REVIEW: Tallulah

30 07 2016

Tallulah“Juno” still ranks among the top 10 quoted movies at my house, so it should come as no surprise that the on-screen reunion of that film’s mother-daughter pair (Allison Janney and Ellen Page) in “Tallulah” came as a welcome development. And, even better, the film centers around issues of maternity!

In Sian Heder’s new film, Page stars as the titular character, a nomad who scoops an infant from drugged-up trophy wife Carolyn (Tammy Blanchard) during a babysitting gig. The point of departure for the story provides an intriguing counterpoint to “Juno.” Page claims a child here uninvitedly and receives one in her Oscar-nominated role unwittingly.

There’s a bit of standard police procedural – involving Uzo Aduba as a child services officer! – investigating the victim and plaguing the conscience of the perpetrator. But “Tallulah” is far less about the intrigue of what will happen to the child in question than it is about the issues raised by its presence or absence for the trio of grown women in the film. Amidst some of the tonal and plot issues, raw emotions bubble to the surface as each grapples with the thorny personal issues.

Most moments of duress revolve around the characters’ insecurity over feeling needed by someone else and the overwhelming sensation that they are replaceable – even disposable. It’s often jarring how quickly “Tallulah” can pivot from light-hearted banter to soul-baring confession, but no one pulls it off better than Janney as Margo, the woman unknowingly caught in the middle of Tallulah’s scheme. She navigates a narrow path between assertiveness and apprehension, unsurprisingly finding her bearings with gusto. B-2stars





REVIEW: Freeheld

19 10 2015

FreeheldFreeheld” is the most unfortunate of contradictions.  This weepie issues drama about the dark age known as 2002 wants to applaud all progress achieved in the past decade for LGBT Americans.  Yet when it comes time for the film’s chief characters, partners Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) and Stacie Andree (Ellen Page), to show affection after securing a domestic partnership, their kiss literally makes no noise.

Director Peter Sollett and screenwriter Ron Nyswaner love having a good round of self-congratulatory outrage and inspiration for lesbian couples like Laurel and Stacie.  They just don’t really care for gays as people all that much.  If they did, they might realize that the battle against discrimination and stigmatization is not over just because of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding Obergefell v. Hodges.

“Freeheld,” perhaps from bad storytelling but also likely because of bad marketing, wants to insert itself in the debate on marriage equality.  This might make the film appear more “timely,” sure, but it is completely incorrect.  Laurel and Stacie’s battle was never about marriage.  It was about equality under the law, even though their legal union was the 21st century equivalent of “separate but equal.”  To redirect the righteous outrage of a woman who fought for her rights even on her deathbed for pure opportunism feels disgraceful to her memory.

Laurel remained closeted as an occupational hazard on the New Jersey police force, fearing that any strain of moral indecency would only enhance the sexism she already faced.  But once stricken with late-stage cancer, she risks backlash in order to secure the transfer of her pension to Stacie.  The law covers domestic partnerships, yet that does not stop her county’s board of freeholders from refusing her request.

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REVIEW: Super

30 07 2014

SuperJames Gunn’s “Super” plays like a stubborn sidekick to Matthew Vaughn’s 2010 revisionist comic book action flick “Kick-Ass.”  Perhaps it should have adopted a name defining itself better in relation to that film: “Half-Ass.”

Gunn’s film is made in good fun, but “Super” is a little too footloose and fancy-free for its own good.  The off-kilter antics follow cuckolded sad-sack Frank Darbo (Rainn Wilson), who dons the costume of “The Crimson Bolt” in order to win back his wife (Liv Tyler) from the clutches of a drug lord (Kevin Bacon).  The material is wacky enough for Wilson to dive into head first, but it feels a bit like an abandoned pilot for a Dwight spinoff of “The Office.”

Frank works as a quirky, peculiar character to follow, but the same could not be said for Ellen Page as his wannabe partner-in-crime “Boltie,” also known as Libby.  Page goes balls to the wall in her performance, though it winds up feeling rather sloppy, especially in her chemistry with Wilson.  She’s so unhinged that I wondered if she simply stopped taking her Adderall during the filming of “Super.”

