Sunday, March 23, 2008

No Country for Old Men

You Can't Stop What's Coming.

No Country for Old Men
has the unmistakable mark of a Coen brothers film. It's part thriller, part comedy, part western, part action film. Somehow the Coens are able to wrap all of these elements into one fantastic film. Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem weren't that famous before this film, but they are now and their careers will certainly take off from here- they both gave smashing performances. There is no way to describe the experience of a Coen brothers film. It's not heartwrenching or a "ride of your life" really. I guess it's as close as you're going to get to swashbuckling cowboy-pirate-assassins in Texas duking it out as who will end up the most ultimate badass. It's just...a story. It's epic because it's not. It'll scare the sh*t out of you but you won't be able to look away. It's the Coen brothers, what more can I say?

Llewelyn Moss (Brolin) is your average dude. He's a Vietnam vet, lives in Texas in a trailer; his wife works at Walmart. Out hunting deer, Llewelyn stumbles across a drug exchange gone wrong. Everyone's dead; there are the drugs and there's the money, so why not take the money? It's a decision that will give him far more trouble than is worth even two million dollars, because the bad guys are about to come looking for it. Psychopath Killer on the rampage to kill Llewelyn is quite possibly the devil incarnate. Asked to describe how dangerous he is, one character replies, "Compared to what, the bubonic plague?" This guy is pretty much pure evil through and through. And he's coming for Llewelyn Moss. Trying to catch up with both of them as Llewelyn runs for his life, is Tommy Lee Jones as the local sheriff and Llewelyn's wife, Carla Jean.

In a Coen brothers film, you can't pick favorites. ALL of the casting is great; ALL of the acting is great; the cinematography is gorgeous too. How can a film that won 83 of 114 film award nominations be criticized? I really did love Brolin's performance; he really embodies his character. And Bardem's character won't just give you the chills, he'll give you nightmares. This is one of Tommy Lee Jones' best roles, mostly because he just gets to play himself. And Kelly MacDonald, the Scottish actress, sure does pull off a great west Texan accent.

Conclusion: The Coen brothers create instant classics. No Country For Old Men is no different, it really is incredible.

Rated: R for
strong graphic violence and some language.

  • Heath Ledger had been in talks to play Llewelyn Moss
  • Joel Coen and Ethan Coen share the record of four Oscar nominations for a single person (in this case, shared by the two)
  • The credited editor for this film, Roderick Jaynes, is a pseudonym for Joel and Ethan Coen. Despite his non-existence, Jaynes was nominated for an Oscar for editing No Country For Old Men.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Hayden Christensen is back as a new version of Anakin Skywalker. Luckily, George Lucas didn't write the script for this film or we'd be in real trouble. A young man discovers that he holds extraordinary powers but then finds himself in the midst of a war that has been going on for a millennium between the forces of good and the forces of darkness. He must choose sides with his parent or with his girlfriend (who, thank God, doesn't end up being his sister.) I'm making it sound worse than it really is. I like the idea behind Jumper, it certainly has potential, and it certainly was entertaining; Christensen is even a descent actor if you can believe it. But there was too little character development, and too much ado about nothing and not enough ado about everything. If that makes sense.

David Rice is just a kid when he discovers that he has the power to transport himself anywhere he's seen before. Egypt, Rome, New York, Paris, anywhere. Dave leaves his less-than-great home life behind to start a new life. He can steal money from banks without breaking a lock after all, so he wants for nothing. Except love. And excitement. Dave finally gets up the nerve to ask his high school sweetheart (played by the mawkish Rachel Bilson) out on a date. To Rome. Unfortunately, Dave's carelessness is about to get him caught. While exploring the Colosseum, he learns that he's not the only one with transporting powers and evil religious fanatics are out to eradicate the transporters. It's a fight for his life that can have no happy ending.

Jumper is pretty entertaining until about the last 15-20 minutes, during which it starts to go a little downhill. At 88 minutes, it barely makes the cut for a feature-length film, and you can tell. This is an epic tale, or it could be; it's supposed to be this big story, big-picture film, but it's not. Even Sam Jackson can't breathe life into this walking corpse as lightsaber toting, Bible-quoting, Mace Windu-meets-Pulp Fiction Dude. But the effects are pretty good, and it's interesting to see Christensen in a mainstream film again. But overall, the director of the Bourne Identity has really taken a step down.

