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It’s Complicated Review

It's Complicated

Meryl, Alec and Steve are all incredibly funny in It’s Complicated. Worth the price of a movie ticket if you’re in the mood for a good laugh.

My rating 4.5 Stars

If you search for It’s Complicated on Rotten Tomatoes you might be dumbfounded to discover that the critics hated this movie, but the viewers loved it. There is a difference of 20 points between the two. I have to be honest, I cannot believe it myself. It is true that this wasn’t a terribly original idea. There were also some in appropriate scenes with drug use and some nudity, but those scenes that the critics found inappropriate were exactly what made this movie so hilarious. I guess you will have to ask yourself one question before you would see this movie, “Do I like crude adult humor?” If the answer is no, then you shouldn’t watch this film. If however, you do enjoy that sort of thing, then I think you’ll like this movie without a doubt, just like I did, and just like many others.

Once again Meryl Streep was fantastic in her role. She was even nominated for a Golden Globe award for her work. She only lost to herself for her performance as Julia Child in Julie & Julia. Bummer! Watching Meryl act is a treat. Very few actors have the talent to become someone else so flawlessly and at the same time make it look so easy and effortless. If you ever see Meryl in an interview, you will be surprised to realize that she is nothing like the characters she plays. She is incredible.

Then there was Alec Baldwin; I love this man! Alec is a comic genius. I don’t like to use that word too much because I think that entertainers frequently misuse it , but in this case, I think it applies to him. Alec can make you laugh like no other person can and at the same time he can make you believe his performance. The man has comedic talent oozing out of his pores and like Meryl he was brilliant in this role. His interactions with Meryl weren’t only burst-a-seam-laughing funny, but they were also very convincing and they would rival any drama.

Steve Martin is also a funny entertainer. He’s not much of an actor, but we won’t hold that against him. Some of the weakest parts in the movie were the romantic interactions between Meryl and Steve. However, some of the best and funniest moments of the film were between those two. Thus while Steve wasn’t great in his serious parts in this role, he was incredibly funny in the comic parts. One can say that Steve still has the ability to make you laugh, and it doesn’t look like he’s ready to hang his hat anytime soon. I think that is a good thing.

It’s Complicated actually isn’t that complicated to explain. Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin have been divorced for just about ten years. They separated because Alec was caught having an affair with a younger, much “hotter” woman. He had since married that other woman and they had a five year old child together. After ten years of being apart, Alec realized he still had feelings for Meryl. Bullshit, the truth was that Alec was playing a selfish SOB. I don’t think he had any feelings for her, he just wanted out of the relationship because he didn’t want to have to share his woman with children. Thus after Meryl’s youngest finally moved away to college, once again he was interested in her. There was another reason he wanted to go back to her. His new hot wife wanted to have another child, but he was so gutless he didn’t know how to say no. His solution was to be unfaithful to his current wife by having an affair with his ex-wife.

Meryl’s character has been alone for the ten years following the divorce and her friends were worried about her. It had taken her a long time to get over her failed marriage and she never quite wanted to get back into the dating scene that is until Alec came back in her life. Meryl was reluctant at first, but then she gave in, however all she wanted was an affair although she did wonder what it would be like to have him back in her life. I don’t think that she liked living alone very much.  In the mean time, Meryl was also starting to fall for another man, Steve Martin. He was the architect that she had hired to put a new addition to her house which included a new giant kitchen. She had wanted one for over ten years and now she was finally going to get it. Steve did the design for the new addition, but what was more important here was that Steve understood exactly her taste and what she wanted as if he knew her from the inside out. This was very attractive to Meryl, so naturally she fell for him.

You can start to imagine the complexity of the story. Meryl was dating Steve, but at the same time had a secret affair with Alec. Except that it wasn’t a total secret, Meryl’s future son-in-law knew about the affair and struggled to keep it a secret from his future wife and the rest of Meryl’s kids. Okay, it was complicated, but it was also a hell of a lot of fun. I absolutely loved this movie, I enjoyed it from beginning to end and I would recommend it to anyone. Forget what the critics are saying; if you want a good laugh, go see it right now!

The Soloist Review

The Soloist

The Soloist is a great story, it’s too bad that its filmmakers didn’t know how to tell it correctly or in an entertaining manner.

My rating 3 Stars

Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx) is a musical prodigy who develops schizophrenia during his second year at Juilliard. Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) is a successful journalist and columnist for the LA Times. After a serious bicycle accident that nearly cost his life, Lopez had to take some time off from work; his fans missed him. After his return, his boss wanted him to write a piece about his accident; however, Lopez didn’t feel right sharing that with his readers. He wanted to write about something else, he just wasn’t sure what.