Gunn’s total package resembles Page moreso than Wilson in the end, unfortunately.  The tone in the film fluctuates from over-the-top hum or to downbeat drama and then to a teenager’s wet dream of gory violence.  By the end, I found myself wondering if I was watching the scribblings of a deranged comic book devotee who’s been to one too many Comic-Cons.  C+2stars





REVIEW: X-Men: Days of Future Past

12 06 2014

Thanks to the patience and planning of Marvel that culminated in “The Avengers,” now every franchise is rushing to super-size their output by converging as many properties into one film as humanly possible.  Among these stuffed tentpoles, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is probably about as clever as we can expect them to get.  Bryan Singer’s latest entry in the franchise plays to its greatest strength, the strong ensemble cast, to help power what is otherwise a fairly average film.

In 2011, the series essentially rebooted with a cast of rising stars that included James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and Nicholas Hoult as younger versions of the characters.  Not that the original cast was lacking in talent with Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, and Halle Berry.

Since their timeline never really ended (not that this stops the studios nowadays), what better way to bridge old and new than with a little bit of time travel?  And who better to be the intermediary than Jackman’s Wolverine, the only character popular enough to inspire spin-offs?  It all makes perfect sense.

“Days of Future Past” also manages to incorporate Jennifer Lawrence’s Raven/Mystique into the proceedings quite a bit more.  That, of course, couldn’t possibly be because she’s the most loved actress in America at the moment.  It just so happens that she’s the key to preventing annihilation of mutants in the bleak future inhabited by the older versions of the characters.  Wolverine must travel back to the ’70s to prevent her from assassinating defense contractor Raymond Trask (Miles Finch himself, Peter Dinklage) and enabling the creation of the mutant-massacring Sentinels.

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REVIEW: Touchy Feely

5 08 2013

Touchy FeelyHow ironic that director Lynn Shelton should begin to lose her touch in the film “Touchy Feely,” a film about people who literally touch for a living.

All the seemingly effortless perceptiveness into our very humanity in Shelton’s prior two films “Humpday” and “Your Sister’s Sister” have eluded her grasp in her latest feature.  “Touchy Feely” is a mess, unfocused and unorganized from the get-go.  Shelton writes plenty of interestingly odd characters, but they ultimately offer us nothing to take home and apply to our own lives because we can’t identify with them.

The film jumps from emotional non-sequitur to emotional non-sequitur as everyone seems to act in only the most bizarre and irrational ways possible.  Whether it’s taking ecstasy, forcing their significant other to strip in a bathroom at their place of business (only to then walk out), or going to an experimental massage therapist to improve their dentistry, Shelton’s got the sheer unpredictability of human nature cornered.  The problem is, however, that none of these quirks add up to anything – nor do they highlight anything about what it means to be alive, or in love, or a productive member of society.

The actors could have turned “Touchy Feely” into their showcase by picking up the slack from Shelton’s script, but they wind up falling into the same humdrum, forgettable pattern of the film.  Rosemarie DeWitt’s erratic Abby shows nowhere near the vitality and inner life of her titular bride in “Rachel Getting Married,” and Ellen Page just plays Juno on downers.  Not even Allison Janney could breathe any fresh air into the film.

On a final sad note, I was really hoping this would be a breakout role for Josh Pais, a stalwart character actor who first caught my eye as a cantankerous Harlem teacher in “Music of the Heart” when I was seven years old.  He’s been popping up in movies and TV shows for years, and I’ve always enjoyed seeing him.  But his role in “Touchy Feely,” a deadbeat dentist, was a droning monotone. Hopefully he gets another shot at a big part like this again; I just hope this wasn’t the first time a casting agent saw him on screen.  C-1halfstars





REVIEW: To Rome With Love

31 07 2012

So maybe it lacks the timely thematic punch of “Midnight in Paris,” but that doesn’t mean I didn’t thoroughly enjoy Woody Allen’s latest, “To Rome With Love,” thoroughly and completely.  Sure, it’s not going to be rise to the top of his filmography.  Yet it’s a solid reminder of just how much of a comedic master Allen really is and just how effortlessly the laughs flow.

Part of my love of this movie could just be that I was in Rome a month before seeing it, though I will admit Rome gets a far more shallow portrayal than Paris.  Nevertheless, while we miss out on the Eternal City, we are treated to generous helpings of Woody Allen.  Since the story consists of four vignettes (which are really totally unrelated aside from their setting), we are treated to not one, not two, not three, but FOUR neurotic Woody Allen surrogates in one movie!

Now, if you hate the archetypical Woody Allen character with his nebbish misanthropy and his self-deprecatingly intellectual wit, then “To Rome With Love” will sound a lot like nails on a chalkboard to you.  However, if you are like me and willing to sit through something dreadful like “You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger” in the hopes of one classic Allen moment, then you could probably care less about a statement on nostalgia or beautiful, city-encapsulating ambiental cinematography.  You’re just happy to see another Woody Allen movie.  And for me, that’s enough.

