MOVIES 2012 - Saw & Want To See

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Roadie (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
After 20 years on the road with Blue Oyster Cult, Jimmy Testagros returns to his hometown to life with his ailing mother. Complications arise when he falls for an old friend, who is now married to his longtime nemesis. (95 mins.)
Director: Michael Cuesta
“ Out 1/6/12, On DVD 3/20/12, Watched 7/15/12. An absolutely terrific character study of a guy who loses everything he has when he's in his early forties. The character is a bit of a loser, a roadie who tells his mother and friends that he manages and writes songs for the Blue Oyster Cult after they've fired him as one of their roadies, but Ron Eldard plays him with such dignity you never feel anythign but compassion for him -- we've all had the experience of hoping our hopes and dreams dashed. There's one scene, where he getts lulled into a coke and alcohol binge where he thoroughly gets lost and caught up in playing air guitar and singing along to one of the Blue Oyster Cult songs that is absolutely, absolutely brilliant. One of the best scenes in a movie I've seen this year, and Eldard plays it to perfection. The ending is right-on perfect. Rate 8/10. ” - johnluiz1
Man on a Ledge (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
As a police psychologist works to talk down an ex-con who is threatening to jump from a Manhattan hotel rooftop, the biggest diamond heist ever committed is in motion. (102 mins.)
Director: Asger Leth
“ Out 1/27/12, On DVD 5/29/12, Watched 7/25/12. Suspense isn't normally my cup of tea, but this is a good one, with enough plot twists along the way to keep you interested and appealing performances from Elizabeth Banks and Sam Worthington. Rate 7/10. ” - johnluiz1
One for the Money (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
Unemployed and newly-divorced Stephanie Plum lands a job at her cousin's bail-bond business, where her first assignment puts her on the trail of a wanted local cop from her romantic past. (91 mins.)
“ Out 1/27/12, On DVD 5/15/12, Watched 7/17/12. Tearing into Katherine Heigl seems to be bloodsport for some reviewers. As I remember this one got widely panned when it came out, but I like her charm, so I gave it shot. It's the usual formulaic crime stuff but not too bad of a movie. It also compared unfavorably to Bounty Hunter with Jennifer Anniston, but I found that one pretty dopey, and this one was fun, even if the plot, as many of these movies have lots of holes, with people always have to be in the right place at the right time for everything to fall into place. Still a fun, light-minded entertainment. Rate 6/10. ” - johnluiz1
Big Miracle (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
In small town Alaska, a news reporter recruits his ex-girlfriend - a Greenpeace volunteer - on a campaign to save a family of gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle. (107 mins.)
Director: Ken Kwapis
“ Out 2/3/12, On DVD 6/19/12. Watched 9/10/12. I got this from Netflix because I was excited about the stellar cast, but then let it sit around my house for a few weeks, I guess because I suspected it would be a schmaltzy, overly sentimental story. Boy was I wrong -- yes it tugs at the heartstrungs, but the characters and storylines and tensions are all well defined. Drew Barrymore does a great job, as the idealistic Greenpeace protestor, Ted Danson puts in a fine performance as the seemingly callous -- at least initially oil tycoon -- John Krasinki is rock solid as the TV reporter feeling lost and isolated in sleepy little Barrow Alaska until the big story breaks and he has a chance to prove himself to higher-ups in bigger cities. The Eskimo grandfather fulfills the steroetype of the wise local native American, but the tension in the Eskimo community about how to treat the stranded whales gives the story sharper edges than I suspected. It's still very much in the vein of the heartwarming, uplifting story, but it's more sophisticated -- and more enteraining -- than I had suspected after just seeing the preview. Rate 7/10 ” - johnluiz1
W.E. (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
The affair between King Edward VIII and American divorcée Wallis Simpson, and a contemporary romance between a married woman and a Russian security guard. (119 mins.)
Director: Madonna
“ Out 2/3/12, On DVD 5/1/12, Watched 7/28/12. This movie starts very confusingly as it keeps switching between 3 different periods - one involving a contemporary woman, the other 2 involving 2 different episodes of Wallis Simpson's life. It takes a while to figure out what's going on and it's all the more complicated because the 2 actresses playing the parts look alike. But after that awkward opening it becomes much more interesting and the story lines between the contemporary women obsessed with a Sotheby's auction of Waliis and Edward's things and the story of their love affair becomes very powerful. Rare 6/10. ” - johnluiz1
Thin Ice (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
A dishonest insurance salesman's life quickly disintegrates during a Wisconsin winter when he teams up with a psychopath to steal a rare violin at the home of a reclusive farmer. (93 mins.)
Director: Jill Sprecher
“ Out 2/17/12, On DVD 6/12/12, Watched 7/27/12. Gets off to a slow start. Focuses on Kinnear character as a lying, conniving insurance salesman, and he's such an unappealing character with a pathetic life that it's not every entertaining. But after the slow beginning it picks up the pace and the plot twists start to come, and the sneaky salesman almost becomes a sympathetic figure as the complications from the deceptions he's set in motion pile up around him. He is in way over his head, and then more and more surprises are in store. A fun, little entertainment in the end. Rate 6/10. ” - johnluiz1
This Means War (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Two top CIA operatives wage an epic battle against one another after they discover they are dating the same woman. (103 mins.)
Director: McG
“ Out 2/17/12, On DVD 5/22/12. Watched 8/11/12. Over the top and silly, but fun escapism. Watchig the 2 CIA gents -- and their colleagues who happily go along -- use all their surveillance techniques to keep track of his rival's pursuit of the same woman is just fun and the stars are all attractive and appealing to watch. Rate 7/10. ” - johnluiz1
Wanderlust (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
Rattled by sudden unemployment, a Manhattan couple surveys alternative living options, ultimately deciding to experiment with living on a rural commune where free love rules. (98 mins.)
Director: David Wain
“ Out 2/24/12, Saw at Legacy Place 2/24/12. Funny lighthearted tale of 2 not-so-successful Yuppies who get sidetracked at a commune, run by a charasmatic, and not suprisingly, controlling figure. Rate 7/10 ” - johnluiz1
Being Flynn (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Working in a Boston homeless shelter, Nick Flynn re-encounters his father, a con man and self-proclaimed poet. Sensing trouble in his own life, Nick wrestles with the notion of reaching out yet again to his dad. (102 mins.)
Director: Paul Weitz
“ In theaters 3/2/12, On DVD 7/10/12. Watched 9/3/2012. Absolutely terrific film. You'd think it would be depressing -- about a crazy man, with delusions of being a great writer, and his son, whom he abandoned and who was raised by his mother, who then committed suicide after the boy was in his late teens. It sounds like a recipe for a downer, but it's not. It's a very powerful story about the son and father ultimately connecting -- but not in any schmaltzy way. The father never "recovers" or finds some new way to be in a deeper relationship with his son. The father stays who he is, and it's the son who must take a journey figuring out what it means to have a relationship with a man who's so limited. The two lead performances - by DeNiro and Paul Dano are absolutely terrific. Rate 8/10. ” - johnluiz1
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A fisheries expert is approached by a consultant to help realize a sheik's vision of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to the desert and embarks on an upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible possible. (107 mins.)
