Following a massive forest fire, Alvin(Paul Rudd) and Lance(Emile… MoreFollowing a massive forest fire, Alvin(Paul Rudd) and Lance(Emile Hirsch) work at repainting the yellow stripes on the highway. In point of fact, Lance is the younger brother of Alvin's girlfriend. While Alvin works on improving his German for an upcoming vacation with her, Lance goes back to town for the weekend.
"Prince Avalanche" may not exactly be a return to form for David Gordon Green and his glory days of poetic lyricism, mainly due to the crude dialogue throughout. Still, there is enough thoughtfulness on display for this to certainly be considered a step in the right direction. Elsewhere, Paul Rudd shows a bit of range for once while Emile Hirsch is content to do a middling Jack Black impression.
In "Paydirt," Eric(Eric Silverstein) and Nancy(Lola Desmond) own a… MoreIn "Paydirt," Eric(Eric Silverstein) and Nancy(Lola Desmond) own a struggling vineyard in Oregon. To make ends meet, they grow a little marijuana on the side, away from the main business and on the sly. And they are not the only ones to do so in this valley. However, this cash crop is drawing the wrong kind of attention, as there has been a rash of robberies recently.
"Paydirt" is an engaging and timeless movie. It starts with Nancy recounting her memorable family history, before starting the main story in the present day of the 1980's when Nancy Reagan was telling everybody to just say no. And in the present day of 2015 when marijuana use is now legal in Oregon, I'm commenting on a movie that one person in the Q & A referred to as a western with people under siege from outlaws and defending their turf.
While Marion(Vanessa Redgrave) goes to choir practice led by… MoreWhile Marion(Vanessa Redgrave) goes to choir practice led by Elizabeth(Gemma Arterton), Marion's husband Arthur(Terence Stamp) spends his retirement either at home or hanging out with his friends at the pub. Just as the choir is getting ready for competition, Marion's cancer returns. Instead of trying to go through the rigors of chemotherapy again, she decides to concentrate on the choir...
Aside from its saccharine plot, "Song for Marion" already has a couple of strikes going against it. First, its major attempts at humor come from seniors singing age-inappropriate songs. Plus, the world is really not ready for a super-perky Gemma Arterton. At the same time, Vanessa Redgrave and Christopher Eccleston are both very good in support. That brings us to Terence Stamp who carries and grounds the movie at the same time with his sensitive, yet tough, performance.
"This Is the End" starts with Seth Rogen picking up his good friend… More"This Is the End" starts with Seth Rogen picking up his good friend Jay Baruchel at the airport. They quickly put to rest Seth's macrobiotic diet in favor of some fast food. After which, they hang out, play video games and smoke some weed. But Jay doesn't feel like going to a party at James Franco's, even as Seth talks him into it. They don't stay long, opting to buy some booze on their own. And that's when the world ends.
If you can only watch one comedy about the rapture featuring Craig Robinson, then definitely go with the entertaining "This Is the End" which makes the most of its semi-limited budget to create some very memorable imagery. In general, the movie takes aim at the notion of celebrity with the cast playing alternate versions of themselves that are not to be taken seriously. However, it does confirm the worst suspicions about Danny McBride while giving the viewer a more pseudo-intellectual James Franco than previously thought possible. Otherwise, the in-jokes do not really work. Instead the movie is very meaningful when it comes to exploring the bonds of friendship.
In "The Kings of Summer," Joe(Nick Robinson) feels virtually trapped… MoreIn "The Kings of Summer," Joe(Nick Robinson) feels virtually trapped in the house with his widowed father(Nick Offerman), with only brief reprieves from visits by his older sister Heather(Alison Brie). Joe's friend Patrick(Gabriel Basso) is little help. It's not so much his foot injury but his parents'(Megan Mullaly and Marc Evan Jackson) overreaction to such. But Joe does have an idea to free both of them which involves the local forest, with a little help from the mysterious Biaggio(Moises Arias).
"The Kings of Summer" is an evocative coming of age movie that makes a convincing argument for teenagers needing their freedom. At the same time, there is a good cast on hand, especially the adults(I think I might be finally warming up to Nick Offerman) who do not overshadow any of the youngsters. It is also so well photographed that the slow motion interludes are not annoying. But as satisfying as the movie is emotionally, it does not quite work as well on a physical level.