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Know Your Nominees: “Inception”

4 02 2011

The Oscars are a great cultural conversation for all to participate in, but it’s all too easy to only have surface knowledge of the nominees.  It’s all too easy to know “Black Swan” as the ballet movie, “The Fighter” as the boxing movie, and “The Social Network” as the Facebook movie.  But don’t you want to know more and stun your friends with your knowledge of the movies in the weeks leading up to the awards and ultimately during the broadcast itself?

That’s what my KNOW YOUR NOMINEES series hopes to do.  Every three days, I’ll feature ten interesting facts about the ten Best Picture nominees of 2010 that would be fascinating to pepper into any conversation.  My hope is that you will come away with an enhanced appreciation of the movies but also enjoy learning strange and interesting things about them.

So, as we proceed in alphabetical order, our next stop on the tour is “Inception.”

So what was the inception of “Inception?”  According to director/screenwriter Christopher Nolan, the movie began as a heist film mainly as a way to provide entertainment and exposition for the complicated dream structure.  But concerned with the cold emotional detachment to the characters in a heist film, he began to add the hero’s story to get the audience to connect with the movie.

What’s real and what isn’t was a big talking point about “Inception,” but it may interest you to know what was shot on location (real) and what was shot on a soundstage or studio lot (not real).  The snow fortress was a built set, as was Saito’s castle. With a few other exceptions, most scenes were shot on location in Tokyo, Paris, Mombasa, Los Angeles, and a small town in Nolan’s home country, England.

How about that spectacular anti-gravity fight scene in the hotel hallway.  According to Christopher Nolan, Joseph Gordon-Levitt did all his own stunts for the scene, only using a double out of necessity for one scene.  The scene was done by creating a spinning set, not through CG.

Another fantastically well-executed scene of mind-blowing visual proportions was the scene at the Parisian café where the city implodes.  How did they shoot that?  According to cinematographer Wally Pfister, they used a camera that captures 1,500 frames per second (in contrast to the average camera which captures 24) to create the slow-motion effect.  In post-production, the visuals team added effects to make the objects look like they were floating.  (Everything was shot out of air cannons for the explosion effect.)

Throughout the second half of the movie, we saw plenty of the van falling off the bridge.  But what you might not know about this scene is that it took months to film and entire days were dedicated to the shot.  But it gets better: the van was shot out of an air cannon and when the van hit the water, the actors actually had to stay underwater for four to five minutes holding their breath and taking air from a tank.  How’s that for dedication?

The ensemble cast turned out perfectly, but it wasn’t always what it was.  Before shooting, Evan Rachel Wood was slated to play Ariadne but dropped out and the role went to Ellen Page.  Another big casting shift was the exit of James Franco, who was originally cast to play Arthur, due to scheduling issues; the role ultimately went to Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Fans of Marion Cotillard got a chuckle when they heard “Non, je ne regrette rien,” the closing song of the film “La Vie En Rose” which won her an Oscar for Best Actress.  The title means “No, I regret nothing” when translated literally into English.  Was it a clever nod to her previous role?  Actually, no.  Nolan and composer Hans Zimmer chose the song before Cotillard became attached to the project because of its booming rhythmic qualities, not because of its association with the actress.

Many people have seen “Inception” as a metaphor for filmmaking, and Nolan has said that these musings aren’t entirely off-base.  But the craft he was most interested in exploring was architecture.  In an interview with WiReD, he stated, “I’m very interested in the similarities or analogies between the way in which we experience a three–dimensional space that an architect has created and the way in which an audience experiences a cinematic narrative that constructs a three–dimensional -reality from a two-dimensional medium—assembled shot by shot. I think there’s a narrative component to architecture that’s kind of fascinating.”

NEWS FLASH: The kids at the end of the movie are not the same as the ones before! Adjust your explanations of “Inception” as necessary.

Don’t worry, no top theories here.  Only some insight on where the idea came from – not exactly inception.  Nolan gave a top as a gift to his wife and then rediscovered it, incorporating it into “Inception.”  The one used in the movie was symbolically designed by the prop department to represent Cobb’s universe.

Check back on February 7 as the KNOW YOUR NOMINEES series continues with “The Kids Are All Right.”





