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'Superbad' for girls? A Gen-Y John Hughes nod? It's hard to say. 'Easy A' isn't quite the A-grade comedy that we were hoping for; the trailer was a corker, the cast is air-tight and the setting is familiar and digestible enough to crack through to the mainstream. In fact, 'Easy A' delivers all these elements – and it's genuinely funny.
However, 'Easy A' also takes the path of least resistance through a story that is too familiar to begin with – to the point where the film knowingly references '16 Candles' and 'The Scarlet Letter' – as if to diffuse any kind of cynical parallel the audience might draw.
Will Gluck directs with a style arguably more in line with his television-producer roots. His only other theatrical director credit is the mediocre 'Fired Up' – a similarly-toned teen comedy that, unsurprisingly, also hinges around disaffected teen stereotypes scraping out their lives in high school hell. To this end, 'Easy A' feels more honest – and even a little emotionally deeper – than most teen-angst comedies. That said, it's a far cry from the tight scripting and shock-comedy value of Judd Apatow-produced 'Superbad'.
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Do you remember the time during your adolescence when you started to see your parents as people rather than just… well, your parents? Scott Bartlett (Rory Culkin) goes through this stage of his teen years in Lymelife. The backdrop of the film is Long Island, New York in 1979. Scott Bartlett is the younger of the two Bartlett boys. His older brother Jimmy (Kieran Culkin) joined the Army and only comes home to visit. Scott’s father Mickey (Alec Baldwin) is a successful real-estate developer. His mother Brenda (Jill Hennessy) is dealing with trying to ignore some of her husband’s less faithful qualities while also missing Queens and praying regularly that Scott doesn’t contract Lyme disease.
Lies & Illusions
When a film tries to be too many things, it often is the same result as a child with finger paints that wants to use every color. In the end it just looks like shit. Lies and Illusions is a perfect example of this kind of disaster. Trying to cram romance, comedy, fight sequences and a sixties spy element, Lies and Illusions is just a mess. It is mildly entertaining at moments, but the are usually ruined by an unclear objective for the film. There is no focus, instead playing out like a bad B-film that is supposed to be cheesy.
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With the possible exception of the talent involved, everything about Reindeer Games smacks of a B movie, the kind of film that, with a lesser cast, would have been shipped directly to Cinemax or Showtime. Reindeer Games suffers from a poorly written screenplay that, coupled with static and uninspired direction, lends the production a cheap and cheesy feel. And the big "twist" at the end, which will undoubtedly become one of the film's prime selling hooks, comes from so far afield that it's impossible to logically predict. (However, if you take the tactic of guessing what the least likely and most contrived occurrence will be, you have a fair chance of figuring out this secret.)
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Mike Leigh has often been referred to as a prince of misery. His films, grounded in working class reality, are often downbeat. It's hard to argue with their quality or authenticity, but one typically doesn't walk out of a Mike Leigh film with a renewed appreciation of life. His most widely esteemed movie, Vera Drake, is an excellent example of that. The movie received deserved raves for its story, direction, and acting, but it's not the kind of thing one shows to a friend in need of a pick-me-up. That's why the buoyant tone of Leigh's latest, Happy-Go-Lucky, is such an unexpected and welcome change-of-pace. For his part, Leigh is just as grumpy as ever, but he has produced a motion picture that can best be described as optimistic.
With Two Lovers, director James Gray has remained geographically within his comfort zone (New York City), but has moved textually away from the crime and corruption-laced stories that have marked his previous efforts. This is strictly a character-based drama, and a strong, affecting one at that. The simplicity of the story is what imbues it with power. On some level, it speaks to everyone who has been in love, wished they were in love, or doubted the nature of their love. Two Lovers is about the nature of love and a recognition that sometimes following the fantasy is not the way to happiness. In the movies, romantic love conquers all. In
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Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl
Certain historical periods provide rich and varied soil for the cultivation of motion picture storylines. The twilight of the Roman Empire is one. The American Civil War is another. World War II marks a third. And a fourth is the Chinese "Cultural Revolution," which spanned roughly a decade from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s. This time of great upheaval, which was started by young ideologues forcing their harsh political views on the entire populace, led to frightened men and women denouncing others to save themselves. The events of those ten years have given rise to a number of stirring, powerful motion pictures, including Farewell My Concubine and To Live. Now, Xiu Xiu can be added to that list. This is a devastating and unforgettable portrait of hopeless love and the corruption of innocence set against the backdrop of the Cultural Revolution.