“ In theaters 3/9/12, Saw at Landmark Cinema, 3/30/12. Standard rom-com formula of 2 people who originally can't stand each other, falliing in love, but unique & beautiful settings in Scotland and Yemen. Great characters for Ewan M. and Emily Blunt to play and they do an absolutely marvelous job. Loved this movie. Rate 9/10 ” - johnluiz1
21 Jump Street (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A pair of underachieving cops are sent back to a local high school to blend in and bring down a synthetic drug ring. (109 mins.)
“ Out 3/16/12, On DVD 6/26/12, Saw 7/23/12. Can't understand why this garnered so many positive reviews. One of the worst movies of the year for me. I'm by no means a prude, but I just expect the humor to deliver more than swear words and gross visuals as an end in themselves. Admittedly, I'm the wrong demographic. It seems aimed for teenage boys -- not sure why anyone else would find it in any way entertaining. As an example - if you find someone picking up their shot-off penis with their mouth to save it for the doctors to reattach funny, you might like this. If not, stay away. Rate 2/10. ” - johnluiz1
Detachment (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A substitute teacher who drifts from classroom to classroom finds a connection to the students and teachers during his latest assignment. (98 mins.)
Director: Tony Kaye
“ Out 3/16/12, On DVD 9/18/12, Watched Amazon Instant Vid 7/31/12. This is a brilliant, moving film. It's a bleak and depressing film about a young man with a tortured family history, trying to make a difference in a school with violent and aggressive children who seem beyond reach, but he manages to touch a few of them. In his efforts to do well he also rescues a teenage prostitute from the streets. And while it may fill you with despair about the fate of these inner city schools, it's still a moving portrait of one man's attempt to stem the tide of failure and hopelessness. Adrien Brody gives an absolutely amazing performance as Henry, the substitute teacher trying to make a difference and he is supported by a stunningly talented cast including James Caan, Marcia Gay Hayden, Blythe Danner, Lucy Liu and Christina Hendricks. Rate 8/10 ” - johnluiz1
Friends with Kids (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Two best friends decide to have a child together while keeping their relationship platonic, so they can avoid the toll kids can take on romantic relationships. (107 mins.)
“ In Theaters: 3/16/12, On DVD 7/17/12, Watched 7/20/12. Starts off a little slow, with too many cutesy rom-com tricks to demonsrate the connection b/w the Jennifer Westfeldt and Adam Scott characters, but it quickly builds into a much more interesting exploration of what it takes to have a succesful long-term relationship, and the effects of having kids on marriages. Some great scenes, esp one in which the drunken Jon Hamm character tells off the couple for trying to have a kid outside the "norm" of a standard marriage. Only other slight downfall is Adam Scott character seems more like a movie-driven persona than a real one. Hard to imagine he could bed so many beautiful one after the other -- for short (six-week) relationships -- and get to his stage of life without already having realized that the excitement of someone new eventually wears off. (But I suppose that is, in fact, what fuels many mid-life crises). Rate 7/10. ” - johnluiz1
Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Dispatched from his basement room on an errand for his widowed mother, slacker Jeff might discover his destiny (finally) when he spends the day with his unhappily married brother as he tracks his possibly adulterous wife. (83 mins.)
“ In theaters 3/16/12. Saw at Dedham Community 3/16/12. Depressed and depressing characters, and as one review noted an ABC After School Special-type ending. The great Susan Sarandon almost wasted. Good to see Rae-Dawn Chong back, though. Rate 3/10 ” - johnluiz1
The Kid with a Bike (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Abandoned by his father, a young boy is left in a state-run youth farm. In a random act of kindness, the town hair-dresser agrees to foster him on week-ends. (84 mins.)
“ Out 3/16/2012 ” - johnluiz1
Take Me Home (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Soon after Thom starts operating as an illegal taxi driver in New York City, Claire hires him to drive her to California after her estranged father suffers a heart attack. (97 mins.)
Director: Sam Jaeger
“ In Theaters: 4/6/12, ON DVD 5/29/12, Watched 6/28/12. Terrific, low-budget romantic comedy. Sticks to the formula of a couple who meet, can't stand each other, then fall in love but the husband and wife acting team of Sam and Amber Jaeger do a great job with their roles and they're fun to watch. Rate 7/10 ” - johnluiz1
Damsels in Distress (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
A trio of girls set out to change the male-dominated environment of the Seven Oaks college campus, and to rescue their fellow students from depression, grunge and low standards of every kind. (99 mins.)
Director: Whit Stillman
“ Out 4/6/12. Saw 4/20/12. The Whit Stillman magic is gone. His way of portraying characters who have a kind of nostalgic innocence along with a quirky obsession -- a formula that proved so winning in Metropolitan -- has lost its charm and here comes across as utterly stupid. I rarely feel this way about a movie, but I walked out of this one feeling annoyed over what a complete waste of time watching it was. The characters bear no resemblance to reality and everything they're engaged in feels false. There is one bright woman who is independent enough to break from the herd of goofy innoncents, but the fact that she has a hard time getting away from a man with a bizarre sexual perversion (which her friends all talk so casually and open about) is just one example of how wrong everything is with this script. Rate 2/10. (A few points only because Greta Gerwig is fun to watch in anything.) ” - johnluiz1
L!fe Happens (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
A comedy centered on two best friends, Kim and Deena, who fight to maintain normalcy in their lives after Kim gets pregnant and has a baby. (100 mins.)
Director: Kat Coiro
“ Out 4/13/12, On DVD 8/28/12. Watching a Netflix streaming 11/26/12. In the end, a pretty entertaining look at a young man dealing with an unexpected pregnancy and child. Marred only by the caricature quality of the supporting characters -- including her roommates, boss, and one of the roommate's boyfriend. An almost schizophrenic screenplay because the lead character feels real, is interesting and Krysten Ritter does a terrific job playing. Surprising that same writer - or team of writers -- would create such outlandishly silly and unbelievable secondary characters around her. Rate 5. ” - johnluiz1
Monsieur Lazhar (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
At a Montréal public grade school, an Algerian immigrant is hired to replace a popular teacher who committed suicide in her classroom. While helping his students deal with their grief, his own recent loss is revealed. (94 mins.)
“ (Out: 4/13/12), ON DVD 8/28/12. Watched 9/12/12. Beautiful movie. Perfectly paced. Brilliantly acted by the adult and child cast. A compelling story that examines the impact of the teacher's suicide on everyone she left behind -- with a complex understanding of how it impacted the children, her fellow teachers and parents, without ever going over the top and making it sensationalistic. Rate 8/10. ” - johnluiz1
Darling Companion (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  
The story of a woman who loves her dog more than her husband. And then her husband loses the dog. (103 mins.)
