Wedding Planning Community dedicated to planning a wedding http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning <![CDATA[ Recommended for those who don't normally read romances]]>
Holly returns to Pitcairn Island after spending much of her life in a New Zealand foster home. A native of the island, her parents died in a murder/suicide when she was a child. (Pitcairn Island is in the South Pacific. The nearest recognizable land mass is New Zealand. The island's claim to fame is because of the story, and the movie, "Mutiny on the Bounty." The only way on or off the island is to get a ride on a supply ship that visits the island four times a year.)

Holly runs into Jack, her childhood friend from when she lived on the island. The attraction is mutual and instant. The people on the island (the total population is around 60) seem to thrive on gossip; the worst offender is Masie, an older woman who implies that Celeste, Holly's mother, may have been unfaithful.

Just before Holly and Jack are ready to take their relationship to the next level, a huge and sudden obstacle threatens to destroy it. Holly's search for answers is complicated by learning that soon after Celeste died, Masie intentionally burned all of her things. Does Holly find out the truth about her mother? Do Holly and Jack get back together?

Not being a romance reader, I was ready to not like this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. It moves very easily, and it is set in an exotic part of the world (the author lives on Pitcairn Island). It is recommended for everyone, especially those who don't normally read romance stories.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/book/UserReview-Remembering_Love-491-1892735-244504-Recommended_for_those_who_don_t_normally_read.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/book/UserReview-Remembering_Love-491-1892735-244504-Recommended_for_those_who_don_t_normally_read.html Sat, 22 Feb 2014 23:52:02 +0000
<![CDATA[ Frightening true story]]>
Every minute of this true story is gut-wrenching, from the incredibly realistic recreation of the tsunami to the mass death and devastation afterward. Watts and McGregor are excellent as the suffering and selfless parents and Tom Holland gives a wonderful performance as their brave young son.

I saw videos of the disaster, but putting a personal, family face on the horror makes it all the more real and heartbreaking. Filmed on location in Thailand, the movie is intense and very moving. Highly recommended.
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Impossible-491-1846701-243829-Frightening_true_story.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Impossible-491-1846701-243829-Frightening_true_story.html Sat, 25 Jan 2014 05:21:16 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Delivery Man' one of the Two Jews On Film thinks this movie delivers (Video)]]>                                                                             '
By Joan Alperin-Schwartz
To say that David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn) is a 'Big Daddy' would be an understatement...Because, he's the 'biggest daddy' of them all.
                                                                     
David has fathered 533 children of which 142 have filed a class action lawsuit to find out the identity of their biological father.
 
If you're wondering, how exactly David became the father of all these kids, wonder no more.  From 1990 thru 1992, he made multiple sperm donations under the pseudonym of...Starbuck.  He was paid $35.00 a pop by a fertility clinic racking up over $20,000.
 
Apparently, David's sperm was very popular.
 
'Delivery Man', written and directed by Ken Scott, based on his French Canadian film 'Starbuck' is the story of what happens when a screw-up is faced with making a very grown up decision.
 
David is 42 and is one of those guys who never got his life together.  He works as a delivery guy for his family's meat business, is $80.000 in debt to some very nasty guys, and his pot plants that he's growing in order to make money, are dying.
 
Right after David finds out about the 533 children and the lawsuit, his on and off girlfriend policewoman, Emma (Cobie Smulders) informs him, she's pregnant.  David's ecstatic, until Emma tell him, that he's not father material and she may not let him anywhere near the kid.
 
That's all he needs to hear, for David to decide...it's time to get his act together.
 
With the help of his best friend/lawyer, Brett (Chris Pratt) David sets out to discover, exactly who are the 142 kids filing suit and in the prcess, winds up becoming their guardian angel.
 
'Delivery Man' is a very sweet, touching film.  It's even funny at times and Vince Vaughn is better than he's been in quite a while.  He makes us really care about David as well as his new found family.
 
For that reason, I gave 'Delivery Man' which opens in theatres, Friday November 22nd, 2013, three and a half bagels out of five.  John's back to his old self and completely disagreed with my opinion.
 
Check out our video for his bagel score and for more of our thoughts.
                                                                   
Please SUBSCRIBE to our youtube channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.
 
Thanks everyone
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-_Delivery_Man_starring_Vince_Vaughn-491-1888351-241910-_Delivery_Man_one_of_the_Two_Jews_On_Film_thinks.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-_Delivery_Man_starring_Vince_Vaughn-491-1888351-241910-_Delivery_Man_one_of_the_Two_Jews_On_Film_thinks.html Tue, 19 Nov 2013 23:43:12 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Delivery Man' one of the Two Jews On Film thinks this movie delivers (Video)]]>                                                                             '
By Joan Alperin-Schwartz
To say that David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn) is a 'Big Daddy' would be an understatement...Because, he's the 'biggest daddy' of them all.
                                                                     
David has fathered 533 children of which 142 have filed a class action lawsuit to find out the identity of their biological father.
 
If you're wondering, how exactly David became the father of all these kids, wonder no more.  From 1990 thru 1992, he made multiple sperm donations under the pseudonym of...Starbuck.  He was paid $35.00 a pop by a fertility clinic racking up over $20,000.
 
Apparently, David's sperm was very popular.
 
'Delivery Man', written and directed by Ken Scott, based on his French Canadian film 'Starbuck' is the story of what happens when a screw-up is faced with making a very grown up decision.
 
David is 42 and is one of those guys who never got his life together.  He works as a delivery guy for his family's meat business, is $80.000 in debt to some very nasty guys, and his pot plants that he's growing in order to make money, are dying.
 
Right after David finds out about the 533 children and the lawsuit, his on and off girlfriend policewoman, Emma (Cobie Smulders) informs him, she's pregnant.  David's ecstatic, until Emma tell him, that he's not father material and she may not let him anywhere near the kid.
 
That's all he needs to hear, for David to decide...it's time to get his act together.
 
With the help of his best friend/lawyer, Brett (Chris Pratt) David sets out to discover, exactly who are the 142 kids filing suit and in the prcess, winds up becoming their guardian angel.
 
'Delivery Man' is a very sweet, touching film.  It's even funny at times and Vince Vaughn is better than he's been in quite a while.  He makes us really care about David as well as his new found family.
 
For that reason, I gave 'Delivery Man' which opens in theatres, Friday November 22nd, 2013, three and a half bagels out of five.  John's back to his old self and completely disagreed with my opinion.
 
Check out our video for his bagel score and for more of our thoughts.
                                                                   
Please SUBSCRIBE to our youtube channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.
 
Thanks everyone
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-_Delivery_Man_starring_Vince_Vaughn-491-1888351-241909-_Delivery_Man_one_of_the_Two_Jews_On_Film_thinks.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-_Delivery_Man_starring_Vince_Vaughn-491-1888351-241909-_Delivery_Man_one_of_the_Two_Jews_On_Film_thinks.html Tue, 19 Nov 2013 23:42:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Thor: The Dark World' Splits The Two Jews On Film, Big Time (Video)]]>                                                                                  
By Joan Alperin Schwartz
This film, is my humble opinion, is awesome.  Of course, if you watched our video, you'd know that the other half of Two Jews On Film, did not think so.
                                                                                
In any case, for those of you who aren't comic book readers, here are the cliff notes...
 
Thousands of years ago, a race of really scary looking beings, known as the Dark Elves, led by the equally freaky looking, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) tried to send the universe into darkness, using a powerful weapon known as the Aether..  Guess these dudes don't like the sun, hence their extremely pale skin.
 
These evil beings were defeated by the supremely handsome Asgard warriors, led by King Odin (Anthony Hopkins)
 
The Asgard sent the Elves into exile and hid the Aether in a place where no one would ever find it...Seriously??? .When did that ever work?
 
Anyway Malekith escapes and rallies his troupes, determined to find the Aether and send all the 9 realms, including Earth, into complete darkness.
 
At the same time, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been busy busting heads with his hammer, in an attempt to bring peace to these 9 realms.  He's also pinning away for his human love, astrophysicist, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman)
 
Speaking of Dr. Jane, in between, longing for Thor's godly touch, she discovers an anomaly similar to the one that brought him and his hammer to Earth in the first place.  
 
When the doc and her over the top sarcastic intern (Kat Denning) go to investigate, Jane is sucked into a wormhole.
 
Meanwhile back on Asgard, Thor's bro, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been imprisoned for treason and dealing with mommy (Rene Russo) issues.
 
When Thor, thanks to his buddy (Idris Elba) finds out that Jane has disappeared, he tells his daddy, King Odin, that he wants to return to Earth to find her.  Odin says, No way...Your place is here and of course, as sons often do, Thor disobeys.
 
But just as Thor lands on Earth, Jane reappears.  Only problem is, during her trip through the wormhole, the Aether entered her body. 
 
This is not a good thing, since apparently, us humans, can't handle its power.  So, unless Thor can find a way to get the Aether out of Jane's body, she will die.
 
Faster than the speed of light, he whisks his soul mate back to Asgaard to keep her safe, until he can find a solution to Jane's problem. 
 
This turns out to be a not so great idea, since, Malekith senses the Aether on Asgaard and he gathers his forces to attack. 
 
To say anymore would spoil the fun...And this film, shot in 3D, is fun...a lot of fun and it's also funny, as well as exciting, with dazzling special effects, and great characters...There's even a couple of surprises.
 
The cast is wonderful, with Hiddleston being one of my personal favorites and let's face it, Chris Hemsworth is quite pleasant to look at.
 
Also worth mentioning...Chris O' Dowd, who has a very funny cameo as Jane's blind date and of course, Stellan Skarsgard, who returns as the discredited scientist, Erik Selvig.   
 
'Thor: The Dark World' directed by Alan Taylor ('Game of Thrones') and written by Christopher L. Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, based on the comic book by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, opens in theatres, Friday November 8, 2013.
 
I gave the film 5 bagels out of 5...John wasn't even close with his. 
 
Check out our video for more of our thoughts and John's bagel rating.
                                                                
 
Please SUBSCRIBE to our YOUTUBE channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.
 
Let us know what you think.  Thanks everyone.
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/movie/UserReview-spam-491-1890612-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/movie/UserReview-spam-491-1890612-241584-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html Wed, 6 Nov 2013 01:49:21 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Thor: The Dark World' Splits The Two Jews On Film, Big Time (Video)]]>                                                                                  
By Joan Alperin Schwartz
This film, is my humble opinion, is awesome.  Of course, if you watched our video, you'd know that the other half of Two Jews On Film, did not think so.
                                                                                
In any case, for those of you who aren't comic book readers, here are the cliff notes...
 
Thousands of years ago, a race of really scary looking beings, known as the Dark Elves, led by the equally freaky looking, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) tried to send the universe into darkness, using a powerful weapon known as the Aether..  Guess these dudes don't like the sun, hence their extremely pale skin.
 
These evil beings were defeated by the supremely handsome Asgard warriors, led by King Odin (Anthony Hopkins)
 
The Asgard sent the Elves into exile and hid the Aether in a place where no one would ever find it...Seriously??? .When did that ever work?
 
Anyway Malekith escapes and rallies his troupes, determined to find the Aether and send all the 9 realms, including Earth, into complete darkness.
 
At the same time, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been busy busting heads with his hammer, in an attempt to bring peace to these 9 realms.  He's also pinning away for his human love, astrophysicist, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman)
 
Speaking of Dr. Jane, in between, longing for Thor's godly touch, she discovers an anomaly similar to the one that brought him and his hammer to Earth in the first place.  
 
When the doc and her over the top sarcastic intern (Kat Denning) go to investigate, Jane is sucked into a wormhole.
 
Meanwhile back on Asgard, Thor's bro, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been imprisoned for treason and dealing with mommy (Rene Russo) issues.
 
When Thor, thanks to his buddy (Idris Elba) finds out that Jane has disappeared, he tells his daddy, King Odin, that he wants to return to Earth to find her.  Odin says, No way...Your place is here and of course, as sons often do, Thor disobeys.
 
But just as Thor lands on Earth, Jane reappears.  Only problem is, during her trip through the wormhole, the Aether entered her body. 
 
This is not a good thing, since apparently, us humans, can't handle its power.  So, unless Thor can find a way to get the Aether out of Jane's body, she will die.
 
Faster than the speed of light, he whisks his soul mate back to Asgaard to keep her safe, until he can find a solution to Jane's problem. 
 
This turns out to be a not so great idea, since, Malekith senses the Aether on Asgaard and he gathers his forces to attack. 
 
To say anymore would spoil the fun...And this film, shot in 3D, is fun...a lot of fun and it's also funny, as well as exciting, with dazzling special effects, and great characters...There's even a couple of surprises.
 
The cast is wonderful, with Hiddleston being one of my personal favorites and let's face it, Chris Hemsworth is quite pleasant to look at.
 
Also worth mentioning...Chris O' Dowd, who has a very funny cameo as Jane's blind date and of course, Stellan Skarsgard, who returns as the discredited scientist, Erik Selvig.   
 
'Thor: The Dark World' directed by Alan Taylor ('Game of Thrones') and written by Christopher L. Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, based on the comic book by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, opens in theatres, Friday November 8, 2013.
 
I gave the film 5 bagels out of 5...John wasn't even close with his. 
 
Check out our video for more of our thoughts and John's bagel rating.
                                                                
 
Please SUBSCRIBE to our YOUTUBE channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.
 
Let us know what you think.  Thanks everyone.
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World_2013_film_-491-1887829-241583-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-Thor_The_Dark_World_2013_film_-491-1887829-241583-_Thor_The_Dark_World_Splits_The_Two_Jews_On.html Wed, 6 Nov 2013 01:48:03 +0000
<![CDATA[Silver Linings Playbook (2012 film) Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]> The Fighter” and “I Heart Huckabees”, he sure has managed to come out with another strong film “Silver Linings Playbook”. I am looking forward for his 2013 film “American Hustle”.

Everyone knows that I hate romantic dramedies, but admittedly there are ones that I have really enjoyed. What made “Silver Linings Playbook” so different is the fact that much like “The Fighter” it explores a dark subject matter. This movie is centered around mental illness, pain and love… the disappointments and the sadness that comes with them, as well as the promise of a new beginning and just how to move on.

Yes, the film could’ve dug deeper into its premise, and its structure does carry the clichés of dramedies; but the characters were so easily relatable that it managed to draw me in. The exchanges in dialogue were strong, successfully blending in drama and comedy. It does suffer from some awkward tonal shifts but it manages to keep a smooth flow throughout. Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper manages to form strong chemistry from the get-go, but I do have to say that Lawrence stole the show as Tiffany.

It may carry some familiar devices and elements, but Russell’s characters and the support of the rest of its cast made me look pass its minor shortcomings. One day I may just give this one a full review. Highly Recommended! [4 Out of 5 Stars]




 ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/d/UserReview-Silver_Linings_Playbook_2012_film_-13-1842283-241313.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/d/UserReview-Silver_Linings_Playbook_2012_film_-13-1842283-241313.html Fri, 25 Oct 2013 04:09:33 +0000
<![CDATA[ Puts things very simply for guys new to the single life]]> You suddenly find yourself single, either by choice or by divorce. Now what do you do?

If your soon-to-be-ex agrees, hire a mediator or write the divorce agreement yourselves. It will save both of you a lot of money over hiring divorce attorneys, and it will cut down on the arguing (very important if there are children involved). If you are the one who is moving out, look for a new place now (don't put it off). Make sure your children have a space of their own when they visit your new residence.

Your new home will probably need a good cleaning; even if it looks clean, a thorough cleaning is still a good idea. The author looks at various cleaning products that have worked for him. After all that cleaning, you are going to be hungry. In the kitchen, the author suggests sticking with the basic items for now, like pots, pans and measuring cups. The fancy, high end items can come later.

At some point, you will want to invite women to your home. No to pictures of your ex, or of scantily clad women. Yes to plants, candles or pictures by your children. Other good ways to impress a woman are by showing her that you know how to cook (easy recipes are included), and that you know your way around the world of wine; the author helps with the basics.

How else can a single guy meet women? Volunteer your time, learn how to dance, join a fitness class or shop in a women's clothing or personal care store. Make sure you look presentable, approach her with confidence, and say something interesting (more than "Hey, you wanna go to a nightclub?"). When creating a dating website profile, it's OK to get a bit creative with your photo. Don't make it look like a mug shot, but don't make it part of an obviously cropped group photo. Keep the background simple. Included are suggestions for your first two dates; also, keep it simple. Give her a reason to open your message before all of the others she receives.

This book is excellent. It puts things very simply, for guys who have never been on their own, or whose wife has done all the cooking and cleaning. This gets two strong thumbs up.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/book/UserReview-Single_Guy_How_to_Live_Smarter_Date_Better_and_Be_Awesomely_Happy-491-1886436-240996-Puts_things_very_simply_for_guys_new_to_the_single.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/book/UserReview-Single_Guy_How_to_Live_Smarter_Date_Better_and_Be_Awesomely_Happy-491-1886436-240996-Puts_things_very_simply_for_guys_new_to_the_single.html Tue, 1 Oct 2013 00:36:22 +0000
<![CDATA[ A Wise Man Learns More From his Enemies Than a Fool Does From his Friends]]> Driven”, a film about Formula One racing. While I thought it wasn’t terrible, the screenplay by Sylvester Stallone was a little too easy with themes that proved too cliché especially when it came to sports movies. There was just so many things that it could’ve done better but it just fell a little too short. Well, director Ron Howard, whose shining moments in filmmaking may have to be the award-winning A Beautiful Mind (for which he won best director), Cinderella Man, Backdraft, Cocoon and Apollo 13 aims to go a deeper into the lives of these competitors with “Rush”.

