Life as We Know It

Life as We Know It
Move over, cupid; it’s time for the angel of death to play matchmaker in Life As We Know It, a rom-com from director Greg Berlanti and first-time screenwriters Ian Deitchman and Kristin Rusk Robinson which proves the old adage that there’s no better catalyst for love — and comic hijinks — than the sudden, tragic demise of loved ones.

Holly Berenson (Katherine Heigl) and Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel) could not be more different. He’s an aspiring television sports director and an unrepentant cad whose casual, seat-of-your pants approach to life is best symbolized in the ratty baseball hat that perpetually adorns his dome (always worn backwards — classic movie shorthand for “slob”). She’s a successful caterer with a five-year plan and a strict intolerance for disorder of any kind. He has a penis; she a vagina. We’re talking Israel and Palestine here, folks.

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Taking Woodstock

Taking Woodstock
Ang Lee's latest film Taking Woodstock, based on Elliot Tiber's memoir, recounts how 1969's Woodstock Music and Arts Festival came to be. The film follows Elliot Teichberg (Demetri Martin), a young, closeted interior designer who begrudgingly leaves his life in Greenwich Village behind to go home and help his overbearing Jewish immigrant parents Jake and Sonia (Henry Goodman and Imelda Staunton) save their rundown motel in the Catskills.

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Océans

Océans
After wowing us in the skies with “Winged Migration,” the two Jacques (Perrin and Cluzaud) are back to entice us to gaze in the opposite direction. In “Oceans,” Disneynature’s reconstitution of the 2009 French release “Océans,” the filmmakers venture in, on and around our seas to discover photogenic oddities and endangered wonders.

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Caught in the Crossfire

Caught in the Crossfire
In the 14 short days it took the production crew behind “Caught in the Crossfire” to film the movie in Grand Rapids, they managed to capture an essence of the city and develop the characters and action into a convincing cop drama.

Written and directed by Grand Valley State University alumnus Brian Miller, “Caught in the Crossfire” premiered Tuesday night at Celebration Cinema North in Grand Rapids, where a sold-out crowd excitedly greeted Miller, producer Randall Emmett and the famous Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, who starred in the film as well as acting as co-producer.

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The Musketeer

The Musketeer
It's really bad enough to make yet another film from Alexandre Dumas' classic novel "The Three Musketeers." It's even worse to veer wildly from the source material, losing the story of the Musketeers, and feature choreography from the "legendary" (aren't they all recently?) fight master Xiong Xin Xin. The easy logic would be to just stand back and wonder why. Why bastardize a classic so much when very little effort in translating the book could've produced an entertaining film? But that kind of thinking will drive you insane.

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Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris
From time-to-time, I suppose we all succumb to daydreams of what it might be like to have lived during a different, perhaps simpler era. Filmmaker Woody Allen, whose cinematic recipes have often incorporated more than a pinch of nostalgia, embraces this conceit with his 2011 effort, Midnight in Paris. An odd creation by some standards, this production is neither pure drama nor true comedy. It is too light and airy to touch the emotions in more than a fleeting fashion, and its humor is gentle and low-key, rarely exhibiting the edge associated with Allen. Instead, Midnight in Paris is a fairy tale, a parfait of whimsy. The film is constructed in such a way that suspension of disbelief isn't too hard because there's something universal in what Allen explores. Like Santa Claus, we know it's not real but the idea is so appealing that we go along with the fantasy.

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First Snow

First Snow
Like most intelligent movies that dare to demand that the movie viewer think by pondering the question of predestination versus self-determination, First Snow is a downbeat affair. The interest here isn't whether the main character will circumvent fate (not something likely to happen since such an occurrence would violate one of the movie's themes) but how he will greet the inevitable. Will he embrace it or, like Dylan Thomas, rage against the dying of the light? Is knowing the timing of one's end a gift or a curse? Does it allow us to make peace with our existence and leave it on our own terms or does it turn the chambers of life into the waiting room of death?