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
“ In Theaters: 4/20/12, On DVD 8/28. Watched 9/11/12. Another movie I got because of the stellar cast, but thought the premise -- a husband and wife battling over a lost dog -- might not be enough to stretch over a whole movie. Again, I was pleasantly surprised. It's a good portrait of family tensions and the ability people have to surrprise -- both when we first meet them and even after we've known them for a long time. Ayelet Zurer as the caretaker of the couple's vacation home and a gypsy with visions of where the missing dog might be is absolutely fabulous. Rate 7/10. ” - johnluiz1
Bernie (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
In small-town Texas, an affable mortician strikes up a friendship with a wealthy widow, though when she starts to become controlling, he goes to great lengths to separate himself from her grasp. (99 mins.)
“ In Theaters: 4/27/12. On DVD 8/21/12. Saw at Coolidge 6/29/12. Very funny take on a true story about a seemingly kind-hearted funeral director who befriends a mean, rich older woman and kills her when she becomes too controlling. None of the townspeople want him to go to jail because they love him, and she was a hated shrew. Great performances from Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, and Matthew McConaghey. Don't usually like movies with lots of talking heads, but the Texas townspeople who share their views of the story between dramatized scenes are hysterically funny. Rate 8/10. ” - johnluiz1
The Giant Mechanical Man (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
An offbeat romantic comedy about a silver-painted street performer and the soft spoken zoo worker who falls for him. (94 mins.)
Director: Lee Kirk
“ Out 4/27/12, On DVD 10/9/12. Watched Amazon Inst Vid 11/10/12. A terrific little romantic comedy about a 30-something woman, named Janice, who hasn't found herself yet and can't keep any jobs to pay her rent, and a young man with a passion for mime street performance who loses his girlfriend because he doesn't make any money. They meet when they accept bottom-of-the-barrel jobs at a zoon and connect. Topher Grace does a great job as an obnoxious, smug self-help guru who thinks he can sweep Janice off her feet, and who keeps being foisted onto Janice by her too eager to help sister. A charming, low key love story. Jenna Fischer is doing some great in these low budget indies. This and "A Little Help" were two of my fave indie films of the past couple of years. Rate 7/10. ” - johnluiz1
The Five-Year Engagement (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
One year after meeting, Tom proposes to his girlfriend, Violet, but unexpected events keep tripping them up as they look to walk down the aisle together. (124 mins.)
“ In Theaters: 4/27/12. Saw 5/4/12 at Legacy Place. Wonderful rom-com. Emily Blunt is always fun to watch. Great twists and turns through storyline, and an original and very funny final wedding scene. (Hard to make that different!) Rate 7/10 ” - johnluiz1
The Perfect Family (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
A devoutly Catholic wife and mother has been nominated for one of the church's top awards. She then goes about trying to prove she has the "perfect" family, refusing to accept them for who they are. (84 mins.)
Director: Anne Renton
“ In Theaters: 5/4/12, on DVD 6/26/12. Watched 8/15/12. Starts off very slow -- the pacing, cinematography and broad-brush character development seems like a low-budget TV movie, but halfway thru it gets more complicated and the characters and issues explored take on a much deeper resonance. In the end a very good little film about what it means to be Catholic in a world with family dynamics that are much complex than a simple, doctrinaire interpretation of religious faith would allow. Kudos to the film for exploring those complexitites without bashing the Catholic Church. Rate 7/10. ” - johnluiz1
Where Do We Go Now? (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A group of Lebanese women try to ease religious tensions between Christians and Muslims in their village. (110 mins.)
Director: Nadine Labaki
“ In Theaters: 5/11/12, On DVD 9/11/12 ” - johnluiz1
Hysteria (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The truth of how Mortimer Granville devised the invention of the first vibrator in the name of medical science. (100 mins.)
Director: Tanya Wexler
“ In Theaters: 5/18/12. On DVD 9/18/12. Watch 10/13/12. Hugh Dancy does a great job as the uptight doctor who signs up with an experienced doctor who has an "unorthodox" method of dealing with women's hysteria -- using hand manipulation to bring them to "paroxysms." When he develops carpal tunnel syndrome, he invites a device that can give his hand a break -- and ultimately allow women to pleasure themselves. Maggie Gyllenhal does a great job as the brave feminist in Victorian times, whose hysteria -- standing up for herself -- could lead to imprisonment and forced surgery. Even better than I expected from preview. Rate 7/10. ” - johnluiz1
Virginia (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
A sheriff sees his state senate bid slide out onto the ice when his daughter begins to date the son of a charming but psychologically disturbed woman with whom the sheriff has engaged in a two-decade-long affair. (111 mins.)
“ In Theaters: 5/18/12, ON DVD 8/21/12. Watched 9/24/12. Powerful movies have been made about people who are depressed or mentally ill, but this just isn't one of them. It's simply depressing, and the storyline development just jumps around too much. Too bad because there are good performances from Connelly and the actor who plays her son, but it just never all comes together to feel very compelling. Rate 4/10. ” - johnluiz1
What to Expect When You're Expecting (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
Follows the lives of five interconnected couples as they experience the thrills and surprises of having a baby, and realize that no matter what you plan for, life does not always deliver what is expected. (110 mins.)
Director: Kirk Jones
“ In Theaters: 5/18/12, On DVD 9/11/12. Watched 9/25/12. I almost gave up on in after first half hour, because it's so dopey and switches back and forth between the different storylines so fast, but once some tension started to develop -- like the frustration of the son of the race-car-driving Dad (Dennis Quaid) -- in the different storylines it got more interesting, and each storyline became a little more compelling. Still very light fare -- but fun and easy. The delivery scenes were good, although have seen many times before. The adoption scene in Ethiopia, though, was something I'd never seen and was quite moving. Jennifer Lopez may not get the credit, but she's a pretty good actress. Soundtrack is terrific and it ends with the great "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Rate 7/10. ” - johnluiz1
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than advertised, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways. (124 mins.)
Director: John Madden
“ Out 5/25/12. Saw at Dedham Community 6/13/12. Very funny, uplifting tale about the elderly, feeling overlooked and useless, finding a way -- in India -- to find new meaning in their lives. Dev Patel as young hotel owner is very funny. Rate 8/10 ” - johnluiz1
Hide Away (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
A successful businessman attempting to resurrect his life buys and boards a dilapidated sailboat. (88 mins.)
