Amid a seedy and often brutal urban landscape, Fuqua livens up the proceedings with some stylish fights and a handful of taut action sequences staged in dark alleys, rail yards, and rundown apartment buildings. Still, it all drags on much longer than necessary.Full Story
Everybody loves an underdog story about an outcast who overcomes obstacles to become a leader, but in trying to expand upon the source material, the film loses its focus and aims toward mainstream mayhem instead of embracing the peculiarity of the characters and their fantasy world.Full Story
“We think if you want to preach, you should prepare a sermon, not a movie,” Allen said.Full Story
Most of us never come anywhere near testing our own limits. Most of us are content with the fact that we’ve never been forced to stretch our own physical and mental abilities to stay alive. Many of us consider ourselves blessed to be able to say as much.
What then to make of the peculiar sort of person who chooses to attempt an act that most consider crazy?
In 1975, 25-year-old Robyn Davidson traveled to Alice Springs, in the heart of Australia hot and dry Red Centre. Her intention was to learn to tame and train a few of the continent’s thousands of wild camels to aid her plan of walking 1,700 miles through the harsh desert of Western Australia to the Indian Ocean.Full Story
The more cynical among you will undoubtedly find Hector and the Search For Happiness grating. With its whimsy layered upon whimsy bookended by a selection of admittedly trite pseudo-aphorisms that might’ve been cribbed from a Deepak Chopra book, this is not a film for committed pessimists or misanthropes.
I found more troubling a few of the film’s more tone-deaf decisions. For instance, I’m sure the choice not to name the country that the title character visits in Africa was made so as not to paint any specific nation as corrupt and dangerous, but the end result is to besmirch an entire continent instead and to come off as Eurocentric in the process.Full Story
The film had a surprisingly tight production schedule that included just one week of on-set preparation prior to filming. That time included the usual rehearsals, but little physical or weapons training for the film’s abundant action and chase sequences. O’Brien said that was by design.Full Story
The film elects to withhold the answers to many of its key questions about the characters and their plight to maintain a sense of mystery. That’s fine in theory, but forcing moviegoers to wait until the next installment to this degree isn’t a valid excuse.Full Story
Benson’s screenplay is deliberately paced and dialogue-heavy, even in its combined state, alternating between moments that are playful and contemplative. Visually he shows some inventiveness, including a beautifully composed final shot that hints at what the rest of the film might have been.Full Story
Predictability isn’t necessarily a damning quality for a movie. If it were, there’d be no such thing as a good romantic comedy. It’s possible to take comfort in a formula, so long as the lead characters are singular creations or even just that the dialogue is zippy enough to keep matters moving along toward their obvious resolution.
Yet the moment I knew I’d switched from indifference to dislike of This is Where I Leave You was when two adult brothers, because of a misunderstanding, began to fight. Of course one of them chases the other out of the family home and on to the front lawn. And of course the rest of the family and friends who have gathered for a funeral follows them outside to watch. I scribbled in my notebook at that point, “the fight will come to an abrupt end when a family secret is blurted out.” Because of course.Full Story
Here’s a movie that skates by on the charm and chemistry of its lead actors. It’s such a delight to watch Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, longtime colleagues on Saturday Night Live, riff off one another that I didn’t mind the ho-hum nature of the film’s story-lines.
This is a drama, not a comedy, as the countless shots of Hader and Wiig as grown twins Milo and Maggie looking despondent make abundantly clear. But it’s the lighter moments when the newly reunited siblings just hang out and goof off together that bring the film to life.Full Story