Virtually impossible to market, this film isn't nearly as wacky and rude as its cast and crew suggest. Despite the presence of Rogen (Pineapple Express) and Streisand (Meet the Fockers), plus writer Fogelman (Crazy Stupid Love), director Fletcher (The Proposal) and producer Goldberg (Superbad), this is actually a warm, gentle comedy about the relationship between a mother and son. Sure, there are moments of inspired silliness, but you're more likely to feel a lump in your throat than a stitch in your side.
Rogen plays the science nerd Andrew, who has just invented an organic cleaning product and is taking a cross-country trip to find a buyer. In a moment of weakness, he invites his meddling mother Joyce (Streisand) to join him on the road from New Jersey to San Francisco. She doesn't know that he has discovered that her old flame now lives in California, and he hopes that sparking her love life might get her off his back. But their time together takes some unexpected turns, which change their relationship forever.
Even in the film's goofier segments, such as a ridiculous beef-eating contest Joyce enters in Texas, Fletcher and Fogelman keep the characters likeable and grounded. Streisand is especially impressive, delivering a layered performance that mixes broad one-liners with more internalised emotions. She's much more than just a pushy Jewish mother: Joyce is a middle-aged woman with needs of her own and real love for her son. Meanwhile, Rogen plays Andrew as a nice guy with social issues. So instead of rooting for Joyce and Andrew to sort out their relationship, or even for Andrew to sell his invention, we are more interested in whether Joyce will be able to reignite her personal life.
Continue reading: The Guilt Trip Review
Andy Brewster is an inventor who is determined to sell his brand new product by embarking on an 8-day 3000 mile road trip. To kick off his journey, he flies out to visit his mother Joyce who happens to be the extremely embarrassing and over protective kind. After learning that she has remained single since he last saw her and acknowledging that she hasn't had any kind of romance since he was 8-years-old, Andy takes pity on her and, to her utmost delight, invites her to accompany him on his trip across the States. Not against his expectations, Joyce proves a lot to handle with her poor driving skills, extreme naivety and constant warnings particularly against hitchhikers. However, he has a better time than he expects as he and his mother get to know each other more deeply than they have ever done before convincing him that, as much as he'd like to think not, he still needs her around.
This is a wonderfully heartfelt comedy about how the love of a parent never becomes unwanted or unneeded. Directed by Anne Fletcher ('Step Up', '27 Dresses', 'The Proposal') and written by Dan Fogelman ('Cars', 'Bolt', 'Crazy, Stupid, Love.'), 'The Guilt Trip' will hit cinemas on February 22nd 2013.
Starring: Barbra Streisand, Seth Rogen, Adam Scott, Yvonne Strahovski, Colin Hanks, Brett Cullen, Casey Wilson, Danny Pudi, Dale Dickey, Miriam Margolyes, Nora Dunn, Amanda Walsh, Michael Cassidy & Robert Curtis Brown.
Continue: The Guilt Trip Trailer
The Guardians of Ga'Hoole are sworn to protect the innocent from trouble and vanquish evil. Soren is a young owl who's grown up listening to his father tell the stories of The Gaurdians. His dream is to one day join his heroes and be a part of that noble life he's learnt so much about.
Now I'm probably the last person in the world who ought to judge what makes for a good children's movie, but if you'd asked me that yesterday, I certainly wouldn't have said James and the Giant Peach. This is a story about a young boy, James (Paul Terry), whose parents are eaten by a spiritual rhinoceros. He is adopted by his cruel aunts (Miriam Margolyes and AbFab's Joanna Lumley), who abuse him cruelly. Then an "old man" (Pete Postlethwaite) gives James some "alligator tongues" which he spills on a peach tree, creating the aforementioned giant peach. Inside this peach, where James hides to get away from his aunties, he finds a bunch of giant bugs: a Brooklyn centipede (Richard Dreyfuss), a cowardly earthworm (which is, by the way, not a bug--David Thewlis), a sultry spider (Susan Sarandon), a matronly ladybug (Jane Leeves), and sundry other insects.
Continue reading: James And The Giant Peach Review
As the great Julia Lambert, the toast of the London stage in the early '30s, she's struck by a premonition of fading vitality at the grand age of forty. Worries of it bring her close to a breakdown as she begins to desperately search for other stimuli to give her life meaning. She carries on a dialogue with her muse, Jimmy Langton (Michael Gambon), her dead drama coach that she summons up as an imagined presence to tell her when she's going well or going astray.
Continue reading: Being Julia Review
Welcome back, Potter.
The beloved Harry Potter returns to screens, a scant year after his most debut, with the film version of book two in the unfathomably popular Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Unfortunately, while the Potter-obsessed will likely find few faults with the film, this sequel captures much less of the original's magic. (And while I've not read the books, I understand the same can be said for the second novel as well.)