Director: Chris Eyre
“ In theaters: 5/25/12, On DVD 8/21/12. Watched 10/5/12. A suprising movie. It has very little dialogue and very little plot or action. Most of the movie is filled with shots of a man trying to repair a dilipadated boat. But the repairs are an exercise in restoring himself after the devastation of losing his wife and young children, a tragedy he feels partly responsible for. As minimalist as the movie is, it's amazingly powerful. Josh Lucas puts in an amazing performance -- and his struggles with not getting a bilge pump to work or a backed-up toilet that explodes on him -- are all surprisingly interesting. A great study in how a man comes to terms with his grief, his guilt, and ultimately himself. Rate 7/10. (Nice to hear one of my favorite indie bands, Delta Spirit, with a song on the soundtrack.) ” - johnluiz1
Mighty Fine (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.0/10 X  
Joe Fine moves his family from Brooklyn to New Orleans, where his dreams and extravagance far exceed his means. (80 mins.)
“ In theaters: 5/25/12 ” - johnluiz1
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out to find them. (94 mins.)
Director: Wes Anderson
“ In Theaters: 5/25/12, Saw Dedham Community, 6/16/12, Beautiful scenery and colors, charmingly uplighting story about the determination of 2 early teen kids to be together. great cast, great performances 2 young stars steal the show. Rate 9/10 ” - johnluiz1
Dark Horse (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
Romance blooms between two thirty-somethings in arrested development: an avid toy collector who is the dark horse of his family and a depressed woman on the rebound. (86 mins.)
Director: Todd Solondz
“ In theaters: 6/8/12, On Video, 11/13/12, Saw 12/15/12. Another oddball movie from Todd Solondz. Doesn't have the grotesque elements some of his earlier movies do. But its populated with unlikeable characters behaving in unlikeable ways - yet in typical Solondz fashion -- it's oddly compelling nontheless. It's hard to believe anyone could be as much of a self-deluded loser as the lead character is, but perhaps that are some poor saps out there as out of touch as he is. ” - johnluiz1
Lola Versus (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
Dumped by her boyfriend just three weeks before their wedding, Lola enlists her close friends for a series of adventures she hopes will help her come to terms with approaching 30 as a single woman. (87 mins.)
Director: Daryl Wein
“ In Theaters: 6/8/12, Saw at Kendall Square 6/24/12. Greta is her usual great self, but the plot seems forced. Can't understand why a woman who'd been hurt so much by a fiance who abandoned her would keep going to parties he threw and inviting him to her own. I first saw Zoe Lister Jones in the amazing performance she gave in Arranged. Sad to see her in these goofy sidebkick roles, hope she gets another major role soon. Rate 6/10 ” - johnluiz1
Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
An uptight NYC lawyer takes her two teenagers to her hippie mother's farmhouse upstate for a family vacation. (96 mins.)
Director: Bruce Beresford
“ In Theaters: 6/8/12, On DVD 10/2/12, Watched Amazon Instant Video 8/29/12. One of those movies that flew under the radar, in and out of the theaters so fast, but really deserved a bigger audience. A terrific look at an uptight lawyer, who's just discovered her husband wants to divorce. She runs to her hippie-ish mother who lives in Woodstock and whom she has spoken to in 20 years. In the week-long visit, she, her mother, and the woman's 2 children discover lots about themselves, while also finding new romances. There's a great message here about getting past the anger that's hard to let go of when family members have done unforgivable things. The performances by the entire cast are all maginificant. Catherine Keener is a personal fave of mine, and she's her usual great self. Jane Fonda is terrific and new indie darling Elizabeth Olsen proves she can do light comedy after her stunning performance in Marcy, May, Maylene. Rate 7/10. ” - johnluiz1
Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified advertisement seeking a companion for time travel. (86 mins.)
Director: Colin Trevorrow
“ In Theaters: 6/8/12, Saw at Kendall Square 6/24/12. Mark Duplass does a wonderful job playing a delusional man. Aubrey Plaza puts in a terrific performance as the reporter intern with her own personal reasons for being drawn into plans to travel back in time. Also nice to hear an extended portion of Arctic Monkeys' "Brick by Brick" used over a montage. Rate 7/10 ” - johnluiz1
Rock of Ages (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
A small town girl and a city boy meet on the Sunset Strip, while pursuing their Hollywood dreams. (123 mins.)
Director: Adam Shankman
“ In theaters: 6/15/12 ” - johnluiz1
Your Sister's Sister (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Iris invites her friend Jack to stay at her family's island getaway after the death of his brother. At their remote cabin, Jack's drunken encounter with Hannah, Iris' sister, kicks off a revealing stretch of days. (90 mins.)
Director: Lynn Shelton
“ In Theaters: 6/15/12. Saw at Coolidge Corner 6/22/12. This got so much positive press when it was on the festival circuit, I was expecting a little more. I needed more back story on these characters, particularly with the Emily Blunt and Mark Duplass characters, to feel more invested in them. I think most of the dialogue was improv-ed, and to that point this showed the value of a scriptwriter. There's an early scene when the guy and his best friend's lesbian sister first meet and then share a tequila bottle that could have been so much sharper, with more interesting revelations if it had been carefully built by a writer. Mostly as they traded tequila shots, it was a lot of f'bombs and banal phrases. I know Atlantic reviewer said this is what makes film distinctive and authentic -- that a character doesn't have a clever retort for every line, but I don't think people in real life are as inarticulate and uninteresting as this. Also, the director relied on the cute technique of giving you fragments of conversation without providing context for the words to be meaningful. In a 90-minute movie, I want to know and understand every word I hear. That's why I'm at the theater! Still, the actors are terrific to watch and the premise was good. Rate 5/10. ” - johnluiz1
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
As an asteroid nears Earth, a man finds himself alone after his wife leaves in a panic. He decides to take a road trip to reunite with his high school sweetheart. Accompanying him is a neighbor who inadvertently puts a wrench in his plan. (101 mins.)
Director: Lorene Scafaria
“ In Theaters: 6/22/12, On DVD 10/23/12, Saw 11/30/12. Starts off very frenetic -- as people go crazy about the impending end of the world. Crazed marauders going on looting spree. Yuppies have a wild party with open sex and an open invitation to try heroin. But then it settles down into a pretty good love story. Hard to believe that the Keira Knightly character would become the Steve Carel's character great love, after they've known each other for only for a few days, and simply because she loves vinyl records, but in the end it works, and the conclusion of the movie is very powerful -- I thought it would go for a safe ending, but it had the courage to be bolder. ” - johnluiz1
Take This Waltz (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A happily married woman falls for the artist who lives across the street. (116 mins.)
