Molly Hagan

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We Are Your Friends Review

Good

Basically the perfect summer movie, this lightweight drama has a great-looking cast and plenty of youthful energy, but not much authenticity or depth. The plot traces a young aspiring DJ trying to make his mark on the music world, and his struggle isn't exactly gruelling. But what the movie lacks in realism it makes up for in melodrama, keeping the audience involved simply because the characters are relatively enjoyable company.

Zac Efron plays Cole, a smart young guy who spends his days and nights hanging with his chucklehead pals Mason, Ollie and Squirrel (Jonny Weston, Shiloh Fernandez and Alex Shaffer), playing music, doing drugs and tormenting the girls. But Cole has skills mixing tracks to keep a dance floor busy, and one night he's noticed by his idol James (Wes Bentley), a star DJ with a hot girlfriend, Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski). James helps Cole discover his own distinct voice, while Cole can't help but fall for Sophie. Meanwhile, Cole and his buddies need to make some cash, so they take a job with a dodgy property developer (Jon Bernthal). But Cole is determined that this kind of work won't be his future.

Director-cowriter Max Joseph never really bothers to develop any of this properly, letting the film glide along on Cole's cool beats while indulging in arty touches like an animated drug trip. There isn't much complexity to any of the characters, but the actors add interest in the way they interact, developing camaraderie that says a lot more than their relentless macho swagger. Efron is the only actor who is allowed to offer a glimpse beneath the surface, and he navigates Cole's darker emotional moments nicely. But the script continually undermines him. For example, there are constant references to his strong moral code, and yet he seems utterly unbothered about seducing his mentor's girlfriend. Opposite him, Bentley gets to do some ace scene-stealing, but everyone else fades into the wallpaper.

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Some Kind Of Wonderful Review


Very Good
John Hughes isn't best known for Some Kind of Wonderful, but ode to highschool misfits has its adherants, and sure enough it's one of his more grounded and lovable films.

Not as depressing as Pretty in Pink, not as random as The Breakfast Club, the film is a typical Hughesian love triangle among the short-haired semi-butch drummer girl (Mary Stuart Masterson), the sensitive (yet poor) painter (Eric Stoltz), and the class beauty who doesn't have money but runs in rich circles (Lea Thompson). Masterson clearly pines for her best friend Stoltz, but he either can't see it or won't see it. Besides, Thompson has perfectly '80s red hair. Naturally, the beefy, Miami Vice-dressing boyfriend (Craig Sheffer) wants nothing more than to pummel the guy who's pining for his lady.

Continue reading: Some Kind Of Wonderful Review

Playing Mona Lisa Review


Good
Playing Mona Lisa follows the life of Claire Goldstein (Alicia Witt), who slowly unravels as various forces of nature turn against her. Claire's life is not unlike the movie as a whole, which starts off strong but meanders to a non-ending that is unlikely to leave anyone very satisfied.

Claire is a "brilliant" 23-year old pianist, which is apt casting for Witt, considering she is also a real-life piano prodigy. On the eve of her graduation from the San Francisco Academy of Music, Claire's life starts to come undone. First she doesn't make it into a big piano competition. Then she gets dumped, then evicted, then just plain whiny as she realizes her family (with whom she is now forced to live) is full of freaks.

Continue reading: Playing Mona Lisa Review

Ringmaster Review


Bad
Every now and then, there comes a movie that is so awful, it's actually painful to watch. Movies like Nothing But Trouble, Contact, Sphere, and now Ringmaster are some of these films. This select group of crap makes you wonder how anybody read it and said "Wow! This is a good one, I think it will make money!" How can we avoid these movies? Sometimes, we can't.

Ringmaster is basically a behind the scenes look at The Jerry Springer Show. It follows two trailer trash families who come to Los Angeles to be on the fictional Jerry Show. I think this movie is a comedy but I didn't crack a smile once. Is watching two sluts sleep with any man who wants to supposed to be funny? The only entertaining point of the movie was at the end for about a minute. I won't give it away but it involves a religious person in the audience who has an argument with Jerry. As for acting, Jerry isn't that bad. He's convincing in his role but you have to realize that he's playing himself. I have to admit that occasionally I turn on Jerry's actual show and I enjoy it. But I don't even think fans of the show will like it.

Continue reading: Ringmaster Review

Some Kind Of Wonderful Review


Very Good
John Hughes isn't best known for Some Kind of Wonderful, but ode to highschool misfits has its adherants, and sure enough it's one of his more grounded and lovable films.

Not as depressing as Pretty in Pink, not as random as The Breakfast Club, the film is a typical Hughesian love triangle among the short-haired semi-butch drummer girl (Mary Stuart Masterson), the sensitive (yet poor) painter (Eric Stoltz), and the class beauty who doesn't have money but runs in rich circles (Lea Thompson). Masterson clearly pines for her best friend Stoltz, but he either can't see it or won't see it. Besides, Thompson has perfectly '80s red hair. Naturally, the beefy, Miami Vice-dressing boyfriend (Craig Sheffer) wants nothing more than to pummel the guy who's pining for his lady.

Continue reading: Some Kind Of Wonderful Review

Playing Mona Lisa Review


Good

Claire Goldstein is all giddy and aglow because last night her wonderful, wonderful boyfriend asked for her hand in marriage. Unfortunately it's morning now, he's sober, and not only has be blacked out popping the question, but he's also started thinking maybe they shouldn't see each other anymore.

That's only the beginning of Claire's problems in "Playing Mona Lisa," a breakup recovery screwball comedy that in many marvelous ways invokes the spirit of Woody Allen -- if Woody Allen were a comely, quizzical, capriciously miserable 23-year-old redhead from San Francisco.

Trying to withdraw from the world by staying in bed and eating Ho-Hos by the boxful, poor Claire (the comically gifted Alicia Witt) can't even wallow in self-pity to her satisfaction because her busybody family keeps showing up to chicken-soup her heart with useless anecdotes and unsolicited advice.

Continue reading: Playing Mona Lisa Review

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Molly Hagan Movies

We Are Your Friends Movie Review

We Are Your Friends Movie Review

Basically the perfect summer movie, this lightweight drama has a great-looking cast and plenty of...

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Playing Mona Lisa Movie Review

Playing Mona Lisa Movie Review

Claire Goldstein is all giddy and aglow because last night her wonderful, wonderful boyfriend asked...

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