Random Factoid #454

25 10 2010

A few months ago, I wrote a factoid based on Kai’s movie items he wished he had.  I jumped the gun and quickly said I wanted the basketball from “Space Jam” with the talent of the New York Knicks.  This was impulsive and wrong – and my readers didn’t hesitate to remind me of it.  I took some time to examine what I really want, and now I think I know.

If I could have an item from a movie, I would want …

Juno’s hamburger phone.  Because it’s the most awesome invention ever.  I want to find the man who invented the hamburger phone, shake his hand, and give him a pat on the back.  Although given Juno’s frustration with it, I hope that by 2010 there’s a hamburger phone 3G.

“Hey, yeah, uh, I’m just calling to procure a hasty abortion. What? – Can you just hold on for a second, I’m on my hamburger phone.”  She’s calling Women Now … because they help women now.





Random Factoid #376

8 08 2010

Yesterday I talked about what makes me happy, but today you get what makes me mad.  I saw “Inception” again yesterday – that makes three, for those of you keeping score at home.

I happened to catch wind of an article this week from The New York Magazine (some of you might remember David Edelstein’s scathing review that was the first among the backlashing critics) that bashed Ellen Page’s character in “Inception.” Here’s Emma Rosenblum talking about what she calls the “asexual chic.”

Poor Ellen Page. While most everyone else in “Inception” looks ripped out of a fashion-magazine spread, she has to traipse around in Christopher Nolan’s version of graduate-student chic — ill-fitting corduroys, ratty jackets, and scuffed, oddly pointy motorcycle boots. When Page first shows up as a brilliant architecture student, dressed in baggy pants and, strangely, a neckerchief, she looks not only childish, but of a different movie altogether than Leonardo DiCaprio, who slinks through “Inception” in GQ-worthy custom three-piece suits.

… According to our very informal survey of grad students (er, our friends), neckerchiefs are not currently a staple of the PhD crowd, and yet she dons one in every single scene. She looks like a cross between a boy scout and the Swedish Chef. Perhaps this is just another Nolan subconscious trick — Page’s character is stuck dreaming about her youth spent as a boy sailor? Regardless, there are better ways to signify that Page is smart and not the female character whom DiCaprio wants to sleep with than sticking her in unattractive, earth-tone duds. Like, say, giving her a pair of glasses.

While I respect differing opinions, I have to say that baseless arguments like these make me mad.  She ignorantly reinforces the very gender stereotypes that she appears to deplore in the final sentence.  By saying that she’s asexual unless she dresses well, isn’t that saying that if she spiffed up, she would be sexual and thus an object of lust for Cobb?  Not to mention that in the process, she also implies that anyone with glasses is doomed to never have a guy look at her.

Page’s Ariadne is not supposed to fit in with Cobb’s team.  She’s new to the art of shared dreaming, and she’s added to the dream team that enters Fischer’s mind at the last minute.  Excuse her if in the real world she hasn’t had the time to buff up her wardrobe.  She stands out among them as a novice because of her actions; the clothes just complement what we observe about her.  If she dressed too nicely, that might read as her having a sense of confidence which isn’t present.

And she’s a college student, for goodness sake!  How many elegantly dressed college students could you round up on a campus nowadays?  It would send up a bigger red flag if she was dressed really nicely.  The “very informal survey” may not have found some of her accessories commonplace, but far less common would be your designer outfits and formalwear.

Since Rosenblum brought up the point, yes, her clothes aren’t meant to make her look like an object of lust to Cobb.  Yet she misses the more important point: Ariadne isn’t supposed to be an object of lust to US, the audience.  If we are fawning over how good Ellen Page looks, it would undoubtedly distract us from the movie’s labyrinthian plot.  The costume designer knows best how to use clothing to send a message to us, and they sent the right one with Ariadne.  If Rosenblum can’t handle that, there are plenty of Hollywood movies with models acting that should be “beautiful” enough for her.





F.I.L.M. of the Week (August 6, 2010)

6 08 2010

I’ve thought of three great comparisons for “Hard Candy,” the “F.I.L.M. of the Week” (First-Class, Independent Little-Known Movie, for those who need a refresher on the acronym), and I just had to include them in my post. I think they make a great lead. Imagine me clearing my throat, and then I say to you…

“Hard Candy” is “Misery” for the digital age. It’s Michael Haeneke’s “Funny Games,” pedophile edition!  And it’s “Paranormal Activity” without the ghosts!

I’m sure I probably have you more confused than anything right now, so allow me to explain.