Lopez goes out to get lunch when suddenly he is mesmerized by the sound of a two string violin playing. He follows the sound only to find that it was a schizophrenic homeless man playing the “instrument.” Lopez is both in awe and inspired, he decides right then and there that he is going to write about this intriguing man. Lopez starts a conversation with him, however, it was very difficult to talk to Nathaniel because he would go on and on about unrelated topics. You had to listen very carefully to get answers. I have never been a real fan of Foxx, but I must say with all honesty, he did a really nice job with this role. The first time we see Nathaniel on the screen he delivers close to 2 minute incoherent speech, it was like a crazy Shakespearian monologue. I can’t imagine trying to memorize a speech like that where it’s just rambling stream of disjointed consciousness.

During that first encounter the only information that Lopez got out of that 2 minute monologue was that Nathaniel went to Juilliard and that he had traveled there from Cleveland. Lopez decided to start there with the story and run with it.  He contacted Juilliard which led to finding his sister. He had a nice long chat with her. He told her how he had met her brother on the streets playing the violin that only had two strings and how he went to Juilliard and she told him how he had been a music prodigy from an early age and that he used to play the cello. He gathered a lot of good information about Nathaniel from that conversation. Alas he had what he needed to write his article on Nathaniel and so he did and they published it on the next issue. The piece was so moving that he got lots of correspondence from his readers congratulating him on such a great piece. One reader was so moved that she donated her cello to Lopez for him to give to Nathaniel to play. I should remind you; this movie was based on a true story. I’m always amazed how generous people can be.

Lopez was so taken with Nathaniel that he decided he was going to help him get back on his feet and playing music again. He got him an apartment so that he wouldn’t be homeless anymore. Using his popularity as a columnist, he arranged several performances, however because of Nathaniel’s tendencies to schizophrenia, something would always happened and things would not work out which was very frustrating and disappointing for Lopez.

The Soloist is a really wonderful story. It is too bad that the movie wasn’t. That’s right; this movie was not that good. The acting was superb, the story was moving and full of life and the quality was there, but there was something with the story telling that it never seemed to get anywhere. Throughout the movie you are shown flashbacks of Nathaniel’s childhood, but they do nothing with them. Nathaniel hears voices in his head, but they are not addressed. Lopez gets a personal music teacher for Nathaniel, but they go nowhere with it. It’s like the writer of the movie started all of these different points and never finished them. There were so many questions left unanswered. That was very disappointing to me.

Another ironic tidbit in this story about music is the music wasn’t very well chosen. The pieces they selected for this film didn’t seem to fit with the scenes. As much as I love this story and as much as I, for the first time, enjoyed a Jamie Foxx performance, I cannot recommend this film to many people. It isn’t an awful film, but for the type of story that the film was trying to tell this should have been a great film and possibly an Academy Award nominee. It’s too bad they had to botch the film the way they did.

Amy Adams Disappoints Enchanted Fans

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via Amy Adams Disappoints Enchanted Fans.

Categories: Amy Adams

Invictus Review

Invictus

Invictus is a moving story of racial unity. Great performances and all around good movie.

My rating 4.5 Stars

What do you know about Clint Eastwood? If you’re an old timer you might remember him—or not—in movies like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; Hang ‘Em High; or Dirty Harry. He was a bad ass, a man’s man, someone not to be messed with, but there is something more to him and those who saw him as the bad ass were really disappointed and resentful when he starred in Bridges of Madison County with Meryl Streep. In Bridges we got to see a different side of Clint, a softer side, a romantic side and his fans felt betrayed by him for it. Some even called him a sissy and even a traitor, but I don’t agree. People don’t realize that he is an actor, an entertainer, a movie maker and he is really good at it. Some of my favorite films in the past few years have been attributed to Mr. Eastwood and he has received major awards and recognition for that work. I think he’s one of our time’s most influential filmmakers and I am happy that he’s around. His movies will be enjoyed for ages to come and even though he’s part of an earlier generation, I think he has the talent to speak to a broader audience than just people of his age. That is something that not too many filmmakers can claim.

His latest film Invictus is no exception. In this movie, Eastwood brings to the screen an important event in human history during which he united a divided country, South Africa. The story is told through the life of Nelson Mandela and how he managed to bring two races of people who hated and distrusted each other back together in the most improbable way—through the game of rugby. Either Mandela was pure genius or he was an incredibly lucky SOB.