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Girl on the Bridge
It's ironic that a motion picture designed as mainstream, commercial entertainment in France will be viewed as an art house film during its American run. The movie in question is Patrice Leconte's The Girl On the Bridge, which made more than $20 million during its theatrical run in its native country (an astounding box office tally). However, because it is in black-and-white and has subtitles, the film has been acquired for U.S. distribution by Paramount's foreign and independent division, Paramount Classics, and will play primarily to upscale audiences who aren't intimidated by the experience of reading while watching a movie.
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In an era when movies are again turning to classic literature for inspiration, it was only a matter of time before a new version of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre reached the screen. One of the best-loved of all the Victorian novels, Jane Eyre combines social commentary with gothic romance. This new film, directed by Franco Zeffirelli (best known for his 1968 Oscar-nominated Romeo and Juliet), remains faithful to the original narrative in general, if not in all the particulars.
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Dragon Hunters is a fantastic tale telling the adventures of two dragon hunters the world has become a vast conglomerate of islands of varying size and shape. This babbling universe is mainly peopled with ruthless rogues, surly peasants and illiterate, petty lords Their main concerns revolve around two fundamental rules Eat and dont get eaten.
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Japan Sinks (Nihon chinbotsu)
In the aftermath of a major earthquake under Suraga Bay, Misaki (a young girl) and Toshiro (a pilot of a deep sea submarine) are rescued from a ruined city street just as leaking gasoline ignites. Reiko Abe arrives just in time, lowered from a helicopter. Scientists predict that Japan will sink within 40 years, due to subduction of a tectonic plate to the west.
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In the year 10,001 B.C., a caveman (Matt Lanter) runs away from a predator through a plain. He later gets into a fight with Wolf (Ike Barinholtz). After defeating him, the caveman then encounters himself with the predator, a saber-toothed, gasoline-drinking Amy Winehouse (Nicole Parker), who after checking her FaceNook account, informs him that the world will end on August 29, 2008—the release date of the movie—revealing that their fate lies in a crystal skull. The film flash-forwards to the present, where Will (Lanter) is dreaming the previous sequence. He then finds out that his girlfriend Amy (Vanessa Minnillo) is having an affair with Flavor Flav (Abe Spigner), and she breaks up with Will because he is not admitting his true feelings for her.
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Original Sin is set in the late 19th century Cuba, and flashes back and forth a few times from the scene of a woman awaiting her execution on garrote while telling her story to a priest, to the actual events of that story.
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In present-day Antioch, former minister Travis Jordan still lives, after losing his faith in God three years before when his beloved wife was murdered and the criminals never found. Suddenly, miracles happen in the little town: the new veterinarian's son survives a van accident without a single scratch; Travis' dog Max revives after being buried, twice; a paraplegic walks; a scarred teenager and her police officer father (brain tumor) heal, outside and inside. In all the events, either a group of three men wearing black were seen nearby, or only their tall, blond (possible) leader, who seems to want everyone to know, "he is coming". Very soon after this a scruffy, gentle-mannered newcomer arrives; Brandon Nichols implies through his healing work and preaching that he's Jesus Christ or a better version of a messiah. The local population worships Brandon, while Travis and Morgan feel that something is wrong and conduct an investigation, disclosing that evil has possessed the town dwellers.
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A scientist engineers a group of genetically engineered cyborgs for use as supersoldiers to fight U.S. wars in the Middle East. However, things get ugly when the cyborgs malfunction and turn on their creators.
Picnic at Hanging Rock
Three students and a school teacher disappear on an excursion to Hanging Rock, in Victoria, on Valentines Day, 1900. Widely (and incorrectly) regarded as being based on a true story, the movie follows those that disappeared, and those that stayed behind, but it delights in the asking of questions, not the answering of them.
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