Reviews for November 5th, 2010
Directed by Jeffrey Fine.
17-year-old Aaron Milton (Kyle Gallner) arrives at an Ivy League college where he takes an engineering course even though his passion has always for drawing. His mother (Stephanie Venditto) and father (Kirk Anderson) don’t quite understand how much drawing truly means to him, though. His obnoxious roommate, Wild Bill (D.C. Pierson), a stereotypical, insensitive jerk with a one track mind, has no respect for women, unlike him. When he meets a sexy, 34-year-old classmate, Linda (Laura Allen), during art class, his life begins to change. She invites him over her house for lasagna and, soon enough, he meets her 14-year-old daughter, Beth (Brittany Robertson), who’s reminiscent of Enid from Ghost World because of how stubborn, sarcastic and rebellious she is. Not surprisingly, Aaron finds himself attracted to Linda while developing an emotional connection with Beth which may or may not end up in a romance. He, Linda and Beth are all going through their own coming-of-age because he and Beth are in the process of discovering sex and love while Linda struggles to escape her wild lifestyle. In a subplot that’s symbolic of Aaron’s own struggles that he must overcome, Aaron’s engineering professor (Matt Walsh) gives him a challenging assignment to design a device that will allow him to walk on water. In yet another subplot, Linda falls in love with a police officer, Wes (Esai Morales), someone closer to her age. Writer/director Jeffrey Fine does an admirable job of keeping all of gluing all the subplots together so that each character ultimately serves an integral purpose in Aaron’s transition from a child into an adult. Anyone can relate to the struggle that Aaron goes through to find his own niche within such a chaotic, alienating world. In other words, within chaos, there’s always structure to be found at some point. Kyle Gallner’s sensitive and charismatic performance helps to give the film a lot of heart while allowing you to sympathize and perhaps even empathize with Aaron. Save for a few contrived scenes that just exist to move the plot forward, the screenplay, for the most part, feels true-to-life and has just the right amount of poignant moments and comic relief. Refreshingly, Fine integrates humor that doesn’t reek of stupidity or mean-spiritedness, with the exception of one particular instance involving Wild Bill. The third act could have easily fallen apart with a less skilled writer/director, but it nonetheless manages to be uplifting while maintaining a sense of realism that doesn’t insult your intelligent. At a running time of 1 hour and 40 minutes, Cherry is a smart, funny, genuinely heartfelt and uplifting coming-of-age story.
Number of times I checked my watch: 1 Opens at the Village East Cinema.Released by Abramorama.
Directed by Todd Phillips.
Peter Highman (Robert Downey, Jr.), an architect on a business trip in Atlanta, heads to the airport to return back home to Los Angeles where his beloved wife, Sarah (Michelle Monaghan), will be imminently having a Caesarean section. After a series of errors that get him and another passenger, Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis), placed on the “no fly” list, he agrees to hop into Ethan’s car to ride with him all the way across the country to Los Angeles. Ethan, an aspiring actor, travels with his French bulldog and seems to be suffering from hyperactivity because he loves to talk fast nonstop while jumping around between random subjects matters. He has no problem masterbating while Peter’s in the car with him. What ensues could have easily been a hilarious road trip had the screenplay, co-written by Adam Sztykiel, Alan Freedland, Alan R. Cohen and writer/director Todd Phillips, not been so asinine, juvenile and uninspired. Neither Peter nor Ethan comes across as even remotely believable or appealing characters because their personalities are irritating and over-the-top in cartoonish ways. It’s not fun to watch Downey and Galifianakis play off of each other even though they’re both competent comedic actors. If you look at classic comedies involving comedic duos stuck together, i.e., Plains, Trains & Automobiles, each of them has great chemistry between the leads and a screenplay that funny and smart even though the characters themselves might be dumb. Due Date simply lacks any of those requisite traits. Mean-spirited and gross-out humor could work if it doesn’t feel so forced, such as when Ethan gets into a fight with a handicapped Iraqi war veteran, Lonnie (Danny McBride), or when Ethan and Peter accidentally drink coffee which turns out to be made from the ashes of Ethan’s father. Does the image of a dog masturbating make you laugh? The comedy just keeps on hitting new lows here, and, unfortunately, there’s not a single joke that’s clever or laugh-out-loud funny. At a running time of 1 hour and 40 minutes, Due Date is an indolent and painfully unfunny attempt at comedy with uninspired, forced humor and annoying characters that have zero chemistry.
Number of times I checked my watch: 6 Opens nationwide.Released by Warner Bros. Pictures.
Directed by Christopher Morris.