1976. James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) is a hotshot race driver with more guts than brains, but he is very talented. He takes life as if each day is the last day of his life. Austrian driver Nikki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) is a calculating technical genius on the race track and even behind the scenes, that he managed to break into the Formula 1 circuit even before Hunt despite his wins in the minor racing circuits. Their approach to life, and to the sport that they both love births a rivalry that extends further than anyone would expect.

                  A scene from "Rush."

By adapting the story of the 1976 Formula 1 season that takes its focus on the rivalry between drivers James Rush and Niki Lauda, Ron Howard had created a film that feels very authentic and creates an almost natural symbiotic relationship between its central characters. The themes of silent respect, unspoken admiration, pride and just how someone could bring the best of another comes forth as the film’s central focus. The screenplay by Peter Morgan keeps things pretty grounded, and keeps the actual rivalry the main driving force of the film. By developing how and what caused such a rivalry, the script had sidestepped the issue of having two main characters, that one character could end up being better written than the other. Ron Howard’s direction took careful maneuvers not to focus too much on one or the other’s personal life, but rather gave glimpses, and by doing so Howard and Peter Morgan came together with a script that exposes what made up each man, just how their hearts dictated the way they raced, and just how they thought of the other. From a little annoyance, there came a little hatred, then came respect and perhaps even a little concern for the other.

The film does an incredible job defining the rivalry between Hunt and Lauda. It does this by creating a natural sense of ‘competition’ both on and off the race track. Their little philosophies, thoughts and approach to life becomes the driving force as the viewer becomes privy to the way they spoke and interacted, and just what the race circuit meant to both Hunt and Lauda. Hunt was portrayed as someone with a little more charm and personality; he likes to party and it can be argued that he is the more likable of the two at first look. Lauda may come off as a little of an asshole most of the time, but it is just that he is blunt, honest and very confident of his technical skills. The viewer sees things from both the characters’ eyes, and really, it became easy to root for both of them. You tend to care for both and Howard places the viewer in a position to care for the characters because of what they have seen and allows the viewer to decide for themselves as to whom they wish to root for.

                    A scene from "Rush."

Hemsworth did a great job as the brash James Hunt. He carried his character with confidence and maturity, and yet he had that charm that spoke a lot for his character’s edgy personality; something women found very attractive that most of the film’s sex and nude scenes had come about. I do have to say that Daniel Bruhl was terrific as Niki Lauda. I am not sure, while the film did focus on the rivalry, the Lauda character just came forth as the stronger character due to his experiences in the 1976 season. Bruhl was amazing in his portrayal, that I felt that he actually almost became Lauda. Alexandra Maria Lara proved very significant as Marlene Lauda in the screenplay, that despite her limited screen time, she made the Nikki Lauda character be a little more understood. Olivia Wilde was pretty low-key, and I was happy to see that her character’s relationship with Richard Burton did not play too much of a part in the script, but merely a testament to just how focused James Hunt was in moving life forward.

The cinematography and set pieces were incredibly effective in bringing the viewer into this place in time. It was easy to feel the soul of this timeline, seen through the costumes and the set designs, Howard made the viewer feel that they were living the scenes. The grainy photography aided in giving the film a sense of character, as if the scenes were being seen through the use of regular non-HD cameras. While the film is a movie about formula 1 race car drivers, Howard was careful not to create shots that felt too flamboyant. He films the races as if they were being seen through the eyes of an spectator or through the screen of a TV, and this aids in the promotion of realism in the scenes.

               Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl in "Rush."

“Rush” is not a movie about cars or racing, but rather about two men who competed and lived their lives through the love of racing. It would be wise not to expect the film to have long racing sequences, since this is about the men behind the wheel. Ron Howard’s “Rush” is a sort of a biopic about two men whose rivalry proved personal and yet this rivalry became the very definition they sought. It was able to communicate just how something could create a man, and how something could drive someone to try even harder. It is a ‘coming of age’ story of a sorts, and as Lauda had said in the film “a wise man can learn a lot from his enemies, rather than a fool from his friends.” I could not agree more. Recommended. [4 Out of 5 Stars]

Olivia Wilde and Chris Hemsworth in "Rush." Poster art for "Rush."
 
                Chris Hemsworth in "Rush."

               Alexandra Maria Lara and Daniel Bruhl in "Rush."

              A scene from "Rush."

             A scene from "Rush."]]>
http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-RUSH_2013_film_-491-1883093-240965-A_Wise_Man_Learns_More_From_his_Enemies_Than_a.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-RUSH_2013_film_-491-1883093-240965-A_Wise_Man_Learns_More_From_his_Enemies_Than_a.html Mon, 30 Sep 2013 00:58:36 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Don Jon' Proves Joseph Gordon Levitt Is A Triple Threat (Video)]]>
By Joan Alperin Schwartz
First I have to say that I love Joseph Gordon Levitt.  He is one talented actor and with his new film, 'Don Jon', he shows us that acting, is not the only thing he's good at. 
                                                              
Not only does Levitt star in this film, he wrote and directed it as well.  
 
Levitt plays Jon Martello, (aka Don Jon) an Italian American from New Jersey. Jon is single...Works as a bartender...Loves to hang out with his buddies at the local clubs, loves to pick up girls and have sex with them and...loves to watch internet porn.  
 
In fact, Jon is addicted to porn...Watches it before sex, during sex and after sex. The dude can't get enough of it...And he just doesn't watch it...He gets off to it...at least 17 times a day.  That's right, 17 times a day, give or take one or two times.
 
He's also a good Catholic boy. Every Sunday, in the confessional, Jon tells his priest, all about his sexual escapades.  The priest gives him a bunch of Hail Mary's and Our Father's to recite and then Jon, having been absolved of his sins, is free to start sinning, over again.
 
Jon's one happy guy...But of course, this being a movie, his contentment cannot last.  Conflict is just around the corner...and it comes... 
 
In the form of a gorgeous, bright, extremely high maintenance, New Jersey girl, Barbara Sugarman (the wonderful Scarlett Johansson).
 
Barbara, who loves Hollywood movies, is determined to find her Prince Charming...Well Jon isn't exactly her Prince Charming, but that's not a problem for Babs. She'll just turn him into one and Jon, thinking he's in love, is more than happy to oblige. 
 
Jon even returns to school and of course, promises (after he's caught) to give up watching porn, forever.
Piece of cake, right? Not exactly...
 
'Don Jon' is a funny, touching, romantic film that even has a couple of surprises.  
 
It also has the always excellent, Julianne Moore, who plays Esther, a woman who comes into Jon's life and turns it upside down.  
 
I liked 'Don Jon' which opens in theatres, Friday September 27, 2013 a lot and gave it 4 bagels out of 5.
 
Check out our video to see John's bagel rating (Hint: He actually liked this one) and for more of our thoughts.
                                                                                       
 
Please SUBSCRIBE to our youtube channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.
 
Thanks everyone.
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http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-Don_Jon_2013_film_-491-1886274-240859-_Don_Jon_Proves_Joseph_Gordon_Levitt_Is_A_Triple.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-Don_Jon_2013_film_-491-1886274-240859-_Don_Jon_Proves_Joseph_Gordon_Levitt_Is_A_Triple.html Wed, 25 Sep 2013 19:37:55 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Rush' thanks to Ron Howard is one hell of a ride (video)]]>                                                                          
By Joan Alperin Schwartz
Rush' directed by two time Academy Award winner ('Beautiful Mind', 'Frost/Nixon') Ron Howard and written by Peter Morgan ('Frost/Nixon) depicts the intense rivalry between two Formula One race car drivers...

The flamboyant, English playboy, James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth, 'The Avengers, 'Thor') and his opponent, the overly controlled, Austrian, Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl, 'Inglorious Bastards) 
 
Hunt was the bad boy of racing.  When he wasn't behind the wheel of a car, he spent his time, drinking, making love and drinking some more. He was all about emotion and impulsive behavior...Whereas, Lauda was disciplined, cold and methodically brilliant.  
 
In the film, these two men are obsessed with beating one another on the track, no matter what the cost. 
 
Apparently, that wasn't the case.  Hunt and Lauda were actually friends, who hung out together and at one time, were even roommates.
 
But hey, it's a movie right?
 
'Rush' opens at the German Grand Prix, in 1976, a few weeks past the half way point of the season.
 
This is the year that...SPOILER ALERT...Lauder had his near fatal accident and that's all I'll say about that.  
 
From there, the film flashes back to the early 70's, when both men were at the beginning of their career.  As they become more and more famous in the sport, their competition with one another, grows more intense, until finally one of them, becomes a Formula 1 champion.  Of course, I won't say which one.
 
'Rush' is all about the 'rush' these drivers get, as they push themselves to their physical and psychological breaking points.
 
Being the fine director that he is, Howard captures the excitement, the danger, the tension and the speed of the Formula One race.  Those scenes are shot so well that, at times, I felt as if I were sitting along side Hunt and Lauda.
 
For those of you not into racing, there's some very cool sex scenes and even some romance, thanks to...
 
Olivia Wilde, who plays the super model who eventually marries and divorces Hunt and Alexandra Maria Lara, who captures Lauda's heart...And yes, he does have one.
 
I gave 'Rush' which opens in theatres, Friday September 20, 2013, four bagels out of 5.  
 
Check out our video to see for John's thoughts and his bagel score.
  
 
Please SUBSCRIBE to us on our youtube channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.  Thx everyone and let us know what you think
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http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-RUSH_2013_film_-491-1883093-240651-_Rush_thanks_to_Ron_Howard_is_one_hell_of_a_ride.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-RUSH_2013_film_-491-1883093-240651-_Rush_thanks_to_Ron_Howard_is_one_hell_of_a_ride.html Wed, 18 Sep 2013 08:03:18 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'We're The Millers' This Is One Road Trip You Definitely Want To Take (Video)]]> By Joan Alperin Schwartz
 
So what happens when a pot dealer (Jason Sudeikis), a stripper (Jennifer Anniston) a runaway (Emma Roberts) and a virgin (Will Poulter) pretend to be an 'All American Family' and go on a marijuana run to Mexico in a very big R. V.?
 
Well in the film 'We're The Millers' directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, you're in for one very entertaining ride...
                                                                                 
 
Especially when you throw in an angry drug lord, a vicious tarantula, a pornographic game of Pictionary, and an impromptu sing-along...
 
Jason plays David Clark, a small town pot-dealer, whose clientele, includes chefs and soccer moms.  David has been dealing pot since college and you can definitely call him an 'under-achiever'.
 
But David isn't just a pot dealer...He's a guy with a good heart.  We know this because  early in the film, he comes to the rescue of a homeless girl, Casey (Emma Roberts) and his teenage neighbor, Kenny (Will Poulter) who are being harassed by some local punks.
 
For David, however, this proves to be a very bad move.  The punks steal his back pack containing his stash of unsold pot and $45,000 of his drug supplier's money.
 
When his supplier (Ed Helms) finds out David has lost his money, he offers him a choice...David could either be killed or he can take a trip across the border to Mexico and bring back a 'smidgen' of weed...Well maybe it's two smidgens of weed.   
 
Of course the later choice seems much more appealing than death.  Now the only question is...How can David make this drug run and not get caught?
 
Easy...Find an All American Family.  After all no one would ever suspect the Osmonds of smuggling pot...Now since our guy doesn't have an 'all american family', David will just have to create one...And that's exactly what he does.
 
He convinces Rose, Kenny and Casey to pretend to be his wife and kids. 
 
And so 'The Millers' are born...
 
Trust me folks, you have never seen an all american family like this one.
 
I absolutely loved the film and gave it 4 bagels out of 5.  

It's filled with unexpected twists and turns, including a hysterical encounter with another 'All American Family' (Nick Offernan, Kathryn Hahn, Molly Quinn. Plus not only is it funny and clever, it has a lot of heart.  I cared about the Millers and you will too.
 
'We Are The Millers' opens in theatres, Wednesday August 7th and it's a must see for anyone who loves to laugh.
 
Check out our video for John's rating...HINT:  He actually scored it the same as me! 
                                                                     
Please SUBSCRIBE to our youtube channel and LIKE us on our Facebook page.
Thanks everyone and don't forget to let us know what you think about this film.
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http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-We_re_The_Millers_2013_film_-491-1877765-239240-_We_re_The_Millers_This_Is_One_Road_Trip_You.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-We_re_The_Millers_2013_film_-491-1877765-239240-_We_re_The_Millers_This_Is_One_Road_Trip_You.html Wed, 7 Aug 2013 03:50:46 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Blue Jasmine' Catt Gives A Stunning Performances In One Of Woody's Best Films (video)]]> By Joan Alperin Schwartz
There are many reasons to see 'Blue Jasmine' written and directed by Woody Allen, but the main one is...the stunning, complex, Oscar worthy performance by, Miss Cate Blanchett.
                                                                             
She portrays Jasmine, a one time wealthy New York socialite who has lost her money, her home, her husband, (Alec Baldwin) her son and perhaps...her sanity.
 
We first meet Jasmine, sitting on an airplane, talking non-stop to her seat mate, an elderly woman, who from the expression on her face, wishes she would just shut up.
 
From Jasmine's monologue, we find out that she's on her way to live with her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins) a grocery clerk, in San Francisco.  
 
After the plane lands, Jasmine continues following and talking to her seatmate and it becomes obvious that, this is a woman, on the edge.
 
At her sister's place, Jasmine's fragile mental state becomes even clearer...Actually it's hard to miss.  Jasmine gulps down vodka followed by a xanax chaser every time she's upset, which is quite often.
 
First, she can't stand her sister's boyfriend, Chili (Bobby Cannavale) who's always around....Thinks he's as big a loser as Ginger's ex-husband, Augie (Andrew Dice Clay)  
 
If that's not bad enough, Jasmine wants to study interior design online,  but has no idea how to use a computer.  So now, our stressed out socialite has to go back to school, which means finding some menial job in order to pay for it.  
 
In other words, Jasmine has to learn to survive in the 'real world' for the first time in her life.  No wonder she's altering her consciousness.
 
Yes, Jasmine is a very flawed, troubled character, but you want her to succeed.  You can't help but feel compassion for this woman.
 
This has a lot to do with Allen's wonderful use of flashbacks, where we get to see Jasmine's former life and come to understand why she's on the verge of a complete mental breakdown.
 
Watching Cate/ Jasmine, I immediately thought about another iconic, damaged woman...Blanche Dubois from Tennesse Williams 'Streetcar Named Desire'.  It wouldn't surprise me to learn that Woody was inspired by Blanche when he created this character. 
 
On a side note, Blanchett portrayed Blanche on the London stage a few years ago.
 
In any case, like Blanche, Jasmine is a woman you'll remember for a long time to come....I'm still thinking about her.
 
I absolutely loved this film which also stars Louis C. K. Peter Sarsgaard and Michael Stuhlbarg as a lecherous dentist who hires Jasmine. 
 
I gave 'Blue Jasmine' which opens in theatres Friday July 26, 2013, my highest bagel score...five out of five...and John, believe it or not, was right behind with his bagel rating.  Yes, this is a film, he actually liked...alot.
 
Check out our video for more of our thoughts and banter.
                                                                              
Please SUBSCRIBE to our youtube channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.
 
Let us know what you think.  Thanks everyone
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http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-Blue_Jasmine-491-1876364-238937-_Blue_Jasmine_Catt_Gives_A_Stunning_Performances.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-Blue_Jasmine-491-1876364-238937-_Blue_Jasmine_Catt_Gives_A_Stunning_Performances.html Thu, 25 Jul 2013 01:53:12 +0000
<![CDATA[ Turning Rom Com Conventions On Their Heads]]>  

David O. Russell is making a name for himself by taking terribly conventional scripts/plots and turning out remarkably original movies full of life and energy.  He did it first with "Three Kings," but then again, and with more accolades with "The Fighter," which on paper was just another movie about an underdog boxer, but on screen was fascinating, funny, and one of the best sports films to come along in years.  And now he's back with "Silver Linings Playbook," and he's doing the same thing for the romantic-comedy-amongst-kooks genre.

Bradley Cooper plays a guy fresh out of a mental hospital after nearly beating his wife's lover to death.  He's trying hard to be better, and even harder to convince everyone else that he's better.  His friends hook him up with Jennifer Lawrence, who, since her cop husband died in a freak accident, has slept with nearly everyone in town.  The motives of his friends are questionable.  Are they trying to get him laid so that he'll forget about his ex-wife?  That's super sketchy, since Lawrence is clearly dealing with her own craziness and needs people around her who will protect her, not enable her.