Director: Sarah Polley
“ In theaters 6/29/12, Saw thru Amazon Instant Video - 7/21/12. A brilliant movie about a rather simple issue -- being in love with two people at same time. What makes it extraordinary is the performance by Michelle Williams, the perfect pacing by director Sarah Polley, and the gorgeous cinematography and location shooting in Toronto and the Fortress of Louisbourg in Nova Scotia. Williams is one of those actors who can convey so much simply through the varied expressions on her face. The director Polley makes some incredibly brave choices in the pacing of this film, but as you're watching you feel like you're viewing a work of art. She places everyone and everything in the perfect place at all the perfect times and lets the camera linger on the actors face at all the right moments. I reserve 9 & 10 ratings for landmark, groundbreaking, or genre-defining films, so while I wouldn't put this movie in that category, it's as good as anything I've seen this year. Rating 8/10. ” - johnluiz1
People Like Us (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
While settling his recently deceased father's estate, a salesman discovers he has a sister whom he never knew about, leading both siblings to re-examine their perceptions about family and life choices. (114 mins.)
Director: Alex Kurtzman
“ In Theaters: 6/29/12, Saw Dedham Showcase 7/12/12. Trailer piqued my interest, and movie proved to be even better than I hoped it would be. Real, human tensions here, poignantly explored. Strikes one big sentimental moment, but it earns it. Chris Pines does a great job as the emotionally conflicted lead. Elizabeth Banks is her usual great self, and Michelle Pfeiffer -- who is aging gracefully except for those horrible collagen lips -- does a nice turn as the Chris Pines' character's mother. Rate 7/10. ” - johnluiz1
Ted (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
John Bennett, a man whose childhood wish of bringing his teddy bear to life came true, now must decide between keeping the relationship with the bear or his girlfriend, Lori. (106 mins.)
Director: Seth MacFarlane
“ In Theaters 6/29/12. Saw at Showcase Legacy 7/3/12/. I was expecting Hangover-level raunchy outrageousness, but other than one gross, scatalogical scene (admittedly very funny) and the sheer silliness of a pot-smoking, foul-mouthed, horny Teddy bear (which, yes, is the movie's whole premise), the overall story is pretty tame and standardly rom-com. Ted the bear gets all the good lines. Mark Wahlberg is just a dopey innocent, and Mila Kunis has a straight role as the long-suffering girlfriend waiting for her boyfriend to get over his case of arrested development. Almost too sweet of a story line that then relies on too many movie cliches -- a car chase, a climatic, life-threatening scene. (Like the Town, all the final drama occurs at that most famous of Boston landmarks -- Fenway Park. With all the loving shots of Boston, though, and the funny lines, like shout outs to the tough girls of Quincy, don't know why they had to ruin it by putting a parking lot near the Hatch Shell. Every Bostonian knows that doesn't exist.) Great and funny cameos -- including Norah Jones and Ryan Reynolds. Can't believe one reviewer thought this might be the first great movie comedy of the '10s decade. Rate 6/10. ” - johnluiz1
Natural Selection (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Having discovered that her dying husband has an illegitimate child living in Florida, a devout Christian housewife leaves her sheltered world on a mission to reunite father and son. (90 mins.)
“ Out 7/6/12. On DVD 11/13/12. Saw 12/7/12. Characters seem over the top -- but in the end it's a pretty good look at a woman who's been confined into a narrow world by her Christian husband breaking free and discovering a bigger world beyond the limited one the men in her life have imposed on her. ” - johnluiz1
The Queen of Versailles (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A documentary that follows a billionaire couple as they begin construction on a mansion inspired by Versailles. During the next two years, their empire, fueled by the real estate bubble and cheap money, falters due to the economic crisis. (100 mins.)
“ Out 7/6/12 ” - johnluiz1
To Rome with Love (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
The lives of some visitors and residents of Rome and the romances, adventures and predicaments they get into. (112 mins.)
Director: Woody Allen
“ In Boston theaters: 7/6/12, Saw 8/1/12 at Loews Boston. Another Woody Allen-lite movie, but a fun 2 hours. The nebbish himself steps in front of the character to add a dash of his familiar neurotic silliness. There's an absurdist trick that pokes fun at our fascination with reality TV stars as the common man played by Roberto Benigni becomes famous just because the paparrazi have randomly decided to focus on his every move. And there's a great fantastical element, like the one used in Paris with Love, where Alec Baldwin follows around Jesse Eisenberg -- who may either be a younger version of himself or simply another young man on the path to making the same mistakes he did as a youth -- to coach him, unsuccessfully, about not falling in the traps he only recognizes as an adult. The multiple storylines all play out in a fun way - and unlike some other recent Woody movies, there's a neat resolution to each one by the end. Rate 7/10. ” - johnluiz1
Red Lights (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Psychologist Margaret Matheson and her assistant study paranormal activity, which leads them to investigate a world-renowned psychic who has resurfaced years after his toughest critic mysteriously passed away. (114 mins.)
Director: Rodrigo Cortés
“ Out 7/13/12 ” - johnluiz1
Union Square (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  
Jenny, who has rejected her tumultuous family for a more ordered life, gets a surprise visit from her sister Lucy at a critical time - right at the moment where she's feels ready to commit to her longtime fiancé. (80 mins.)
Director: Nancy Savoca
“ Out 7/13/12 (Ltd) ” - johnluiz1
Grassroots (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
After losing his job, a journalist reluctantly agrees to help his oddball friend with his bid to earn a seat on the Seattle City Council. (98 mins.)
“ Out 7/20/12 ” - johnluiz1
The Babymakers (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.0/10 X  
After failing to get his wife pregnant, a guy (Schneider) recruits his pals to steal the deposit he left at a sperm bank years ago. (95 mins.)
“ Out 8/3/12, Watched on Fios on Demand 8/5/12. An incredibly stupid movie, always crass but never clever. Horribly bad script and a waste of a talented cast. Rate 2/10 ” - johnluiz1
Ruby Sparks (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A novelist struggling with writer's block finds romance in a most unusual way: by creating a female character he thinks will love him, then willing her into existence. (104 mins.)
“ Out 8/3/12, Saw at Loews Boston 8/7/12. An absolutely terrific film. Loved the preview (seemed very much like Stranger than Fiction), but wasn't sure where it would take the premise of a writer inventing a girlfriend through his prose. To avoid giving too much away, all I'll say is that Zoe Kazan does a brilliant job on screen and behind the typewriter as the writer of this film taking a magical premise and using it to say wise and insightful things about non-magical relationships. Also, nice to see an innocent character (Dano) exhibit a mildly sadistic streak -- movie characters aren't usually that complex. Rate 8/10. ” - johnluiz1
Hope Springs (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
After thirty years of marriage, a middle-aged couple attends an intense, week-long counseling session to work on their relationship. (100 mins.)
Director: David Frankel
“ In Theaters 8/8/12, Saw Loews Boston 8/10/12. An absolutely terrific film. Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep are as great as you'd expect them to be, and Steve Carrel does an amazingly restrained job as their insightful therapist. With so many rom-coms dedicated to teens or twentysomethings first great loves, it's wonderful to see a movie hinge on the rewakening of love in a stale marriage. Anyone in a long-term marriage will easily identify with the issues examined here, but when I saw I noticed lots of young couples laughing just as hard at the jokes, which in the early parts come mostly from what a cheap curmudgeon the Tommy Lee Jones character is -- very funny. ” - johnluiz1
2 Days in New York (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Manhattan couple Marion and Mingus, who each have children from prior relationships, find their comfortable family dynamic jostled by a visit from Marion's relatives. (96 mins.)