With no televised debates between the presidential candidates in 1968,… MoreWith no televised debates between the presidential candidates in 1968, it was left to ABC who was desperately seeking an audience or any kind of attention really to make up for that by having Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley debate opposing viewpoints in the studio during the two political conventions that year. What the illuminating and snappy documentary "Best of Enemies" does well is provide behind the scenes information. The most surprising snippets involve fresh angles on the Chicago Democratic Convention which had already been so exhaustively covered and here go beyond just mentioning Gore Vidal, Arthur Miller and Paul Newman sharing a car.(I feel there should be a punchline there...)
With a documentary just last year about Gore Vidal, the more revelatory parts in "Best of Enemies" involve William F. Buckley who in archival footage seems polite and eager to listen to different points of view on his television show, and at least until he is pushed too far in the debates with Vidal. At the same time, I do have certain bones to pick, not the least of which is the accusation that Vidal had ulterior motives for saying something unkind about Robert Kennedy. For Buckley, the documentary probably overstates his influence on the Republican Party when in fact he was might have just been in agreement with the more conservative Republicans in power.
By night, Nira(Sarit Larry) attends a creative writing group. By day,… MoreBy night, Nira(Sarit Larry) attends a creative writing group. By day, she is a kindergarten teacher. One of her charges is five year old Yoav(Avi Shnaidman) who displays a prodigious talent at poetry which Nira talks about with Yoav's nanny Miri(Ester Rada) who also wants to be an actress.
Aside from pointing out that there is nothing more dangerous than a failed intellectual(which is a better explanation for Nira's actions than simple empty nest syndrome), "The Kindergarten Teacher" also has quite a few things to say about the class structure in Israel. Writer-director Napav Lapid then takes those expectations and subverts them neatly throughout, even though he has a tendency to rely on extreme close-ups a bit too much.
Even as Jenny(Katherine Heigl) botches the questions at a christening,… MoreEven as Jenny(Katherine Heigl) botches the questions at a christening, her concerned parents(Linda Emond & Tom Wilkinson) are wondering when she will be marrying and having kids of her own. For Jenny, it is about time, too. For she has been dating a special person for the past five years, Kitty(Alexis Bledel), who her family has only known as Jenny's roommate, until now.
As awkward as it can be in getting its central point of tolerance across, it is still almost impossible to dislike as well-meaning a movie as "Jenny's Wedding" with its heart fully on its sleeve.(It again proves that Tom Wilkinson can make almost any movie better.) Actually, the movie does have a rather interesting point of view concerning same sex marriage, namely it being an issue of generational adjustment for parents.
In "Jayne Mansfield's Car," a woman had run away from her family to… MoreIn "Jayne Mansfield's Car," a woman had run away from her family to start a new one in England. Decades later, she dies. Her last request is to be buried back in her native Alabama which her old family has complicated feelings about, as her new family accompanies her body.
"Jayne Mansfield's Car" wastes a very good cast that includes Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Billy Bob Thornton(who also directed and co-wrote), Kevin Bacon, Robert Patrick, Ray Stevenson, Frances O'Connor and Katherine LaNasa on a cliche-ridden story that just seems satisfied with recycling tired stereotypes about the South(strange, considering Thornton is from Arkansas), the English and the 1960's. In fact, France O'Connor is about the only one of the cast to rise above the occasion. Which is a shame because there are some good thoughts via this family haunted by war that the best way to make someone a pacifist is to drop them in a war zone.
After having disappeared for a year, advertising guru Adan… MoreAfter having disappeared for a year, advertising guru Adan Kundle(Bruce Greenwood) appears just as suddenly in a hospital where except for the fact that he only speaks in advertising lingo he seems fine. Recognizing him, Karen Hillridge(Parker Posey) takes him home with her. Upon hearing about all of this, Lucas Foster(Callum Blue), Adan's former business partner, starts to worry that he may have to surrender some of his power.
"And Now a Word from Our Sponsors" has a superb performance from Bruce Greenwood. And virtually no story or plot. Which is a shame because much could have been commented here about how evil advertising is or at the very least how we tend to speak in cliches in our everyday conversation.