But then it becomes clear that just about everyone in "Silver Linings Playbook" is some kind of crazy. It's sort of the mirror image of "Arrested Development."  In that show, Jason Bateman thinks he's the only sane one surrounded by a bunch of lunatics, but really, he's just as nuts as everyone else.  Here, Bradley Cooper thinks he's the one with mental issues surrounded by normal people, but everyone else is just as insane as he is.

Take, for instance, his father, played by Robert De Niro.  He's a bookie and a passionate, superstitious Eagles fan.  He honestly seems to think that the way he holds a certain handkerchief has an effect on the outcome of the game.  De Niro believes that Cooper watching the game with him makes a difference. That's insane.  Betting on it is even more insane.  That's a weird pressure to put on somebody - I'm betting heavy because I believe you're good luck and the Eagles are going to win because you're at the game.  Not playing IN the game, AT the game.  You can't do anything REAL to help the team win the game, you can't take the field and catch a touchdown pass, so if they lose and you were there being good luck, what then?  You didn't do enough? Didn't do what enough? If my dad bet all he had on a  football game because he believed that my good luck presence was going to determine the game - me one out of 50,000 fans attending, 150,000 watching -- I would have a nervous breakdown right then and there.

Lawrence is the hero of the film because instead of resisting everyone's  craziness, she just meets them in it.   In the best sequence of the movies (and one of the best sequences in movies, period,)  instead of telling De Niro that he's insane to think that his son's relationship with her is detrimental to the Eagles, she just goes with it.  And she's done her research.  I love the way this whole sequence is filmed, directed and acted.  There are so many characters involved, really involved in this scene; there's so much energy to it.  The plot mechanics are pretty straight forward; you need to film a confrontation scene that ends with this crazy bet upon which the rest of the film will be predicated. But the way it's handled is so loose -- and frenetic -- that it really feels like a situation that just evolves into what it becomes. Nothing feels forced. And so a really implausible plot point -- the calling card of nearly all romantic comedies -- feels honestly believable.   All of "Silver Linings Playbo0k" feels messy, loose and thrown together. 

At first glance, you'd think the director is hardly in control of what's going on here.  But on closer look, it becomes clear that this madness is by design.   For instance.  Russell uses the editing, and the score, to create a sense of things happening too fast, which I think is supposed to be how Cooper feels about the world - there are just too many things happening, too fast, both inside and outside of his head, for him to deal with them all.  If everything would just slow down a little, he might be all right.  But everything escalates.   On top of that, Russell gets great, fully invested performances from everyone involved.  That's no easy task, and I wonder what his secret is. Some of these actors, I've never seen them working this hard. Others, De Niro in particular, look like he just woke up from a long nap of acting in silly and stupid movies. I've stopped watching movies just because Robert De Niro is in them, but I'll hazard a guess - he hasn't been this invested since he directed himself in "The Good Shepherd."

This is a heck of a movie, and David O. Russell is a heck of a director, someone I'll definitely be watching in years to come.  His movies are alive in a way a lot of movies aren't, and they're really fun and intriguing to watch.  

Random Notes: 

--I don't know much about mental illness.  I have very little personal experience with it, so I can't say if this is an accurate depiction of a certain kind of crazy.  I can only say things like this: deciding to read his English teacher ex-wife's entire class syllabus seems real, while waking up his parents in the middle of the night to complain about the ending of "A Farewell to Arms" seems like the kind of thing that only happens in movies.

--This I do know: There's no way a real psychiatrist would surreptitiously display a patient's trigger just to see if it's still triggers them.  You know the only doctor who would do that?  Dr. Spaceman from "30 Rock."  No one else.  (But hey, everyone's crazy in this film.  Including the shrink.)

--Apparently there is only one cop in all of Philadelphia.  He even shows up (in a tux) in the dance scene.

--The dance scene is reminiscent of the one in "Little Miss Sunshine."  It's hilariously bad and absolutely perfect.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-Silver_Linings_Playbook_2012_film_-491-1842283-237485-Turning_Rom_Com_Conventions_On_Their_Heads.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-Silver_Linings_Playbook_2012_film_-491-1842283-237485-Turning_Rom_Com_Conventions_On_Their_Heads.html Wed, 17 Jul 2013 22:17:08 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Heat is one of the funniest films of the year.]]> http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Heat-491-1870754-237307-The_Heat_is_one_of_the_funniest_films_of_the_year_.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Heat-491-1870754-237307-The_Heat_is_one_of_the_funniest_films_of_the_year_.html Sun, 7 Jul 2013 23:17:16 +0000 <![CDATA[ 'The Heat' is just not that hot (Video)]]> On paper, this film must have sounded like a great idea...Super Uptight, friendless, socially awkward, FBI Agent has to partner with a foul mouth, crass, Boston cop in order to bring down a vicious drug lord...
.
Add Oscar winner, Sandra Bullock and Academy Award nominee, Melissa McCarthy to the mix, plus director, Paul Feig ('Bridesmaids') and you have a perfect female, 'buddy flick'. What could possibly go wrong?
 
                                                                             

Well in the case of 'The Heat', written by first time screenwriter, Katie Dippold, a great deal...Mainly the film, which is a comedy, just isn't funny.

Not funny enough that is...

Melissa McCarthy (Shannon Mullins) plays the trash talking Boston cop and Sandra Bullock, (Sarah Ashburn) is the career driven, by the book, FBI agent.

Now don't get me wrong...Melissa is one funny lady. She can crack you up with one look or tilt of her head...and Miss Bullock can do uptight, lonely and vulnerable in her sleep.

The problem lies with the script...Not only are you one step ahead of the story, but the film is extremely contrived... 

It's obvious from the get-go, that these two ladies, will wind up being BFF, by the time the credits roll.

Sarah, who is disliked by her fellow Agents, wants a promotion...bad...Her boss, (Demian Bichir) promises her one, if she can take down this big time drug lord, who operates out of Boston.

Faster than the speed of light, Agent Sarah, says so long to New York City and heads to Boston. Nothing is going to stand in her way...

Only problem is, when Sarah arrives at the Boston Police Station, to interrogate one of the drug lord's dealers, (Spoken Reasons) she comes up against, Detective Mullins, who is anything but happy that this snooty FBI gal is encroaching on her territory. 

To make matters worse, these two ladies are forced to partner with each other and well, you can figure out the rest...Let's just say it includes a BIG girl-bonding moment with lots of drinking and dancing...Never seen that before...

The script tries hard to get the audience to care about these women. They even make Sarah a foster child and throw in a super dysfunctional family for Mullins. Jane Curtin plays her mother and Michael Rapaport is Mullins ex-con drug addict brother.

When I see a comedy, I expect to laugh. Unfortunately, with this film, I only chuckled and not more than a few times. For that reason, I gave'The Heat' which opens in theatres, Friday, June 28th, 2013, only 2 1/2 bagels out of 5.

Check out our video for more of our thoughts, John's rating and of course to see Mango, our beautiful Pekingnese.
                                                                                    

Please SUBSCRIBE to our youtube channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.

Thanks everyone
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http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Heat-491-1870754-237197-_The_Heat_is_just_not_that_hot_Video_.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Heat-491-1870754-237197-_The_Heat_is_just_not_that_hot_Video_.html Fri, 28 Jun 2013 07:05:39 +0000
<![CDATA[ Inconsequential]]>
Bill Murray does a good job underplaying FDR, making him very cheerful and down-to-earth, while also a very bad husband. Laura Linney plays Daisy, the mistress. She's dishwater-dull and completely without appeal, but FDR, apparently, liked her a lot. The royals are portrayed as dimwitted snobs who take great offense at having to attend a picnic and eat hot dogs. Nothing much happens and then it's over.

The tone of the movie is unremittingly low-key and I waited, in vain, for something interesting to happen. Although the King was there to enlist American support for WWII, the focus is on the dreary, mousy, and quite clueless mistress. It's inconsequential and only mildly entertaining.

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-_Hyde_Park_On_The_Hudson_-491-1844844-236923-Inconsequential.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-_Hyde_Park_On_The_Hudson_-491-1844844-236923-Inconsequential.html Sat, 8 Jun 2013 05:47:36 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'The Internship' Two Jews On Film differ about what's funny (Video)]]>

By Joan Alperin Schwartz
I was really expecting not to like this film. I thought it would be the same old Vince Vaughn comedy that I've seen hundreds of times before and frankly wasn't all that crazy about.

So I was really surprised, when I found myself laughing aloud. 'The Internship' is a really funny, clever and even touching film, filled with endearing characters and a theme that everyone, no matter what your age, will be able to relate to...It's never too late to go after your dreams.

Unless, of course, you're 80 years old and want to be an astronaut or prima ballerina.

But that's not the case in this film.  Vince Vaughn plays Billy McMahon, a high energy, verbally dexterous salesman. Along with his partner and BFF, Nick Campbell, a master at soft spoken persuasion, these two can sell anything to anyone.

Unfortunately, their ways are coming to an end, thanks to the digital world. In fact when we meet them, Nick and Billy are informed by a client they're trying to sell watches to, that their company has closed down. Who needs watches when you have a computer to tell you the time? says their boss, John Goodman.

With no job prospects in sight, Billy and Nick find themselves in a situation that a lot of people in the 40's and 50's face...How to reinvent yourself to fit into this new ever changing digital world?

Luckily, Billy discovers that Google is looking for interns and against all odds, they get accepted into the Google intern program.

Here's where the movie becomes a 'fish out of water' story. All the other interns are under 20 and they are super brilliant, especially when it comes to technology. Something our boys are not. Plus only one team of Nooglers (interns) gets to become Googlers (Google's paid employees)

As the interns are put through a series of tests, Billy and Nick must draw upon their crackerjack salesmanship skills, their life experiences and swagger to lead their team to victory.

'The Internship' written by Vince Vaughan and Jared Stern ('The Watch') and directed by Shawn Levy ('Night At The Museum') is filled with a wonderful cast of characters, including, Rose Byrne as Dana Sims, a career focused high achieving Google executive/love interst for Wilson and Josh Gad, (Headphones) a silent mentor.

I found 'The Internship' which opens in theatres, Friday June 7th, 2013 to be a very entertaining and uplifting film for all ages. For that reason,I gave it 4 bagels out of 5.

Of course once again, The Two Jews On Film are split. Check out our video to see what John thought about this movie and for his bagel rating.
                                                                                    

Please SUBSCRIBE to our youtube channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews on film facebook page.
Thanks everyone.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Internship_2013_film_-491-1867756-236913-_The_Internship_Two_Jews_On_Film_differ_about.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Internship_2013_film_-491-1867756-236913-_The_Internship_Two_Jews_On_Film_differ_about.html Fri, 7 Jun 2013 01:35:43 +0000
<![CDATA[ A Dog, A Writer and The Stories of Seven Psychopaths]]> In Bruges), I’d like to think that “Seven Psychopaths” is something that had been cooked up by the writer/director as something McDonagh’s character Marty as “that is not the kind of movie I want to write anymore”. Well, I do have to say this film is different and yet familiar, it feels a little Quentin Tarantino-ish and yet it is not. The film feels fresh, gritty and there is a Coen brothers feels to it all. “Seven Psychopaths” is one film that I wished I saw in theaters in 2012, and although I may be a little late in reviewing it, I found that it is very much worth the time.

                          Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell in "Seven Psychopaths."

The film is an unlikely story of a man named Marty (Colin Farrell). Marty is a screenwriter and NOT an alcoholic (or so he says), he is desperately trying to find inspiration and how to wrap up his newest story called “Seven Psychopaths”. He has the title down but he is undecided as to how he would write everything out. His friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) is sort of helping some, as Marty is slowly making some progress with the characters. Billy is quite a talker and he is also a dog-napper who works with Hans (Christopher Walken). The two are making quite a racket until they dognap a Shih Tzu named Connie owned by a gangster named Charlie (Woody Harrelson) who has a penchant for violence and this obsession with his dog gives him more of an itchy trigger finger. Charlie is hot on the trail of his dog, so Billy and Hans get out of dodge along with Marty so they could figure out what to do next. This would also give them enough time to maybe finish Marty’s screenplay.

                     A scene from "Seven Psychopaths."

                    Woody Harrelson and Christopher Walken in "Seven Psychopaths."

So there you go, the core screenplay of “Seven Psychopaths” is pretty simple but what makes it fresh and different is the manner it is structured. It is sort of a movie within a movie, totally self-aware of what it wants to do, but it delivers things with a straight face. The characters of the film is truly its strongest point and the way the dialogue just makes something out of nothing, it all feels natural and very sharp. The screenplay does a remarkable job in drawing fiction from reality, and how reality can create fiction. There is something that just clicks in “Seven Psychopaths”, it is the kind of film that has a little of this so called “philosophical mumbo-jumbo” that makes sense albeit it is a little outrageous in the way it pulls off the “movie inside a movie“. It is ridiculous but it is clever and original in the way it takes everything in so many directions. It is hilarious and yet it delivers everything with a straight face.

What I liked about the screenplay is its copious amount of interesting characters. Blending real life with the makings of fiction was brilliantly handled. Of course it worked because of its superb cast. The opening act reveals two goons waiting to off a woman who instead gets their heads blown off by psychopath # 1. Farrell plays the alcoholic writer who has some issues with his girlfriend, Kaya (Abbie Cornish). By himself, he isn’t very interesting but with his exchanges with Sam Rockwell, he becomes quite the compelling core character to all of this nonsense. Add in lines about Gandhi, Marty saying “No shoot outs” and the way Hans goes “No” and “I don’t care” when asked to get his hands up at gunpoint, there is a certain clever, sarcastic wit all around the script.

            

           

The “inside” the movie kind of thing also goes quite interesting as characters such as the Quaker, Zachariah Rigby (the great Tom Waits), the Vietnamese Priest (Long Nguyen) with a hooker (Christine Marzano), Jack O’Diamonds among others get introduced as fiction and at the same time reality. The stories behind these characters add layers and needed depth to what the film is trying to say. Marty says he wants his product to be life-affirming, and perhaps this was the way he sees such things. The film also delivers certain surprises and even leaves some things for the viewer to ponder. Hey, any movie with human-Viagra pill Olga Kurylenko who makes a significant limited appearance without being seen as mere eye candy is indeed smart without being too obvious. To give the movie some visceral punch, it also has some mild blood and gore to express its violence. The practical effects were competently done that it does not wallow on its display.

         

“Seven Psychopaths” is everything and anything, but most of all it is a very fun film. It is creative, smart and gives off the needed feeling of novelty that we need to see every now and then. It does a great job mixing in philosophical nonsense, action, sharp wit and dialogue in some very unorthodox and efficient ways. Its structure and style certainly complement the performances and everyone seemed to be having fun in making the film. Martin McDonagh has created a winner.

Highly Recommended! [4 Out of 5 Stars]

             

             
             ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-Seven_Psychopaths-491-1836963-234245-A_Dog_A_Writer_and_The_Stories_of_Seven.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-Seven_Psychopaths-491-1836963-234245-A_Dog_A_Writer_and_The_Stories_of_Seven.html Mon, 11 Mar 2013 06:03:27 +0000
<![CDATA[ Director Bryan Singer's Way of Saying "Fee, Fye, Foe, Fumm!"]]> The Usual Suspects” and “APT Pupil”. The man then reached mainstream fame with the first two “X-Men” films and “Valkyrie”. Though his “Superman Returns“ was a film that I am sure he‘d rather forget, Singer is a good director, and when given the right material and premise, he can indeed create cinematic wonder. This was why I went to see “Jack The Giant Slayer”, a film that has been inspired by the fairy tales “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “Jack the Giant Killer”.

Together with screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie (who had reworked the film’s screenplay after director D.J. Caruso had left the project) Singer's film is something that is sure to catch the eye of young viewers. I noticed that it was something that may have been made by someone who had sat through too many family movies with their children and instead goes for something more along the lines of fantasy and adventure to keep adult minds a little busy.

                        Nicholas Hoult as Jack in "Jack The Giant Killer."

                       John Kassir as General Fallon's Small Head and Bill Nighy as General Fallon in "Jack The Giant Slayer."

                      A scene from "Jack The Giant Slayer."

The film begins with the narration of a tale of giants and men, told by a father and a mother from a different place and lifestyle, to their children; Jack and Princess Isabelle have become all too familiar with this tale whose roots have now become legend. Jack grows up to be a young farm boy (now played by Nicholas Hoult, Warm Bodies) while Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson, The Illusionist) has grown to strong young woman who wants to see how the world around her truly worked, their paths are destined to cross one another’s and this path would change their lives.

One day Jack is in the town market place, where a monk coerces him into trading a steed for a bag of beans. Little did he know that this very bag of beans is the same ones that he had heard of from the legends told him by his father. Now, Jack and Isabelle have been caught in this realm of magic and legend, her father the king (played by Ian McShane) has sent a rescue party led by his best warrior Elmont (Ewan McGregor) and Lord Roderick (Stanley Tucci) to rescue Isabelle. Little do they know that Roderick has his own agenda and he intends to the take the kingdom either by politics or force.

                          Philip Philmar as Cook in "Jack The Giant Slayer."

                          Eleanor Tomlinson as Isabelle in "Jack The Giant Slayer."

                         John Kassir as General Fallon's Small Head, Bill Nighy as General Fallon and Stanley Tucci as Roderick in "Jack The Giant Slayer."

