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'Superbad' for girls? A Gen-Y John Hughes nod? It's hard to say. 'Easy A' isn't quite the A-grade comedy that we were hoping for; the trailer was a corker, the cast is air-tight and the setting is familiar and digestible enough to crack through to the mainstream. In fact, 'Easy A' delivers all these elements – and it's genuinely funny.
However, 'Easy A' also takes the path of least resistance through a story that is too familiar to begin with – to the point where the film knowingly references '16 Candles' and 'The Scarlet Letter' – as if to diffuse any kind of cynical parallel the audience might draw.
Will Gluck directs with a style arguably more in line with his television-producer roots. His only other theatrical director credit is the mediocre 'Fired Up' – a similarly-toned teen comedy that, unsurprisingly, also hinges around disaffected teen stereotypes scraping out their lives in high school hell. To this end, 'Easy A' feels more honest – and even a little emotionally deeper – than most teen-angst comedies. That said, it's a far cry from the tight scripting and shock-comedy value of Judd Apatow-produced 'Superbad'.
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Night of the Living Jews
I know absolutely zilch about the Jewish religion. I know they have the little hats and the curly sideburns. That’s where my knowledge ends. Call me ignorant, but that’s just – okay yeah, I’m ignorant. Now since Night of the Living Dead came out some 40 years ago, there have been a million knockoffs on the title. Night of the Living Dorks (review), Night of the Living Bread, Flight of the Living Dead (review), and my personal favorite, Night of the Giving Head. Night of the Living Jews doesn’t exactly fit the naming scheme by being overly clever or witty, but it does give you a pretty good idea what the movie is going to be about. When sorting through the
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Nothing Like the Holidays
There are no ingredients in Nothing Like the Holidays that you're not already familiar with from other big-crazy-family Christmas movies. Then again, so what? The Christmas breakfast my mom makes every year never has anything new either -- in fact, there would be open rebellion if it did -- and that suits everyone just fine.
Nothing Like the Holidays is warm and comfortable in that way, mostly pleasant, mostly well acted, and moderately entertaining. Directed by Alfredo De Villa (Washington Heights), it boasts a luminous ensemble of Latino actors as two generations of Puerto Ricans living in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood. It captures the cultural flavor of their yuletide festivities and intra-family squabbling without being so specific that non-Latino audiences can't appreciate it. Details aside, anyone with a family can relate to most of what happens here.
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Do you remember the time during your adolescence when you started to see your parents as people rather than just… well, your parents? Scott Bartlett (Rory Culkin) goes through this stage of his teen years in Lymelife. The backdrop of the film is Long Island, New York in 1979. Scott Bartlett is the younger of the two Bartlett boys. His older brother Jimmy (Kieran Culkin) joined the Army and only comes home to visit. Scott’s father Mickey (Alec Baldwin) is a successful real-estate developer. His mother Brenda (Jill Hennessy) is dealing with trying to ignore some of her husband’s less faithful qualities while also missing Queens and praying regularly that Scott doesn’t contract Lyme disease.
Direktøren for det Hele
The Boss of It All (Direktøren for det hele) is a straight up comedy from Lars von Trier, or so we're led to believe. In fact it is actually pretty much that, but hidden within are plenty of messages about the human condition and a few interesting japes at actors, companies and how the operate.
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Fistful of Dollars
A drifter, later to be known as The Man With No Name (Clint Eastwood), is born in director Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Western, A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS. The stranger arrives in a small Mexican village that is over run by two competing gangs who control the guns and the liquor. The only legit business that seems to prosper is the old coffin maker. The anonymous drifter decides to make money by working both sides of the gang as a hired killer, adding more fuel to the hatred feud between the two families.
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Hitch is a pleasant, if slightly overlong, romantic comedy from two men who have forged reputations in the genre. Director Andy Tennant is no stranger to love stories, having previously helmed Fools Rush In, Ever After, and Sweet Home Alabama. And, although Will Smith has had some success as an action hero and a dramatic leading man, he is at his most appealing in this kind of movie, when he makes us laugh and gets the girl.
Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Possible Spoilers: Although this review does not explicitly reveal the ending of the movie, there are enough insinuations that one can make some assumptions about what might happen.
