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The D Train Review

Excellent

A provocative drama wrapped in the skin of an adult sex comedy, this sharply written and performed movie is hugely entertaining even as it grapples with some big issues. The central themes here are notions of celebrity and sexuality, neither of which is nearly as clear-cut as the audience or characters think they are. And the script allows actors like Jack Black and James Marsden to do what they do best while undermining their usual personas with some edgy shadings.

Black plays Dan, the self-proclaimed leader of his high school class' 20-year reunion. He has always felt invisible, and is annoyed that he gets no respect from the reunion committee. Then he spots hot classmate Oliver (Marsden) in a TV advert and hatches a plan to increase his popularity by convincing Oliver to attend the reunion. He lies to his boss (Jeffrey Tambor) about needing to go to Los Angeles on business, and he gets carried away as the openly bisexual Oliver shows him the partying lifestyle, taking things far beyond where he thought his limits were. Back home, he can't admit any of this to his sharp wife (Kathryn Hahn) and begins to lose touch with his smart teen son (Russell Posner). Then when Oliver turns up, things get even more precarious.

Filmmakers Andrew Mogel and Jarrad Paul get everyone into this mess in the usual ways, with snappy dialogue, goofy antics and rather a lot of humiliating embarrassment for poor Dan. Then they do something interesting: they refuse to play it safe, taking a surprisingly complex journey through questions about everything from peer pressure and family dynamics to the illusion of fame and the unspoken spectrum of sexuality. So even though the characters aren't always likeable, and even though all of them make some questionable choices, they're unusually sympathetic because the astute script and performances make them thoroughly recognisable.

Continue reading: The D Train Review

The D Train Trailer


Nobody really wants to attend their school reunion. Nobody, except for maybe Dan Landsman (Jack Black), who is the self-appointed head of the school reunion committee. After slogging through days of rejections, Dan is beginning to believe that no one is going to come to the 20th Anniversary reunion for their high school - that is, until he turns on the television and sees Oliver Lawless (James Marsden). Lawless, a once popular student, is now a relatively successful actor, and Dan believes that getting him to attend the reunion will convince everyone else to come along. But when he meets up with Lawless for the first time in twenty years, something goes wrong. Lawless is going to attend the reunion, and it is on track to be a massive success, but Dan no longer feels so good about it.

Continue: The D Train Trailer

AFS (Austin Film Society) Presents 'The School Of Rock' 10-Year Reunion

Richard Linklater, Mike White, Miranda Cosgrove and Jack Black - AFS (Austin Film Society) presents 'The School of Rock' 10-Year Reunion - Austin, Texas, United States - Thursday 29th August 2013

Richard Linklater, Mike White, Miranda Cosgrove and Jack Black
Richard Linklater, Mike White, Miranda Cosgrove and Jack Black
Richard Linklater, Jack Black and Mike White
Richard Linklater, Jack Black and Mike White
Richard Linklater, Jack Black and Mike White
Richard Linklater, Mike White, Miranda Cosgrove and Jack Black

The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's An Evening, Benefiting Homeless Youth Services

Mike White Monday 23rd January 2012 The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's An Evening, benefiting Homeless Youth Services

The 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards (Golden Globes 2012) HBO After Party Held At Circa 55 Restaurant

Mike White and Golden Globe Sunday 15th January 2012 The 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards (Golden Globes 2012) HBO after party held at Circa 55 Restaurant

Mike White and Golden Globe

Zombieland Review


Very Good
A sharply clever script and relentlessly kinetic structure keep us thoroughly entertained all the way through this corny zombie action-comedy. Although there's also the gnawing realisation that there's absolutely no subtext at all.

Zombies have taken over America and the few remaining humans are fending for their lives. Names are irrelevant, so they use their hometowns: Columbus (Eisenberg) is a resourceful nerd who teams up with bonkers fighter Tallahassee (Harrelson) to try to find someone else who's alive. They run into two con-artist sisters, Wichita and Little Rock (Stone and Breslin), and set off on a perilous cross-country journey to find the last enclave of humanity. Not only are they attacked at every turn by the snarling, toothy undead, but they don't really trust each other.

Continue reading: Zombieland Review

Los Angeles Premiere Of 'Zombieland' Held At The Grauman's Chinese Theatre

Mike White - Wednesday 23rd September 2009 at Grauman's Chinese Theatre Hollywood, California

Mike White

Smother Review


Terrible
It's so sad watching really talented people grasp at straws in a project that was doomed from conception. Nothing works in Smother, and nothing ever should -- it is a story that doesn't need to be told, makes jokes that would never be construed as funny, and represents money that should never have been spent. Watching actors like Diane Keaton and Liv Tyler get saddled with impossibly unfunny, disrespectful material is like watching the slow-motion video of the guy getting hit with the cannonball -- they are lining up to get submarined by a movie that had no business being made.

