Prospero Pictures, Sentient Entertainment, SBS Productions,
Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Robert Pattinson, Olivia Williams, Evan Bird, Sarah Gadon
The Weiss Family, Dr. Stafford Weiss (John Cusack), shrink to the stars, Benjie (Evan Bird), spoiled rotten child star, wife Christina (Olivia Williams) stage mom of epic proportions, and Agatha (Mia Wasikowska), estranged psycho sister, come together in this most dramatic, dark, comedy you’ve seen in a long time. This is a parody piece making fun of the Hollywood lifestyle while doing it in a seriously warped dramatic way. This family is desperate to maintain their celebrity status no matter what it takes. Throw in a washed up film star Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore) and Limo driver wannabe actor Jerome Fontana (Robert Pattinson) and you have the wacky cast that might bring down the entire Hollywood system as they crash and burn everything and everyone they touch.
A few minutes in to this cockeyed movie you realize you’re being put on. This is told like a true life story until it becomes clear everyone is connected to everyone else in ways you could hardly expect. Very frank and in your face brutal from the language to the really explicit scenes to the actual story, everything is rude and crude. There is a fairly good deal of humor in it all, but it’s like an inside joke for those in one the inside, unless you’re a Hollywood Celebrity yourself, it may not really make a lot of sense. Much like my review of “Birdman (or the unexpected virtue of ignorance)” this feels like you’re an outsider at at insider party and you are not welcome. Perhaps I’m wrong, but this is how I felt through this whole thing. It was used to watching news on TV, but when my wife started turning on “Good Morning ” I hated it. It felt like a party was going on and I was watching in through the window. A lot of jokes and dancing and laughing going on and I didn’t know any of it. That was the feeling I got in this movie. Perhaps I’m being a little bit harsh, as it wasn’t really terrible, but I just didn’t really get into it. I never found myself “in” the story and it was mostly just over my head. I gave this a 3 star review because of the quality of the performances of the actors in this film, but I don’t really recommend it unless you are interested in the subject or the actors.
Noah Wyle, Jeremy Irvine, Minka Kelly, Adelaide Clemens, Steve Earle, Haley Joel Osment
Travis Shelton (Jeremy Irvine) is a young boy living in Western North Carolina in a small town where one of the other feud’s has been raging since the infamous Shelton Laurel Massacre where 13 men and children were killed as Union sympathizers by a Confederate Army. Travis finds a field of marijuana and figures to steal some, but gets caught by a bear trap and nearly loses his leg. Former teacher Leonard, takes him under his wing and tries to teach him his history and the history of his people. But the old hatreds are still strong, and the families are now run by drug dealers and the like and are still as dangerous as they were over a hundred years ago.
This is an interesting film based on the novel of the same name from 2006. Surrounded by the story of the massacre, it views the effects of a century old feud on the people of this little remote town today. It’s a dark story, and it was a horrible time. This is heavy drama, and the story is well told. I enjoy films based on historical events, and this was interesting because it was the fallout of 100 years later, not the actual event, but the ripples from that event are examined as they affect people today. Well acted, and pretty well developed. This is not the usual hillbilly story that is based on stereotypical cartoon characters but is very deep in character development and substance. Yet life is still difficult in these remote areas as it always has been. This was an enjoyable film, and though it didn’t set any records, it was a pleasure to watch. Not for everyone, as it is a dark drama with not too much action, but it’s a well crafted and developed story if you’re so inclined. It will make you think instead of react.
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, 21 Laps Entertainment, 1492 Pictures,
Ben Stiller, Rebel Wilson, Robin Williams, Own Wilson, Ricky Gervais, Ben Kingsley
Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is back in the 3rd installment of Night at the Museum, and a new shipment has arrived at the museum. The tablet wakes them up at night too, and they all find themselves in great danger. But greater danger is just ahead as the tablet is becoming corroded and losing it’s power. When it’s gone, all the magic will end. Larry convinces his boss Dr. McFee (Ricky Gervais), who doesn’t believe in the magic, to let him take the tablet to London to the museum where an Egyptian pharoah (Ben Kingsley) knows the secret of the tablet and how to repair and recharge it. But with some stowaways on the trip, they get into a gigantic battle to save themselves and the tablet.
This is a fitting finale to the trilogy. In the end, I don’t see a way for them to turn out another one of these. But as sequels go this was worthy of the franchise. If you like the first two, then this one definitely is not going to disappoint you. But it is definitely not as good as the first one, if that matters. It sort of felt like maybe Ben Stiller is getting tired of these films and ready to put it all behind him. It’s also sad to see Robin Williams again after the tragedy that happened to him. Basically all the characters are back, and the mischief they get into is similar to the other two. The wrap up in the end it touching, and the characters are just what you’d expect. I really cannot comment on their acting skills since they’re the same characters played by the same people, so they are what they already are. The story could maybe have been a bit better written, but it’s probably good enough for what it is. I really enjoyed the entertainment this little trip down memory lane provided, and though I chose to wait for the DVD, now that it’s out, it’s worth spending some time to watch, especially as I said, if you enjoyed the first two.
Katherine Heigl, Patrick Wilson, Jordana Brewster, James Belushi, Kevin McKidd, A.J. Buckley
Don Champagne (Patrick Wilson) is a businessman. He runs a carpet store, but is under the thumb of his extremely controlling wife, Mona (Katherine Heigl). She’s got some real issues! But when Don hires a new salesgirl Dusty (Jordana Brewster) and immediately starts up an affair with her, he knows he’s in trouble if Mona finds out. But when she does, her reaction is not what he expected as she insists on continuing like nothing happened.
This is a very quirky movie. A lot of people were really stunned I think by the strangeness of this story, but I found it to be a fairly decent dark comedy. It certainly gets ridiculous as it moves along, but it just keeps it’s tongue firmly stuck in cheek throughout. Patrick does a wonderful job as the meek and mild mannered Don, trying to put up with and somehow please a outrageously demanding wife. He is really good in this role. Katherine Heigl at the same time is really good in her role as well, so these two play off of each other very well. James Belushi plays a co-worker/employee of Don’s and is great comedy relief. He’s not a major part of the story, but any time he’s on screen he does a fine job. There is a whole list of really bad guys here too that also portrayed very well. The casting on this film is very good. It is a very dark comedy, but it’s also a farce, as nobody could be this calloused. You have to put common sense aside and just go with the flow. I enjoyed this film. It’s not going going to be a big film, but it’s a nice rental and a lot out of the ordinary and quite fresh.
1984 Private Defense Contractors, Mandalay Vision, Studio Babelsberg,
Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver
Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) works in a factory and is supposed to be taking his medicine to keep him under control. But the talking dog and cat in his apartment tell him not to take them. He meets the new girl Fiona (Gemma Arterton) in the office, and he’s madly attracted to her, but when he accidentally kills her, he’s not sure what to do. Luckily the cat and dog can help him plan his next move.
This is a very weird movie. Jerry is clearly unstable, but we’re supposed to recognize that and go through this film anyway. There is no way to know what is real and what is Jerry off his rocker. Personally, I didn’t really care. Since dogs and cats (and deer) don’t really talk, then I assume that is Jerry’s deranged mind, but beyond that, who knows. The script for this very, very dark comedy (that’s not really very funny) is pretty weak. I just didn’t find it humorous, and I just didn’t get it. There are some people who really got a kick out of this movie, but for me, it didn’t work at all. I don’t think this is worth the effort, and I would definitely say skip it. What a waste of time.