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3112 reviews in total 
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needs more jokes and funnier jokes, 21 August 2014

After the death of her father, Jenna Engel (Kacey Rohl) has to pick up the pieces of her father's bankrupt law practice. Much to her dismay, she has to deal with her crazy mother Ceil (Andrea Martin), her semi-recovering sister Sandy (Azura Skye) and her petty criminal brother Jimmy (Benjamin Arthur).

Andrea Martin is the big name in this one. It's very hit-and-miss with her brand of manic comedy. Kacey Rohl is the one to drive the show and hold it together. At least she's game for the challenge. She has good charm and is willing to do wacky. Azura Skye is a bit disappointing and Benjamin Arthur needs to have more dumb jokes. In general, there needs to be more jokes and funnier jokes if they want this to be wacky fun.

Funny sporadically, 21 August 2014

Successful professional Carly Whitten (Cameron Diaz) has a new man in her life. Mark King (Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau) is the perfect guy except she doesn't know he's married. Something's off and she walks off angry. Her father Frank (Don Johnson) dealing with his fifth divorce convinces her to go back to him. At his house, she meets his wife Kate (Leslie Mann). Carly wants to end the situation but clingy crazy Kate keeps bothering her until they become friends. Then they find out that he's seeing another girl Amber (Kate Upton). They bring along Kate's brother Phil (Taylor Kinney).

Cameron Diaz is way too cold and too angry. She has to be nicer to justify her becoming a friend to wacky Leslie Mann. Leslie is her nutty wacky persona and at least is able to keep the energy high. I think they have a good possibility of being fun comedy duo. It takes them a while to get there. Kate Upton brings a good Bambi vibe. She's like the mascot of the group. This is funny sporadically mostly generated by Leslie's manic presence. Otherwise, it does struggle to maintain its comedic tone.

The Spirit (2008)
Cheesy camp disappointment, 21 August 2014

Rookie cop Denny Colt returns from the dead as The Spirit (Gabriel Macht) to battle evil in Central City. He's always hounded by the angel of death Lorelei (Jaime King). The Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson) is the big evil with Silken Floss (Scarlett Johansson) as his right hand woman. Commissioner Dolan (Dan Lauria) and his daughter Dr Ellen (Sarah Paulson) try to help him but are very concerned. The Spirit recovers a locket from a crime scene leading to an old friend Sand Saref (Eva Mendes). Morgenstern (Stana Katic) is the rookie cop newly assigned to him.

Compared to 'Sin City', this is quite a step down. It doesn't have quite the same powerful look. The dialog is very cheesy and very clunky. It tries to be funny but it's simply bad camp. Also it doesn't achieve a good flow. The story rattles on and on. None of it is compelling. Sam Jackson is as big as always and ScarJo has some fun. The only good thing is how much joy these two have playing evil. Gabriel Macht isn't big enough to lead a big movie. Eva Mendes is just stiff. It's obvious that Frank Miller doesn't have the directing skills to pull this off.

both funny and heart breaking, 20 August 2014

Robbie Emmerson barely escapes a prison sentence because of his pregnant girlfriend Leonie. He has a history of violence. He is thrown into community service with a group of misfits. He tries to visit Leonie at the hospital but her relatives beat him up. He swears to his baby son that he will change his ways. After a distillery tour, he finds interest in the art of whiskey. However his past with another thug Clancy won't leave him alone, and Leonie's father offers him $5k to leave Glasgow. Group leader Harry takes the group to Edinburgh for a whiskey meeting. Robbie's nose impresses whiskey collector Thaddeus Maloney and they are told about a priceless cask of whiskey coming soon to auction. Hound by Clancy's guys and in desperation, Robbie and the other misfits Mo, Albert, and Rhino go on a quest to steal the valuable whiskey.

Directed by legendary English socialist Ken Loach, this is a nice little film about a small group of miscreants. I like Robbie and the scene with his victims. The lighter moments work most of the times. Albert is the big fool. However I found him a little too whinny. He's funny sometimes but other times I found him annoying. This has some funny moments and some heart breaking moments.

too much exposition slows down beginning, 20 August 2014

It's the ancient empire of Persia in the Royal City of Nasaf. King Sharaman rules the empire with his brother Nizam (Ben Kingsley). Sharaman has two sons and adopts the brave orphan Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal). As young men, he's in a campaign to subdue Koshkhan. There is news that the City of Alamut ruled by Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) is making weapons for their enemy. Nizam convinces Prince Tus (Richard Coyle) to attack despite misgivings from Dastan. Dastan is able to win the battle with his skillful attack. He recovers a special dagger during the battle. King Sharaman is angry at Tus for invading the holy city. He sets Tamina to marry Dastan instead of Tus. Then the robe, which is originally from Tus and convinced Dastan to gift to King Sharaman, kills the king. Dastan is accused of regicide and he escapes along with Tamina. The dagger turns out to be a powerful weapon that can turn back time.

The Byzantium backstory kills the pacing of this movie at the start. It's a quick death by exposition. Gyllenhaal isn't charming enough or compelling enough. Arterton is just angry all the time. This is a lot of sand and a lot of action overload. It's not irredeemable but the problems wore me out. I wonder if a small break could help the leads develop some more chemistry. It's almost passable but...