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American Beauty

American Beauty
Over the years, many films have taken a dark look at the supposedly perfect ideal of a white picket fence, a little house, and a nuclear family. For many, the suburban life is the American dream. For others, however, it can turn into a twisted nightmare of unfulfilled desires, repressed needs, and shattered hopes. Because of the necessity to keep up appearances, a serene facade often conceals a breeding ground for dysfunction, anxiety, and hypocrisy. Directors like David Lynch have made this their playground. Lynch in particular delights in depicting the root causes of social decay in suburbia - and he does it by autopsy. American Beauty is not as dark as a Lynch project, since it allows for small moments of redemption, but it mines the same general territory.

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Federal Protection

Federal Protection
“Federation Protection”, a low-budget Action B-Movie, suffers more from lack of originality than anything else. It’s a good film, with a decent cast, an oftentimes clever screenplay, and better than average direction by Straight-to-Video veteran Anthony Hickox (“Hellraiser 3″). Essentially a remake of the big-budget “The Whole Nine Yards” with Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry, “Protection” suffers from d’jà vu but very little else. Although, considering that I found “Nine Yards” to be neither very funny nor exciting, and in general quite dull, would another crack at the same storyline be so bad?

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Japan Sinks (Nihon chinbotsu)

Japan Sinks (Nihon chinbotsu)
In the aftermath of a major earthquake under Suraga Bay, Misaki (a young girl) and Toshiro (a pilot of a deep sea submarine) are rescued from a ruined city street just as leaking gasoline ignites. Reiko Abe arrives just in time, lowered from a helicopter. Scientists predict that Japan will sink within 40 years, due to subduction of a tectonic plate to the west.

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Life or Something Like It

Life or Something Like It
Lanie Kerrigan (Angelina Jolie), a successful reporter for a Seattle television station interviews a self-proclaimed prophet, Jack (Tony Shalhoub), to find out if he really can predict football scores. Instead, Prophet Jack not only predicts the football score, and that it would hail the next day, but also that she would die in seven days, meaning the following Thursday. When his first two prophecies turn out to be correct, Kerrigan panics and again meets with Jack and asks him for another prophecy so that she could prove it wrong; which would imply uncertainty of her death. Jack tells her that there will be a relatively significant earthquake in San Francisco at 9:06 am, she hopes that it would be wrong but again it also becomes reality. Now Lanie becomes sure for her upcoming death and forced to reevaluate her life.

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Blood Oath

Blood Oath
A group of friends on a weekend camping trip decide to investigate a local urban legend. The trip will change their lives as they are forced into a fight for survival against a horrific monster.

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The Shell Seekers

The Shell Seekers
Artists daughter Penelope Keeling can look back on a full and varied life a bohemian childhood in London and the wilds of Cornwall...

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The Exterminator

The Exterminator
When John Eastlands best friend, Michael Jefferson, is mugged and left permanently crippled, he decides to do something about it. Jefferson had saved Eastlands life in Vietnam and now its time for Eastland to get revenge for his friend. Using his old Army gear he sets out on a crusade to clean up the streets of New York using the name The Exterminator.

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Look Better Naked

Look Better Naked
Jessica is the star of several exercise DVDs including 10 Minute Solutions DVDs, Jessica is a featured trainer for PUSH, Exercise TV and Seventeen Magazine and has appeared on The View

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My Year Without Sex

My Year Without Sex
My Year Without Sex is kind of a love story about a family dealing with all the big questions and even more of the small ones. Set over one messy year, Ross and Natalie and their two kids, Louis and Ruby, navigate nits, faith, Christmas, job insecurity, footy practice, more nits, and whether they will ever have sex again.Starring Sacha Horler and Matt Day, and directed by Look Both Ways Sarah Watt, My Year Without Sex is a triumphant comedy about the everyday minutiae of Australian life.

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