I know the plot sounds familiar and honestly it is very predictable. This is a family film after all wrapped around the staples of fantasy and adventure. Bryan Singer does somehow manage to find the strengths of its screenplay, and was able to make those things its central focus. This is all about a tale of betrayal, greed and heroism. The underdog becomes the hero with a damsel in distress as the main prize. The core of its plot is pretty much your usual tale, and it sticks close to the inspirations from its source material. What made the film work for me is the way Singer uses his usual clever touches to bring forth the script’s strong points.

The film does have cool touches of modern day idiosyncrasies. I did like the way it added several nice touches such as ‘pigs in a blanket’, the manner of which it made use of the fairy tales’ strong points to expand on its story. No, the film isn’t a grand epic, but the film had its own peculiar wit and charm. It is a delightful interweaving of adventure and legends, as Singer also makes it a point to say that legends are based on a semblance of reality. Time also plays a part, as stories become passed on from one generation to the next, the true story becomes muddled and the truth becomes less of a real tale and becomes more of a legendary tale to tell children.

                       Peter Elliott as Sentry Giant in "Jack The Giant Slayer."

                      Stanley Tucci as Roderick in "Jack The Giant Slayer."

Being a film based on a fairy tale, Singer makes the visual effects a handsome treat. The costumes and set pieces are impressive, as he was able to immerse the viewer into this world of giants and men. The giant character designs were real clever and each one had its distinct share of personality while having that one common feature on them. They looked like something really inspired by a fairy tale. The film has a PG-13 rating, and so Singer holds back on any gruesome, and violent images. It is also low on blood, as befitting a film of this kind. The film has a decent share of action and some very credible battles. The siege on the castle of Brahmwell by the giants was competently staged, as the ancient war between giants and men reach the tipping point. The animated CGI and voice-acting for the over-sized galoots were pretty impressive and this became the film’s bread and butter.

The characters all followed the trappings of most movies we’ve seen of this kind. It was a good thing that the performances were competent enough to carry the flow of its script. Hoult and Tomlinson may have struggled a little in forming a chemistry but in the end they became successful leads. McGregor and Tucci played the secondary characters. I liked the way they were interjected into the film’s main premise, and while they made significant impact to its narrative, they weren’t exactly anything special. I just found that while the performances were decent, none of them did not really make a huge impression. It was more due to Bryan Singer’s sense of timing, execution and direction that the film kept an even, entertaining pace.

                         Ben Daniels as Fumm in "Jack The Giant Slayer."

                         A scene from "Jack The Giant Slayer."

                         Ian McShane as King Brahmwell and Ewan McGregor as Elmont in "Jack The Giant Slayer."

Admittedly, I may not be the film’s target audience. This was still a fairy tale at its heart. I loved how it tried to expand on its premise, developing certain aspects from the fairy tales to make for a more entertaining film for the young and old alike. Singer made a great effort in this film. It is indeed a more family-oriented film, but its clever humor and wit with its superb visuals could make the film a delightful watch. Yes, it is ‘fairy tale cute’ but thankfully not in the way that I usually would turn away. “Jack the Giant Slayer” is by no means a masterpiece, but it is sure to charm its target audience that it gets a recommendation from me. [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

Poster art for "Jack the Giant Slayer 3D." Poster art for "Jack the Giant Slayer 3D."]]>
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<![CDATA[ 'Jack The Giant Slayer'...Fee, Fye, Foe, Fumm, this film is great family fun (Video)]]>
                                                                   


Once upon a time, a race of giants were exiled from the Earth to a land far, far, in fact, really far away, known as Gantua.  Seems these big guys were into ravishing the Earth, instead of living peacefully with us humans.

Anyway it's been over a thousand years since man and giants occupied the same space, but soon, that's about to change when...

Jack (Nicholas Hoult) a farmboy unwittingly opens a gateway between our world and the giants, when a monk gives him some magical beans, in exchange for his horse.

The one instruction the monk gives Jack is...'Do not let the beans get wet'.

So guess what happens next? Yep, one of the beans winds up in a pool of water and before you can say 'a tree grows in Brooklyn,' a beanstalk shoots up...and up...and up...leading straight to the Giants' homeland.

Of course there's more.  What would a fairy tale be without a Princess in distress?

In this case, the Princess is Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) who's being forced to marry her King Daddy's (the always excellent Ian McShane) right hand man, Roderick (the ever so sleazy, Stanley Tucci).

 No matter how hard Isabelle tries to convince her father that Sir R isn't her soul mate, the King won't budge.He thinks Roderick is a prince among men and the best match for his daughter.
Boy is King Daddy in for a surprise.  But not just yet.

Seems the Princess, when the Princess isn't arguing with her father about her impending nuptials, likes to sneak out of the Palace and walk among the masses.

Well, one dark and stormy knight, during one of these outings, Isabelle gets lost, comes upon Jack's farm and before she knows what hits her, she gets swooped up by the beanstalk and winds up in Gantua, aka home of the big guys.

Lucky for Isabelle, she has a band of soldiers, led by Ewan McGregor, as well as Jack (who by now has a mad crush on her) willing to climb the outrageously tall beanstalk and come to her rescue. 

'Jack The Giant Slayer' written by Christopher McQuarrie ('The Unusual Suspects')  Dan Studney and Darren Lemke ('Shrek Forever After') is a great film for the whole family.  And that's exactly what it is...a family film.

It's basically a straight ahead story...Giants want to eat humans and take over the Earth.  There are no female giants, so parents don't have to worry about sex and the violence is the usual type you find in cartoons.

There's also a good amount of humor and the two young leads are charming. 

Bill Nighy as General Fallon, the ferocious two-headed leader of the Giant army, is alone worth the price of admission.

I gave 'Jack The Giant Slayer' which opens in theatres Friday March 1st, four bagels out of five.  Check out our video to see what John thought and for more of our witty banter.
                                                                     

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Thanks everyone]]>
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<![CDATA[ Serviceable Prohibition Drama Weighed Down By LeBouf's ‘Acting']]>  
Believe it or not, I do hate feeling as though I’m harping on an actor.  (This isn’t to say I don’t enjoy it when it’s obviously necessary, but I digress …)  Some actors show great promise when they’re young, and, as they age, they’re rewarded with material that, sadly, might be beneath them and their skills.  In other instances, the material may be so horribly written that it’s hard to accept any measure of theatrical skill could’ve saved it.  However, in some noticeable cases, an actor is blessed with the reputation of a master thespian despite the fact that no series of performances warrants the praise.  I tend to think Shia LaBeouf falls into this last category – it’s not to imply he’s untalented but rather to say I’ve only seen middling performances (at best) from the man – and LAWLESS puts him in yet another picture that possibly may’ve benefitted from some fresh blood as a leading man instead of an established box office name.  (So sue me!)
 
(NOTE: the following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and character.  If you’re the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last paragraph for my final assessment.  If, however, you’re accepting of a few hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
 
Prohibition is the law of the land, and, in Franklyn County, Virginia, nobody was as ‘lawless’ (see how that works?) as the Bondurant brothers: Forrest (played by Tom Hardy), Howard (rising star Jason Clarke), and Jack (LaBeouf).  In 1931, when the law started catching up with bootleggers if for no other purpose than to get a piece of their action, it was the Bondurants who held out against the corrupt system, preferring to keep their business (and their earnings) to themselves.  This is no small way helped turn Franklyn into the wettest county in the world (the very name of the book upon which this screenplay was based).  When crooked officers tried to shut them down, the brothers fought back, tooth and nail.
 
As for the rest of the story?
 
Meh.  It’s all a bit nebulous as incidents that may’ve been based on real history play out more like structured character ‘beats’ than they do a comfortable narrative.  Jack is the runt of the litter – he’s clearly only half as rough and rugged as his brothers Howard and Forrest (both are rumored to be indestructible if not immortal by locals), and he takes the brunt of it when Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce in a weird turn of face) comes down hard on the family.  He’s beaten and kicked around solidly for much of the film, so it only stands to reason that, come the conclusion, he’d go all ‘Billy Jack’ on the lawman.  While that may be based on a true account of the affair, it ends up feeling mostly manufactured here.
 
Also, it didn’t help matters that LaBeouf ended up being shackled with a hackneyed Southern accent.  He does the best he can with the lines, but, having seen him in so many big budget productions, so much of his dialect here sounded really inauthentic in the bad-community-theatre kind of way.  Hardy was able to pull it off mostly because he had so little to say (Clarke similarly only had a handful of scenes of extended dialogue).  Again, it’s a middling performance not all that believable based on circumstances, which is why I said in the onset that I don’t want to feel as though I’m piling on LaBeouf given the fact that he’s appeared in two out of three TRANSFORMERS films that were pretty awful as well as almost single-handedly destroying every good memory I have of an INDIANA JONES motion picture.
 
Again, if my bias is showing, you’ll have to forgive me.  Like most of you, I take my fascination with flicks very seriously – serious enough to write about them increasingly online – and I try hard to not be prejudiced with acting talent.  I think LaBeouf’s a diamond-in-the-rough probably a few years more in the making; I think he was wrong for this movie; but I don’t hate his work.
 
Jessica Chastain makes a nice turn here as Maggie Beauford, a Chicago dancer who self-deported to Virginia for quieter spaces.  Unfortunately, she’s relegated to secondary status here.  I would’ve loved to have seen more of her, but, alas, the story as scripted simply didn’t allow for it.
 
Lastly, let me make a plug here for more films of this nature (those based on historical events).  In particular, I’ve always been fascinated with America’s greatest failed social experiment, Prohibition.  I’ve read plenty of books on the subject – it fascinates me – and LAWLESS does an admirable job showing us today what it was like ‘back in the day.’  It these elements I wish we were shown more of – a miniseries much like the recent HATFIELDS AND MCCOYS would be stellar, and even the dry (pardon the pun) PBS documentary PROHIBITION (thank you, Ken Burns) comes to mind – I think LAWLESS would’ve had a chance at finding a bigger audience.
 
LAWLESS is produced by Benaroya Pictures, FilmNation Entertainment, Annapurna Pictures, Blum Hanson Allen Films, Pie Films Inc., Red Wagon Productions, and Yucaipa Films.  DVD distribution appears to have been handled through Anchor Bay.  As for the technical specifications, this is a big Hollywood production; as such, it all looks and sounds pretty solid, except for a few of Hardy’s lines which were (I believe) deliberately hard to understand as his character tended to be fairly soft-spoken as well as a man of few words.
 
RECOMMENDED.  Knowing what I know of Prohibition, I’d suspect that there’s an awful lot more to this story than what was delivered.  At best, the script services the need to tell a story – it sets up each of these characters with the barest of bones, presents a catalyst for drama, and then delivers said climax with albeit predictable results – but I can’t help but wonder what more there is to the story that couldn’t fit inside the traditional two-hour package.  LaBeouf continues to get starring roles despite his lack of presence – I’d have spent more time with Hardy’s underplayed (and underexplored) Forrest Bondurant and Clarke’s Howard Bondurant; his character seemed so circumstantial here, that I’m not sure what more he could’ve added with his limited and overrated skills, but it is what it is.]]>
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<![CDATA[ A Deep-Fried, Depraved, Twisted, Trailer Park Murder Story]]>
            

The film‘s set up is actually very simple. Chris (Emile Hirsch) is a guy buried in gambling debts owed to a guy named Digger (Marc Macauley) so he came up with a plan that involves the collection of insurance money. Chris convinces his dead beat dad, Ansel (Thomas Haden Church), and his second wife Sharla (Gina Gershon) to help him hatch up a plan as Chris had gotten information that the beneficiary is his sister, Dottie (Juno Temple). The family agrees to contract a professional named Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), who is also a police detective by day. But when, Joe insists on collateral and he chooses Dottie to be that guarantee, things become much, much more complicated.

I have said that some movies are meant to express a harsh possible reality in life, and “Killer Joe” is just the kind of film that hits a homerun in this regard. I know, the set up is pretty simple and one could surmise that the film is going to end badly, but what made the film work marvelously is the way that it is structured to reveal enough details about its characters as possible and yet, one becomes enthralled and invested to see just how exactly things would turn out.

                 

               

              

The trick is when coming out with a film about a harsh possible reality, you have to be able to instill the right emotions, the proper timing to call its scenes. From the film’s introduction of Chris with a pitbull barking at him, that scene says a lot of his character as dogs just cannot trust him. Gina Gershon’s Sharla comes out swinging and it was easy to conclude just what kind of woman she was, despite her light concerns about Dottie, she was the kind of character with dimensions, and she may not be the pleasant kind. Dottie is one that you can see as someone caught in all this mess, she may be seen as the innocent, but really there is a certain level of darkness even to her. Ansel’s character is the kind of pushover and just tags along with decisions, he is one of the weak-willed kind and is just around for the ride.

The film also has a great approach in introducing Joe’s character. It is all about close ups, his leather gloves, boots, the police shield and the gun at his side, and the pitbull that often barks at Chris becomes like a scared puppy dog when Joe arrives. McConaughey is finally stepping out of his comfort zone, leaving behind his staple as a leading man in romantic comedies since his role in “The Lincoln Lawyer” as the actor embraces and becomes Joe Cooper. A man who is charming, intimidating and scary. The success of the film relies mostly on the performances, and thankfully, its cast was able to deliver. Gina Gershon earns major props for her portrayal of Sharla as I was amazed as to how the actress was able to endure such on-screen character humiliation and was able to deliver the raw emotions that came with her role. Juno Temple was also quite impressive, for a young actress, this role may indeed put her on the map. She played that “lost butterfly” part quite beautifully.

                      Matthew McConaughey, Gina Gershon and Thomas Haden Church in "Killer Joe."

                     Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon, Juno Temple and Thomas Haden Church in "Killer Joe."

                    Juno Temple in "Killer Joe."

With such multi-dimensional characters and a well structured screenplay by Tracy Lett, the brutal violence became a part of its cumulative impact to deliver the emotions of its premise. It was a calculating move, if you pay close attention, the film starts off as a caper, then it becomes a kind of a sexy film complete with full frontal nudity and hinted at sex. Each scene played a part in creating the power of its narrative, as I became totally immersed into the film. I know several viewers may say that the film was disturbing and it is indeed brutal and hard to watch, but what it does well is the fact that it injected major emotions that it did not wallow on its violence alone. Pretentious art house horror such as “The Human Centipede” would do well in taking notes with movies such as “Killer Joe”. It is depraved, violent and yet positively amazing in the way it manages to instill emotions.

                                 Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch in "Killer Joe."

So was I entertained with this film? Frankly no, it is not the kind of movie meant to entertain but rather a film that causes its viewer to face a piece of life, or in this case, a harsh piece of that life where every one seems to screw one another that only a murderer could stand as the one with the most sense of honor, however, twisted it may be. Chris phrased it well when he said “it’s like I shouldn’t be walking this Earth” (or something like that), and sometimes things like this do happen, whether we can admit it or not. Due to the disturbing nature of some scenes in this film, I could only give it a Timid Recommendation. Don’t let my comment fool you, this is an excellent film, but just not for everyone. If you liked The Girl Next Door, this one is for you.

Recommended! [4 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

Matthew McConaughey in "Killer Joe." Poster art for "Killer Joe."

                                                Poster art for "Killer Joe."
 
 
 
 
 ]]>
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<![CDATA[ Surprisingly bad]]> Four unrelated vignettes involving tourists, newlyweds, and quirky locals play out in Rome.  The characters are neither sympathetic, likable, interesting, nor memorable.  The plots are like fantasy daydreams but still manage to be incredibly tiresome.  I was so glad when the movie was over.

On the plus side, the photography is exquisite.  Rome is filmed in a warm, golden light that makes it look like a fairytale city for lovers.  Some very good actors get stuck with trite material and writer/director/star Woody Allen is still playing the same loser character he's been doing for forty years. 

Terrible movie.


]]>
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<![CDATA[ Django broke free of those chains, if only Tarantino could get back on his though.]]>
Django Unchained tells us the story of a German Bounty Hunter played by Christoph Waltz who one night finds a chain gang of slave traders, carrying a seemingly unimportant man, Django who knows the whereabouts of the bounty hunter's latest targets.  Setting Django free, the two set off armed with guns, panache and in Waltz's characters case King a silver tongue.  Seems that Django knows what three of King's next targets look like and can identify them to bring in some bounty bucks.  The two strike up a friendship of a teacher and student, but King develops another plan and that or helping Django rescue his wife who he was separated from and is currently enslaved at a rich plantation owners house.

Let me deviate for a moment here and talk of Tarantino's previous work with Inglroius Basterds.  A movie whoes commercials showed us  WWII guerrilla's killing and scalping Nazis and having a grand ole time.  The movie is more about the film world gathering at a Nazi movie premire to assassinate Hitler with Brad Pitt's Basterd's playing a smaller role.

Django Unchained shows us in it's advertisement, a black slave being freed and "getting paid to kill white people."  Well after the introductions and some adventuring in the countryside, the remaining HALF of this 2 and a half hour runtime is set on the wife story and reuiniting with her and getting her freedom.

I'm not saying that either is a bad story, just in both cases it's not what I wanted or was expecting.