Director: Julie Delpy
“ Out 8/10/12 ” - johnluiz1
The Campaign (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
An incumbent congressman embroiled in personal scandal faces a no-holds-barred challenge from a naive newcomer funded by two unscrupulous billionaire lobbyist brothers. (85 mins.)
Director: Jay Roach
“ Out 8/10/12 ” - johnluiz1
Celeste & Jesse Forever (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A divorcing couple tries to maintain their friendship while they both pursue other people. (92 mins.)
“ In Theaters: 8/17/12. Saw at Waltham Embassy. 8 /25/12. A movie that seems to get everything right. A great premise - about a married couple that separates because she's ambitious and he has no job, but they stay eerily close because they're so simpatico. It's a romantic comedy that offers plenty of surprises because it doesn't follow any of the standard formulas. The emotions and experiences seem real, not Hollywood cutesy. The direction is brilliant, with the cinemotography shifting only when it's right -- grainy close-ups when Celeste and Jessee wake up after an unexpected hook-up, the film colors bright orange when Jessee goes on a date with a man who takes her to a Latin dance club, but bright and sharp when they're going through their daytime routines. Even the teeny bopper music star who Celeste is working to market doesn't play out according to the usual stereotypes. Rashida Jones gives a power-packed performance and wrote a great script, and Adam Samberg gives a surprisingly fine-tuned performance. Rate 8/10. ” - johnluiz1
Why Stop Now? (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
When a college piano prodigy tries to check his mother into rehab, he is taken hostage by her drug dealer and swept along on a wild adventure. (85 mins.)
“ Out (Ltd) 8/17/12, Watced FIOS on demand, 8/4/12. Not as funny or outlandish as preview suggests, but instead a rather touching little film about a talented 19-year-old trying to get on with his life. He's been caring for his coke-addicted mother and little sister, forgoing college. When he has a chance to get into a music conservatory, he tries to check his mother into rehab. But since she has no insurance, she needs dirty urine on check-in, so they meet up with her drug dealer for one last score. That leads to a wild day, and Tracy Morgan surprises as the not-so tough dealer with a few wise lessons to impart to the teenager. Jesse Eisenberg and Melissa Leo as the mother are both terrific. Rate 7/10. ” - johnluiz1
Premium Rush (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
In Manhattan, a bike messenger picks up an envelope that attracts the interest of a dirty cop, who pursues the cyclist throughout the city. (91 mins.)
Director: David Koepp
“ In theaters: 8/24/12, On DVD 12/21/12, Watched 1/20/13. Thrillers usually aren't my thing, but I like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and this is a pretty good one. Lots of great scenes of riding in New York City, and a clever, pumped-up storytelling style. Rate 7/10. ” - johnluiz1
Robot & Frank (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Set in the near future, an ex-jewel thief receives a gift from his son: a robot butler programmed to look after him. But soon the two companions try their luck as a heist team. (89 mins.)
Director: Jake Schreier
“ Out 8/24/12. Saw West Newton Cinema 9/15/12. Terrific little film about an ex-cat burglar who is forced to take on a robot to deal with his regular memory lapses. He's initially reluctant at first, but the robot oddlly becomes a friend and starts helping him with heists, until the cops start to figure out what's he's up -- his only chance at freedom may be to wipe out the robot's memory/personality - a nice parrallel to what the man is experiencing. Frank Langella is terrific. Rate 7/10. ” - johnluiz1
Bachelorette (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
Three friends are asked to be bridesmaids at a wedding of a woman they used to ridicule back in high school. (87 mins.)
Director: Leslye Headland
“ In theaters 9/6/12. Watched 8/26/12 on Amazaon Instant Video. Like Bridesmaids, another attempt at a female version of The Hangover. Raucous fun with a great cast. I've liked Lizzy Caplan since she was in the TV show The Class, and could watch her in anything. Kirsten Dunst and Isla Fisher are very funny too as the party girls whose lives have been a wreck since high school and now have to face the ignonimy of the fat girl everyone made fun being the first one to get married - to a handsome man no less, who loves her to boot. Rate 7/10. ” - johnluiz1
Hello I Must Be Going (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Circumstances force a young divorcée to move back in with her parents in suburban Connecticut, where an affair with a younger guy rejuvenates her passion for life (95 mins.)
Director: Todd Louiso
“ In theaters 9/7/12, On DVD 1/29/13. Watch Amaz Instant Video 1/7/13. Absolutely terrific movie. Didn't know the actress who was Charlie's stalker in Two and a Half Men had so many acting chops. A great story about a love that occurs outside the bounds of what's socially acceptable (age-wise). Two of my favorite movies of 2012 explored this topic -- and this film is a great companion to Liberal Arts. In the end, you feel sad for both couples that the age-difference wasn't bridgeable because in both cases they had such initmate connections. Rate 7/10. ” - johnluiz1
The Words (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A writer at the peak of his literary success discovers the steep price he must pay for stealing another man's work. (102 mins.)
“ Out 9/7/12. Saw AMC in Santa Monica, 9/17/12. Wanted to see this movie because of cast - Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Irons, but wasn't sure the premise of stealing another writer's novel would be enough to carry a movie. What a pleasant surprise. Well-written script and excellent acting make it much it more than a story of literary thievery. Rate 7/10. ” - johnluiz1
Goats (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
As Ellis prepares to leave Tucson for his freshman year at an East Coast prep school, he also faces separating from his flaky, new age mother and the only real father he has ever known: Goat Man. (94 mins.)
“ Straight to DVD, out 9/11/12 ” - johnluiz1
10 Years (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
The night before their high school reunion, a group of friends realize they still haven't quite grown up in some ways. (100 mins.)
Director: Jamie Linden
“ Out 9/14/12 ” - johnluiz1
Arbitrage (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A troubled hedge fund magnate desperate to complete the sale of his trading empire makes an error that forces him to turn to an unlikely person for help. (107 mins.)
“ Out 9/14/12 ” - johnluiz1
For a Good Time, Call... (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Former college frenemies Lauren and Katie move into a fabulous Gramercy Park apartment, and in order to make ends meet, the unlikely pair start a phone sex line together. (85 mins.)
Director: Jamie Travis
“ In theaters: 9/14/12. Saw at Santa Monica AMC 9/2/12. Silly funny, very bawdy not for the easily offended, but a good story that's ultimately about the relationship between the two women and overcoming self doubt and feelings of inferiority. Rate 6/10. ” - johnluiz1
Liberal Arts (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
When 30-something Jesse returns to his alma mater for a professor's retirement party, he falls for Zibby, a college student, and is faced with a powerful attraction that springs up between them. (97 mins.)
