Silver Linings Playbook is an interesting spin on the romantic comedy that keeps its feet firmly grounded before giving into some of that genre’s conventions in the final act.
Neil Burger’s film follows Eddie Morra who is a struggling writer, recently dumped by his girlfriend, and has no signs of forward growth anywhere in the near or distant future. When he bumps into his ex-wife’s brother they grab a drink and his ex-in-law gives him a pharmaceutical drug to try that isn’t quite on the market. Eddie takes the drug and his mind and motivation opens up to reveal his true potential. Wanting more, Eddie finds that having the drug gets him into a lot of sticky situations. His intellectual high and life will both come under risk in an attempt to posses it.
Little Fockers greatly improves over the abysmal second act of this trilogy, but while I was consistently chuckling along the way, the film lacks any innovation with little we haven’t seen before in the genre; or series.
Greg and Pam Focker have had a set of twins and they are close to celebrating their latest birthday which means the Focker/Byrnes families are about to be reunited. To Greg’s surprise, Jack, his ex-CIA father-in-law, is interested in promoting Greg to the level of GodFocker; which means he will be the heir to the Byrnes family throne of sorts. As the two bond over their strengthen partnership Jack’s always sneaking suspicions begin to re-arise as he catches wind of Greg’s new friend Andi. Andi is a hot pharma rep that is recruiting Greg to speak on behalf of her companies erectile dysfunction pill for heart patients. Sure enough and game of cat and mouse ensues and Greg is left fending off Jack, a returning Kevin, and maybe even Andi.
The film isn’t really filmed with all the many surprises but the script steadily keeps the laughs coming even if we see them coming from a mile away. Whether its a gross out gag, Owen Wilson spouting pseudo philosophizing, or Dustin Hoffman being Dustin Hoffman there are a variety of laughs to be had, just nothing all that original. Though, I don’t think I have seen a gag like the one they pull off surrounding a longer than four hour erection.
With Robert De Niro and Edward Norton’s names resting comfortably atop the title of the film on the poster one would think that nothing could go wrong in Stone. Turns out choice acting doesn’t always make perfection. Instead the film still manages to sink like a stone.
De Niro plays Jack Mabry, a parole officer who is soon to retire. Before he can leave he has one last case to consider, that of a man named Stone who is in prison for his part in a horrible crime years ago. In order to get out on parole early Stone must convince Mabry that he has come to the right side of the law while behind bars and will no longer be a danger when released back into the world.
The films main story line revolves around the manipulation and relationship of three key figures. As the man who seems to hold the power in this battle, De Niro perches behind his desk, gavel in hand and at the ready to come crashing down to prevent Stone from getting out on early parole. [Read more...]
The Grindhouse faux trailer turned feature length grind house film fits in perfectly with its predecessors, Planet Terror and Death Proof. The film is just as over the top, gory, and ludicrous as those that aforementioned double feature and is filled with same game talent beyond that.
Back in Mexico Machete was the one man on the police force that would make grown man weep if they heard he was coming for them. He is tough, no nonsense, not squeamish when it comes to blood, and can get the job done. But one day things go horribly wrong and everything is taking away from him, leading him on a path of bloody revenge against those who have crossed him. Now mix in a whole bunch of racism and we’ve got ourselves quite the exploitation film.
Let’s face it, this type of film that pays homage to the qualities of a exploitative B-movie is not for everyone, and could easily create a love it or hate it divide in the audience. But before you write it off as something to pass on consider the possibility that you might not end up on the side of the line you would expect. Just take it from me, going in I wasn’t really expecting anything from this since any spooftastic film tends to rub me the wrong way. They tread a fine line because they can so easily take things a step too far if they haven’t just completely run across the line on the over-the-top side of things (there are too many lines in this paragraph), something that is hard to come back from. [Read more...]
Everybody’s Fine is an interesting look at family life for a widower but lacks any real plot or enlightening meaning to really make us admire it beyond its performances.
Kirk Jones’ film is a remake of an Italian film of the same name and stars Robert De Niro as said widower, Frank, who decides to spontaneously visit his children who are now spread all around the country after he fails to get them all to visit. As he heads out on to the road we learn that one of his sons, David, is in some sort of trouble in Mexico and his other children shuffle him along to one another keeping the issue a secret from him. David was the first child he visited, who obviously wasn’t home, and then he moves on to Amy, Robert, and Rosie in succession. And that is about the crux of the whole story and nothing much happens along the way leading to a rather dull plot, if you could call it that, to follow.
The most interesting and eventful stop is with his son Robert, who is played by Sam Rockwell, in which Frank gets a cold hard punch of truth when he finds that his son is not the aspiring conductor he was lead to believe by both his wife and Robert. It is hear it really begins to hit home with Frank and us that his kids aren’t entirely truthful and have a fairly poor connection with him. [Read more...]