Tarantino has long been applauded with his dialouge and story telling and both are on display well here, but at one point you must wonder when an editor would have stepped in and cut down on some scenes.  It would feel like sacrilege to some but this is the case of stretching you're story out and out and out and ringing it clean.

The movie though inspite of my pics is a great movie.  When the action does kick in, it kicks in and Tarantino has no problem with ludicrus gibs and squibs and bodies explode into blood globs at gun fire.  Every time towards the end that the movie might be approaching a conclusion, it picks up again and gives us another scenario on top of another making you guess how the movie will end.  The conclusion won't be in too much doubt but how it gets there is part of the movie's fun.

Speaking of fun, Samuel L Jackson........I will say this.  For all the accolades that Leonardo DiCaprio is getting for his role as the main villian, Calvin Candie the plantation owner.  Samuel L Jackson should be getting just as much applause if not more playing what must be the most different role of his career.  A desecated senior house slave with no respect for himself but only for his master.  A role you could never see SAMUEL L JACKSON playing ever.  Not only is Jackson freaking awesome in this role, but you can almost tell he is enjoying playing the part and playing against type and stretching out.

Django Unchained is more fun from Tarantino, but after this, I want to see him ride off into the sunset with this part of his career over.  No more exploitation homages.  Even if he has to go back to the well with the blacksuits and sunglasses of his earlier work I want something different from this man of talent but while he revels in what he loves, a better movie you know is in the recesses of his mind.]]>
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<![CDATA[ The D is the only thing that's silent]]>
Neither description applies to Inglorious Basterds and Django.  What we're talking about here isn't history, its morality.  In Basterds, Tarentino ripped any semblance of respect from Nazism, and here, he takes on racism.  While few Americans today are affected by Nazism, we all are affected by racism.  Yes, racism remains, and may always because of the horror of race-based slavery.  Part of the power of this movie is that Tarentino doesn't flinch from the same effort of stripping away any shred of morality from racism, no matter how close to home it hits.  In both cases, he plays fast and lose with history (we can only wish Hitler had been killed the way he was in Basterds), but history isn't the point, the laser sword of black and white morality is the point, and exactly the point.

But this isn't a dull morality play, this is power film-making at its best, with great directing, writing, and acting.  Yes, the cartoonish violence is there, but it is important to note that the violence of master against slave is never portrayed in anything other than stark, painful violence.  The only time when Tarentino indulges his tendency toward the overblown is when the violence is toward the the enslavers, not the enslaved.  I found it powerful, profound, and disturbing at times (and also funny; history and morality have their ironies and oddities that can be bitterly and sweetly funny).  The extended scene at Leonardo DiCaprio's "Candie Land" plantation is dramatic small-scale filmmaking at its best, and the scene where a furious DiCaprio smashes his hand into an unscripted bloody mess left me breathless. 

All the major actors turn in performances that should earn nomination nods for Jamie Foxx for lead and Christophe Waltz and DiCaprio for supporting actors, along with Tarentino for director and the categories for movie, soundtrack, and cinematography.  Kerry Washington as Django's wife he hopes to rescue from Candie also gives a strong performance but doesn't have much screen time.   It would be disappointing to see the movie bypassed by awards bodies just because its a "Tarentino movie".  This is a movie people should see.

This movie roars with importance, violence, anger, humor, music, heroism, and love.  Its the best 2012 movie I've seen.  Although I haven't seen Lincoln yet, I expect it to be in the same class, but I would be surprised if it were better.   This is a movie movie people should want to see. ]]>
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<![CDATA[ Christophe Waltz does it Again!]]>
Django agrees to Waltz's offer and Waltz can only get him from the slavers in dramatic fashion (reminicent of Gene Wilder in Blazing Saddles). After that Django becomes Waltz's right hand man in the trade and also turns into a quick draw sharpshooter himself. Waltz seems to take a real liking to Django and agrees to help Django find his wife who was sold off to a separate plantation owner.

The movie is loaded with a lot of nods to other famous westerns and at least two more nods to Blazing Saddles (think Cleavon Little when he first rides into town and remember the hooded bad guys later in the film). The film does go over the top with some of the action scenes (think the battle in the club at the end of Kill Bill). And even Samuel Jackson with bad makeup and one of his poorer acting performances fails to distract from the fun of the movie.

What really makes this film a winner is Waltz. He is a similar character to his role in Inglorious Basterds (remember one of the most likable bad guys ever) only this time he is a good guy. Foxx is ok but his performance pales in comparison to the one he gave in Collateral. The film runs over 2 hours but it never seems to get borring. Of all the Quentin Tarrantino films I have seen this one is about equal to the first Kill Bill film, but a far cry from either Pulp Fiction or Inglorious Basterds. I give it just under four stars.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-Django_Unchained-491-1847331-231437-Christophe_Waltz_does_it_Again_.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-Django_Unchained-491-1847331-231437-Christophe_Waltz_does_it_Again_.html Wed, 2 Jan 2013 13:47:21 +0000
<![CDATA[ A Mash of German Legend, Spaghetti Westerns, Modern Music, Samurai Flicks on a Historical Backdrop.]]> Sukiyaki Western Django” (please see the original uncut of Miike’s movie before you judge it), I had a small hunch that the acclaimed director was about to go into something with the ‘western’ flavor (or so he states ‘southern’), and guess what, I wasn‘t far from wrong. Tarantino’s movies often become something to be anticipated, probably because of the fact that the filmmaker only makes movies every 2-3 years and when he does, his films are often easy to like. Ok perhaps not “Death Proof”, but most of his films are, even the much debated “Inglorious Basterds” had something to said for showmanship despite some minor rough areas in its screenplay. His movies often rely on some personal flair and his characters drive the story, and such is the case once again with Tarantino‘s latest “Django Unchained”.

                              Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx in "Django Unchained."

Two years before the civil war, we find a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter with the name of Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) rescuing a slave named Django (Jaime Foxx) from slave traders. Schultz needs Django to help him with the bounty, and this is to hunt down and kill the Brittle brothers. In return, Schultz will liberate Django from slavery after working through the winter as his associate in bounty hunting. Schultz trains Django and he turns out to be a natural. Then somehow, Schultz also decides to aid Django in finding his lost wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) who has been sold to a plantation owner and a promoter of Mandingo fights, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). But sometimes, things do not go as planned.

                            Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio in "Django Unchained."

                           Leonardo DiCaprio in "Django Unchained."

Everyone knows that I like Tarantino’s movies, but I am not going to say that his movies are perfect. “Django Unchained” is Tarantino’s continued goal to take on different genres, that he had stated that he prefers this film to called a “southern” rather than a “western”, as his story is back dropped in the South where the slave trade ran rampant before the years of the civil war. As with most Tarantino movies, he keeps his screenplay simple, but certainly filled with his own personal flair. The screenplay feels episodic and yet it ran linear when compared to his other movies. Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” does not trim down on any scenes that can be argued to be unnecessary (ok, maybe a predictable cameo was too much 'fat'). It is a film almost 2 and a half hours long, but it remained focused and consistent with what it was trying to do. True, it can be said that it lost gas by the 122 minute mark, but overall, Tarantino had me for the entirety of his latest film.

There is a bountiful of characters in “Unchained” and Tarantino’s writing seemed to have returned to its top form. It seemed as if he had toned down his pop culture zeal the more he goes further into the period pieces away from the modern era. His writing had become smoother, and he seemingly avoids references that needed to be dissected. Sure, there are still a few, but the plot wasn’t driven by them, and the minor reference to the German tale of Brunhilde and Siegfried only serves as a classical basis (in this case “Candieland”) that needs to be overcome by Django. The blood splattering effects are no doubt his usual tribute to the arterial spray in samurai films (see the cotton plant splattered with blood) and the tempo of the movie certainly channeled the “Spaghetti westerns” of the past. Yeah, there are still the usual shout-outs and it is fun to recognize what he is referencing. Tarantino’s movies seem to have an issue on impulse control that he often appears to almost lose control as a writer, and yet, he doesn't. I really have no idea how the man can pull off a reference-rich screenplay that can be solid, immersive and entertaining (other directors have failed with such things).

                            Christoph Waltz in "Django Unchained."

                           Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz in "Django Unchained."

The flow of the dialogue can definitely grab its viewers, as morbid humor and wit are often around the development of the screenplay. The dialogue was sharp, clever and had its own form of wit. It can go from funny, to intense while even adding some clever references every now and then “first he should find a fighter that wins, then turn him to a spectacle.“. There is an interesting aura of showmanship the way Tarantino writes his script. Here, Tarantino also has a copious amount of characters that lend support to our leads. There is Don Johnson, Jonah Hill, Samuel L. Jackson, Zoe Bell, Robert Carradine and Michael Parks, there is a lot of them and they all serve to add personality to the screenplay. Tarantino makes his narrative to go really wide, driven by his careful hand in developing his story while covering as much characters that could be inter-connected. This is the reward of our traveling protagonists, the viewer gets to see almost as much as they do.

It is also to the writer-director’s credit that he manages to choose the right performers for his films. Foxx and Waltz felt like they were natural. The two formed a chemistry based on the other feeling a little uneasy, and then they became more comfortable and reliant with one another. Of course, much of the film’s wit and charisma was carried by Waltz, and the film does have amazing bad guys in the persona of Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson became a necessary device to drive its climax. The characters in the film were what really drove the film, for no matter the cleverness, and charm of any script, they need to be delivered convincingly, and the performances were stellar.

                              Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz in "Django Unchained."

The film is also marvelously shot and many sequences have the flavor of Leone’s spaghetti westerns and Japanese Jidai Geki films (Tarantino has proclaimed himself a fan of those genres). The more the film gets going, the more it seemed to get more violent when it came to the gun fights. Here, human beings were there to supply a good body count, as bullets and flesh spray red goo everywhere much like those Japanese samurai flicks. Tarantino also toys with some ideas that reference the exploitation era, but nothing so obvious. Some viewers may become a little sensitive to some racially based humor since the film has a lot of them, but the delivery weren’t offensive and were meant to justify the payback that came to such behavior.

Tarantino is a showman. He is the kind of director who seeks to entertain first and foremost, that he uses a style all his own. No, it isn't perfect, it did have some areas that can use improvement, but for a movie with a 141 minute runtime, it certainly moved smoother and quicker that I wanted to see more. The film even has an exchange between Di Caprio and Waltz that probably closely describes Tarantino as a filmmaker. Tarantino finds a winner, in this case a winning concept, and then makes sure that it is something that his fans can get behind on. Then, he creates everything (including a gimmick) around that winning concept, rather than defining a concept with a gimmick . With "Django Unchained"  the concept is the friendship between an ex-slave called Django and a former dentist turned bounty hunter called Schultz. It works. Tarantino has brought us the 'Fastest Gun in the South".

Highly Recommended! [4 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

Poster art for "Django Unchained." Teaser poster art for "Django Unchained."
 
 
 ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-Django_Unchained-491-1847331-231177-A_Mash_of_German_Legend_Spaghetti_Westerns_.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-Django_Unchained-491-1847331-231177-A_Mash_of_German_Legend_Spaghetti_Westerns_.html Thu, 27 Dec 2012 06:01:14 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Les Miserables' a beautiful, touching, spectacular holiday film (Video)]]>                                                                          


 So to say I was really, really looking forward to seeing the film, is an understatement.
I couldn't help but wonder...Would I be disappointed?  Would the film version match up to the stage production and would the singers sound as great as the orginal London and New York cast?

No...Yes...Almost.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, 'Les Miserables' is based on Victor Hugo's monumental 1862 novel about a decades-long manhunt, social inequality, injustice, love and redemption.

Here are the clift notes...

Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) has served 19 years of hard labor on a chain gang for stealing a loft of bread for his sister's child, who was dying from hunger.  He orginally got 5 years, but 14 years was added on to his unjust sentance for trying to escape.

Upon his release from prison, Valjean through a series of circumstances, jumps parole and becomes a very successful businessman, as well as a mayor of a small town.

Former prison guard, and now a policeman, Javert (Russell Crowe) is obsessed with finding Valjean and bringing him to justice.  In fact the dude is so obessed that he spends 17 years of his life mercilessly hounding Valjean and tracking him from city to city.

 Finally the two men meet at the barricades in Paris during the uprising of 1832.

But before that happens, Javier, Valjean adopts a small child, Cosette, the daughter of  the dying Fantine (Anne Hathaway)an ex factory worker/prostitute.

As an aside, Anne Hathaway has gotten rave reviews for her performance.  Personally, in my humble opinion, I think Miss H. sobs a way bit too much...especially when she sings one of the most beautiful songs in the show...'I Dreamed A Dream'.

Anyway...Valijean must first rescue the girl from an unscrupulous inn keeper and his wife...the very funny, Sascha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter. 

Cosette grows up to become Amanda Seyfried and she winds up falling in love with Marius (Eddie Redmayne) a wealthy young man turned revolutionary.

To say anymore would spoil the fun and the film is fun...It's also exciting, touching, and quite spectacular, especially visually, thanks to Tom Hooper's brilliant direction, as well Danny Cohen's cinematography and Eve Stewart's production design.

'Le Miserables' is sung, the music is gorgeous and the melodies, haunting.  Yes, it is three hours long, but for me the time flew by.

One of the biggest surprises is that Russell Crowe can sing. Of course not as good as Broadway musical star Hugh Jackman, but he doesn't embarass himself. 

The supporting cast including Samantha Barks as Eponine, the innkeepers daughter, who secretly loves Maris, is excellent.

I gave 'Le Miserables' which opens on Christmas Day, 2012...4 1/2 bagels out of 5.
Check out our video for John's score and some of our singing banter.
                                                                              


We have just reached 1005 SUBSCRIBERS so thank you everyone.  Next goal 2000 so please SUBSCRIBE to our youtube channel if you haven't...And LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.

Happy Holidays and let us know what you think about 'Les Miserables']]>
http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-Les_Miserables-491-1847526-231094-_Les_Miserables_a_beautiful_touching_.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-Les_Miserables-491-1847526-231094-_Les_Miserables_a_beautiful_touching_.html Mon, 24 Dec 2012 23:03:22 +0000
<![CDATA[ Review: 'Quentin Tarantino creates an over the top funny, graphically violent, masterpiece (video)]]> By Joan Alperin Schwartz

Quentin Tarantino has done it again with this spaghetti style western.  'Django Unchained' is set in the South, two years before the Civil War.
                                                                              
Not only has Tarantino created an over the top funny, graphic, violent film, but he also manages to show the horror of slavery in a way, I can't ever remember seeing in a Hollywood film.

But then again, Mr. T. doesn't do Hollywood films.  He does Quentin Tarrantino films and this one, in my humble opinion is...a masterpiece.
                                                                         

Jamie Fox is 'Django' (the D is silent)...a slave who's been brutalized by his former owner (Bruce Dern)
One day, Gerrman born, retired dentist/bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz (the outstanding Christopher Walz) comes across Django chained to other slaves.  Schultz buys him and agrees to give Django his freedom...if Django agrees to help him find the murderous Brittle Brothers.

Only Django knows what they look like and he agrees to help.  In exchange, Schultz teaches him everything he knows about tracking, hunting and shooting.

It doesn't take long for Django to become Schultz's star pupil.  To say the former slave is extremely motivated would be an understatement. Django is determined to find and rescue the his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) whom he lost to a slave trader years ago.

Through a series of flashbacks, we see the sick, cruel, inhumane treatment that Django, his wife, and other slaves endured.

Django and Schultz's search ultimately leads them to a plantation called 'Candyland' owned by the monstrous Calvin Candie (Leonardo Di Caprio in a tour de force performance)

They get into Calvin's plantation under false pretenses...pretending they are interested in buying a slave for fighting. (think 'Mandingo' )

It's here they meet Calvin's trusted house slave, Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson).  Mr. Jackson has never been better as the manipulative, self hating, Uncle Tom.  He's so good in the part, he made my skin crawl.  This is a man that would sell out his own mother just to stay in favor with his master.

Too say anymore, would spoil this brilliant, must see film.

The supporting cast including, Don Johnson, James Remar, James Russo, Dennis Christopher, Tom Wopat, Franco Nero, Robert Carradine and Tarrantino are all excellent.

I gave 'Django Unchained' which opens in theatres, Tuesday, December 25, 2012...5 bagels out of 5. Check out our video to find out John's score and for more of our silly banter.
                                                                       

Please SUBSCRIBE to our youtube channel.  As of today, we need only 5 more subscribers to reach 1000.  And LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.

Thanks so much everyone and please let us know what you think of 'Django Unchained.'    .]]>
http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-Django_Unchained-491-1847331-231019-Review_Quentin_Tarantino_creates_an_over_the_top.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-Django_Unchained-491-1847331-231019-Review_Quentin_Tarantino_creates_an_over_the_top.html Sun, 23 Dec 2012 22:53:11 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'This Is 40' shows us Judd Apatow at his best (Video)]]>
Debbie and Pete (Paul Rudd) her husband are turning 40, but Deb just won't admit it...Can't admit it...

Judd Apatow's new film 'This Is 40' is a followup to 'Knocked Up'. If you've been wondering what happened to those two main characters in that film, here's your chance to find out.
                                                                     


Debbie and Pete are happily maried with two girls, Sadie (Maude Apatow) and Iris (Charlotte Apatow) The family lives in a beautiful, lavish house that they can barely afford.