Conclusion: If you're a Sam Jackson fan or a Hayden fan, go see it, but you could skip it and I wouldn't blame you.

Rated: PG-13 for for sequences of intense action violence, some language and brief sexuality. [The brief sexuality is nonexistent, all person keep their clothes on]

  • The crew was allowed to film inside the Colosseum for three days under the condition that no equipment could be placed on the ground. The only lighting allowed was natural sunlight.
  • Two other actors were cast as before Christensen and Bilson but after 2 months of filming and inflating production costs, Hayden Christensen and Rachel Bilson were recast as the leads.
See the Trailer.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Step Up 2: The Streets

The first Step Up was bad enough, only Channing Tatum (tantalizing eye-candy + acting skills) and Jenna Dewan's (talented dancer) relational story kept the film afloat. Unfortunately for Step Up 2, there is no story- or the story is barely hanging on by the thread of the main actress' slowly unraveling clothing. The acting is questionable and the dancing is entertaining, but not mind-blowing. Even though these are professional dancers with a professional choreographer, search YouTube and you'll find more impressive dancing.

The nearly-nonexistent story goes like this: Troublemaker, gang member, Andie, gets into MSA, an expensive private school as a charity case. Her "Street Dancing" is far too risque for Director Collins, who must teach her ballet (which proves to be completely pointless later). Andie finds the hottest guy in school, who has a mean ex-girlfriend, and they come up with a dance for their crew to compete in the Streets, a contest for street dancers. But can their relationship survive when they're from such different worlds? Sound familiar? In the first Step Up, Tyler Gage (Channing Tatum) is a troublemaker, gang member who goes to MSA for community service. He finds the hottest girl in school, who has a mean ex-boyfriend, and they come up with a dance for their crew to compete in the school talent show. But can their romance survive when they're both from such different worlds? Hmmm...
Anyway, Andie must face discrimination at the school, payback from her old crew, and Director Collins for the chance to prove that she's good enough for MSA, for the Streets, and for her place in the world. It sounds dramatic, but it's really just disappointing. It's a rehash of the same story with some new dance moves.

The new dance moves are entertaining, and impressive, don't get me wrong, but it's Tatum's cameo in the beginning of the film that provides the hook. The rest of the dancing is great, and the end dance is pretty impressive, but it just can't make up for the rest of the film.

Conclusion: Skip it in theaters, skip it on dvd, check out the dances on YouTube - it's just not worth it.

Rated PG-13 for language, some suggestive material and brief violence.

See the trailer

  • To prepare for the role of Chase Collins, Robert Hoffman actually went into the Baltimore city underground dance scene and participated in competitive break dance circles.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


, I would have to say, is my favorite movie I've seen since I started Film Fancy. Considering I've probably seen (though not formally reviewed) 100+ films in that time period, that's saying a lot. But Atonement really takes the cake. It absolutely deserves its 13 BAFTA, 6 Golden Globe, and 7 Oscar nominations. It won Best Motion Picture at the BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards. Both McAvoy and Knightley give great performances as awkward sweethearts, as passionate lovers, and as tortured souls when separated from each other. Also, Saoirse Ronan gives an almost chilling performance as young Briony. The film seems light and sweet at first, but underneath can be felt a deep foreboding. Something is about to go very wrong.

Briony is the precocious younger sister of the ravishing Cecilia (Knightley). After an explicit letter from Robbie, the housekeeper's son, mistakenly makes its way into Cecilia's hands, the two realize their love for each other. Unfortunately, Briony, the messenger, read the letter. And later she walks in on the two lovers during a passionate episode in the library. Shocked and confused by what she has seen and read, a whirlwind of events later leads Briony to accuse Robbie of crimes he never committed. He is sent away to prison, and then to World War I still raging in Europe, irrevocably changing Cecilia and Robbie's lives forever. Although at the time Briony had no idea the gravity of her actions, she later sees that her false accusation broke her sister's heart, creating an irreparable rift between them, and ruined a good man's life. As she grows into a woman, Briony spends her life attempting desperately, though in vain, to atone for her sin.