Smother is a catastrophic train wreck that rightfully abandoned any hope of being released theatrically, but isn't even a solid bet for mindless entertainment in its final destination on video store shelves. The entire movie reminds me of one of those Saturday Night Live sketches centered on a character with a very uncomfortable one-note quirk, like "Massive Head Wound Harry" or "Debbie Downer." This film could have been titled Madcap Marilyn, and the title would have fit the material, but the movie still would have sucked.

Continue reading: Smother Review

Arrive At Le Pain Restaurant In Brentwood For Lunch

Jake Gyllenhaal and Mike White - Jake Gyllenhaal and Mike White Los Angeles, California - arrive at Le Pain Restaurant in Brentwood for lunch Monday 23rd March 2009

Jake Gyllenhaal and Mike White
Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal and Mike White
Jake Gyllenhaal and Mike White
Jake Gyllenhaal and Mike White
Jake Gyllenhaal

Year Of The Dog Review


Weak
There's a passage in Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One that lends itself directly to Mike White's Year of the Dog, regardless of where the film runs with this idea. Said by the owner of a pet mortuary to a lowly employee concerning normal funeral homes: "Why wouldn't I be [jealous of] all that dough going to relations they've hated all their lives, while the pets who've loved them and stood by them, never asked no questions, never complained, rich or poor, sickness or health, get buried anyway like animals?" Correctly assuming that as a public we take the love we can't find with humans and bestow it on animals, Waugh's criticism has more than a leg up on Mike White's directorial debut.

Peggy (Molly Shannon) dotes on Pencil, her puppy, with the affection only rewarded to the luckiest of children from the most spoiling of parents. So, when Pencil gets into some toxic shrubbery and goes, as all dogs do, to heaven, Peggy is inconsolable. Not that there aren't plenty of people who want to help her. Her oafish neighbor (John C. Reilly) wants to date her, her best friend (Regina King) wants to set her up with someone, and the receptionist at the vet (the invaluable Peter Sarsgaard) wants to get her a new dog ASAP. It's the receptionist, Newt, who gets Peggy into veganism and, ostensibly, sends her on a path of social destruction the likes of which are rarely seen.

Continue reading: Year Of The Dog Review

Nacho Libre Review


Good

Husband-and-wife filmmakers Jared and Jerusha Hess share a bizarre sense of humor, one that's difficult to categorize but apparently pretty popular. They know what amuses them, be it an eccentric sight gag or a particular turn of phrase, and they stand by their decisions whether they fit the context of their chosen story or not. They co-write scripts for Jared to direct and pay specific attention to individual words that might score bigger laughs. Rarely would a character in their movie say "pants," for example, because "slacks" or "trousers" sounds more unique.

Is there an audience for the Hess' brand of comedy? You better believe it. Their initial collaboration, Napoleon Dynamite, was a win-win for Fox Searchlight that catapulted beyond its expected cult status and became a surprise mainstream hit. The duo's anticipated follow-up film, Nacho Libre, maintains the same odd cadence and strange plotting as Dynamite (though there's more of a story, which in a roundabout way is a compliment), but banks its fortunes on the go-for-broke antics of comedian Jack Black.

Continue reading: Nacho Libre Review

The School Of Rock Review


Weak
A collaboration between indie auteur director Richard Linklater (Before Sunrise, Dazed and Confused) and taboo-pushing screenwriter Mike White (The Good Girl) shouldn't feel so mainstream. But that's exactly how The School of Rock plays. Content with the art house cred and critical praise they've each acquired, Linklater and White hitch their wagons to leading man Jack Black in a bid for wider acceptance, though their blasé overture receives a passing grade when it had the potential to move to the head of the class.

One look at Dewey (Black) and you can figure out the problems plaguing this bloated burnout. He's broke and jobless. His heavy metal bandmates kick him out after a botched gig. And his roommate and long-time friend Ned (White, pulling double duty) threatens him with eviction unless he can provide some rent money. When a snooty prep school calls Ned with a substitute teaching position, Dewey assumes his roommate's identity and takes over a classroom of eager young minds.

Continue reading: The School Of Rock Review

Dead Man On Campus Review


OK
Have you seen the one about the college kids who try to get their roommate to kill himself so they can get straight As? Oh, you have? Well, MTV remade it for the umpteenth time again, last year, and it wasn't good this time, either.

