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Entries in Drama (7)

Wednesday
Jan252012

'Jeff Who Lives at Home' trailer - Jason Segal attempts to soil my good name

You know, I’ve had a pretty good run with the name Jeff. Yeah, my initials JVC are the same as the major electronics company, but it could have been worse; I could have been named Michael Bolton. Still, it irks me to see the Duplass brothers try to ruin the good thing I have going. Their new film Jeff Who Lives at Home portrays we Jeffs as the type who live at home with our parents until we’re well into our 30s. It’s not true, I tell you! If I wasn’t pretty sure this would be a good movie, I might be offended. 

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Saturday
Nov192011

'Mirror, Mirror' trailer - It makes 'Snow White and The Huntsman' look like 'Citizen Kane'

There are two Snow White films hitting theaters soon, for some reason. Last week, we checked out the first trailer for Snow White & The Huntsman, which takes a moody, Twilight approach to the classic tale, and now we have the first trailer for Mirror, Mirror, which is directed by Tarsem Singh, who was responsible for The Fall, an intriguing movie that blends dream and reality, and more recently, the disappointing Immortals. It was written by three people, none of whom seem terribly experienced at writing good films.  

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Wednesday
Nov162011

'J. Edgar' review - A biopic with very little to say

J. Edgar Hoover is somewhat enigmatic within the grand narrative of modern American history. His name, though well known, doesn’t much carry a face, and an accurate understanding of his accomplishments and personal life is still, even today, elusive. He’s shown up in popular culture from time to time—I’m thinking mainly of references from the likes of Seinfeld or The Simpsons—but only as a name, very rarely as a man. I suspect that to many born after his death in 1972, his identity is considerably murkier than those of the many presidents he served under, or the movie stars and activist leaders he so relentlessly targeted. History has never quite understood how he should be remembered. It’s tempting to call him an evil man, but if he were so, what then should be said about the citizenry that allowed him so much power and influence for so many decades? Pondering his legacy now, I think it’s downright remarkable that an historical figure like Hoover has remained a specter for so long. I smile at the irony, too—surely a man as obsessed with shadows and secrets wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Perhaps the ambivalence surrounding Hoover’s identity was the reason I viewed director Clint Eastwood’s latest bit of Oscar-bait with such regrettable enthusiasm. I must have hoped, on some level, that J. Edgar would provide a definitive account of the man’s life; that Eastwood—himself a noted conservative—would arrange for me the facts of J. Edgar Hoover’s existence into some sort of salient coherence. This did not happen. Rather, Eastwood has crafted a film that takes far too much pleasure in the mystique of its central character, barely attempting (if at all) to illustrate how the cogs in his head turned over the course of a very long and illustrious career.

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Monday
Oct102011

The Ides of March review - Gosling and Clooney can do no wrong

It’s starting to seem like Ryan Gosling can do no wrong.

His Oscar-nominated turn as a drug addicted junior high school teacher in 2006’s Half-Nelson proved he had chops, and he’s been showing them off ever since--in films such as last year’s Blue Valentine and the recently-released Drive. Now, he’s showing them off in George Clooney’s political thriller The Ides of March and it seems implausible that the academy won’t honor him again next year.

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Saturday
Oct082011

Talk To Me (2007) review - Don Cheadle can work a mic

Talk To Me is based on the life of radio personality Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene. It’s a classic rise and fall story that managed to keep me engrossed throughout the film. It’s filled with heartfelt moments and the funniest monologues I’ve heard in my life.

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Sunday
Sep112011

Warrior review - An underdog story with two underdogs

Everyone likes a good underdog story, especially when it ends in a big battle. Sylvester Stallone has made a career out of being an underdog. But while Rocky worked in the 1970s, these days you can't get away with a simple David vs Goliath fight. That's why most recent fighting movies have a lot of family drama too. Cinderella Man, Million Dollar Baby, and last year's The Fighter got their Oscar nominations by layering on the hardship. Warrior kicks it up a notch. You've seen the standard underdog story a thousand times before (learn about why we like underdogs here), but have you seen two underdogs in one movie?

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Tuesday
Aug032010

CHARLIE ST. CLOUD shows Zac Efron can act, and take his shirt off (review)

Rating:  (Decent)

Charlie St. Cloud is a troubled guy inside a troubled movie. He's stricken by guilt over his brother's death and can't let go; the film is stricken by a studio mandate to show as much of Zac Efron's chest and abs as possible, and struggles to sincerely tell its tale. Luckily for Director Burr Steers, Efron is more than a pretty face and body; he can act and takes his role more seriously than your average mouseketeer.

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