McAcoy's performance is really outstanding. I really enjoyed his performance, as well as Knightley's. It was amazingly refreshing to see Knightley as a character who's actually a "grown-up" instead of a girl on the edge of womanhood. McAvoy and Knightley really do light up the screen together. The cinematography is beautiful, the settings and the lighting as well. Oddly enough, the fact that Atonement is a British film can actually be seen in the cinematography. Director Joe Wright has been nominated for several awards for Atonement, and with good reason. Child actress Ronan is really fabulous. On the whole Atonement is very, very good. If you haven't seen it, you really should. It's a beautiful, beautiful love story. Heartwrenching but a treat to watch. Very rich.

Conclusion: This is going on the official Unmissables list. It's captivating, it draws you in, it lets you feel what Briony feels, what Robbie and Cecilia feel. If you're old enough, or mature enough to see the sex scene, then go see it. In the theater, rent it, or illegally download it, it's a must-see.

Rated: R for disturbing war images, language and some sexuality.

See the trailer

  • James McAvoy considered the script the best he had ever read.
  • The opening film of the 2007's Venice Film Festival. Director Joe Wright, at 35, is the youngest director to have a film open this prestigious event.
  • As Robbie is taken by the police, Briony peers through a window decorated with figures in stained glass. One stained glass figure is labeled Matilda. This is an allusion to a famous children's poem by Hilaire Belloc entitled "Matilda", whose first line runs, "Matilda told such dreadful lies, it made one gasp and stretch one's eyes". By the end of the poem, Matilda has burned to death, having called wolf one time too many.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

27 Dresses

Starring Katherine Heigl and James Marsden

27 Dresses is your average romantic comedy. It's formulaic, it's predictable, and most of its characters are characters used in every romantic comedy. But. Heigl and Marsden make a great team, bringing out the best in each other, and there were some scenes where I was laughing pretty hard.

Jane has been in 27 weddings. And she's never been the bride. Jane is a bridesmaid. The perfect bridesmaid. She's the bride's best friend, the hairdresser, the dress model, the do-everything person. Jane's real job is assistant manager at a company. She happens to be madly in love with her boss, George. Jane has a sister named Tess who has come for a short little visit. Unfortunately, Jane introduces Tess to George, the two hit it off, and all of a sudden, they're getting married. And Jane has to plan the wedding. Into the picture comes Kevin, a writer for the Commitments column of the local paper who writes the most poetic things about weddings. In reality, however, Kevin is a bitter, cynical guy who hates weddings and thinks they're stupid. But Kevin finds Jane's perennial bridesmaid situation intriguing and, unbeknownst to her, decides to write a story on her.

Things get crazy. Jane is in love with George, who is marrying her sister Tess, who is lying to George, who doesn't know Jane loves him and Kevin is the perfect guy for Jane and Kevin likes Jane but Jane doesn't realize it because she's too busy pining after her sister's fiance. What can I say? It's classic. Romantic comedy that is. Heigl, best known for her role in Knocked Up and ABC's Grey's Anatomy, really shines. She's proven herself to be a great romantic comedy actress, and she does show a lot of potential for other roles; I just hope she takes advantage of that. Marsden is great too. His breakout role was in X-Men as Cyclops, and has since then managed to pick chronically blockbuster films to add to his resume (X-Men series, The Notebook, Superman, Hairspray, and Enchanted). I'd go to see a film just because Marsden makes an appearance, I enjoy his performances that much. 27 had some cute concepts, like Jane keeping all of her 27 hideous bridesmaid dresses, and Marsden's character was interesting. So to wrap it up, on to the conclusion...

Conclusion: Fun and entertaining, but predictability took away from that. Marsden and Heigl are great on screen together so if you like chick flicks, go ahead and check it out.

Rated: PG-13 for language, some innuendo and sexuality.

See the trailer

  • The wardrobe department reported that their initial designs for the dresses all looked too good on Katherine Heigl because of her figure, and they were hard-pressed to design bridesmaids dresses that would look bad on her.