Orange County Review


Very Good
Forget She's All That and its brethren. Back in the 1980s, the maestro of teen films -- John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles) -- taught us to produce films in the finicky teen-comedy genre. His simple rule -- a single motivation is required for all main characters: lots and lots of angst. Just create a simple story of teenagers yearning to escape the downtrodden existence of childhood and the microcosm of high school, and success is surely guaranteed.

Life has been good for Shaun Brumder (Colin Hanks) in simple Orange County, California. He's a good kid with a love of catching waves, a sweet girlfriend, and despite his eccentric family, life is always like riding six-foot waves that curl for days. After a freak surfing accident drowns one of his best buds one summer, Shaun begins to reassess his life and inspiration strikes one day in the form of a novel by Marcus Skinner. He decides to become a writer, trades in his surfboard, improves his grades, and waits for his acceptance letter from Stanford College to study under his new idol Skinner. But when Stanford rejects him due to a guidance counselor's mistake, Shaun only has 24 hours to fix the problem and get the hell out of O.C. to follow his dreams and work out the angst.

Continue reading: Orange County Review

School Of Rock Review


Weak

Jack Black isn't an actor, he's a clown -- and a one-schitck clown at that.

Compare any two-minute clip of his new comedy "School of Rock" to any of his scenes from "Orange County," "Shallow Hal" or "Saving Silverman," and you'll see the exact same tongue-wagging and eye-bugging mugging, the exact same frenzied, finger-knotting gestures and roly-poly, off-balance dancing, the exact same eyebrow-stitching failed attempts at momentary sincerity, and the exact same set-devouring dialogue delivery.

"Read between the lines, baby! Read between the lines!" he whispers then screams, whispers then screams while giving a three-fingered flip-off to the musicians who have just kicked the embarrassing stage-hog out of their band in this movie's establishing scene.

Continue reading: School Of Rock Review

Mike White

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'Lost' BBC Session By Led Zeppelin Recovered And Restored

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Michael J. Fox Joins Coldplay On Stage To Perform 'Back To The Future' Songs

Michael J. Fox Joins Coldplay On Stage To Perform 'Back To The Future' Songs

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Bjork Announces Virtual Reality Exhibition In London, Plus Single Live Show

Bjork Announces Virtual Reality Exhibition In London, Plus Single Live Show

Bjork Digital comes to London's Somerset House in September, along with a single live show at the Royal Albert Hall.

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Has Kanye West Broken The Law Over Taylor Swift Phone Call?

Has Kanye West Broken The Law Over Taylor Swift Phone Call?

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DJ Shadow - The Mountain Will Fall Album Review

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There's very much a strength of conviction in remaining what you were, but arguably more so in becoming what you want to be.

'Poldark' And 'X Factor' Set For TV Clash In September

'Poldark' And 'X Factor' Set For TV Clash In September

The BBC drama starring Aidan Turner returns to BBC One on September 4th.

Guns N' Roses detained for gun possession

Guns N' Roses detained for gun possession

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Mike White Movies

The D Train Movie Review

The D Train Movie Review

A provocative drama wrapped in the skin of an adult sex comedy, this sharply written...

The D Train Trailer

The D Train Trailer

Nobody really wants to attend their school reunion. Nobody, except for maybe Dan Landsman (Jack...

Zombieland Movie Review

Zombieland Movie Review

A sharply clever script and relentlessly kinetic structure keep us thoroughly entertained all the way...

Year of the Dog Movie Review

Year of the Dog Movie Review

There's a passage in Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One that lends itself directly to Mike...

Nacho Libre Movie Review

Nacho Libre Movie Review

Husband-and-wife filmmakers Jared and Jerusha Hess share a bizarre sense of humor, one that's difficult...

The School of Rock Movie Review

The School of Rock Movie Review

A collaboration between indie auteur director Richard Linklater (Before Sunrise, Dazed and Confused) and taboo-pushing...

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Orange County Movie Review

Orange County Movie Review

Forget She's All That and its brethren. Back in the 1980s, the maestro of teen...

The Good Girl Movie Review

The Good Girl Movie Review

The Good Girl is as close as you can get to nothing and still have...

Chuck & Buck Movie Review

Chuck & Buck Movie Review

Forgiveness is a thing most people long for in their lives. Forgiveness represents a...

The Stepford Wives Movie Review

The Stepford Wives Movie Review

Screenwriter Paul Rudnick (Adams Family Values, In and Out ) is wicked with the one-liners,...

Chuck & Buck Movie Review

Chuck & Buck Movie Review

Ninety-five minutes of feeling creeped out and uncomfortable passes for indie flick entertainment in "Chuck...

School Of Rock Movie Review

School Of Rock Movie Review

Jack Black isn't an actor, he's a clown -- and a one-schitck clown at that.Compare...

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