*Full review coming soon*
Number of times I checked my watch: 1 Opens at the Angelika Film Center.Released by Drafthouse Films.
Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story
Directed by Peter Miller.
*Full review coming soon*
Number of times I checked my watch: 1 Opens at the Quad Cinema.Released by 7th Art Releasing.
A Marine Story
Directed by Ned Farr.
*Full review coming soon*
Number of times I checked my watch: 3 Opens at the Quad Cinema.Released by Red Road Studio.
Directed by Tom McGrath.
Megamind (voice of Will Ferrell), a blue alien sent to Earth as a baby, grows up in prison where he develops his skills as a villain. He has always wanted to conquer Metro City where Metro Man (voice of Brad Pitt) serves as its hero and protector, so after a prison break, he holds TV reporter Roxanne Ritchi (voice of Tina Fey) hostage and battles Metro Man, but this time around he manages to kill him. Megamind now officially takes over Metro City with his Minion (voice of David Cross) alongside to advise him. He pronounces “Metro City” as “Metrocity,” and has never even seen a window in his entire life. Not surprisingly, though, he gets bored very quickly because he’s a villain with no one to fight, so using Metro Man’s DNA, he concocts a formula that will create his own superhero so that good will rise against evil once and for all. Hal (Jonah Hill), Roxanne’s pudgy cameraman, accidentally ingests the formula up his nose, and transforms into the ultra-buff Titan, which Hal spells as “Tighten.” A series of twists, which won’t be spoiled here, merely add to all the fun. Co-screenwriters Alan J. Schoolcraft and Brent Simons provide a wide variety of humor ranging from slapstick to witty one-liners to hilariously clever ones, i.e. a poster with Megamind’s very apt slogan that reads “No You Can’t.” The screenplay also pokes fun at the superhero action/comedy genre while referencing quite a number of classic films, i.e. The Godfather, which will certainly go over kids’ heads, but will at the very least amuse adults. A truly great animated film ought to have an imaginative and heartfelt story on top of great visuals, which, luckily Megamind manages to have simultaneously. Sure, the story itself could have used a little more bite with its sociopolitical commentary and it may not be entirely original, but neither of those minor setbacks takes away from the film’s overall entertainment value. Director Tom McGrath includes dazzling CGI effects, a terrific musical score, and moves the film along at a brisk enough pace so that you won’t find any scene dragging. Please be sure to stay for an additional scene during the end credits scroll. At a running time of 1 hour and 36 minutes, Megamind is hilarious, refreshingly smart, thrilling and heartfelt. It will delightfully entertain everyone, young or old, good or evil.
Number of times I checked my watch: 0 Opens nationwide.Released by Paramount Pictures.
Directed by Patrick Hughes.
*Full review coming soon*
Number of times I checked my watch: 0 Opens at the AMC Empire and Chelsea Clearview Cinema.Released by Strand Releasing.
Directed by Casper Andreas.
Violet (Mindy Cohn), a 40-year-old whose friends are all gay men, has come to a point in her life where’s she realizes that she’s lonely even though she’s surrounded with friends. She yearns to find a fag stag: a straight male whose friends are all gay men. That quest of hers becomes easier said than done because, in order to achieve her goal, she may have to get away from her gay friends, namely, Markus (Casper Andreas) and Zeus (Marcus Patrick). Date after date ends in the same result of her feeling lonely until she meets a potential fag stag named Vern (Armand Anthony). Meanwhile, Markus and his boyfriend, Riley (Samuel Whitten) are in the process of diving into a new stage in their relationship by considering to raise a baby together. The screenplay by Jess Archer occasionally goes over-the-top when it comes to its attempts at sexual humor, but, for the most part, it’s all funny and engaging thanks to Mindy Cohn’s delightfully charismatic performance and terrific comic timing as Violet. Admittedly, the amalgamation of bold, dirty humor and tender drama feels a bit uneven initially, so it takes a bit of getting used to those very different tones. None of the characters, with the exception of Violet, are developed well and believably enough for you to truly care about them, though, because the screenplay is too busy trying to squeeze some laughs out of their situations. Just becomes a romantic comedy resorts to clichés, contrivances and predictability doesn’t make it any less entertaining, though, so at least you’ll rarely find yourself bored from start to finish. At a running time of 1 hour and 39 minutes, Violet Tendencies is slightly uneven and often contrived, but nonetheless entertaining, funny and bold. Mindy Cohn shines in a heartfelt performance filled with panache.
Number of times I checked my watch: 2 Opens at the Quad Cinema.Released by Embrem Entertainment.