Director: Josh Radnor
“ In theaters: 9/14/12. Saw Kendall Square Cinema 9/30/12. This is a great film. I understand why it won so much attention at Sundance earlier this year, and I can't understand why it's not getting wider distribution this fall. There are very films that perfectly explore every premise they lay out, but this one does. It offers an incredibly moving and insightful examinatin of the connection two people far apart in years can make and the consequences and limitations of bridging that gap. There are many subplots exploring the role of books, music, and liberal arts educations in people's lives -- and through important secondary characters, the difficulities of retirement and coping with depression. Radnor does his acting, directing, writing hat trick masterfully. It's a wonderful flim I hope many people will take the opportunity to see. With this an Martha, Marcy, May, Maylene, Elisabeth Olsen has put in two of the best acting performances of recent years. Richard Jenkins is his usual great self as the professor having second doubts about his retirement. Zac Effron does a wonderful cameo as a Puck-like character, and Allison Janney offers a wonderful portrait of the embittered professor who leads a life far different from the inspirations she imparted in her class on romantic literature. Rate 9/10 (again only because I reserve 10's for the all-time greats like Casablanca or Schindler's List.) ” - johnluiz1
For Ellen (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
A struggling musician takes an overnight long-distance drive in order to fight his estranged wife for custody of their young daughter. (94 mins.)
Director: SoYong Kim
“ Out 9/19/12 ” - johnluiz1
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world. (102 mins.)
Director: Stephen Chbosky
“ In theaters: 9/21/12 ” - johnluiz1
The Master (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future - until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader. (144 mins.)
“ Out 9/21/12 ” - johnluiz1
Bringing Up Bobby (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  
A con artist moves her son to a conservative neighborhood in Oklahoma in an effort to build a better future, but it doesn't take long for her past to catch up with her, and for her son's behavior to cause problems of its own. (93 mins.)
Director: Famke Janssen
“ Out 9/28/12 ” - johnluiz1
Trouble with the Curve (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A daughter tries to remedy her dysfunctional relationship with her ailing father, a decorated baseball scout by helping him in a recruiting trip which could be his last. (111 mins.)
Director: Robert Lorenz
“ Out 9/28/12. Saw at Loews Boston Common, 9/28/12. A sweet movie that explores the complicated relationship between a father and daughter and then offers a powerful, moving revelation about why that relationship unravelled. But then in the last ten minutes the movie complelely falls apart by relying on hoakiness and unbelievable coincidence to tie up every storyline in a perfectly neat bow. I left the theater feeling cheated. One highlight for me though was hearing a brief snippet of The Walkmen's "Heartbreaker" in the soundtrack. Rate 5/10. ” - johnluiz1
Won't Back Down (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Two determined mothers­, one a teacher, look to transform their children's failing inner city school. Facing a powerful and entrenched bureaucracy, they risk everything to make a difference in the education and future of their children. (121 mins.)
Director: Daniel Barnz
“ Out 9/28/12 ” - johnluiz1
Butter (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
In Iowa, an adopted girl discovers her talent for butter carving and finds herself pitted against an ambitious local woman in their town's annual contest. (90 mins.)
Director: Jim Field Smith
“ Out 10/5/12, watched VOD 11/1/12. Much quirkier and raunchier than trailer suggests. About a very screwed up and twisted family. A fun off-kilter satire about obsession, loneliness and sexual escapades. ” - johnluiz1
The Oranges (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
The enduring friendship between the Walling and Ostroff families is tested when Nina, the prodigal Ostroff daughter, returns home for the holidays after a five-year absence and enters into an affair with David, head of the Walling family. (90 mins.)
Director: Julian Farino
“ Out 10/5/12 ” - johnluiz1
The Paperboy (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
A reporter returns to his Florida home-town to investigate a case involving a death row inmate. (107 mins.)
Director: Lee Daniels
“ Out 10/5/12 ” - johnluiz1
Pitch Perfect (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Beca, a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school's all-girls singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition. (112 mins.)
Director: Jason Moore
“ Out 10/5/12 ” - johnluiz1
Wuthering Heights (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
A poor boy of unknown origins is rescued from poverty and taken in by the Earnshaw family where he develops an intense relationship with his young foster sister, Cathy. Based on the classic novel by Emily Bronte. (129 mins.)
Director: Andrea Arnold
“ Out 10/5/12 ” - johnluiz1
Argo (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Acting under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film, a CIA agent launches a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1980. (120 mins.)
Director: Ben Affleck
“ In Theaters 10/12/12. Saw at Loews Boston, 10/12/12. An absolutely brilliant film in every way. Incredibly moving story based on real events. Well written, well acted and solidly directed. Has lots of tension with John Goodman and Alan Arkin providing comic relief when needed as the Hollywood make-up artist and producer who provided the back story the CIA agent played by Affleck needed to get the 6 diplomats who had escaped the embassy takeover out of Iran. Jimmy Carter provides a moning coda, admitting he wished he could have taken some credit at the time for the daring rescue, but knew he couldn't. Makes you feel bad for him for losing 1980 election for looking so indffectual in dealing with hostage crisis. Rate 9/10. ” - johnluiz1
Gambit (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
An art curator decides to seek revenge on his abusive boss by conning him into buying a fake Monet, but his plan requires the help of an eccentric and unpredictable Texas rodeo queen. (89 mins.)
Director: Michael Hoffman
“ Out 10/12/12 ” - johnluiz1
Here Comes the Boom (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A high school biology teacher looks to become a successful mixed-martial arts fighter in an effort to raise money to prevent extra-curricular activities from being axed at his cash-strapped school. (105 mins.)
Director: Frank Coraci
“ Out 10/12/12 ” - johnluiz1
Middle of Nowhere (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
When her husband is sentenced to eight years in prison, Ruby drops out of medical school in order to focus on her husband's well-being while he's incarcerated - leading her on a journey of self-discovery in the process. (97 mins.)
Director: Ava DuVernay
“ Out 10/12/12 ” - johnluiz1
Nobody Walks (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
A Silver Lake family's relaxed dynamic is tested after they take in a young artist so she can complete her art film. (83 mins.)
Director: Ry Russo-Young
“ (Out 10/12/12 Ltd.) ” - johnluiz1
Smashed (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A married couple whose bond is built on a mutual love of alcohol gets their relationship put to the test when the wife decides to get sober. (81 mins.)
Director: James Ponsoldt
“ Out 10/12/12 ” - johnluiz1
Killing Them Softly (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Jackie Cogan is an enforcer hired to restore order after three dumb guys rob a Mob protected card game, causing the local criminal economy to collapse. (97 mins.)
