Tim Perell

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The Love Punch Review


Good

An old-school caper comedy, this goofy romp struggles to surmount its badly contrived screenplay. Fortunately writer-director Joel Hopkins also has gorgeous locations and a cast of pros who are unafraid to make complete idiots of themselves. They keep us chuckling even when things turn far too silly.

It starts with a hostile corporate takeover in Britain that costs Richard (Pierce Brosnan) and his ex-wife Kate (Emma Thompson) their income and pensions. Still feuding years after their marriage fell apart, they decide to team up, head to Paris and confront new owner Vincent (Laurent Lafitte) about their predicament, as well as the sudden poverty of all of Richard's employees. But Vincent cruelly dismisses them, noting that he liquidated Richard's company to help pay for his extravagant wedding to trophy wide Manon (Louise Bourgoin), who now sports a $10m diamond. So Richard and Kate impulsively decide to crash the marriage and steal the diamond with some help from their old pals Penelope and Jerry (Celia Imrie and Timothy Spall) and their computer-expert son Matt (Jack Wilkinson) back in Britain.

The idea is so preposterous that we just have to go with it, but Hopkins' script never bothers to fill in the gaping plot holes, merely charging into each corny set-piece with gusto. Thomson gets all the needed information about the wedding by joining in on the hen weekend. Spall has a series of dark-horse skills up his sleeve. Wilkinson seems able to do all manner of technical wizardry except the one thing that forces our four heroes to scuba-dive across the bay and scale a cliff, James Bond-style.

Continue reading: The Love Punch Review

World's Greatest Dad Review


Excellent
Putting Williams in a movie with this title is misleading because it's actually a pitch-black comedy that cleverly examines the herd mentality through the eyes of a deeply flawed father. And it's one of Williams' best performances.

Lance Clayton (Williams) is a high school teacher raising his surly, not-too-deep 15-year-old Kyle (Sabara) on his own. He's seeing the frisky art teacher Claire (Gilmore), who wants to keep their relationship a secret and seems to have eyes for another rather too-sexy teacher (Simmons). But Lance's main problem is that he feels he's settling for a mediocre life, having never had any of his writing published. Then a freak accident presents him with an opportunity for the fame that's eluded him. If only he can suppress his conscience.

Continue reading: World's Greatest Dad Review

The Rebound Review


Good
A charming and observant tone helps lift this above most romantic comedies, at least until the formula kicks in during the final rather contrived act. But until then, it keeps us happily smiling and sighing along.

After she catches her husband cheating, 40-year-old Sandy (Zeta-Jones) takes her two kids (Gould and Cherry) and moves into Manhattan. She finds an entry-level job and a flat above a coffee shop, where recently divorced 25-year-old barista Aram (Bartha) is happy to watch the kids. Meanwhile, Sandy's pal Daphne (Grant) urges her to get back out on the dating scene, but after a few disastrous nights the babysitter starts to look like a possibility.

But can they overcome their age difference and recover from their bad past relationships?

Continue reading: The Rebound Review

Last Chance Harvey Review


Weak
A film so mild-mannered it only occasionally registers a pulse, Joel Hopkins' Last Chance Harvey is best viewed as proof that not all filmed entertainment these days is nihilistic and grim. Occasionally there are still movies made about gentle, middle-aged people who have had a (mildly) hard time of things but still manage to find love in the gloaming of their years. The problem here being that mildness of heart does not translate into quality of art, or even entertainment.

The Hallmark-ready story begins with Harvey Shine (Dustin Hoffman), a borderline jerk of a guy who appears to have shut down on life by the time we find him. A jingle writer who once hoped for greater things musically, he's on his way to London where his daughter is marrying into a family that seems to have a greater affinity for his ex-wife's new husband than himself.