Across the Universe

Ever wanted the experience of doing drugs like Acid or E and having cool psychedelic hallucinations, but are too afraid to actually do the drugs? Well now you don't have to! Just go to your local Blockbuster and rent Across the Universe. But seriously now...Across the Universe tells the story of America during the 1960's, the Vietnam War, the drugs, the revolution, all of it using the songs of the greatest rock band in history, The Beatles.

In England, in the sixties, a young man named Jude sets off for America to search out his long-lost father. What he finds are the drugs and revolutions, peace and war, freedom and free love of the sixties. Jude meets Max, a college dropout who just wants to have fun, symbolizing the face of young American men. Through Max, Jude meets his friend's sister, Lucy. The two fall in love and would like to live happily ever after. But when Lucy gets involved with some not-so-peaceful radicals and Max gets drafted and sent to Vietnam, things are going to change.

Across the Universe
is the tale of young men living and dying, the tale of young love , the tale of the confusion of the sixties. It's extremely symbolic and although you can enjoy it without knowing much about the Beatles or the Sixties, it's better understood if you know something about both. The entire movie, it's style, the songs, the color, represents the sixties. You really do feel like you're on some kind of drug trip, but it's a very interesting way to present this story since you're supposed to be seeing it through Jude's eyes. And this is what he would see.

Conclusion: Very enjoyable, but if you're not into the Beatles or musicals or the sixties or mass psychedelia, I'd steer clear. (Kids might find it frightening or especially confusing.)

See the preview

Rated: PG-13 for some drug content, nudity, sexuality, violence and language

  • This film was released in the United States on John Lennon's birthday (October 9th).
  • Prudence, a character in the film, first enters the apartment through the window, a reference to "She Came in through the Bathroom Window" by the Beatles.
  • he rooftop concert toward the end of the film is a reference to the rooftop concert of the Beatles atop Apple Records' headquarters, their final public appearance. The Beatles' concert was also interrupted by the police.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Unmissables Vol. V

Numbers 41 through 50 coming right up...Timeless classics, whose beauty and inspiration have never gone out of date, and some new, soon-to-be classics, that will live on in film history...

The Godfather Part I - Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather is a classic of our time, starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino in his first movie role. The story of the life of mafia families spans several generations. 8 Academy Award Nominations, 3 Wins, 5 Golden Globe Awards

42. Clerks I and II - Okay, this one is more of a cult classic, but Kevin Smith has created two characters now forever immortalized in his films, Jay and his heterosexual life mate, Silent Bob. The hilarity and raunch is matched only in its wit and profundity. (and maybe its profanity as well). Winner of 2 Cannes Film Festival and 2 Sundance Film Festival Awards.

43. Walk the Line - Joaquin Phoenix steals the film as the tortured Johnny Cash and his road to music stardom, his fall into drugs, and his agony and guilt over the past. Fabulously done, and the soundtrack is great. Nominated for 5, winner of 1 Academy Award, winner of 4 Golden Globe Awards.

44. The Departed - A troubled undercover cop must penetrate the criminal underworld undetected; a crooked cop is already inside the police department; the good cop is trying to uncover the mole inside his department; and a sadistic crime lord is about to bring it all down around them. Martin Scorsese, Leo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlburg, and Jack Nicholson. Nominated for 5, winner of 4 Academy Awards; recipient of 47 other film awards.

45. Borat - Borat has come to America "for make benefit glorious nation of Kazakhstan", to make a documentary that will change comedy and film and the people Borat meets forever. Gloriously acted by Mr. Sasha Baron Cohen. Nominated for 1 Academy Award, Winner of 2 Golden Globes.

46. The Sound of Music - Julie Andrews plays an almost-nun who is sent to nanny a military man's (Christopher Plummer) children in Austria just on the brink of World War II. The Sound of Music is the true story of the singing Von-Trapp family. Winner of 5 Academy Awards.

47. Gone With the Wind - A breathtaking, epic view of the Old South before, during, and after the devastating Civil War. As seen through the eyes of young, vain, foolish Scarlett O'Hara. Also starring Clark Gable. Winner of 10 Academy Awards.