The Holocaust is one of the great tragedies in recent human history, so it's no surprise that a fair amount of film and literature produced over the last 60+ years has addressed the subject in one way or another. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, based on the young adult novel by John Boyne, provides a window to proceedings through the eyes of an eight-year old boy. While this perspective allows the film to represent events in an atypical fashion, it also gives The Boy in the Striped Pajamas an artificial, fairy tale quality that one could argue undermines the seriousness of the subject matter. A certain degree of sanitization is applied to the horror to make it more easily consumed - not "comfortable," to be sure, but "less uncomfortable." While the ending provides some shock value, the visceral "gut punch" impact is associated more with the specifics of the plot than the overall truth of the Holocaust, and this creates a curious sense of imbalance. If you doubt this, consider why the ending has an impact.
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Final Destination 2
Having to rely on a middle-man sucks, even for Death. The problem is, while He gets His due, someone else – usually a guy in a hockey mask or wearing Lee press-on steel nails – steals all the credit. And at least one intended victim always gets away. Jamie Lee Curtis and Heather Langenkamp in particular have been slippery. So, after years of pulling the strings behind the scenes, Death has finally decided to take matters into His own hands. That's where the Final Destination movies come in, since they mark the feature debut of Death Himself as a serial killer. No more sitting around playing chess in Bergman films.
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Memoirs of a Geisha
It's a recognized fact that many epic love stories of literature and cinema transpire around or during a war. Consider, for example, Casablanca (World War II), Gone with the Wind (the American Civil War), Dr. Zhivago (the Russian Revolution), and Pearl Harbor (just kidding). Memoirs of a Geisha falls into this category. At its heart, this is a romance that transpires against the background of an ever-changing Japan during the 1930s and 1940s. Although the film is less concerned with the war than with the impact it has upon the characters, much of the final act could not have occurred without the influence of the postwar American occupation of Japan.
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Going into Stay, I was aware that the director was Marc Forster, the man who made Monster's Ball and Finding Neverland. However, even with that knowledge, it wouldn't have surprised me to see David Lynch's name during the closing credits. Stay is the kind of dreamy, surreal motion picture that delights in messing with its viewers' minds. Ultimately, it's less cryptic than any of Lynch's recent films, since everything is explained (sort of) at the end. The outstanding question, however, is whether or not the resolution satisfies. Forster includes enough clues in the way he presents the narrative for audience members to intuitively figure out the secret, but I couldn't help feeling a little let down when the truth was unveiled. I have seen it before, and on more than one occasion. (I won't mention specific titles here because those who have seen the movie will immediately suspect the twist.)
Pleasure of Your Company aka Wedding Daze
Against the advice of his best friend Ted (Michael Weston), Anderson (Jason Biggs) proposes to his girlfriend, Vanessa, publicly whilst dressed in a cupid costume. The shock of the proposal leads to her instantaneous death. Utterly devastated and distraught, Anderson quits his job and goes into mourning. Anderson is still obsessed with his perfect (and dead) former girlfriend and to help him move on, Ted persuades him to give romance one more try. To placate his friend, Anderson agrees. Right after, waitress Katie (Isla Fisher) comes over. On a whim, Anderson asks Katie to marry him, and to his utter astonishment, she accepts his proposal.
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After con artist Joe Dolan accidentally kills his father Mike during a sting, he tries to carry out Mike's dying wish by recovering valuables that Mike's twin brother Lou (also played by Coburn) stole from him years earlier. But Uncle Lou is also a confidence artist, and Joe is soon drawn into his increasingly dangerous schemes.
Cole and Erica run an upscale escort service which sets their clients up on anonymous and impromptu dates at hotels. They discover one of their female clients murdered, and that the man who signed up for their service on the same day happens to be her husband. They set out to untangle these mysterious circumstances before the cops follow the leads back to them, while also dealing with various romantic relationships.
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Dirty Sanchez: The Movie
The Welsh nutters, Dirty Sanchez are making a movie The concept of the film is that the Devil has heard about the dare-devil nature of the Sanchez boys so hes set them the ultimate challenge, to complete stunts based on the 7 Deadly Sins or be damned to the gutter forever. In order to regain their status as hard-asses and crawl out of the gutter - the 7 deadly sins they must complete in seven exotic locations are Sloth - UK Anger - Moscow Russia Lust - Bangkok Thailand Envy - Ko Phi Phi Thailand Pride - Tokyo Japan Gluttony - Mexico Greed - Dominican Republic And most interesting of all the film-makers have secured Lemmy to play the Devil and do the music. Lemmy If they (Dirty Sanchez boys) think theyre tough... Wait till they meet me.
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A detective tracks a serial killer through San Francisco.
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