This week’s “For Your Renting Pleasure” includes a remake/reimagining and a sequel, Dredd and Men In Black 3, both disappointing for numerous reasons. [Read more...]
For those of you not keeping track we are about to enter the second half of the year, full of just as many exciting things as the first half. So far some entries have disappointed, some have surprised, and some have lived up to and surpassed expectations so far, so lets keep our fingers crossed that there will be more of the latter options in the months to come. So what are you excited for? Let’s give you some options to consider with this list of what the writers of HST can’t wait for. [Read more...]
No Strings Attached is a solid and against type rom-com for the first hour or so of the film before divulging into cliché and loses a lot of the good will they earned in the start.
Emma and Adam have been crossing paths for years now. From the first time he tried to finger her at camp to a fuck buddy relationship that this film revolves around. The twist on the formula is that Emma, not Adam, really doesn’t want anything other than sex out of the relationship. Closed off and a life long loner, Emma, never seems to let a relationship work and she really enjoys her physical only relationship with Adam. Adam’s feelings start to get the best of him though and their deal begins to crumble under the new expectations.
“I just don’t know!” That’s right, last time it was a confusedly baffled emoticon as a review with Black Swan, and now yet another Natalie Portman movie leaves me not knowing what to say. However, instead of the befuddled mindset I was left with then, now I am going with a more exasperated thought process due to my lack of ability to form a full sentence pertaining to an opinion, as in “I can’t decide how much I liked this movie,” and that confusion is definitely not something to aspire to.
The reason for this lies in the story. No Strings Attached ups the anti on the question as to whether or not men and women can be best friends and nothing more by throwing sex into the mix as a catalyst. Emma and Adam think they can do just that by agreeing to use each other for sexy time, and if at any time one of them starts developing feelings they will end the physical arrangement immediately. And if you know anything about romcoms, then you know where this one’s going. [Read more...]
The film follows a loosely connected group of individuals as we watch their experiences with love through a series of short films and connecting vignettes. The stories involve a just dumped boy who gets a last minute prom date, a composer and an assistant who bond through their many phone calls, a couple of strangers outside a restaurant, a confident and tad overzealous smoker trying to pick up a not so forth coming women, a pick pocket and a girl that catches his eye, an jeweler and his client, an long lived and nagging couple, an assumed one night stand deciding to meet again, an aging star revisiting an old hotel, a painter and his longed for muse, a video artist capturing people around town, and the bond between father and daughter even if no one believes they are related. [Read more...]
A sad and tragic story doesn’t take away from this expertly crafted and wonderfully acted film, though doesn’t leave you all warm and fuzzy in the end; which is ok.
Annie (Kate Beckinsale) is a single mom working as a waitress at the local Chinese restaurant, Glenn (Sam Rockwell) is Annie’s separated husband who is recovering from alcoholism and an attempted suicide, and Arthur (Michael Angarano) is a high school student who is coming to grips with his feelings on love as he comes of age; and the film surrounds the interactions of these three and the people in their lives and serves as a portrait of tragic America. Glenn is making an effort to change, born again Christian and clean, he has a new job and desperately wants to reconnect with his family. Annie looks to her friend’s husband for romance as the two spend afternoons together in a hotel when she can get a sitter for he daughter Tara. Arthur is a normal kid who starts to bond with a girl at school, Lila (Olivia Thirlby), just as his parents marriage begins coming apart. The film is filled out with a number of supporting players and focuses on these characters lives as they unfold over a six week period. There is no over arching plot or goal to the picture, it is simply a study of these peoples lives and the relationships with those around them.
The film is subtle and wonderfully put together, with a great pace that works just right for the pictures, and David Gordon Green’s direction of his actors creates genuine and real feeling performances. Everyone involved never feels like a type, and has depth that goes far beyond the surface. All the actors turn in performances that feel plucked from real life and are great from head to toe. Comedy is also sprinkled in just enough, in all the right places to lighten up the tone when it needs it, and with out it the film would have been tough to swallow. The film also does a great job at creating a realistic high school relationship, a troubled attempt at reconnecting a broken marriage, as well as the potentially crumbling marriage as well. That’s not to say the film is all gloom and doom, as the Arthur/Lila relationship is sweet and won’t upset you, but the downer parts outweigh the nicer moments for sure. Green’s ability to make his film feel lived in and real can not be overstated and between this and Pineapple Express, he has shown his range and ability as a filmmaker is quite great in a single year.
Getting on to the actors, Kate Beckinsale is sad and great as the mother who is torn by her emotions towards he estranged husband. He obviously has screwed up in the past but she feels for him and is on the verge of giving in, and Beckinsale does such a fine job of conveying this when the opportunity presents itself. She also does a good job of creating a mother that is tired and is doing the best she can, but also giving her a natural weakness that can come for someone that is put in the position Annie is. Michael Angarano also does great work at creating the average high schooler, never giving into cliché and feeling in genuine and his work with Olivia Thirlby works great and they are cute and innocent and feel authentic. And by the way Thirlby is fantastic here, creating a cute if a bit odd girl that you we all knew from high school; and I really hope she breaks out sooner rather than later as she is pretty great in everything I have seen her in. Nicky Katt is also great as an adulterous husband who in most peoples hands would play to the pumped up dick head, but instead plays the character as someone who is doing his best, but isn’t that believable in the end. Lastly, there is Sam Rockwell, who is one of the most underrated and underappreciated actors in the main stream film scene in years, as he turns in an amazing and haunting turn as Glen. His characters arc feels so genuine through and through, and we can help but feel a little sympathy for this guy that is just trying to reconnect with his family. But everything we kind of by into slowly unravels, and Rockwell does such great work and hinting at the deeper and dark side of his character along the way. I can not praise him enough for his work here and hope he finds a larger audience because he is too good to be stuck in these smaller, lesser seen films all the time.
In the end, Snow Angels is a sad and tragic film, but it is also a showcase for everyone involved. The actors are all wonderful, the direction is top notch, and the story while not uplifting, is still genuine and sadly real as many people are stuck in situations like these and are forced to extremes because they feel they have nowhere else to go. One of the finer pictures of the year is definitely worth watching; just don’t go in expecting to come out feeling all happy inside.
Talk about breaking a stereotype. Who would have thought that such a great film like Juno was written by an ex-advertiser/stripper/phone sex operator named Diablo Cody. But that is in fact what she has done and paired with one of the more capable young directors around, Jason Reitman, Juno might end up being the funniest film of the year. [Read more...]