The movie doesn’t cover the history of Nelson Mandela, although it does mention his imprisonment. At one point they even visit the real jail and a scene was shot in his actual cell. I thought that Eastwood did a fine job at showing us how lonely it must’ve been for Mandela to be in such a small cell. However, he didn’t dwell on this, instead of turning this movie into a sob story, he used it to showcase what one man and his determination can achieve.

It’s a bit difficult to pin point what this movie is really about, is it about Mandela, is it about the game of Rugby, is it about the people of South Africa? I think it’s more than just that, I think this movie is about how fragile humans can be and also how stupid and ignorant we can be when we don’t understand something. However, it also shows how with the right leadership, with the right attitude, one man can change things if and only if that man is willing to do the work and he truly believes in his cause.

Nelson Mandela was an extraordinary man. He had been arrested and thrown in jail practically for just being black. At first he was angry, anyone would be, but then he got to know his enemy, by doing that he understood the reason why they were the way they were. When he came out of prison, his enemy became his inspiration, not for revenge, but to show them that blacks and whites were all that different. Mandela forgave those who had imprisoned him and in the end he became their president with the promise that he would reform their country.

In the movie, the South Africa is going through a rebirth. This is something that most people find difficult to accept. Perhaps we get comfortable with the way things are, even if we don’t like it. There is a saying that holds true, “The evil you know, is better than the evil you don’t.” However, sometimes the need for change is great enough for people to take action and Mandela was brave enough to take on such a task.

As a result, South Africa got a new flag and  a new national anthem all in the attempt to try to reform the state and to leave in the past their old ideals of hatred and segregation and to look forward to a future of unity between two people. It wasn’t easy; Mandela had to sometimes fight against two sides to get things done. Funny, this reminds me so much of our own current president.

As part of this new rebirth, there were talks about getting rid of the South African rugby team and replacing them with a new team. They felt that the team represented their ugly history of oppression and segregation. However, Mandela was against it. He mentioned that while studying his enemy in prison, he learned that the one thing his enemy loved the most was their rugby team. If they got rid of their team, their name, their colors the country would never unite. Against his own people, he tried to rebuild the name of the rugby team, by taking the team to the people so that they could see that this was a new team and that they represented a new South Africa. With his leadership and the help of the captain of the rugby team played by Matt Damon they succeeded in changing the reputation of the team and united a country that was once segregated.

Invictus is a powerful film that speaks volumes. It is one that I would hope people would see and open their eyes and realize that we are in fact South Africa. No one wants to say it because it isn’t politically correct, but there is still a lot of hatred toward blacks in this country. However, let’s be realistic, there is also a lot of hatred toward whites coming from blacks. Racism is racism, if you don’t like a group of people, no matter what color they are, that is racism, it isn’t “reverse racism”, it isn’t “good old fashion dislike” it is just plain wrong and it’s destroying our country. We all need to wake up and realize that we are all the same. No matter what your background is, your skin color, your creed, your religion, or your beliefs, we are all Americans in this country. We are divided because we don’t take the time to understand each other and as one of our greatest presidents ever said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” If South Africa could unite, so can we.

Adams Proposes to Regis

Obsessed Review

Obsessed

I never felt so cheated and used watching a movie. Obsessed was really good, then it turned ugly.

My rating 2.5 Stars

It has been so long since I’ve seen Fatal Attraction, I can’t remember if Michael Douglas’ character Dan actually had an affair with Glen Close’s character Alex or not. Okay, that is a lie, Fatal Attraction came out in ’87 I was too busy watching Back to the Future and Full Metal Jacket over and over to watch anything else. However, I’ve asked some people I know that had watched it and they couldn’t remember themselves.

Why would I care if these two characters actually slept with each other or not and why am I talking about a movie that was released over twenty years ago? The answer is simple. Obsessed, this is the title of the newest Fatal Attractionlike movie starring Beyoncé. I say Fatal Attraction-like, but I should really say Fatal Attraction knock off. The films are identical according to some critics. However, that’s neither here nor there. They made the movie, and this is what I thought of it—I hated it! Why, because it wasted my time. I stayed up late to watch this movie because of time constraints. However, that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was that I was really into it and suddenly they pulled the rug out from under me. I was not a happy man. When I think of how they came up with the idea for this movie, I think of something like the following:

