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
Producers of 'Political Animals' have officially decided not to release any more episodes of the mini-series having considered for a time extending it to at least another series.
The USA Network political drama starring Sigourney Weaver as a divorced First Lady, governor of Illinois and Secretary of State was created by Greg Berlanti famed for producing superhero movie 'Green Lantern' and TV comedy drama 'Dirty Sexy Money'. It ran for 6 episodes from July to August and was originally only thought to be a limited series, however there was discussion about how many more stories could be squeezed out of it. 'We are proud of 'Political Animals', our miniseries that attracted critical acclaim and impacted the cultural conversation this summer', USA Network said in an official statement. 'It was a pleasure to work with Greg Berlanti and Laurence Mark [producer] and a powerful cast led by Sigourney Weaver. We look forward to collaborating again with these immensely talented creatives.'
Berlanti recently posted a Tweet regarding the support he's received over the TV show: 'Thanks everyone for the nice tweets regarding Political Animals. It remains one of the best and most rewarding experiences of my life. The cast, the crew, writers, studio and USA were all a dream to work with. We all got to make what we set out to. Couldn't be more proud!'
Brooks is back with another warm, smart romance along the lines of As Good As It Gets. The snappy characters are well-played by a strong cast, which makes it steadily entertaining even if it's not hugely believable.
Professional softball player Lisa (Witherspoon) and businessman Paul (Rudd) are strangers who are set up on a blind date by a mutual friend. But they discount the possibility of even meeting because Paul has become serious with his girlfriend (Conn) and Lisa is seeing a star baseball player (Wilson). Then their lives both take a turn. Lisa is cut from her team, and Paul becomes the target of a Federal investigation into the business he runs for his father (Nicholson). As their paths keep crossing, they begin to see each other in a different light.
As usual, Brooks writes extremely clever dialog that blends brainy sassiness and emotional resonance, and the film is packed with scenes in which characters have all kinds of lucid insight into the nature or relationships, usually in contrast to someone who's extremely clueless. The formula is a bit of a strain, but it keeps us engaged, mainly because the script crackles with hilariously incisive one-liners and comical gags.
And the cast members all play their roles as if they're sliding into comfy slippers. Witherspoon and Wilson are funny and laid back as well as effortlessly astute and oblivious, respectively. Rudd is breezy and adorable even as his life is flooded with sadness. Nicholson squirms a bit in an against-type role but comes up with some fine comical moments. And everyone is hugely likeable, even when two of them do rather nasty things to the other two.
Although actually they only think nasty thoughts, because the film never gets very down and dirty about the story's dark corners. It's one of those films that skims happily across the surface while making pointed observations that catch us off guard because they seem to reveal something about the nature of relationships. This leaves us feeling warm and thoughtful, even if the film ultimately fades from memory in about the time it takes for the lights to come up in the cinema.
In 1949, Julia Child (Streep) is living in Paris with her diplomat husband (Tucci), looking to fill her spare time. She settles on cooking, and after completing Le Cordon Bleu teams up with two chefs (Emond and Carey) to write a French cookbook for the American market. In 2002 New York, Julie Powell (Adams) needs something to distract her from her job dealing with claims resulting from 9/11. With the encouragement of her husband (Messina), she decides to cook all 524 of Child's recipes in one year while blogging about the experience.
Continue reading: Julie & Julia Review
Chris's condition isn't as neatly symbolic as Guy Pearce's inability to make new memories in Memento. Moments of clarity brush up against considerable fuzziness; Chris can remember people and places while forgetting how to heat up pasta sauce. Gordon-Levitt specializes in plain-sight, makeup-free transformations, and here he nails the wounded body language and muted frustration of a fallen jock idol, creating someone far removed from the equally vivid young people he played in Brick and Mysterious Skin.
Continue reading: The Lookout Review
If you've seen the trailer, you know the story. The local Bronx kids live in fear of "the window," a ghostlike man who stares down at them creepily while they shoot hoops. On a dare, young Jamal (Brown) sneaks into the place, finding it cluttered with books. He's given a scare and Jamal runs off, leaving his backpack behind.
Continue reading: Finding Forrester Review
A pair of sisters (Nora and Delia) collectively control the purse strings of many a woman and hold they keys to the heart of the modern romantic through two movies: Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail. Nora Ephron (along with Meg Ryan), redefined delis and male-female interaction with 1989's When Harry Met Sally.... Both are the daughters of a screenwriting duo, children of The Industry, and have become higher-level powerbrokers than their parents ever were with a string of well publicized hits and soon forgotten misses that formed a winning streak that lasted up until now.
Continue reading: Hanging Up Review
As the camera probes into a crowded room of ballerinas spinning and dipping, a young blond is immediately isolated from the bunch. The male choreographer's assistant notes that the girl has poor form. The choreographer retorts, "Who cares, look at her." And with that the blonde, blue-eyed Jodie is given a spot in the American Ballet Academy, the Julliard of dancing.
Continue reading: Center Stage Review
Sure, there are plenty of pop star film vehicles out there -- from The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night to the Spice Girls' Spice World -- but none have been so vapidly pointless or laughable as Glitter. Everything about this complete tripe is ludicrous.
Continue reading: Glitter Review
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