Movie review: Hall Pass
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Opens locally on Friday, February 25th, 2011 (check for showtimes)
Run Time: 1 hour, 46 minutes, Rated R
Starring: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate
Directed by Bobby & Peter Farrelly (There's Something About Mary, Shallow Hal, Fever Pitch)
A "Hall Pass" is when a married man is granted "freedom" from his wife to do whatever he wants for 1 week, including have an affair. No strings attached, no consequences. In the form of a Farrelly Brothers comedy, this premise seems full of promise and really sounds like a guy's movie...but make no mistake, this film is heavily weighed in favor of a female fantasy. If this movie chronicles what happens if a guy was actually granted a Hall Pass from his wife, I think the idea would lose it's appeal.
Movie review: The Housemaid, opening Friday exclusively at the Main Art Theatre
Rating: 4 out of 4 stars
Genre: Foreign, Drama
Opens Friday, February, 25th 2011 (exclusively at the Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak)
Run Time: 1 hour, 46 minutes, Not Yet Rated (but definitely R or above and intended for adults)
Starring: Jeon Do-youn, Lee Jung-jae Lee, Youn Yuh-Jung, Seo Woo
Directed by Im Sang-soo
This South Korean erotic thriller is a beautifully photographed and patient film, that takes it's time with each moment and each shot. The result is an effective bit of adult melo-drama that keeps you captivated from start to finish, even if portions of the film unfold like a day-time soap.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Genre: Action, Suspense
Opens locally Friday, February 18th, 2011 (check showtimes)
Run Time: 1 hour 49 minutes, Rated PG-13
Starring: Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones, Aiden Quinn, Frank Langella
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax, Orphan)
The word "forgettable" is an apt description when referring to the film "Unknown." Our main character forgets who he is, and what he's doing. It is a familiar theme in films of this genre, that we know nothing about our hero, and his true identity is slowly revealed as the movie progresses. In movies like this, you have to pay attention to every detail, as each little nuance will eventually become significant.
Movie review: Cedar Rapids
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Opens locally Friday, February 18th, 2011 (check local showtimes)
Run Time: 1 hour, 27 minutes, Rated R
Starring: Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Stephen Root, Kurtwood Smith
Directed by Miguel Arteta (Youth in Revolt)
"Cedar Rapids" is a seemingly innocent and straight-forward comedy that has a lot of things going for it. Ironically, it's also raunchy and low-brow at times. It reminded me a lot of "The 40 Year Old Virgin", a hilarious adult comedy with a wholesome man-child at it's center. If you liked that movie, you'll probably love "Cedar Rapids", as "Cedar Rapids" matches it in laughs and tone, but somehow manages to come across as a more important film. It's a coming-of-age story, except the person coming of age is approaching 40.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Opens Friday, February 11th, 2011 (Check local showtimes)
Run Time: 1 hour 57 minutes, Rated PG-13
Starring: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman, Nick Swardson
Directed by Dennis Dugan (Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy, Grown Ups)
"Just Go With It" is definitely not Adam Sandler comedy at it's best, but it is also not quite romantic comedy at it's worst. If you try taking advice from the film's title and just go with it, despite it's many flaws and missteps, the film is funny enough to be an entertaining night out for most folks...especially fans of Sandler. How this movie gains a "PG-13" rating is beyond me however, and just might point to Sandler's power of influence in Hollywood.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Genre: Drama, Foreign (with sub-titles)
Opens locally on Friday, February 4th, 2011 (playing exclusively at the Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak)
Run Time: 2 hours, 27 minutes, Rated R
Starring: Javier Bardem, Maricel Alvarez, Eduardo Fernandez, Blanca Portillo
Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (21 Grams, Babel)
Few foreign, sub-titled movies find their way into American theatres, and that's a shame considering that most people have never seen or heard of "Biutiful", the latest from skilled director Alejandro Inarritu. The film has recently been nominated for 2 Academy Awards, for Best Foreign Film (from Mexico), and Best Actor for Javier Bardem, and both nominations are well deserved. "Biutiful" is a tragic and often too-real tale of a man in an impossible position, facing overwhelming odds. It also blends in a touch of the super-natural, and the result is a movie not just beautiful...but powerful.
Movie review: The Company Men
Now playing locally in the Detroit area (click for showtimes)
Run Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes
Starring: Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, Craig T. Nelson, Kevin Costner
Directed by John Wells (directorial debut)
OK, I must have missed something. That's the only thing I could think of when I finished watching "The Company Men", a movie that asks us to sympathize with rich people losing their corporate jobs. On the back end of the worst economic crisis is our country's history, I can't fathom how this movie was made...it's a laughable, downright insulting journey into the mind of the upper-class. For someone raised in what could be considered lower-middle class, I didn't connect with the men of "The Company Men." No, it isn't a comedy, or a satire, but a straight-up drama about corporate downsizing...I have to ask again, am I just missing something???
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