With its refusal to follow the usual romantic-comedy formula, this snappy and observant movie is a nice surprise. Not only does it keep us wondering about where it's heading, but it gives the likeable Jones and Samberg much more complex roles than they usually get to play. And the quirky approach combined with some darkly dramatic moments makes it more interesting to watch.
Jones and Samberg play the long-time couple Celeste and Jesse, who have been together since they were in school. Now married for six years, they're starting to wonder if maybe they're just best friends, rather than a couple. So they decide to separate. The main issue seems to be surfer-artist Jesse's lack of ambition but, when he begins to move on with his life, Celeste starts wondering if maybe she's the real problem. Even so, they're still completely involved in each others' lives, which is awkward for their friends Beth and Tucker (Graynor and Christian). Maybe they need some distance.
The film's perspective centres on Celeste's messy journey, which is a bumpy series of conflicting emotions. She works as a lifestyle critic, so her comments on pop culture are hilariously barbed, but as her personal life dissolves she retreats into annoying pot-fuelled wallowing. It's often not easy to watch her, but Jones gives a ruthlessly honest performance that's both funny and disturbing. Her sideplots with her gay boss (Wood), her low-life drug dealer (cowriter McCormack) and a bratty popstar client (Roberts) are nicely played but only tangentially developed.
Continue reading: Celeste And Jesse Forever Review
It's been 13 years since Alice (Wasikowska) visited Wonderland, although she now believes it was all a dream. When she falls down that rabbit hole again, she doesn't remember anyone, but they remember her, and soon she's involved in a series of portentous events involving the nasty Red Queen (Bonham Carter), her nice sister, the White Queen (Hathaway), and a mythical dragon called Jabberwocky (Lee). She's helped through this by the Hatter (Depp), a smiling cat (Fry), a blue caterpillar (Rickman), two chubby twins (Lucas) and a white rabbit (Sheen), among others.
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To wit: Jude (Jim Sturgess) washes ashore to seek out his absent father, and meets raffish Princeton student Maxwell (Joe Anderson). The fast friends wind up in New York's counterculture scene, along with Max's sister Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood), and with a gaggle of musicians, artists, and radicals, navigate the kind of historical sixties tumult often seen in textbooks and TV miniseries. Along the way they encounter psychedelic gurus played by celebrity guests, like Dr. Robert (Bono) and Mr. Kite (Eddie Izzard). This may start to sound like excess until you consider the restraint the screenwriters have shown in failing to include any characters named Michelle, Eleanor Rigby, Bungalow Bill, or Rocky Raccoon.
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And guess what: They haven't improved with age.
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Younger aimed high when casting for his sweet screenplay and attached two marquee names to his personal endeavor. Meryl Streep dons a frumpy wig and horn-rimmed spectacles to create Lisa Metzger, a Manhattan mensch and doting psychotherapist currently treating newly divorced, statuesque blonde bombshell Rafi Gardet (Uma Thurman). Following Lisa's advice to let loose a little, Rafi enters a relationship with David (Bryan Greenberg), a lower East Side painter who happens to be 14 years younger... and Lisa's son.
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Devon Sawa stars as Anton, a slacker who sits around his house all day, smoking weed, and watching television. When Anton's parents are killed, a mysterious force takes over Anton's hand. He unwillingly kills his two best friends (Seth Green and Eldon Henson) and doesn't seem that phased by it. I mean, he's worried what more damage he could do, but it doesn't really bother him. His friends refused to go to heaven (too far) and walk around as zombies for the rest of the film, helping Anton control the hand, and save his girlfriend (Jessica Alba, who I wouldn't mind saving).
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Boiler Room is the story of Seth (Ribisi), a 19-year-old college dropout obsessed with the American dream of easy money. After concluding rather quickly that college isn't necessarily the fast track to a quick buck, he opens up an underground casino out of his house in Queens, providing a popular service for the local city college kids. After his disapproving father (Rifkin) finds out about the casino, Seth, feeling a repressed need to gain his father's approval, looks into an opportunity to become a stockbroker at the small firm of J.T. Marlin.
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Instead of Bond, it's super-groovy spy Austin Powers (Myers) making his triumphant return to the silver screen, the British secret agent frozen in the 60's and thawed in the 90's, where/when he returned to active duty. The Spy Who Shagged Me picks up right where the original left off, with Dr. Evil (also Myers) banished to space in his Big Boy statue/spaceship, and Austin settling down with new wife Vanessa (Elizabeth Hurley, in a cameo re-appearance).
Continue reading: Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me Review
A recent trend finds older but still attractive actresses downheartedly treading water in the dating pool for the benefit of a far-fetched plot. Heather Locklear played a flighty single mom unlucky in love for Hilary Duff's The Perfect Man. Now Oscar-nominee Diane Lane is taking her turn in the barrel with improved results.
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The cutesy premise of Now And Then is this: Now...Roberta (Rosie O'Donnell), Teeny (Melanie Griffith), Samantha (Demi Moore), and Chrissy (Rita Wilson) are gathering together to help Chrissy through her pregnancy. Then...the characters are the same, only 25 years younger, played by Christina Ricci, Thora Birch, Gaby Hoffman, and Ashleigh Aston Moore. The film plays out over the summer of 1970 (there's a whole lot more Then than Now), where the girls' perform a seance that leads them to investigate the mysterious death of a 12 year old boy, long since buried in the local cemetery.
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Usually it is. But Memento proves that a skilled director, writer, and cast can take even the most tired of formulas -- the man with the lost memory -- and spin it into something so refreshingly different and new that I don't hesitate to call it one of the best films I've ever seen.
Continue reading: Memento Review