Continue reading: Last Chance Harvey Review

Shortbus Review


Excellent
John Cameron Mitchell 's thesis in Shortbus harkens back to E.M. Forster's classic exhortation: "Only connect." In Mitchell's world, however, a big part of connection is sexual connection, and a big part of sexual connection is the ability to give and enjoy earth-shattering orgasms. Mitchell's characters are in search of sexual connection, and it's a shocking, hardcore search that brings intensely graphic (and real) sex to mainstream cinema for the first time. To put it another way: Oh. My. God.But Shortbus is not porn. The sex serves the story, and as was the case with Mitchell's other brilliant film, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the somewhat hard and threatening exterior hides a soft, sweet, and highly sentimental center. Shortbus is definitely about sex, but it's more about love and relationships and the joy one finds in truly connecting with someone else.We begin in the office of Sophia (Sook-Yin Lee), a young sex therapist. Her clients are depressed former hustler James (the very brave Paul Dawson) and his adoring boyfriend Jamie (PJ DeBoy). After five years, they fear they've lost the spark, and they're considering opening up their relationship, sexually speaking. Sophia is distracted by her own problems. We've already seen that she's capable of astonishingly acrobatic and energetic sex with her husband, but she admits she's never had an orgasm.James and Jamie invite her to visit Shortbus, a regular party/performance space/orgy lorded over by transvestite singing talent Justin Bond (playing a version of himself). With trepidation Sophia enters and encounters every kind of polymorphous perversion imaginable. It's an eyeful. (The jaded Bond describes it as "Just like the '60s, only with less hope.") The only friend she makes is Severin (Lindsay Beamish), a sad-eyed dominatrix with a heart of gold, who offers to help her find her orgasm. Over on another couch, James and Jamie have attracted the virginal Ceth (Paul Brannan), whom they take home. The hardcore gay three-way that ensues features a creative performance of "The Star Spangled Banner" involving bodily orifices that's so obscene it will probably get the film banned in 31 states. And yet the scene is as funny and sweet as it is dirty. That's Mitchell's magic.With a rich cast of supporting characters keeping things lively and interesting -- at one point an elderly gay former mayor of New York shows up at Shortbus and has a truly gripping conversation with Ceth -- the movie is never dull. Sophia's frustration grows, and the James/Jamie situation gets more and more tense, especially when James's depression gets dangerous and he simultaneously discovers he has a stalker. It's summer in the city, and frequent brownouts are threatening a blackout to come. It will take a lot of sexual energy and perhaps a rousing song from Bond to get the lights back on. These people may scare you, but you'll probably wish you could hang out with them.If Shortbus has any flaw it's that it seems to have trouble wrapping up. Mitchell has many lovely images up his sleeve, and he keeps dealing them out one by one until the movie has more than done its job. Of course, an excess of good ideas is a nice problem for a director to have. Despite his post-9/11 cynicism, Mitchell delivers a happy ending, so to speak. In fact, it's more than happy. It's positively orgasmic.

The Opportunists Review


Good
Christopher Walken is a great choice to work with any first-time director/screenwriter, as he can "sell" any character put in front of him. From a sword-swinging headless horseman in Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow to a wristwatch smuggling Air Force Captain in Tarentino's Pulp Fiction, Walken breathes an air of believability into any persona, which is hardly something that every actor can do. Because of this, the films he is in always seem to be at the very least entertaining, and The Opportunists is no exception to the rule. Set against the backdrop of the Sunnyside, Queens neighborhood of New York, The Opportunists is the story of a man who can't seem to do the right thing, no matter how hard he tries.

Walken plays Victor Kelly, an ex-con turned auto mechanic struggling to be a responsible man, earning an honest living in the hopes of redeeming himself for the lifetime of trouble he has brought down on his small, fractured family. Add to the mix a young man named Michael (Peter McDonald) who appears at his doorstep, claiming to be a cousin from Ireland. Ironically, Michael has come to America to learn from the man he believes is a successful mobster - as legend back home tells it. What he actually finds in Vic is completely different. Vic is a proud man with some heavy financial headaches. Too bullheaded to accept help from his girlfriend (Cyndi Lauper). Vic soon realizes his skills as a mechanic are not nearly as marketable as his safe-cracking skills, and he reluctantly finds himself risking everything for one last shot to save his business and his family.

Continue reading: The Opportunists Review

I'm With Lucy Review


Weak
Monica Potter gets dumped, then ends up on countless blind dates in the aftermath, which gives us the relationships all sliced up and out of order. Which guy will she end up with? The freaky baseball player or the kooky entemologist? Or someone else? Doubtless you'll care as little as I did, since Potter's character is too vapid to be worth keeping in the first place.

World Traveler Review


OK
On the road with Billy Crudup may be an adventure for some, but this plodding, episodic series of ministories, held together by miles and miles of unending miles and miles won't do it for everyone. It will help if you think he's as appealing as some of the women in the story do -- there's no denying a charismatic force when you see one -- but this journey, its real purpose hidden until the last act, makes 103 minutes seem like 206.

Cal (Crudup) is a Manhattan architect with a wife and 3-year old son who, for a largely unexplained reason, is discontent. His interior landscape is entirely his own, as he revels in the brooding inner drive that propels him to abandon his family and set out on the road. To help convey the mental anguish he's experiencing, the film employs hallucinatory images, flashbacks, time phase cuts, and other borrowings from films like the successful Memento, though without the consistency or effectiveness of that fine work.

Continue reading: World Traveler Review

Tim Perell

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Tim Perell Movies

The Love Punch Movie Review

The Love Punch Movie Review

An old-school caper comedy, this goofy romp struggles to surmount its badly contrived screenplay. Fortunately...

World's Greatest Dad Movie Review

World's Greatest Dad Movie Review

Putting Williams in a movie with this title is misleading because it's actually a pitch-black...

The Rebound Movie Review

The Rebound Movie Review

A charming and observant tone helps lift this above most romantic comedies, at least until...

Last Chance Harvey Movie Review

Last Chance Harvey Movie Review

A film so mild-mannered it only occasionally registers a pulse, Joel Hopkins' Last Chance Harvey...

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