Pete's indie label isn't doing very well and his next big launch of Graham Parker And The Rumor's comeback record, doesn't look too promising.

Plus someone has stolen $13,000 from Leslie's Lula Lemon type store. It's either her top salesperson, Desi (Megan Fox) or her pet employee, Jodi (Charlene Yi).

On top of all this, Pete's father, (the wonderful smarmy, narcissitic, Albert Brooks) is constantly borrowing money him...money Pete doesn't have, but he just can't say 'no' to his daddy.

Oh did I mention that Debbie, also has a father (John Litgow) but he couldn't care less about her? All his affections are for his younger, picture perfect NEW family.

'This Is 40' is an emotionally insightful, hysterically funny film. It touches on issues everyone can relate to...sex, family, marriage, parents, kids, growing old, and life in general and it does it with Apatow's brilliant, spot on dialogue.

'This Is 40' opens in theatres, Friday, December 21, 2012...a perfect film for the holidays.

Check out our video on our Youtube to find out our bagel score, see Mango do absolutely nothing and of course, for more of our banter.
                                                           


Please SUBSCRIBE to us on Youtube and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.

Thanks everyone and let us know what you think about this film.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-This_is_40-491-1847078-230896-_This_Is_40_shows_us_Judd_Apatow_at_his_best.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-This_is_40-491-1847078-230896-_This_Is_40_shows_us_Judd_Apatow_at_his_best.html Thu, 20 Dec 2012 07:30:43 +0000
<![CDATA[ A bit too cold, a bit too rushed, but nonetheless gripping and inventive.]]> AnyAny two hours adaptation will not be able to properly articulate the story of Anna Karenina. Not even Joe Wright's endearing skills as a director could have lifted this story from under Tolstoy's palms. Taking in mind that this would not be just an adaptation but also a stylized slice of russian cuisine, I reminded myself to not go into this film with many expectations. Fortunately the film feels like an interesting mosaic for me. Wright's half-innovative decision to stage this film as a theater set-piece added not only more class to the film but also a subtle homage to the russian theater. What it also gave is a better excuse for a somehow distant and hurried script by Tom Stoppard. 
The story itself is not the issue here considering the small length of the film but the way it occasionally jumped through time felt a bit out of control. Like they couldn't hold the reindeers in place. Either from excitement or the pure thrill of adventure, I felt they left all the story transitions sinking in their own painful echoes in a very spacious and dusty cellar while they were polishing the production. 

Anna Karenina is THE story of a troubled woman, ready to give away everything for true love. It's the Bible of women in love and it should have been treated like a parent would treat his own children: with kindness, love, and appreciation. The love is absent. It isn't absent from the story as a theme but it is not involved in providing a strong emotional core. The film feels so cold and stagnates inside our hearts that we're only left with appreciation for performances, music and technical design. The story doesn't hit, doesn't impress, doesn't change, and for it sure doesn't provoke. It doesn't create an atmosphere and it gets lost after the ball scene. I have much sympathy for the ball scene because it's the catalyst for everything that happens afterwards and it surely feels like Wright put a lot of emphasis on that piece. I like how he plays with intimacy and how he gives it a special shadow each time something intimate happens on screen. I like the aura he gives to each character and how well that embodies the actors' performances. You can instantly discover the goofiness, the stoicisim, the arrogance, the passion, or the diffidence in each character before you get to meet them and see how they behave. 



Performances definitely help even though Keira Knightley's performance could have been a bit more dynamic than it feels. She's great but there's something there that's missing and I'm trying to figure out if it's her or if it's the direction and even the story that pulls me back a bit from fully enjoying her work. Jude Law does a wonderful job as the imposing and portly Karenin, as well as Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the suave and cunning Vronsky, Matthew MacFadyen as the comical Oblonski or Ruth Wilson as the warm and tenacious Princess Betsy Tverskoy. Levin (Domhnall Gleeson) and Kitty (Alicia Vikander) also develop a believable relationship that goes from innocent ignorance to honest maturity.



Where Anna Karenina succeeds the most is in it's magnetic theatrical staging of it's scenes. It's ravashing to watch and while dizzy at first, it becomes a great trick to slip these characters and their stories through your veins. Seamus McGarvey, Wright's trustful cinematographer, lands some great shots but they could have tweaked down the bloom and the blur a bit and increase the contrast to give the film a more glossy and crisp look. I hope the BluRay will look much better than the film did in theater because this one has plenty of colors to show and it would be a pity if the quality would be as foggy as it is in the theater. Other than that the production is great on all levels: costumes, set design, make-up, you name it. Dario Marianelli also doesn't miss the chance to put his stamp on this film and creates a beautiful score that mixes both the russian and french musical culture. A combination that plays smoothly since the russian aristocracy is portrayed as people that borrow the french social climate into their own world to make things more interesting and exciting. 

Story: 7.0
Acting: 9.0
Technical Execution: 9.2
Replay Value: 8.0
====================
OVERALL: 8.1

Wright's adaptation of Tolstoy's novel is not a mistake in any way. It's a bold film that tries to tell a story known by millions of people in a different way than we are used to imagine it. It works, it's intuitive, it's bohemic, but also a bit vapid when using the original material and lacks continuity between some of the most important scenes. Anyone has the right to challenge the purpose of creating such a film if it's known from the very start that a two hours adaptation has small chances of making justice to this literature heavyweight. I'd argue that doing that is also both childish and cinical. Wright did it because he believed in it, he believed that it will resonate with someone. Nobody would be able to pour so much detail in a half filled glass if total devotion and love wouldn't be involved. After all, the result is not just a decent film. The result is a different stage on a staged cinema.two hours adaptation will not be able to properly articulate the story of Anna Karenina. Not even Joe Wright's endearing skills as a director could have lifted this story from under Tolstoy's palms. Taking in mind that this would not be just an adaptation but also a stylized slice of russian cuisine, I reminded myself to not go into this film with many expectations. Fortunately the film feels like an interesting mosaic for me. Wright's half-innovative decision to stage this film as a theater set-piece added not only more class to the film but also a subtle homage to the russian theater. What it also gave is a better excuse for a somehow distant and hurried script by Tom Stoppard. 
 
The story itself is not the issue here considering the small length of the film but the way it occasionally jumped through time felt a bit out of control. Like they couldn't hold the reindeers in place. Either from excitement or the pure thrill of adventure, I felt they left all the story transitions sinking in their own painful echoes in a very spacious and dusty cellar while they were polishing the production. 
 
Anna Karenina is THE story of a troubled woman, ready to give away everything for true love. It's the Bible of women in love and it should have been treated like a parent would treat his own children: with kindness, love, and appreciation. The love is absent. It isn't absent from the story as a theme but it is not involved in providing a strong emotional core. The film feels so cold and stagnates inside our hearts that we're only left with appreciation for performances, music and technical design. The story doesn't hit, doesn't impress, doesn't change, and for it sure doesn't provoke. It doesn't create an atmosphere and it gets lost after the ball scene. I have much sympathy for the ball scene because it's the catalyst for everything that happens afterwards and it surely feels like Wright put a lot of emphasis on that piece. I like how he plays with intimacy and how he gives it a special shadow each time something intimate happens on screen. I like the aura he gives to each character and how well that embodies the actors' performances. You can instantly discover the goofiness, the stoicisim, the arrogance, the passion, or the diffidence in each character before you get to meet them and see how they behave. 
 
Performances definitely help even though Keira Knightley's performance could have been a bit more dynamic than it feels. She's great but there's something there that's missing and I'm trying to figure out if it's her or if it's the direction and even the story that pulls me back a bit from fully enjoying her work. Jude Law does a wonderful job as the imposing and portly Karenin, as well as Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the suave and cunning Vronsky, Matthew MacFadyen as the comical Oblonski or Ruth Wilson as the warm and tenacious Princess Betsy Tverskoy. Levin (Domhnall Gleeson) and Kitty (Alicia Vikander) also develop a believable relationship that goes from innocent ignorance to honest maturity.
 
Where Anna Karenina succeeds the most is in it's magnetic theatrical staging of it's scenes. It's ravashing to watch and while dizzy at first, it becomes a great trick to slip these characters and their stories through your veins. Seamus McGarvey, Wright's trustful cinematographer, lands some great shots but they could have tweaked down the bloom and the blur a bit and increase the contrast to give the film a more glossy and crisp look. I hope the BluRay will look much better than the film did in theater because this one has plenty of colors to show and it would be a pity if the quality would be as foggy as it is in the theater. Other than that the production is great on all levels: costumes, set design, make-up, you name it. Dario Marianelli also doesn't miss the chance to put his stamp on this film and creates a beautiful score that mixes both the russian and french musical culture. A combination that plays smoothly since the russian aristocracy is portrayed as people that borrow the french social climate into their own world to make things more interesting and exciting. 
 
Wright's adaptation of Tolstoy's novel is not a mistake in any way. It's a bold film that tries to tell a story known by millions of people in a different way than we are used to imagine it. It works, it's intuitive, it's bohemic, but also a bit vapid when using the original material and lacks continuity between some of the most important scenes. Anyone has the right to challenge the purpose of creating such a film if it's known from the very start that a two hours adaptation has small chances of making justice to this literature heavyweight. I'd argue that doing that is also both childish and cinical. Wright did it because he believed in it, he believed that it will resonate with someone. Nobody would be able to pour so much detail in a half filled glass if total devotion and love wouldn't be involved. After all, the result is not just a decent film. The result is a different stage on a staged cinema.
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/movie/UserReview-Anna_Karenina-491-1846963-230837-A_bit_too_cold_a_bit_too_rushed_but_nonetheless.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/movie/UserReview-Anna_Karenina-491-1846963-230837-A_bit_too_cold_a_bit_too_rushed_but_nonetheless.html Wed, 19 Dec 2012 07:44:55 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'The Impossible' proves sometimes, it's better to vacation in the mountains (Video)]]> 'The Impossible' starts out on an airplane.  A lovely British family, Maria Bennet (Naomi Watts), her husband, Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their three young sons are off to Thailand for an idyllic Christmas vacation.   What could be better?
                                                               


When they arrive at their resort, they are even given an upgrade.  The family now has a beautiful, luxurious beachfront villa to while away the hours and days.

After presents are exchanged, everyone heads down to the pool where they join their fellow happy holiday tourists.

The scene is serene...absolutely perfect...That is...until there's a distant rumble.  Before anyone can give the noise a second thought...

A TSUNAMI HITS...and Maria and her eldest son, Lucas (the wonderful Tom Holland) are swept away into the rushing water and separated from Henry and the two other boys, Simon (Oaklee Pendergast) and Thomas (Samuel Joslin)..

First I must say the CGI effects are absolutely brilliant.  The cinematographer (Oscar Faura) and the director, Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage) decided to shoot this from the tourists POV.

We see the wave THROUGH their eyes...a dark, brown mass coming toward them, knocking down thick palm trees, hurling cars, lifting buildings and people into the air. .  The wave sweeps over everyone and everything.

And then there's Maria...She's knocked through a glass wall, then emerges in the middle of swirling debris. 

Maria frantically searches for her son...screaming his name over and over again...and finally...miraculously...she sees him in the distance.  Somehow they manage to reach each other and from then on out...

We watch, as the two of them, not knowing if the rest of their family is dead or alive, struggle to survive.  And believe me, at the end of the movie, you feel as if you've been put through the ringer.

Naomi is pitch perfect as a mother who will do anything to make sure her son lives and be reunited with her family.

Ewan McGregor is equally as fine as the father desperately searching for his wife and boy.

The fact that this film, written by Sergio C. Sanchez, is based on a true story, made it that much more intense.  

'The Impossible', which opens in theatres, Friday, December 21, 2012, isn't what you'd call 'entertaining', but it's definitely worth seeing and for that reason, both John and myself gave it 3 1/2 bagels out of 5.

Check out our video to see what happens when John forgets the bagels.

Please SUBSCRIBE to our youtube channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.  Thanks everyone and let us know what you think about this movie.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Impossible-491-1846701-230775-_The_Impossible_proves_sometimes_it_s_better_to.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Impossible-491-1846701-230775-_The_Impossible_proves_sometimes_it_s_better_to.html Tue, 18 Dec 2012 04:15:24 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Hyde Park On The Hudson'...sex, politics and Bill Murray as FDR (Video)]]> 'Hyde Park On The Hudson' is the story of a love affaire between FDR (Bill Murray) and his distant cousin, Margaret Stuckley (Laura Linney) centered around the weekend in 1939 when King George V1 aka Bertie (Samuel West) and his wife, Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Coleman) came to visit.
                                                                            


George is in the United States to ask Roosevelt for financial help with Britain's impending war with Germany. By the way, this is the same King George that took center stage in 'The King's Speech.  That's right...the King who stuttered.

The film was directed by Roger Michell ('Notting Hill') and written by Richard Nelson.  It's a very interesting study about a man who was laid back, funny, shrewed and a total player.

 This guy loved women and apparently, even though he was confined to a wheel chair from contacting polio as a child, he never let his handicap stop him from getting it on with the ladies, including his long time secretary, Missy (Elizabeth Marvel)

Unfortunately, Eleanor (Olivia Williams) knew all about his affairs, but like all good and loyal 'first ladies' she stayed by her husband's side and made the best of it. Of course, she accomplished incredible things in her own right, but that's another movie.

The film opens with Roosevelt summoning Margaret to his vacation home in Hyde Park on the Hudson..  She's quite surprised by the invite since she hasn't seen the President in years.

The Commander In Chief starts his seduction by showing  Margaret his stamp collection, followed by long drives in the country, and finally, FDR, ever so delicately takes Margaret's hand and places it on his...Well, you can use your imagination to figure out the rest.

The main reason to see this film of course, is Bill Murray's excellent performance as Roosevelt.  Quite a stretch from the guy we first met on Saturday Night Live. 

This is also a film for anyone who loves history, which I do and for that reason, I gave 'Hyde Park On The Hudson' which opens in theatres, Friday December 7th...31/2 bagels out of 5.

Check out our video for John's bagel score and for more of our thoughts.
                                                           

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Thanks everyone.]]>
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<![CDATA[ I Was Pleasantly Surprised.... In a Way]]>
No, I'm not joking on that.  I've actually found the people who hate Twilight that much more insufferable than the people who actually really enjoy it.  In part because the people who hate Twilight either A.) Jumped on a bandwagon or B.) decided to hate it so much it became serious business.  As for me?  I've enjoyed sort of poking fun at it since it hit store shelves. 

On the other hand, though, the one book in the series I actually did take seriously... was Breaking Dawn.  See, the books are terrible, but they're still a lot of escapist fun.  For those striving to be writers, especially, they should read those books because much like Christopher Paolini's Eragon or anything written by James Patterson after the year 2000, you learn a lot more about writing from those books than you do about the good books.  Because you learn what not to do... AND you see why it doesn't work.  So yeah, I actually like Twilight... but for the exact wrong reasons and in my mind Twilight isn't worth taking that seriously to spend a lot of time hating and dumping on.

Breaking Dawn was the exception that proves the rule.  See when Meyer wrote the first three books she wasn't writing them to try and say something or anything like that.  They were quite literally escapist books she wrote for her... and only her.  She never imagined they'd be huge successful books and she certainly didn't imagine people would read and enjoy them.  In this regard I actually give Stephenie Meyer a lot of credit.  But Breaking Dawn... was the book where Stephenie Meyer actually tried to be serious and not so surprisingly it was the worst book of the four.  Even people who really loved the previous three books ended up being emotionaly pissed off with Breaking Dawn.

But as I said, the Twilight books are bad in the sense of how candy is bad for you.  You can have some of it and be giddy at just how silly it is.  But Breaking Dawn is a different story.  In part because so much happens in the book that it has gone from being some strange escapist, romantic, fantasy to actually being a book that tries to have a message.  I'm not talking the Mormon propaganda... to me that's just another stupid thing to talk about and something bad parents say to excuse their bad parenting.  What I'm really talking about is that Breaking Dawn the book hits the ground with a stringent pro-life message and if there's one book (and film) that I wasn't sure really could've provided a discussion about Abortion to its audience... it was Twilight.  Needless to say when Breaking Dawn the film (part 1) pushed this harder I was a little unsure how to take that... because Breaking Dawn isn't mature enough to handle that and it certainly isn't mature enough to expect it's teenage target audience to be mature enough to handle it.  Notice I didn't say the film "preached" this stuff... it talks about it.  But it's a very one sided discussion that doesn't even give the other side any sort of leeway.

That being said... because I hated Breaking Dawn Part 1 (I actually didn't see that one in the theater) and because I really didn't like the book, I was hesitant to go see Breaking Dawn Part 2.  Until a friend of mine told me that the movie... was surprisingly awesome.  And you know what?  He was right.  Breaking Dawn Part 2 was surprisingly awesome. 

So before moving on, I must warn you, there will be spoilers here.

So when we watch this movie, Bella is now a vampire and all that crazy stuff now.  Who apparently doesn't have to worry about being a crazy Newborn because she's apparently so stubborn she doesn't have to worry about that.  More on that in a moment... 