48. My Fair Lady - One of Audrey Hepburn's best films, also starring Rex Harrison. Harrison bets his friend that he can take a homeless girl off the streets and in six months, pass her off as a duchess at the Grand Ball. The homeless girl? Audrey Hepburn. Winner of 8 Academy Awards.

49. Napolean Dynamite - Napolean's crazy life win Grandma, Tina, Pedro, Kip, and Uncle Rico is a tale so un-epic, you'll love it. Hilarity ensues. Starring John Heder and his hilariousness.

50. Grease - A sweet girl and the school bad boy fall in love over the summer, but are surprised to find that they will be attending the same high school. Can their love conquer their reputations and their egos? Starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, a musical. Nominated of 1 Academy Award, Recipient of 5 Golden Globe Awards.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

3:10 To Yuma

Dan Evans has a failing ranch, a family of four to support, a lot of debt on his back, and he's in a hell of a lot of trouble. Ben Wade is a wanted outlaw the railroads want to bring to justice for all the trouble he's caused them. When Evans signs up to help escort Wade to the prison train to Yuma for $200, he has no idea what he's getting himself into. Wade's ruthless gang will stop at nothing to hunt down their leader's captors to free him.

Evans is superbly played by Christian Bale, who gets too little recognition for his phenomenal roles. Russell Crowe plays the part of Ben Wade and the two make a fabulous, fabulous duo. The two onscreen together is beautiful to watch. When Evans' son gets mixed up in the whole affair, things turn from good to bad to ugly. Is Wade really all bad as he claims? He may just be. And there may be no way out for Evans, who becomes more and more trapped as the plot develops.

3:10 to Yuma is a western, but forget Clint Eastwood and John Wayne, this is like nothing you've ever seen. It's a western with new themes, new characters, and a new plot. Who would've thought THAT possible? Great directing and cinematography, and the script and story and plot are all top-notch. By the way, Ben Foster puts on a particularly great show as Wade's cutthroat right-hand man. You might see parts of yourself in these characters (I particularly loved Evans, Bale really nailed him), or you might not. But there are explosions and shoot-em-ups and even a horse chase. It's a guys action film but with enough drama and emotion for girls too. It's a film about reality and heroism and the courage to do what's right. And sometimes doing the right thing isn't just the most difficult, it might be the most dangerous too.

Conclusion: It's got two thumbs up from me and certainly will be on a top-something list of mine.

Rated: R for violence and some language

  • Russell Crowe, the director, and the producer, all specifically asked for Christian Bale to play Evans.
  • The weekend before shooting was scheduled to wrap, a freak storm dumped nearly 2 feet of snow on the supposedly drought plagued town. Laborers shoveled the snow from the buildings' balconies and roofs and distributed 89 dump trucks worth of dry soil on the ground.


Prepare for the end of the world as you know it.

It was just a regular day. We planned a surprise part for Rob. He's like, my main dude, but he's leaving for Japan to land a new job. It wasn't that great of a party really, some nasty stuff went down and it kinda went downhill from there you could say. So after there's this big argument between Rob and this girl, there was this explosion. Yeah, I told you it got worse. At first we thought it was another terrorist attack or something, but it wasn't. There were explosions and fires and stuff, we could see it from the roof. We ran out to the street and for a moment, I saw it. It was, well I don't know exactly what it was, but it was huge and it was destroying the city. I thought it was Armageddon. I mean, I thought I was gonna die.

Filmed on a home-movie camera, Cloverfield is about a small group of people who must survive a monster attack on New York City. When you go to see it, be prepared to be scared out of your pants, or at least to wet them. The camera work is shaky and sometimes blurry and sometimes pointed in the wrong direction, but the filmmakers did a crazy-good job on this. I wasn't sure if Cloverfield could live up to J.J. Abrams' hype, but wow, it does. Great choreography and lighting, and the effects were absolutely insane. (I can explain if you saw it and don't understand why I think they're amazing.) I loved the way they used background noise as a soundtrack almost. Deep humming machines, roaring, etc. takes the place of music. Also, the conflict of emotion they're able to evoke from the audience is amazing. Just when you're scared out of your mind, a character will say something utterly offbeat and funny. And you will definitely be scared out of your mind. A New York viewer said he came out of the theater half expecting to see the city in ruins.

