3 out of 5 stars
Genre: Drama, based on true events
Opens locally Friday, January 7th, 2011, Rated R
Run Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Barry Pepper, Kelly Preston, Jon Lovitz
Directed by George Hickenlooper
"Casino Jack" is in reference to real "super-lobbyist" Jack Abramoff, and shows the little known but highly influential world of political lobbying in Washington. Before digging into the film itself, let's pause for some background...The film's director, George Hickenlooper, tragically died this past October from a sudden heart-attack at the age of 47. He was best known for his 1991 documentary "Hearts of Darkness" which chronicled the making of the 1979 film Apocalypse Now. He made numerous documentaries and when he did make dramatic movies, they often centered on real-life people and stories. This leads us to "Casino Jack", his final film, which follows the trend of dramatic movie centering on real-life events.
4 out of 5 stars
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Now Playing, Rated PG-13
Run Time: 2 hours, 1 minute
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson, Jack Nicholson
Written & Directed by James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News, As Good as It Gets, Spanglish)
Despite the horrible Rotten Tomatoes rating (35% as of this writing) and some critical bashing, "How Do You Know" to me is one of the better entries in the "rom-com" genre in quite some time. It's deliberate style and odd dialogue makes it a hard sell, especially the first 30 minutes or so, and despite being about a half an hour too long, it makes for a believable romantic love triangle...at it's core anyway. In fact, much of the situational comedy in the movie is completely ludicrous, unneeded, and forced...yet the emotions at play and the relationship dynamics between the 3 main characters hit on some revealing truths about men, women, and determining what makes a person happy. Let me explain...
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