Some moron was probably up all night trying to come up with an idea to promote Beyoncé. He probably thought, I need to showcase her acting talents and how hot she is. What better way to do that than to have a really cool catfight!? Now that he had the cat fight idea, he thought, “Well people aren’t going to go to the movies just to see a catfight, I know, we’ll make a movie and end it with a cool catfight. Yeah! That sounds GREAT! Crap, now I have to write a screenplay. Oooh, I got it, I’ll look in my DVD collection to see if I can be inspired. What’s this—Fatal Attraction? Yeah, that could work. Beyoncé Knowels as a scorned wife, but what if I get crap from African Americans about the portrayal of a black man cheating on his wife? I got it, he doesn’t have to cheat. I can make the other woman be this insane person and have this fantasy that they had an affair, but it’s all in her head. I’m on a roll now! Crap, black women are really going to be on my case about this crazy lady—I’m a genius, I’ll make her white. White people won’t give a crap. Perfect! White lady has delusions about having an affair with a happily married black man and Beyoncé’s character gets to showcase her acting talents when she finds out about the alleged affair. They are going to be lining up to see this one!”

Okay, I made that up, but I can’t imagine that it’s far from the truth. To be frank the movie wasn’t half bad. I was really into it. The performances were really good, the drama was very intense, it was a good movie, right until they got to the end with that stupid catfight that was supposed to showcase Beyoncé’s acting talent. Up until then I was thinking 3.5 stars easy, if the end is really good 4 stars, but no, the ending was beyond disappointing. It was like you’re eating an ice cream cone on a hot summer day. It looks great with all kinds of cool sprinkles and stuff, it tastes great, it goes down really nice, you’re really enjoying it and then you to take one more lick and the scoop falls on the ground on top of some dog poop. (I don’t know why there was dog poop there, just pretend, will ya?) The movie went screaming down from a strong 3.5 to a 2.5! That ending was laughable, unrealistic, and ridiculous; there aren’t enough negative adjectives to describe the ending of this pile of guano! If you want to see Beyoncé in a good movie, watch Dreamgirls. Or you can watch this movie and turn it off 30 minutes before it ends, you’ll enjoy it a lot more.

Earth Review

Earth

Earth features stunning pictures, but not much else. If you want a good nature show, watch the Planet Earth series.

My rating 3.0 Stars

In 2006 the BBC in a partnership with The Discovery Channel released a first of a kind, high definition nature show miniseries in over 130 countries. That series was called Planet Earth and it was one of the best nature series ever done. Viewers were in awe as they witnessed parts of a world rarely seen by human eyes, like the Bactrian camel of the Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, an animal so shy that even the sight of a person from far away makes them run for their lives, or the millions of wrinkle-lipped bats that dwell in the Gomantong Caves in Malaysia where one can find the largest pile of “guano” that is several meters high.

The series was stunning even if you didn’t have a high-def set. The compositions of the photography looked remarkable as though they poured their hearts and soul into this project and if you watched the series you know what I mean. I just got a new Hi-Def TV, I can’t wait to rent the Blu-Ray and check it out, if it’s a quarter of what the standard def was it should be incredible.

So why am I going on about some mini TV series?  Well, the makers of Planet Earth also made the movie Earth as some sort of sister project or a companion if you will. This article is about that movie. Since the two projects are related, it is only fitting that I bring up the series first. However, just because the series was outstanding, that doesn’t mean that the movie would be just that good.

Earth is a documentary and —unfortunately, it’s just an abbreviation of the Planet Earth series! They took footage from the Planet Earth and put it together in what seemed to be random cuts and then they hired James Earl Jones to do a witty voice over narration. Don’t get me wrong, the footage is incredible, hands down some of the best photography I’ve seen. I wish I had been able to see this movie in hi-def; standard def will have to do for now. However, I have already seen the footage in this movie in the series. I don’t believe there was anything new other than the voice over by James Earl Jones. If I had paid money to see this movie, I would’ve been upset. I would’ve felt cheated, like I was deceived in buying something that I already own.

Don’t misunderstand; if you have never seen the Planet Earth series and you have no intentions in spending 11 hours watching nature footage, but you still want to see some of it, then this movie is worth seeing. Think of Earth as a preview of the series or a shortened version of it because that’s basically what it is. As a documentary goes, it’s not the best. There is no real rhyme or reason for it, no story that they are telling, all they do is follow some animals around with no real purpose. They touched a little bit on climate change and how the polar bears are being affected, but they didn’t really follow up on it. In a sense, it was almost as if they were nagging but weren’t offering any real solutions. Granted that’s not what the documentary set out to do, but in that case, why bring it up in the first place? While Planet Earth was an outstanding worthwhile documentary, Earth was a bit of a disappointment. Don’t bother unless you’re a real James Earl Jones fan.

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