Great performances by virtually unknown actors and actresses, really adds to the film and lets you focus on the story. The filmmakers really want you to focus on sounds and the story, so they add elements like blurriness or something when you need to be listening carefully, perhaps to a conversation, that's important to the story. They take a page out of Hitchcock's guide to suspense films and definitely apply the motto "What you don't see is more frightening than what you do see." Anyway, if you won't get annoyed by the shaky camera waving all over the place, go see Cloverfield. Definitely very enjoyable, got a good scare out of me, very well, done, I'd recommend it to the 14-40 age-group since they'll be more likely to be able to handle the seasickness brought on by the camera and still enjoy the film. Most excellent.

Conclusion: See it. Now.

Rated: PG-13 for terror, violence, and some disturbing images (Don't take little kids to see this, okay?)

  • The teaser trailer was shot before principal production began with small digital cameras.
  • The film has no soundtrack whatsoever.

The Butterfly Effect

A butterfly flapping its wings could cause a tornado miles away

Evan, Kayleigh, Tommy, and Lenny are just four ordinary kids, but when a game goes tragically awry, it changes all of their lives forever. Evan is 20-something and a successful college student when his quest to remember the memories he's repressed is fulfilled. But the memories he can now recall should have been left alone, and when Evan discovers a way to change the past, he thinks he can save his friends. But what Evan doesn't know is that any little change he makes in the past creates and entirely different future. Evan is getting deeper and deeper in and there may be no way back.

Evan is played (surprisingly well) by Ashton Kutcher. He does a great job, although the planes of emotion coming from an actor from movies of the Dude-Where's-My-Car-caliber is entirely unexpected. The same goes for Amy Smart, who is a normally comedic actor, but in Butterfly she seamlessly transitions from heartbreakingly tragic to upbeat prep characters. The chaos theory is a great premise for a movie, although the premise has been polluted by some silly plot factors.

Butterfly is shocking to the max. I mean, seriously disturbing. Keep small children and kids under age 16 away from it. There are a lot of under-the-sheet scenes along with themes like massive drug abuse, animal abuse, child abuse, sexual abuse, child pornography, suicide, a LOT of violence, and sex, so just be aware. This is a very good movie, or at least I was impressed by it. The acting is very very good and the story is just so so heartbreaking.

Conclusion: If you can stomach the strong, well, everything, then go for it.

Rated: R for violence, sexual content, language and brief drug use.

  • During one of Evan's "flashback" scenes, he can be heard reading part of Ray Bradbury's short story "A Sound of Thunder". In this story, a group of people travel millions of years into the past to hunt dinosaurs. One of them accidentally steps on and kills a butterfly, which dramatically alters the future.
  • Ashton Kutcher did extensive research on psychology, mental disorders, and chaos theory to prepare for his role in this film.
See the trailer here

Monday, January 14, 2008

In the Land of Women

"Women have always been drawn to you," Carter's mother tells him, and unfortunately he's right. At 26 years old, Carter has had one failed relationship after another. Finally, when the girl of his dreams ends their relationship, he decides to escape. To get away from women and away from his entanglements with them, he leaves for Michigan to take care of his grandmother. But Carter's mother is right and by day two he's got three new women in his life, plus his grandmother who insists upon her imminent death, but is in perfect health.

Carter's story is sweet and both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Kristin Stewart and Meg Ryan pull the universal mother-daughter, love-hate relationship off to a T. Like Waitress, this is not your average romantic comedy. In fact, it's difficult to call it one at all. The humor is there, and the romance, but it just doesn't have the same feel. In some ways it seems very linear, but in others it is so discursive.

Kudos to both Ryan and Stewart; Ryan nailed a role I didn't think she could pull off, and Stewart (most famous for her starring role in The Messengers) is a great addition to the film. But Brody's character is witty and lovable, and also flawed. Brody finally got a starring role in something and got to act his age. Well, almost. This is a film about growing up and the meaning of life and individuality and finding out what you really want. And it's not just Carter's journey, he takes along everyone he meets along the way, including you.

