Friday, February 17, 2012

This Means War

My View:   This Means War (2012) Chris Pine and Tom Hardy play two best friend CIA agents who are saving the world from terrorists.  Both men meet Reese Witherspoon’s character at separate events and unknowingly, each begin dating her. When they find out they are both interested in the same woman, winning her heart becomes a contest, and they use every resource the CIA has to gather Intel on her and thwart each other’s advances.  If you are going to have any chance at all at enjoying this film, you will have to leave your mind at the door because the plot holes in this film are large enough to drive a tank through. I did enjoy a couple of scenes, especially one where there is a nicely choreographed movement where Reese is home, and she thinks she is alone.  While she's making popcorn, the two agents stealthily bug her apartment without her or each other’s knowledge.  Tom Hardy is the best thing about this movie, and the audience will certainly root for his character over the slick character that Chris Pine plays.  Ultimately, though, we just can’t buy the premise, much like we can’t buy it that Reese’s character is so dateless that her local restaurant calls her “Sushi For One."   My Rating: Cable   This Means War Website
Family Fare:   The Secret World of Arrietty (2011) Based on the beloved children’s book, The Borrowers, this film, from the Japanese animation studio Ghibli, is about a family of four-inch tall people called, the Borrowers, who live in secret and take just what they need to survive from the Beings living the big house above.  A young, determined girl named, Arrietty (voiced by Bridgit Mendler), a borrower, is discovered during one of their borrowing raids by a sickly boy (voiced by Mark Strong) who has just moved into his aunt’s home. This meeting changes Arrietty and her family's world forever. This is a beautiful film, full of rich colors and incredibly detailed animation. While it may be too slow for young children, older children and adults will delight in this incredible tale.  It also doesn’t hurt that the cast who voice this film include Will Arenett, Amy Poehler and Carol Burnett.   My Rating: Full Price   The Secret World of Arrietty Website
Indyfest(A Look at a Small, Indie or Foreign Film):   A Separation (2011)  Almost a sure bet to be the winner of this year’s Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film, this film, from Iran, is about a couple at crossroads in their married life. The wife (played by Leila Hatami) wants to move to a country in the west so that her daughter can get a better education. The husband (played by Peyman Maadi) wants to stay in Iran so that he can continue to care for his father who has Alzheimer's. Things start to go wrong as soon as they hire a caretaker to manage the household, and a series of events cause things to quickly spiral out of control. This is a fascinating look at a world we, in the west, get very little exposure to.  This film shows us that even the littlest thing can be a catalyst toward the destruction of a family.    My Rating: Full Price   A Separation Info

The 50 (A Movie From My Best/Worst Films of All Time)
#25 Worst Film
Ishtar  (1987) This “comedy” film is about two untalented lounge singers (Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty) who travel to Morocco for a gig and get involved in the possible overthrow of a country. This film cost an incredible amount of money to make as a great deal of it was re-shot after studio executives saw a rough-cut of the film. The biggest problem of this film is Hoffman and Beatty can’t sing and the songs they sing are some of the worst ever written for film, which makes this a tough film to watch. How two Oscar-winning actors ever got involved with this mess of a film would probably make a better film.   Ishtar Info
Forgotten Film:   The Doctor (1991)  William Hurt plays a successful, workaholic surgeon, whose marriage is on auto-pilot and whose bed-side manner is lacking in care and compassion. His belief is that his mission as a doctor is to save lives, not become involved in them.  Things, though, begin to change when he is diagnosed with throat cancer, and he has to see his world, now, through the eyes of a patient. With the help of a fellow cancer patient (played by Elizabeth Perkins), he comes to realize that a people need not only the skill of a surgeon to be healed, but the touch and care of a fellow human being.    My Rating: Full Price   The Doctor Info

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD):   The Rum Diary (2011)  Based on the life and writings of “Gonzo Journalist” Hunter S. Thompson, Johnny Depp plays a failed novelist who moves to Puerto Rico to find work with a local newspaper. He quickly becomes involved with a number of characters that inhabit the island, including a wealthy publicist’s fiancĂ©e (played by Amber Heard). Overall, I didn’t like this film, as a few funny scenes don’t make up for the overall feel of the film that is too long and too disjointed to really be enjoyable.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Rum Diary Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):   Project X (2012) Three high school losers throw a birthday party to make a name for themselves, but things get out of control.  Can I just watch a couple of home-made YouTube party videos instead and call it a night?   Project X Website

Weird Credits:   From the credits of This Means War: CIA consultant (As one of my fellow critics said the night of the screening, about all the consultant did on this film was say, “yep, that’s what the CIA logo looks like”).

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:   Friends with Kids (2012) Jennifer Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein), directs and stars in this film about two best friends who decide to have a child together but there's a twist:  they want to keep their relationship platonic.   Friends with Kids Website
Until Next Time!

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