But because of her daughter it turns out that Bella has upset the Volturri, who have gotten this impression that a child was turned into a vampire and that's wrong for reasons that actually make sense.  The threat of the Volturri becomes real that the Cullens have to prepare themselves for the final battle.  And that's pretty much what Breaking Dawn Part 2 is.  It's a movie that's almost nothing but resolution.  It doesn't focus quite as heavily on the Bella and Edward romance so much as it focuses on trying to tie up all the loose ends and bringing it all together.  This involves a whole mass of vampires who come together at the end to join the Cullens and ultimately fight the Volturri. 

Now, as you've probably heard... Breaking Dawn the book is probably the most anti-climactic thing ever.  I hate to bring about comparison to Harry Potter because that's just unfair to Harry Potter... but part of the reason Harry Potter worked so well is that we actually worried about the characters and there were actually consequences for their actions.  Both good and bad.  Breaking Dawn the book wasn't disappointing because of the cheesy romance and all the stupid fluff.  It was terrible because of the way it ended.  See, in the book it ends with the Volturri showing up and the good guys and bad guys prepare to have a battle and then... they just sit there and talk.  That's all they do.  They sit there and talk while Bella puts up a protective shield.  Alice then brings back another half-vampire and half-human thing to show that Renesmee is virtually harmless and then the bad guys leave.  All that build up to a battle and NOTHING happens.  No characters are forced to think about what they've lost.  No characters are forced to learn anything and no character has to sacrifice anything.  There's virtually nothing at stake.  Fiction can survive characters that don't die.  Fiction can survive poorly constructed characters for amusement... but one thing fiction can't survive is having absolutely nothing at stake for the characters.  And that's what Breaking Dawn did.  It had nothing at stake for the characters.

So naturally, I expected Breaking Dawn to end just like that.  No consequences for anyone and no actual battle.  Something incredibly anti-climactic. 

Instead what I got... was the fucking battle I wanted!  And guys... it was awesome.  No, I'm not kidding.  A Twilight movie has one of the best battle sequences I saw all year.  That final fight was awesome.  People on both sides are dying.  Main characters die.  Bad guys die.  And they die in horrifying ways.  People's heads get ripped off, wolves tear vampires apart.  You see vampires using their super powers to do certain things.  It's a HUGE and epic battle where suddenly things are at stake.  Lives are lost and the characters are actually forced to make a stand.  It was surprising.  I had moments where I cheered, moments where my jaw dropped in horror and moments where I actually found myself WORRYING about the characters and wondering just who was going to die and who was not.  The danger they were in suddenly felt (for the first time ever in Twilight) real.  And yes, this battle was pretty amazing.  I'd recommend anyone go and see Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 JUST for that battle. 

The rest of the movie is the same joke the franchise has always been and yeah it's hysterical... but I'm getting the sense the cast and crew seemed to know that now as you don't get the sense that they're taking themselves seriously anymore either.  The first Twilight movie didn't try.  The second tried too hard.  The third actually had an exciting fight... but this one?  At this point you get the sense the director said, "Fuck it, we know this is terrible, guys... so just have fun and hopefully this'll all be over soon."  I imagine when the whole thing was over Robert Pattinson danced a little jig and celebrated (if you couldn't tell by now... Robert Pattinson really hated these movies).

And then that battle happens and it's actually serious, enjoyable and a lot of fun.  No, I'm not kidding.  And it may be because my expectations were really that low, but really I think it was because I actually had some fun..

But here's the one GLARING problem with this movie.  That battle you saw turns out to be a dream.  No, I'm not kidding it's a dream.  I was disappointed in that... Mostly because the people who made the movies were so torn about following the books to a tee and trying to be inventive.  I get a lot of flack for saying how terrible Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is and the excuse is always because, "It's closer to the book than the other movies," and that's actually the enormous problem I have with them.  I mean, don't get me wrong there's also the idea that Chris Columbus is just a terrible terrible terrible director who hasn't made a good movie since ever.  But mostly it's because the first Harry Potter movie is so concerned with staying true to the book that it's boring as hell. 

For Breaking Dawn Part 2 the issue seems to be that the people making this movie totally didn't like the ending of the book either... but figured they had to stick it in somehow.  Basically they wanted to have their cake and eat it too.  And sure it's a cheap shot... but here's the part that I'm very amused by.  The battle that we see before the ending... even Twilight fans REALLY loved.  They seemed to love seeing some of their favorite characters that they'd spend so much time becoming acquainted with die.  Not because they WANTED to see them die, but because they got to have that experience of wondering if they'd survive and wondering how the situation would turn out.  See, ultimately what makes the Twilight books so bad isn't the mundane love story or characters it's actually that the books are relatively safe.  They don't take risks in the slightest.  From the second book onward we never get the sense that the characters are in any real danger and I don't see what the point of building to such a huge climax is if the characters are not in any danger.  That's really the only major issue the books suffer from.  Everything else pales in comparison to the idea of just how anti-climactic it was.  By now we all know that Bella is a shell of a character that readers are supposed to project their image on.  And we know Edward is supposed to be a fantasy.  But that meant that the OTHER characters we never got a chance to really worry about and see if they were in any real danger. 

Of course this is also what makes the, "Yeah, it was all a dream..." so darn disappointing.  Because you just KNOW the director here really wanted THAT battle to be the ending... but was probably forced to make it end the same way as the goddamn book or else really piss off fans (who in reality... didn't like the ending either but you know how ANYONE freaks out when a movie based on a book isn't EXACTLY like the book).  And to me that's such a cop out when you've created a sequence that tense and that emotionally investing for your audience.  Imagine if at the end of The Empire Strikes Back you saw that Darth Vader was Luke's father and then five minutes after that Darth Vader wakes up to an imperial soldier handing him a paternity test that said he wasn't the father.  You'd wanna punch the director right in the crotch for that.  And that's what I wanted to do here.  I wanted to get on a plane, fly to Bill Condon's home, ring his door bell and then punch him right in the crotch, watch him writhe in pain and fall over and then kick him again while he was on the ground.  The one time when Twilight truly reaches... and then it's not allowed to.  Not because the director or the cast didn't want to.  But because they were so concerned with sticking as true to the book as possible.  And I'm sorry to say guys... that sucks.

But on the other hand, I'm actually still glad I got that sequence in the first place.  It made up for all the shortcomings the movie had.  Ya know, the same old same old.  Bad emotionless acting etc. etc. 

The point is this, regardless of how I felt I actually had a lot of fun with this movie.  I laughed (albeit at points for the wrong reason) and I rather enjoyed what I saw.  It took five movies but yeah... Breaking Dawn Part 2 actually doesn't suck.  It WILL suck if you're the type of movie goer who takes things a little too seriously (and if you're seeing Breaking Dawn Part 2 with that mentality then something is wrong with you).  I'm not expressing it's a GOOD movie, I'm only saying it's actually an enjoyable one.  I'd probably sit here and say, "Yeah, go see it," but I already know you guys aren't going to listen to that kind of thing when it concerns a movie that... ya know, is actually popular. 

Point being, I came out of theater actually enjoying it.  Even if for the wrong reasons I still enjoyed it.  It's hard to give a rating here because it's not a well made movie.  Just one that doesn't suck and is actually enjoyable. ]]>
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<![CDATA[ Practical and easy to read]]>
Many of our attitudes toward disputes and conflict resolution are formed by our families while we are still children. Anger can range from loud and violent to giving each other the silent treatment to blaming the other person and being judgmental. Such people have never learned healthy attitudes toward conflict and anger.

Everyone has things that they don't like about themselves. Whenever they are mentioned by others, intentionally or unintentionally, they can cause feelings of shame or self-hatred. No one can make you feel like a victim unless you allow it. Whenever your height, weight, ethnicity, etc. are brought up, have a response ready to say to the other person or to yourself, to keep that comment from getting you upset.

There are many unhealthy ways to express anger. Among them are constant whining, throwing temper tantrums, being convinced that you are perfect and the rest of the world is wrong, people who remember every injustice ever perpetrated against them and aren't afraid to throw them in your face, bullying & intimidation and gossiping. The book tells how to deal with each type of person.

Perhaps the cause of your anger is more physical than emotional. Maybe eating too much sugar, or not drinking enough water, will cause a meltdown. The cause of your anger could be lack of sleep, or consuming too much alcohol. The book explores what happens to our bodies in the midst of long-term, unhealthy anger.

For married couples, notice your partner's anger style. Are they passive-aggressive or a shouter? At your next argument, consider: taking a time-out, avoiding hurtful words, admitting your frailties, not interrupting and changing your behavior.

At the end of each chapter, there are exercises and places to write down your thoughts and feelings. This is a practical and easy to read book that can help bring about changes in our relationships, and inside ourselves. This is very much worth the reader's time.]]>
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<![CDATA[ 'The Twilight Saga-Breaking Dawn-Part 2' the best one yet (Video)]]>                                                            


So here's the good news...Bella loves being a vampire...loves the power, the speed, that it brings her. She loves her husband and her baby. In fact, the Cullen crew including Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Ashley Greene and Kellan Lutz are all living in the country in what can only be described as...bliss. Even wolfman Taylor Lautner has come abroard. Seems he's imprinted on the baby and now he has no choice but to protect her with his life...

Of course all that happiness doesn't last long. Irina (Maggie Grace) comes for a visit, but before she can even say...'Hi and what's happening people'...she spots Renesmee in the woods flying above the trees and thinks she's an IMMORTAL child...a child who gets bit and becomes a baby vampire. This is a big no-no.

Irina instantly reports this information to the VOLTURI clan and now Bella and the Cullens have to gather allies to face them or be destroyed.

The whole cast, especially Michael Cullen as the head of the Volituris do an excellent job of bringing their super entertaining characters to life. Each one of the vampires have special abilities that make them memoriable.

'Breaking Dawn Part 2' directed by Bill Condon and written by Melissa Rosenberg (based on Stephanie Meyer's bestselling novels) is a fantastic end to the Twilight Saga. It's exciting, full of surprises, even funny and in my opinion, my favorite of all the films.

It's for that reason I gave Breaking Dawn-Part 2, which opens in theatres, November 16th, 2012...4 1/2 bagels out of 5 and miracle of miracle, John didn't hate it.
                                                             
                                                                                          

Check out our video for more of our banter and John's bagel score.

Please SUBSCRIBE to us on Youtube. Only need 75 more subs to reach 1,000 and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film Facebook page. Love to hear your thoughts about this film.
 ]]>
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<![CDATA[ 'Silver Linings Playbook' a wonderful dramedy about love among the dysfunctional (Video)]]>
Every so often a film comes along that is original, quirky, poignant and surprising. 'Silver Linings Playbook' written and directed by David O' Russell ('The Fighter') is just such a movie.


The film explores the struggles, eccentricities and obsessions of everyday people. In this case the Solantano family.

Pat Solantano Jr, (Bradley Cooper, who's never been better) has just spent 8 months in a mental hospital for beating up his co-worker and fellow teacher.

Actually he practically killed the guy. Now, I'm not condoning violence, but Pat did find the dude having sex with his wife, Nikki (Brea Bee) in the shower. To add insult to injury, Pat and Nikki's wedding song, 'My Cherie Amour' was playing in the background.

Of course, now everytime Pat hears that song playing, he goes absolutely crazy...which becomes problematic.

Anyway Pat is released to his parents, Pat Sr. (Robert DeNiro) and Dolores (Jacki Weaver, 'Animal Kingdom') custody and moves back into their home.

Pat is determined to live a positive life and to find the silver lining in everything.. He's convinced that his new attitude will win back Nikki.

While Pat is struggling to keep it all together, into his life walks super dysfunctional, Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) a young, depressed widow, who's policeman husband was killed in a car accidnet. For a long time, Tiffany drowned her sorrow by having sex with everyone in her office, leading to her dismissal.

Pat and Tiffany's relationship, as well as Pat's relationship with his father, who has major OCD, is the heart of this film.

DeNiro hasn't had a part this good in a long time. Yes, Pat Sr. is funny, but he's also a man terrified of losing control and De'Niro's brings a rawness to the part that makes you care deeply about his character.

Cooper nails his complex character as well. Pat Jr. is an abrasive, vulnerable, explosive guy, who just happens to be bi-polar. Now that's alot to deal with.

Rounding out the cast is Chris Tucker as Pat's friend from the mental hospital, Anupam Kher, Pat's shrink, Julia Stiles as Tiffany's uptight sister and John Ortiz as her overly stressed, submissive husband.

I loved 'Silver Linings Playbook' which opens in theatres Friday November 17, 2012 and for that reason...I gave it 4 bagels out of 5. Check out our video for more of our banter and of course, for John's bagel rating.
                                                                


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]]>
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<![CDATA[ Living and dying for the sake of Shih Tsu]]> A Collection of 2005 Academy Award Nominated Short Films although he is perhaps best known for the acclaimed In Brugesalso starring Colin Farrell, a dark comedy with tragic overtones about two hitmen on the run.

I first heard of this movie last year when I saw the movie The Guard directed by his brother Michael John. A trademark of the McDonaghs is dark humor mixed with some irony and perhaps even some philosophy together with some absurdity. As I loved The Guard so much and it has the biggest domestic box office of any Irish movie ever made, I looked forward to this latest movie with more than a little anticipation.

If you're like me and like American directors who also write such as Tarantino with Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill, or the Coen Brothers with No Country for Old Men, I think you will also like this.

Seven Psychopaths centers around an Irish screenwriter nemed Martin played by Colin Farrell planning to write a movie about seven psychopaths. Life begins to imitate art as a similar tableau to the one he writes about starts to unfold in real life.

Woody Harrelson plays Sam a local organised crime leader whose dog is kidnapped by Walken and Sam Rockwell's character who happen to be friends of Martin. Sam cares more about dogs than people. The real mixes with the imaginary in very intriguing ways, and kept the movie audience entertained. I particularly liked the scenes with the Vietnamese priest and the hooker, and the Quaker story. There is also a hit man with a white rabbit played by Tom Waits.

The revelatory performance in this movie comes from Sam Rockwell when he helps out Martin with the screenplay lending some psychotic absurdity to the scenes although everyone is excellent.

What I like is that McDonagh while clearly inspired by Tarantino and Coen imposes his unique style and does not kowtow to Hollywood conventions and delivers a movie that experiments with different styles of humor and yet manages to engross you so much in the moment that you do not attempt to guess the end. If you do you would probably guess wrong.

I love how he works the opening scene with two hitmen discussing preparing for a hit and how the scene turns out.

While I would not consider this better than say In Bruges there is a certain heaviness in the theme of In Bruges that is not present here and some people may prefer the more light heated nature of this movie which is a highly welcome and worthy addition to the McDonagh repertoire.

I hope the McDonagh brothers will work together as I think they could give the Coen brothers a run for their money.

I think you will love it.]]>
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<![CDATA[ A Science Teacher Becomes an MMA Inspiration]]> Star Rating:


It can be argued that Here Comes the Boom has its heart in the right place. That doesn’t change the fact that it plays like a cross between a second-tier sitcom episode and a rather humdrum inspirational sports drama. It stars Kevin James, looking his thinnest, as Scott Voss, a forty-two-year-old biology teacher at a failing high school in Boston. His passion for teaching has all but dwindled away; he regularly arrives late for his own classes, and not only does he let his students have free reign, he will also tell them that everything they’re learning will never apply to their lives, so they might as well not bother. Curious, then, that he’s motivated to try and raise enough money for extracurricular activities when the cantankerous Principal Becher (Greg Germann) announces severe budget cuts.
 
Presumably, Scott is moved by the plight of the music teacher, Marty (Henry Winkler), who will obviously lose his job. What makes this especially troublesome is the fact that, despite his age, Marty has just found out that his wife is pregnant. Given the magnitude of this turn of events, you’d think it would actually factor somehow into the plot, if not early on or in the middle, then at least at the end. But it never does factor in, not really; the best we get are a few brief scenes with Marty’s very kind wife, who, if memory serves, is always shot from the neck up. If the filmmakers don’t want the audience to see her showing, why even include a pregnancy subplot? Be that as it may, it’s determined that, in order to save the music program, the faculty somehow has to raise $48,000 by the end of the school year.

                                               
                                                 
Initially at a loss to come up with a plan, Scott takes extra work as an American Citizenship teacher at a night school. Amongst the reliable grab bag of tiresome ethnic stereotypes, who clearly have no idea what he’s saying, he meets a Dutch man named Niko (Bas Rutten), who wants extra tutoring. In due time, Scott is watching a UFC match in Niko’s apartment and very quickly learns that MMA fighters can make a great deal of money, even if they lose. He also learns that, before teaching a variety of exercise classes at a local gym, Niko himself was once an MMA fighter. Putting two and two together, Scott decides that he’s going to enter as many MMA fights as he can and put all his earnings towards saving his school’s music program. Initially, it’s about the money and not winning or losing. But as time passes, his spirit renews itself and he realizes that, if he trains to actually win, he can be an inspiration to the school and his students.
 
