Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sex and the City 2 - Movie Review

Sex and the City 2 (R) 146 minutes B-
Going Rogue in Abu Dhabi

Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth, David Eigenberg, Evan Handler, Jason Lewis, and Mario Cantone

I must admit that I had very low expectations for this sequel. Not because I don't like SATC (I liked the TV show, thought the first film was average) but because I thought the girls in Abu Dhabi seemed like a risky and stupid premise.

This film is a bit of a cluster f*ck, gimmicky and a little scatterbrained, yet somehow it works (for the most part). It's not unlike Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter and Twilight in the sense that it has a faithful following who will flock to the theater regardless of harsh reviews or the premise. Those films appeal to their fan base first and newcomers second, SATC is no different.

I felt that director Michael Patrick King goes a little rogue and puts everything on the table, with that we get a mixed bag of good (Carrie & Big, Miranda & her job), ridiculous (the gay wedding & Liza Minnelli) and campy (Samantha & Charlotte).

The sequel is raunchier (a plus) and more humorous than its predecessor. Many of the jokes are transparent ("Would you like a date?" says the stewardess offering Samantha a healthy snack) yet the corniness is sorta fun and fits the flow of the film.

Most of all I love all the writing stuff. It's only a small part of what's going but it's what drew me to the TV series years ago. SATC 2 isn't for everyone and it's certainly ridiculous, nevertheless it is what it is - an entertaining and often funny ride... even for a (straight) guy.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Just Wright - Movie Review

Just Wright (PG) 111 minutes B
Two women: one thin, one not so thin

Starring Queen Latifah, Common, Paula Patton, Phylicia Rashad, Pam Grier, James Pickens Jr., Mehcad Brooks, and Michael Landes

Just Wright is a basketball themed romantic comedy that isn't particularly funny but it does possess a certain sweetness. As predictable as it maybe it's also surprisingly tender, extremely likable and appropriately simple.

Leslie (Latifah) is the cute, upbeat and overachieving physical therapist who always finds herself in the "friend zone" romantically. While her gold digging godsister/best friend (Patton) is tall, thin, leggy and stunningly beautiful.

Scott McKnight (Common) is the high scoring NBA star who is forced to choose between beauty and substance. Common has the Hollywood/leading man good looks but his acting is still a little stiff and awkward. Latifah is not only good in this film but very charismatic; she's actually underrated as an actress.

Just Wright is light and surprisingly good summer fare.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Date Night - Movie Review

Date Night (PG-13) 88 minutes C
Pleasant date with little spark.

Starring Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, James Franco, Leighton Meester, Common, Taraji Henson, Taraji Henson, Kristen Wiig, Ray Liotta, Mila Kunis, Mark Ruffalo, Olivia Munn, and William Fichtner

I like Steve Carell, I like Tina Fey. I liked the way this movie began (slightly funny with serious overtones) and I liked the premise- a bored married couple has their run-of-the-mill relationship turned upside down after a deadly night out on the town. The result, they realize how much they love each other blah, blah, blah.

In his review Roger Ebert wrote "Phil (Carrell) and Claire (Fey) seem like the kind of people who don't belong in a screwball comedy. That's why it's funny." In my opinion that's why the movie is average at best...well, that and the ridiculous car chase action scenes.

I wanted to like Date Night but it eventually goes terribly wrong and if not for Carrell and Fey this would have been amateur hour at the movies.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Square - Movie Review

The Square (R) 105 minutes A-
Lovers attempt to take the money and burn

Starring David Roberts, Claire van der Bloom , Anthony Hayes, and Joel Edgerton

The Square is simply the best film I’ve seen in 2010 so far. Directed by Australian stuntman turned filmmaker Nash Edgerton (his first feature), the film rivals the mood and humor of a Coen Brothers flick. Yet I was most impressed by the genuine nature of Edgerton's characters; humanistically peculiar, lonely and desperate. Half way through the film I found myself on the edge of my seat with bated breath as the drama thickened and lives unraveled.

Raymond (David Roberts), a married construction supervisor, is having an affair with his neighbor Carla (Claire van der Boom), a much younger (married) hairdresser. The pair orchestrates a plan to steal a bag of loot from Clara’s thuggish husband, set her home ablaze and disappear without a trace. Naturally the plan hits a few snags and before long the audience is taken on a thrill ride of oohs and aahs accompanied by a few deadly twists and turns.

This is outstanding film noir despite the rapid fire coincidences that eventually pile up near the end. The film's crescendo is a little absurd bordering on comical but satisfying nonetheless. It’s also important to note that in many theaters this film is precluded by Edgerton’s superb short film called Spider - it too is outstanding!

I saw The Square weeks ago and by now it might be hard to find at a theater near you, but seek it out or watch for it on DVD. Some general audiences may not dig it as much as I did but for everyone else it’s well worth the price of admission.