The first scene, an internet chat, sets up our assumptions about the two characters.  Hayley (Ellen Page) is a 14-year-old girl who allows herself to be wooed by Jeff (Patrick Wilson), a much older photographer, presumably a pedophile from the way they speak to each other. When they arrange to meet for the first time at a coffee shop, we have roles assigned for them in our heads: Jeff the hunter and Hayley the victim.

But the movie quickly shows us that we have these roles mixed up once they return to his house.  As if in one of those crazy games where the deer shoot the rednecks, Hayley tortures Jeff in his own dwelling, punishing him for crimes that she isn’t certain he has committed.  But as the server of preemptive justice, she has little care for following the rules, and her innocence fades quickly as her games become more cruel and sadistic with each passing minute.

This isn’t a movie for the faint at heart and certainly not for those who want to think of Ellen Page as a good-hearted, spunky teenager.  Director David Slade makes a gripping movie by making all the events compellingly realistic, choosing to craft a very eerie natural tension by relying on the actors to really communicate the emotions.  In an era where the average movie changes shots every two seconds, Slade opts for several haunting long shots.  There’s a particular one of Patrick Wilson that last several minutes which will surely sear into your memory forever.





REVIEW: Inception

16 07 2010

Filmmaking is about creation.

The creation of a character, a couple; a feeling, a frame; a narrative, a novelty; a relationship, a romance; a moment, a mystery.  Have no doubt about it, filmmaking is creation, no matter the size of the budget or scope.

But there are very few filmmakers with the knowledge, the willpower, and the vision to create a world.  We all remember the first time we stepped into the galaxy far, far away that George Lucas took us to in “Star Wars.”  Recent examples include The Wachowski Brothers leading us into the world of “The Matrix,” Peter Jackson lifting Middle Earth off the page and displaying it before our very own eyes in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and, very recently, James Cameron giving us a crystal-clear, in-our-face look at Pandora in “Avatar.”

And now, with the release of “Inception,” we can officially add Christopher Nolan to that impressive list of filmmakers.  He unravels before our very own eyes what he envisions to be the world of the dream.  It’s an incredibly complex world, governed by a set of rules that have graver implications that we could ever imagine.  Only he holds the keys to unlocking the secrets of his creation, and he tantalizingly dangles them before our eyes.

Yet he also challenges us to use just the sight of them to figure it out for ourselves.  I have no doubt he left us clues throughout the movie, but it’s not possible to catch them your first time.  You are simply too awe-struck by what’s on the screen, too busy puzzling out the intricacies of the plot, and too preoccupied trying to stay ahead of Nolan to go a layer deeper.  And to go that extra mile, to find what’s really bubbling under the surface of “Inception,” you will have already dug to a great depth.  Some people won’t even be willing to go that far, and they will feel left in the dust by the movie, like a kindergartener sitting in a calculus class.  But Nolan doesn’t design it for those people, making it an even sweeter treat for those willing to take their mind on a journey it won’t always understand.

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REVIEW: Whip It

27 03 2010

The big question for me going into “Whip It” was Ellen Page. Can she play someone other than the spunky Juno MacGuff or is she truly a one-trick pony?

The answer? Basically, yes.

Page’s latest character, Bliss Cavander, the rebellious Texas teenager is very much a darker shade of Juno. But that didn’t make her any less enjoyable to watch. Page manages to remain fresh doing some similar schtick, and finding a niche at such a young age is truly an accomplishment.

The surprise of “Whip It” was actually Kristen Wiig. No, I’m not surprised that she was absolutely hilarious; Wiig had three supporting roles in 2009 and managed to steal every movie. She’s a great talent who will hopefully land a lead role securing her rightful place in the comedic stratosphere, but her surprise in “Whip It” was that she absolutely nailed the most crucial dramatic scene. It’s rare to find someone with this kind of range, and Wiig showed herself to truly be the full package.

Another big question was Drew Barrymore in her first time directing. Can she pull herself together and create something special?

The answer? A resounding yes.

“Whip It” is a comedic delight, with laughs and wit and quirks lurching at every turn. It follows Bliss as she secretly joins the underground world of roller derby, where the skates shred the track and the women are tough as nails. A bold name is also necessary for success with the fans, be it Smashlee Simpson (Barrymore), Maggie Mayhem (Kristen Wiig), or Iron Maven. Bliss settles upon Babe Rutheless, and with her moniker, she becomes the new poster child for the sport. But she has to keep her success a secret from her strict mother (Marcia Gay Harden) who wants Bliss to become the beauty pageant queen that she could never be. How much of this movie’s excellence came from Barrymore is unknown, but I feel like I had as much fun watching “Whip It” as she had making it. B+ /





What to Look Forward to In … October 2009

29 08 2009

We give the movie industry late August and all of September to recover from the busy summer season, but in October, it starts to kick it into gear again.  Unfortunately, my most anticipated movie in October, Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island,” was pushed back to February.  But the month still puts forth several great movies for all tastes.