Secrets finds Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) back at home with his Muggle family on summer vacation, locked in his room (though no longer under the stairs). Before long, Harry is set to return to Hogwarts -- despite the insistence from his uncle that he is no longer allowed to study magic. But a daring prison break, courtesy of the Weasley family -- including Harry's best bud Ron (Rupert Grint), gets Harry back to school, despite the meddling of a Yoda-like "house elf" named Dobby (very obvious CG). The masochistic Dobby tries to convince Harry that his life is in danger if he returns to Hogwarts -- though in reality his life appears more in danger due to Dobby's "helpful" meddling.
Harry of course does return to Hogwarts, where all his familiar experiences await him. Hermione (Emma Watson) is still the class brain. Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) is still the school clown. Snape (Alan Rickman) is still Snape. The new additions to the cast include a new Dark Arts professor, Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh), a narcissistic wizard with questionable ability, as well as the father of Harry's platinum blonde archrival Malfoy, Lucius (Jason Isaacs).
While the cast is still in fine form (the exception being a shockingly haggard Richard Harris as headmaster Dumbledore; Harris died a few weeks before the film's release), it's the story that is decidedly lacking in this episode. The titular Chamber of Secrets is a legendary room inside Hogwarts fabled to hold a menacing creature. It can only be opened, we're told, by an heir to the Slytherin family. When a mysterious message appears on the Hogwarts walls in blood, Harry begins hearing hissing voices, and students begin to turn up paralyzed. It appears the Chamber of Secrets has been opened -- and suspicions fall on Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) as the heir. Or is it Harry?
What follows is another nearly-three hours of exposition as Harry, Ron, and Hermione attempt to crack this riddle, Nancy Drew-style, while the body count at Hogwarts keeps rising. Mercilessly padded, the movie drags us through ages of all-too-familiar territory: a Quidditch match ends predictably; spells go awry; the trio works on a potion together; one-note characters appear only to say their line and soon exit the story. Finally, invariably first-on-the-scene Harry coincidentally discovers a blank diary -- it's amazing how much coincidence drives the plot -- that leads him on a circuitous path to discover the Chamber, just in time for a final showdown with what looks astonishingly like a miniature-golf hazard.
Jeez, I'm bored just writing about it. So much of Secrets is so unnecessary that my audience was way ahead of the circuitous yet ultimately very simplistic story. Kids spent the three hours running up and down the aisles -- only their parents had the fortitude to stay with the plot. That said, this installment is much funnier than the original, and it has a bit more of a grown-up sentiment to it. Still, it's going to take more than an ominous voice in the walls and a flying car to keep even the most patient adults interested in a three-hour movie.
Chamber of Secrets is enjoyable for many of its stretches, and it's unfortunate that director Chris Columbus (giving up the reins for episode 3) didn't take more chances with the source material, excising the many irrelevant parts and adding in a bit of his own vision. As such, we have a movie that plays out in fits and starts of fun alternating with boredom. Sad to say, the kids will probably want to leave midway through this one and ask you to replay the original on DVD when you get home. Poor Harry, when we see you again (in two years' time), I hope you'll have regained a bit of your magic.
As with Potter #1, the film comes to DVD in an exhaustive and impressive two-disc package, headlined by one of the most aggressive 6.1 channel audio tracks I've ever had the privilege to hear on DVD. This film thankfully makes it much easier to find the deleted/extended scenes, all of which are well worth checking out and add a bit of depth and flavor to an otherwise so-so movie. There are also tons of games for the kids and a few interviews for the adults, including one with J.K. Rowling.
Try putting right down the middle of the course.
After a brief prelude, the film picks up Modigliani's story in 1919, the year before his death, at a time when modern art was flourishing in Paris. Artists such as Pablo Picasso, Diego Rivera, and Jean Cocteau haunted the cafes at night as their fame and influence spread over the globe. It is here, in a café, where Modigliani (Andy Garcia) makes his entrance, drunkenly hopping onto a table and publicly ridiculing Picasso with the question, "How do you make love to a cube?"
Continue reading: Modigliani Review
If you know the basic plot of End of Days ("Satan visits New York in search of a bride") the question you'll be asking isn't, "Is this a bad movie?" Rather, it will probably be, "How bad can it be?"
Continue reading: End Of Days Review
Continue reading: Dreaming Of Joseph Lees Review
Harry Potter is growing up, and so is his movie franchise.Under the tutelage of a new director -- Alfonso Cuarón, known for both children's fare (the 1995 remake of "A Little Princess") and an edgy, insightfully soulful, sex-charged teen road-trip flick ("Y Tu Mama, Tambien") -- the boy wizard has graduated from the world of kiddie movie spectacles with tie-in toys.
"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" is a film in which depth of character, cunning humor and hair-raising chills come shining through the visual blitzkrieg of special effects -- which are also magnificently improved over the series first two installments. Case in point: a half-horse, half-eagle creature called a Hippogriff that gives "Lord of the Rings'" Gollum a run for his money as the most life-like CGI creation in cinema history.
Beyond just its detailed feathers (which fluff when it shakes) or its golden eyes (which bore holes in the screen with obstinate personality), this winged equine's every movement, from its canter to its peck, is a studied yet natural, amazingly fluid amalgam of the two beasts that were combined to create it.
Continue reading: Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban Review
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