Conclusion: If you can handle to randomness and the unconventional-ness, it really is a pretty awesome film.

Rated: PG-13 for sexual content, thematic elements, and language. (Again, don't take little kids to see it)

See the trailer here


Once upon a time there lived a Waitress. Named Jenna. But Jenna's life was not a storybook life. She makes minimum wage and her husband is repulsive. She is saving money to run away from him, but when Jenna finds out about her unwanted pregnancy, everything changes.

Jenna is played by Kerri Russell, who gives a superior performance, very well done. The characters here are absolutely amazing. I'm not sure who wrote the script and the characters for this film but a thousand kudos to them, because they're excellent. The characters are sometimes quirky yes, but very real and you can really identify with them. Jenna is a fabulous character and her development is extraordinary.

Waitress is very well acted, with pleasing appearances by Andy Griffith and Eddie Jemison, as well as great performances by Nathan Fillion and Jeremy Sisto. Sisto is Jenna's horrible husband, and Fillion is the alternate love interest. This isn't your typical romantic comedy. It's such a bright setting juxtaposed with the black humor. But it is extremely original. I really, really enjoyed this movie and I would recommend it to just about anyone. It does have some themes that might induce questioning from small children, like adultery, domestic violence, etc., and if those themes are particularly provocative for you, you might want to steer clear of this one.

Conclusion: Waitress will draw you in, play with your emotions, and you'll love it. PS: It's not really a guy's movie. No explosions.

Rated: PG-13 for sexual content (Earl and Jenna), language, and some thematic elements.

  • The movie took only 20 days to shoot.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Superman Returns

Picking up where Christopher Reeves left off in the 1980s, director Bryan Singer resurrects Superman from obscurity to one of the best Superhero movies in a long superhero movie streak. When scientists find the remnants of Superman's home world, Krypton, Superman leaves Earth to search it out. Five long years later he returns to find the world in chaos and Lois Lane a mommy, engaged to be married, and a Pulitzer Prize winner for a piece entitled "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman". When Lex Luthor devises a sinister scheme that will kills billions for his own profit, Superman must rise once more to save mankind. But Lex Luthor nearly killed him once before and Luthor may have more than one trick up his sleeve. Will evil triumph or will Superman overcome? See Superman Returns and find out.

I very much enjoyed Routh's Superman. He did an excellent job, no overacting, which was a relief, and he really plays the part so accurately. Plus, he's a Reeves look-alike. Anyway, he really did a good job. Bosworth was enjoyable as Lois Lane, but Kevin Spacey's performance as Lex Luthor really is fabulous, as well as being wonderfully entertaining. James Marsden also costars as Lois' fiance and as always delivers a great performance.

In addition, the effects are impressive and the story is very well done and moves along well. Also, we are not really formally introduced to any characters, but it's as though we just come in to the middle of the story and are expected to know the characters already, which furthers Singer's concept of a sequel/remake. And the script isn't stupid either, which is a relief. I can't get over Routh's performance, he really does pull his role off very, very well. I like the subtleties of his acting. The reintroduction of Superman is great. It's dramatic and entertaining and manages some great comic relief as well.

Conclusion: Definitely see Superman Returns it's entertaining and not what you'd expect.

Rated: PG-13 for some intense action violence. It's okay for kids 8 and up, it's certainly not scarier or more violent than Lord of the Rings, so...

  • The last line of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) (the one before "Returns") is Superman saying to Luthor, "See you in twenty." That scene was filmed in 1986. Coincidentally, twenty years later, in 2006, the next Superman movie was released.
  • Bryan Singer wanted Christopher Reeves to make a cameo appearance in the film but Reeve died before filming began. Singer then decided to dedicate the film to him.
  • Brandon Routh put on 20 pounds of muscle for the movie.
  • The corn on the Kent farm was grown by the crew in Australia, a particularly difficult feat since Australia was in the middle of a 7-year drought.


Find out which films to absolutely skip and which you can't miss. THese are my opinions on current films and timeless classics