Director: Andrew Dominik
“ Out 10/19/12 ” - johnluiz1
Not Fade Away (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Set in suburban New Jersey the 1960s, a group of friends form a rock band and try to make it big. (112 mins.)
Director: David Chase
“ Out 10/19/12 ” - johnluiz1
The Big Wedding (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
A long-divorced couple fakes being married as their family unites for a wedding. (89 mins.)
Director: Justin Zackham
“ Out 10/26/12 ” - johnluiz1
Chasing Mavericks (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
When young Jay Moriarity discovers that the mythic Mavericks surf break, one of the biggest waves on Earth, exists just miles from his Santa Cruz home, he enlists the help of local legend Frosty Hesson to train him to survive it. (116 mins.)
“ Out 10/26/12 ” - johnluiz1
Fun Size (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
Wren's Halloween plans go awry when she's made to babysit her brother, who disappears into a sea of trick-or-treaters. With her best friend and two nerds at her side, she needs to find her brother before her mom finds out he's missing. (86 mins.)
Director: Josh Schwartz
“ Out 10/26/12 ” - johnluiz1
The Sessions (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity contacts a professional sex surrogate with the help of his therapist and priest. (95 mins.)
Director: Ben Lewin
“ Out 10/26/12. Saw at Dedham Community 11/9/12. Great movie. John Hawkes delivers a stunning performance. Helen Hunt is brave to reveal so much of her middle-aged -- albeit still gorgeous -- body. Both deserve Academy Award nominations. A touching movie, without being too sentimental. William Macy provides great comic relief as the priest all too eager to her the polio victims sensual confessions about losing his virginity and discovering sexuality with his sex therapist. Rate 9/10. ” - johnluiz1
Flight (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
An airline pilot saves almost all his passengers on his malfunctioning airliner which eventually crashed, but an investigation into the accident reveals something troubling. (138 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
“ Out 11/2/12. Saw at Dedham Showcase 11/3/12. As good as films get. A great, complex storyline. Opens with an incredible action scene, then becomes a rich character study, with an unravelling investigation by the National Transportion Safety Board looming at all times. Denzel delivers an Oscar Worthy performance, and big name actors like John Goodman and Don Cheadle put in outstanding supporting performances. A big budget Hollywood that shows you what they can do when all the pistons - acting, writing, directing -- are firing exactly as they should. Rate 9/10. ” - johnluiz1
Seven Psychopaths (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster's beloved Shih Tzu. (110 mins.)
Director: Martin McDonagh
“ Out 11/2/12, On DVD 1/29/13, Watched 1/9/13. What an incredible waste of talent in this horribly stupid film. I know they were going for that whacky out of order events amongs a crew of crazed criminals, a la In Bruges, but this movie is horrible in every way. It's tries to be "meta" by having the Colin Farrell play a screenwriter trying to write a film about seven psychopaths while he's surrounded by psychopaths, but nothing works, except for the performances by the talented casts of actors. But the script is so stupid, very little can redeem it. At least the soundtrack features some of my favorite alternative bands -- nice to hear a trio of Walkmen songs, along with Deer Tick's Dirty Dishes. But they only played brief snippets. More of their music might have made this thing less of a chore to watch. Rate 2/10. ” - johnluiz1
The Details (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
When a family of raccoons discover worms living underneath the sod in Jeff and Nealy's backyard, this pest problem begins a darkly comic and wild chain reaction of domestic tension, infidelity and murder. (101 mins.)
“ Out 11/2/12 ” - johnluiz1
This Must Be the Place (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Cheyenne, a retired rock star living off his royalties in Dublin, returns to New York City to find the man responsible for a humiliation suffered by his recently deceased father during W.W.II. (118 mins.)
“ Out 11/2/12 ” - johnluiz1
Anna Karenina (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
In late-19th-century Russian high society, St. Petersburg aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a life-changing affair with the dashing Count Alexei Vronsky. (129 mins.)
Director: Joe Wright
“ Out 11/9/12 ” - johnluiz1
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own. (122 mins.)
“ In theaters 11/21/12. Saw 11/21/12. A very faithful adaptation of a great book. Bradley Cooper does a great job as the more than slightly unhinged lead, Pat, who wants nothing more than to win his ex-wife back, and Jennifer Lawrence steals the show as the girl with her own mental health issues who forms an unexpected bond with him. The role of Pat's father is expanded considerably from the book, but it gives a nice meaty role for Robert DeNiro to play, and he is terrific. ” - johnluiz1
Parental Guidance (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Artie and Diane agree to look after their three grandkids when their type-A helicopter parents need to leave town for work. Problems arise when the kids' 21st-century behavior collides with Artie and Diane's old-school methods. (105 mins.)
Director: Andy Fickman
“ Out 11/23/12 ” - johnluiz1
Life of Pi (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal tiger. (127 mins.)
Director: Ang Lee
“ Out 11/23/12 ” - johnluiz1
Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
The story of the love affair between FDR and his distant cousin Margaret "Daisy" Suckley, centered around the weekend in 1939 when the King and Queen of the United Kingdom visited upstate New York. (94 mins.)
Director: Roger Michell
“ Out 12/7/12 ” - johnluiz1
Deadfall (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A thriller that follows two siblings who decide to fend for themselves in the wake of a botched casino heist, and their unlikely reunion during another family's Thanksgiving celebration. (95 mins.)
“ Out 12/7/12, Watched on Amazon Inst. Vid 12/13/12. Violent thrillers aren't usually my thing, but I still liked this one, maybe because Eric Bana is so cool and I could watch Olivia Wilde in anything. (Critics killed this years's Butter, but I found that one fun too, and she was great in it.) There's also a great sublpot alongside the main storyline (brother/sister Bana/Wilde being on the lam after robbing a casino) about a sexist police chief played by Treat Williams, who isn't happy that his daughter, played by Kate Mara, is on the force. That young cop, along with hostage victims Kris Krostofferson and Sissy Spacek, are the moral centers of the movie. Rate 6/10. ” - johnluiz1
Playing for Keeps (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
A former sports star who's fallen on hard times starts coaching his son's soccer team as a way to get his life together. His attempts to become an adult are met with challenges from the attractive soccer moms who pursue him at every turn. (105 mins.)
“ Out 12/7/12 ” - johnluiz1
This Is 40 (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Pete and Debbie are both about to turn 40, their kids hate each other, both of their businesses are failing, they're on the verge of losing their house, and their relationship is threatening to fall apart. (134 mins.)
Director: Judd Apatow
“ In theaters 12/21/12. Saw at Sharon Theater 12/22/12. A very meandering plot that makes you wonder where it's going for 1st half hour, but there is no overarching storyline -- just scenes from a marriage dealing with all the usual struggles. In the end of very good and entertaining look at marriage in the early years of mid-life. Rate 7/10. ” - johnluiz1