Fun gang of thieves, 20 August 2014

Daniel Foray (Gérard Depardieu) and his two friends Julien Labesse (Stéphane Freiss) and Raymond Gayet (Albert Dray) form a bumbling gang of thieves. They are forced by their boss to go to Chicago to do a job. Sami (Saïd Taghmaoui) is also forced to go along as a guide. Zero (Renaud) is the muscle who speaks in the third person. Marcel Burot (Johnny Hallyday) is the boss' man. Sophie Nicols (Joanne Kelly) is their local host while on the job. However the heist goes wrong when they go to the wrong address and rob the vicious crime boss Frankie Zammeti (Harvey Keitel). The FBI is watching the house and the gang try to escape back to France.

The production is a little bit weak. Let's just say that writer/director Brad Mirman hasn't had a standout career so far. I do like some of the comedy. Zero keeps making me laugh. Although I don't recognize most of the actors. I get a sense that they're good experienced actors. Albert Dray is hilarious. The french actors give a fun sense of humor. I really like the gang. Harvey Keitel sticks out like a sore thumb at the start of this movie. I know why they want him in so much of the movie. However he doesn't fit this kind of movie with the Pink Panther group of thieves. The movie is split in two. I really love the French gang but I'm not loving everything else.

Amateurish production, 20 August 2014

Ernie (Judge Reinhold) is a cool-headed prim taxicab driver in NYC. Maria (Carol Kane) is looking to escape the mob to Canada with her little girl. The mob is sending Frankie out to Toronto for killing Maria's husband. Maria has second thoughts about killing Frankie at the airport but a purse-snatching-gone-wrong ends up with Frankie getting shot anyways. She escapes into Ernie's cab. They are chased for a long ride by the mob guys. She runs off leaving her kid with him as her guardian angel.

The biggest problem is that they're shooting Toronto for NYC in much of the movie and it looks even worst than most of its kind. This is a really poorly made movie. It's almost amateurish. I'm surprised that they got Judge Reinhold and Carol Kane in this. On the one hand, the movie is trying (and failing) to be a hard crime thriller. On the other hand, the movie is trying to be wacky with the help of Judge (and failing). Carol is only who scrapes by because she's not trying to do too much. She plays it straight and leaves the stupidity to everybody else. The girl is a real cutie pie but sometimes I can't understand her. This is really sad.

Great performances despite the changes, 20 August 2014

A drunken ex-football player Brick Pollitt (Paul Newman) hurts his leg while jumping hurdles like the good old days. He and Maggie (Elizabeth Taylor) are back for his father Big Daddy's (Burl Ives) 65th birthday only because it might be his last. Mae (Madeleine Sherwood) and Gooper (Jack Carson) have brought their bratty kids for the same reason but Big Daddy still likes Maggie more. Big Daddy comes back with news that it was all a false alarm. Brick is itching to leave. Their marriage has been on the rocks for some time. Big Mama (Judith Anderson) berates Maggie of being childless. Then Dr. Baugh tells Brick that Big Daddy is actually dying and he had lied to him about it. The death of Brick's 'friend' Skipper had hit him hard.

Newman and Taylor are in fine form. Their acting is electric especially Taylor. The rest of them are all top notch. The homosexuality subject of the original Tennessee Williams play is covered up quite a bit, and there is a tacked on happy ending. Even with all the changes, the movie still sizzles. Burl Ives' massive performance is dominating. This is one of the few well-made classics that needs a big remake and I think many are willing to help out.

Cinema Verite (2011) (TV)
recreation of behind-the-scene story of the original reality show, 19 August 2014

In 1973, PBS aired reality show 'An American Family' after filming the Loud family for a year. It's 1971 in Santa Barbara. Filmmaker Craig Gilbert (James Gandolfini) meets Pat Loud (Diane Lane) but she's reluctant at first. Her confident Nixon-supporting often-absent womanizing husband Bill (Tim Robbins) is more interested. They have four kids. Lance (Thomas Dekker) is the gay son in NYC that Bill is still clueless about. Kevin (Johnny Simmons) and Grant (Nick Eversman) have their band. Delilah is the 16 year old having fun. Michelle (Kaitlyn Dever) is the youngest. Newlyweds Susan (Shanna Collins) and Alan Raymond (Patrick Fugit) are filming them.

I don't know how much of this has been fictionalized. It feels very over-dramatized. In many ways, this movie is misguided. A film about the Louds would be fine. This is about the show about the Louds. It's the filmmaking and the process behind the scenes that is more important. This is trying too hard to recreate the TV show. The use of the old footage side-by-side with the new footage only re-enforces that idea. It's at best a recreation of the behind-the-scene story. Gilbert's conflict with the Raymonds is probably the best moments of this film. The personal drama of the family is good but without the cameras would be just another personal movie. This should be more about the filmmakers than about the family.

Incredible production, 19 August 2014

It's September 1914 in German East Africa. News finally reaches the colony that Germany is at war with England. Reverend Samuel Sayer (Robert Morley) becomes a hostile and German troops burn down his mission. Heart broken, Samuel dies. His prim sister Rose Sayer (Katharine Hepburn) escapes with Charlie Allnut (Humphrey Bogart) on his rickety river steamboat 'African Queen'. He was transporting supplies to a mine but the Germans had already been there. They're trapped behind German lines when Rose comes up with a scheme to sink the German steamboat Louisa for King and country.

This is basically a sweaty 2-person play in a road trip adventure. It's a very simple story at its core. It's about these two characters growing together over the trip. These older actors give this so much depth. Then there is the jungle production. It feels so much like a grittier 'Apocalypse Now'. I don't know if it's Katharine Hepburn's sickness but it's got a great sense of realism.

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