly enough, the follow-up isn't as loathsome as it is loony.

When last we left our duo, they were headed to the Chronic capital of the world, Amsterdam. Unfortunately, Kumar (Kel Penn) cannot wait until they land. Over Harold's (John Cho) objections, he takes out a high tech bong. Passengers on the plane confuse it with a "bomb" and, before they know it, the guys are headed to Gitmo, labeled as terrorists. Happenstance provides a means of escape, and the boys head to Miami with a bunch of Cuban refugees. Their goal? Get to Texas. There, an old friend with political ambitions (Eric Winter) may be able to clear their names. Oh, and he's also marrying Kumar's ex-girlfriend Vanessa (Danneel Harris). Harold knows the couple can help. His buddy, on the other hand, still holds a torch for his former gal pal. As they make their way across country, Feds (Rob Corddry, Roger Bart) in hot pursuit, Kumar daydreams of breaking up the impending nuptials.

Continue reading: Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay Review

The Grudge Review


Good
Sarah Michelle Gellar and the supernatural go together like peas and carrots, to borrow a phrase from our friend Forrest Gump. The starlet's signature role had her slaying vampires as Buffy Summers. We all know what Gellar Did Last Summer, but did you recall she also enjoyed a bit part in Wes Craven's Scream 2 and appeared in both Scooby-Doo movies?

By this roundabout logic, Gellar seems a natural fit for The Grudge, Takashi Shimizu's sufficiently creepy remake of his own cult Japanese horror flick Ju-on, a film he's made versions of a shocking five times now. Americanized and aimed squarely at the people who turned The Ring into a surprise hit, Grudge should satisfy audiences seeking a few cheap jolts for their dollar this Halloween season.

Continue reading: The Grudge Review

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Joseph Drake Movies

Last Vegas Movie Review

Last Vegas Movie Review

An almost ridiculously strong cast and a witty script by the writer of Crazy Stupid...

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