October 2

This week, I can promise you that I will be throwing my money not at a new release, but at the re-release of two staples of my childhood.  “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2” will hit theaters again for a few weeks.  1 ticket.  2 movies. 3-D.  Need I say more?

The week also gives us “The Invention of Lying,” which could be a sleeper comedy hit. The movie stars Ricky Gervais, who was the lead of the British version of “The Office.” Around this time last year, he starred in “Ghost Town,” a comedy with a heart that you need to go rent now, that was dismissed by audiences. I have high hopes for his latest, in which he plays a man who tells the world’s first lie on an alternate Earth. He continues to wield the power to suit his own selfish needs. The movie also features Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe, and the always funny Tina Fey.

And not to mention, the week delivers Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, “Whip It.” The movie stars the irresistible Ellen Page (“Juno”) as Bliss, a teenager weary of the beauty pageants that she is forced into by her parents. One day, she discovers the world of roller derby and she finds the happiness that she has been so desperately seeking. The movie boasts a hilarious supporting cast including Kristen Wiig (“SNL”), Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden, and Barrymore herself.

And it just keeps getting better.  The Coen Brothers (“No Country for Old Men”) are back with their latest feature, “A Serious Man;” they also wrote the original screenplay.  The movie seems to be a big risk.  It features no marquee names other than the Coens themselves. The trailer is cryptic, giving no indication of what to expect from the movie. I don’t mind an aura of mystique, but this is an aura of confusion. The movie is being marketed as a dark comedy, and I pray that it is the polar opposite of the Coens’ last foray into the genre, “Burn After Reading,” which I didn’t find funny at all. The movie starts in limited release and then will slowly expand from New York and Los Angeles.

The other major release of the week is “Zombieland,” a horror-comedy with Woody Harrelson.

October 9

The only exciting movie hitting theaters across the country this weekend is “Couples Retreat.”  A comedy centered around four couples at a luxurious tropical resort that is revealed to be a marriage therapy clinic, it appears to provide something for everyone.  It has pretty women (Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell, Kristin Davis) AND funny guys (Jason Bateman, Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau).  The movie is the directorial debut of Ralph Billingsley, best known for playing Ralphie in “A Christmas Story,” and the screenplay is written by Vaughn and Favreau.  Hopefully it can provide some good laughs in a season usually replete of hilarious comedies.

Opening in limited release is “An Education,” a movie that has been garnering massive Oscar buzz for months now.  Most of it has centered on the breakout performance of lead actress Carey Mulligan.  In the movie, she stars as Jenny, a 17-year-old in 1960s England who is set on going to Oxford.  However, an older gentleman (Peter Sarsgaard) comes along and sweeps her off of her feet, introducing her to a lifestyle that she immediately loves.  But reality bites, and Jenny is left at a crucial crossroads.  The movie has also generated buzz around supporting actors Alfred Molina and Rosamund Pike (the red-haired villain of “Die Another Day”).  Raves are also flying in for the screenplay, written by author Nick Hornby, writer of “About a Boy” and “Fever Pitch.”  And with the 10 nominees for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars, many people say it has a good chance of claiming one of the ten.

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What to Look Forward To: “Inception”

25 08 2009

I won’t normally do this, but I just have to now.  At the moment, “Inception” is my most anticipated movie of 2010.  It is Christopher Nolan’s first movie since he lit the world on fire with “The Dark Knight,” which he directed and wrote.  He has gathered a superb cast for the project, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, and Michael Caine. He has kept the plot of his latest outing shrouded in secrecy … until today, when a very detailed plot summary was released.  I beg you, PLEASE DO NOT LET ME READ THEM!  And if you tell me, I will unleash my wrath on you.  I cannot accurately put into words my euphoria for the release of this movie.  I do not want it to be tainted by knowing the intricacies of the plot before I step into the movie theater!  Yes, I am using exclamation points because I really do feel that strongly!  Watch the teaser trailer that played before “Inglourious Basterds” below … the best since “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” It sets up the movie perfectly and without giving away anything about the plot.