The story progresses from amateur-level fighting to an official UFC match in Las Vegas, at which point the film becomes a who’s who of MMA celebrities. It also becomes hopelessly predictable. But before we get there, there are a series of subplots that not only have no real bearing on the main plot but also aren’t that well developed in and of themselves. We have, for example, Scott’s unhappily married brother, Eric (played by James’ real-life brother, Gary Valentine), who has many wild children and runs his father’s painting business. Within, he secretly harbors a desire of being a chef. We also have a Filipino student named Malia (Charice), a smart young woman whose father doesn’t support her love of Marty’s music class, where she plays piano. As an immigrant herself, she will eventually be Niko’s tutor for his impending citizenship test.

                                               
                                                 
The single most unnecessary subplot involves the school nurse, Bella (Salma Hayek), the object of Scott’s affection who has thus far refused all offers for a date. Here’s a character that doesn’t advance the story in any way; her sole purpose is to be a romantic enticement for Scott, who’s amiable enough but far too goofy for us to completely invest in him. It doesn’t help that James and Hayek have absolutely no chemistry together. Seeing them paired, one is reminded of the old adage about apples and oranges. Hayek looks as if she’s having fun, but at the same time, she also seems to be dumbfounded by her presence in the movie. It’s not so much that another actor should have been cast in her place. It’s more a matter of the character she plays not needing to be in the film at all.
 
There are times when the screenplay’s strained humor extends into inappropriate physical gags. Do we really need to see James vomiting all over his opponent in the ring after eating a bad batch of homemade applesauce? Or Hayek resetting James’ dislocated shoulder in one scene and wrestling with him in another? Or Rutten kicking a Pilates ball into the side of a man’s head, knocking him over? Or James jumping off a springboard to make a slam dunk, only to miss the basket entirely and fall flat on his front? If the intention is to be an inspirational sports drama, at least give us a reason to take the material seriously. I have no doubt that everyone involved had the best of intentions, but ultimately, Here Comes the Boom is unfocused, unrealistic, and at times far too desperate to generate any decent laughs.

                                                     ]]>
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<![CDATA[ A Kidnapped Dog and the Merits of Cinematic Shootouts]]> Star Rating:


That Seven Psychopaths is twisted, there can be no question. As to whether or not it’s successful, that’s open for debate. Here is a movie that’s narratively and atmospherically all over the map; in one fell swoop we’re given a crime thriller and a comedy, and in both instances, they involve a stolen dog, a developing screenplay, promises for screen credit, alcoholism, people getting shot and burned alive, two generations of serial killers, and wordy discussions about the merits of cinematic shootouts and the possibility of an afterlife. I cannot sit here and say that I know what the film is about. I can say that I never once found it boring. I can also say that select scenes and passages of dialogue are ... I was going to say funny, but given the innate unpleasantness of murder, I think amusingly clever would be a more accurate description.
 
Exactly who are the seven psychopaths? Contrary to what both the trailer and the poster tell us, the characters played by Colin Farrell, Abbie Cornish, and Olga Kurylenko aren’t among them. Farrell plays Marty Faranan, an Irish-born alcoholic screenwriter living in Los Angeles; Seven Psychopaths is the title of his latest script, which he’s struggling to finish. Cornish plays his girlfriend, Kaya, who’s essentially dropped from the story after breaking up with Marty over an insulting comment he made while under the influence at a party. As for Kurylenko, she plays the barely-seen girlfriend of a local crime boss named Charlie Costello (Woody Harrelson), so at best, one can say that she’s only dating a psychopath.

                                                
                                                  
One of the psychopaths is a fictional character, which is to say he exists only within the pages of Marty’s screenplay. This would be a Vietnamese priest (Long Nguyen), who seeks revenge on the soldiers that killed his family during the My Lai Massacre. Another psychopath is essentially only a legend as retold by Marty’s best friend, an unemployed actor named Billy Bickle (Sam Rockwell). According to the story, a Quaker seeking retribution for the murder of his daughter followed her killer, a reformed man, for eleven years until he was driven by madness to slit his own throat; he believed he would be sent to hell and set free from the Quaker, although he didn’t count on the fact that the Quaker would end up slitting his own throat at the same time. We see the first psychopath, a mask-wearing killer of mafia figures known as Jack O’Diamonds for his trademark of leaving a jack of diamonds playing card at the scene of his crimes. For a time, the seventh psychopath remains a mystery.
 
Although there is a sequence of events, I hesitate to say that the film has a plot. Billy, who’s also a part-time dog thief, kidnaps a Shih Tzu with the help of his partner in crime, Hans (Christopher Walken), a nonviolent man whose beloved wife is being treated for cancer. Little do both men know that the dog’s owner is Charlie, an emotional pet lover. Knowing Marty needs a little inspiration to get his screenplay finished, Billy ropes him into the escalating situation. Eventually, a man named Zachariah Rigby (Tom Waits), who carries around a pet rabbit, has entered the picture. He’s another psychopath; decades ago, he and his then-wife became serial killers of other serial killers (the moral implications of this aren’t discussed, perhaps wisely so). Now he’s responding to an ad placed in “Variety” by Billy on Marty’s behalf. Eventually, Marty, Billy, Hans, and Charlie’s dog will retreat to the desert, where the humans will discuss the direction of the Seven Psychopaths screenplay and argue over a climactic gunfight.

                                                
                                                  
Although there is a bizarre logic to the pacing, the structure, and the eccentric performances, the plot in and of itself is maddeningly unclear about what the point is. That’s assuming, of course, that there even is a point, and I have my doubts about that; writer/director Martin McDonagh appears to be more interested in style than in substance, which is to say that the film looks good and has a lot of energy and wit but not much in the way of purpose. Not much that’s apparent to the audience, at least. This is in direct opposition to his previous film, In Bruges, which interwove an equally twisted crime caper with characters that were surprisingly complex and engaging. Seven Psychopaths approaches that level with the character of Hans, but it doesn’t quite reach it. His presence comes off largely as a convenient means to an end, an excuse for the inclusion of specific scenes and turns of events.
 
I haven’t said much about the film’s violence, which in select instances could arguably rival the gratuitousness of a particularly gory teen slasher film. I know intellectually that it’s in the spirit of fun and not meant to be analyzed, but emotionally, I find myself resisting. The film is so much more engaging when the focus is the dialogue, a strange but fascinating mixture of foul gangster talk and intellectual debate. Had there been greater insight into the characters, it probably would have had an even greater effect on me. As it is, Seven Psychopaths is difficult to process but impossible to ignore. It’s goofy and sadistic, it meanders, and it never comes to a satisfying conclusion, and yet you can’t tear your eyes away from it. Looking at it from that perspective alone, it’s quite an achievement.

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<![CDATA[ 'Here Comes The Boom' the feel good action comedy of the year, says one Jew on Film (Video)]]> By Joan Alperin-Schwartz
Ten years ago, Scott Voss (Kevin James) was an excellent high school biology teacher. He was even voted 'Teacher Of The Year.


.But ten years is a long time. FLASH forward to the present...Scott couldn't care less about teaching. He works only to bring home a paycheck and is completely disillusioned with a school system that treats students like 'cattle'...who's only interested in moving them in and out, as quickly and as cheaply as possible



To make matters worse, a budget crisis hits the school and by the end of the year, all extra curricular activites (except footbal, of course) will be cut, including the Music department run by beloved teacher Marty (Henry Winkler). This mean that Marty, whose wife is expecting a baby, will lose his job as well as tenure.

For some reason, this wakes up the apathetic Scott and he tries to rally the other teachers and the staff to help him raise the $48,000 needed to keep the department going.

Unfortunately, the only person interested in helping is Bella, (Salma Hayek) the school nurse, who Scott has been trying to date for over an year, only to get shot down by her over and over again.

Scott even takes a night job, teaching citizenship, to immigrants, for some extra money. It's here, that he meets ex Mix Martial Arts fighter, Nikko (Bas Rutten). Nikko needs some extra help in learning the finer points of our governemnt, so Scott agrees to tutor him.

When he goes over Nikko's house for their first lesson, he finds the fighter and several of his friends watching the UFC fight from Vegas on the t.v. .

To his amazement, Voss discovers that a fighter can make up to $10,000 just for competing in one of these fights, and that's if he...loses.

Right then and there Scott, who just happens to be an ex college wrestling champ, realizes that this is the answer to school's money problems. Scott will become a MMA fighter and win the money. Oh and Nikko will become his trainer.
                                                                          

Piece of cake right?

Not exactly and that's what makes 'Here Comes The Boom' directed by Frank Coraci and written by Kevin James, Allan Loeb and Rock Reuben, a funny and yes, heartwarming film about how, it's.never to late to go after your dream, even if everyone around you thinks your nuts.

Yes, this film may be a little corny, predicitable and yes...we've seen it before with 'Rocky', 'Remember The Titans' and countless other films.

It's the classic story of the underdog beating the odds. But so what? The formula still works and in this crazy world, I believe that there's always room for one more 'feel good' movie and for that reason...

I gave 'Here Comes The Boom' which opens in theatres, Friday, October 12, 2012...4 bagels out of 5.

Check out our video to hear John sing and to get more of our thoughts.
                                                                             


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<![CDATA[ 'Seven Psychopaths', a Shih Tzu, & a writer with writer's block equal a brilliant, twisted,comedy]]>  
 
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What does one little Shih Tzu named BONNY, Seven Psychopaths and one screenwriter suffering from writer's block have in common?

Everything...At least in my favorite film of 2012 so far...


Screenwriter, Marty Faranan (Colin Farrel) is way past his deadline on his latest screenplay. If that's not enough to cause the poor dude major stress, his passive-aggressive girlfriend, Kaya (Abbie Cornish) is about to walk out on him.

Lucky for Marty, his BFF sometime actor/full time dognapper, Billy (Sam Rockwell, in a tour de force performance) is sticking by him...Actually a little too much.

In fact, it's Billy's well-intentioned attempts to help his friend get over his writer's block, that sends Marty's life spiraling out of control.

You see, Billy is completely NUTS. He's one of the 7 Psychos. When he's not pursuing acting jobs, he along with his partner, Hans (the brilliant Christopher Walken in a part tailored made for him) are dognappers.

That's right folks...The pair steal dogs, keep them for a day or two and then return them to the distraught owners for a hefty reward.

Things are going smoothly for Hans and Billy until...THEY STEAL THE WRONG DOG.

The dog is a Shih Tzu and his name is BONNY. The little guy belongs to an off the wall crazy gangster, aka psychopath, named Charlie Costello (Woody Harrelson at his best) Charlie loves Bonny to the point of obsession. You can't really blame him. The little four legged guy is adorable.

The scene between him and his dog sitter, Sharice (Gabourey Sidibe) who he blames for the kidnapping is absolutely priceless.

Anyway Charlie vows to kill whoever took his dog and he sets out to find those responsible. Suddenly, Billy, Marty and Hans find themselves going on one of the wildest rides of their life and that's just one of the elements that makes...

'Seven Psychopaths freaking brilliant. The acting, the dialogue, the twists, the turns, the originality of the story, makes this the MUST SEE film of the year.

It was written and directed by the super talented, academy award winner, Martin McDonagh ('In Bruges') who is also an award winning playwrite as well.

The cast also includes Tom Waits, as the rabbit loving psychopath, Zachariah and Olga Kurylenko a psychopath groupie who is far from normal as they come.

I gave 'Seven Psychopaths' opens in theatres, Friday October 12, 2012 5 BIG bagels with the works. I absolutely loved everything about it and I bet you will to.

John came in pretty close with his rating...which is something, considering how critical we all know he is.

Check out our video to see what Mango thought and a few other things.


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<![CDATA[ The Title is Not a Contradictory Statement]]> Star Rating:


There’s a scene in The Rocky Horror Picture Show in which the Janet Weiss character seduces the muscle-bound Rocky through song and physical gestures, none more overt than when she places his hands on her breasts and lets him fondle them playfully. At a midnight theater in Pittsburgh, where Rocky Horror plays every weekend, a high school senior named Sam (Emma Watson) assumes the role of Janet as part of an ensemble floorshow cast. One night, her newest friend, a freshman and fledgling writer named Charlie (Logan Lerman), acts as understudy in the role of Rocky; the point at which the two must reenact the onscreen seduction is nearly ruined when he hesitates to put his hands on Sam’s chest. She gets him to comply just in the nick of time, and the rest of the night goes smoothly. He even gets a standing ovation when the film ends and the cast members take their bows.
 
We’re initially led to believe that Charlie’s moment of hesitation stems from natural adolescent shyness. Indeed, he’s introverted and socially awkward, having never touched or kissed a girl, let alone had feelings for one. But the more we learn about him, the clearer it becomes that something much darker is at the root of the problem. He has been severely damaged. The recent suicide of his only friend months before the start of high school is a contributing factor, but earlier traumas hang over him like heavy rainclouds. His is a perpetual cycle of shame and guilt, resulting in bouts of blacking out. His immediate family knows that he’s mentally fragile, but they don’t know the full extent of how he came to be that way. It’s not that he doesn’t love them, nor that they don’t love him; it’s merely a matter of mutual misunderstanding stemming from a lack of communication.

                                               
                                                 
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, adapted by writer/director Stephen Chbosky from his own novel, is a deeply involving coming of age story, in large part because it examines mature subject matter in a way that’s tactful and compelling. Charlie is not the only damaged character; Sam has a rather promiscuous history, beginning with a very inappropriate encounter with her father’s boss when she was only eleven. And then there’s Sam’s stepbrother, Patrick (Ezra Miller), also a senior. Although he’s openly gay, he’s in a secret relationship with a closeted student, whose largely unseen father is alarmingly homophobic. Outwardly, Patrick passes himself off as a wisecracking extrovert – outgoing, loud, the life of the party, and taking it in stride every time one of his classmates refers to him by the nickname Nothing. Within, he’s in a tremendous amount of pain.
 
Putting the three of them together, given the tremendous hardships they have all faced, one would expect the film to be a shamelessly soapy melodrama. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rather than conjure up traumas for the sake of emotionally manipulating the audience, Chbosky cares enough about his characters to let them develop realistically. We can actually invest in them. Not all of us can relate to their past experiences, but there is something universal about feeling different and isolated and the healing that comes with finding the right people. Therein lies the meaning of the title, which I grant you sounds like a contradictory statement; the characters are by and large suffering, and yet they take comfort in the fact that, by being in each other’s lives, they’re no longer suffering alone. They have attracted the people they need in order to get them through the difficult times.

                                               
                                                 
The story is narrated by Charlie in the form of letters he writes to an anonymous friend. We see him bond with Sam, Patrick, and their circle of friends. This would include Mary Elizabeth (Mae Whitman), a punk girl and a Buddhist who becomes annoyingly clingy when she comes to believe that Charlie is her boyfriend. We see him form a friendly relationship with his English teacher (Paul Rudd), who allows him to read a series of novels that weren’t assigned and write essays on them. We see him interact with his family, especially his sister (Nina Dobrev), who’s clearly in an abusive relationship with the high school football star. We see him struggle with his past relationship with his aunt (Melanie Lynskey), who’s only seen in very fragmented flashback sequences. When the film begins, he claims she was the only person who understood him and that she was his favorite person in the world.
 
All descriptions of the novel say that the story takes place in the early 1990s. The film doesn’t give us a period of time, although the early ‘90s would be consistent with the alternative soundtrack and the fact that most of the lead characters trade mix tapes rather than CDs or MP3 files. There’s also not a cell phone to be seen in any of its 103 minutes. Perhaps that would partially account for why it feels so much more personal and introspective; no one is busy droning into a piece of technology or texting one of their friends in unintelligible English abbreviations. Then again, I think it mostly comes from the fact that The Perks of Being a Wallflower is not intended to be about one specific time or one specific place. It’s intended to be about friendship, first loves, coming to terms with painful events in our lives, and simply getting from one day to the next.

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<![CDATA[ It's No Strikeout, but it's No Homerun, Either]]> Star Rating:


While harmless and well intentioned, Trouble with the Curve tells a story that isn’t worthy of the talent involved – star/producer Clint Eastwood first and foremost, but also Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Robert Patrick, Mathew Lillard, and even director Robert Lorenz, who produced several of Eastwood’s masterful directorial efforts, including Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Flags of Our Fathers, and Letters from Iwo Jima. Given the strength of this creative team, defined in part by Oscar nominees and/or winners, it’s puzzling no one picked up on the fact that they were making such a conventional movie. The plot, while good hearted, plays like a rundown of uplifting drama clichés and is so predictable that, unless you’re new to movies like this, you should be able to figure out what will happen even before entering the theater.
 
The central character is Gus Lobel (Eastwood), an aging baseball scout for the Atlanta Braves. Macular degeneration is slowly but surely robbing him of his eyesight, although he doesn’t trust doctors and insists that he doesn’t need help from anyone. He’s stubborn, cantankerous, and old fashioned, believing that newfangled gadgets like computers cannot accurately measure a player’s instincts on the field. When it comes to his personal life, he has been emotionally stunted ever since the death of his wife nearly thirty years ago. He’s virtually estranged from his daughter, Mickey (Adams), who channeled her resentment at being sent away as a child into a successful career as a lawyer. She’s on the verge of being made a partner in her firm, a position a rival is also lobbying for.

                                               
                                                 
The plot involves Gus being given one last scouting assignment before his contract goes up for renewal. Given his age and his unwillingness to adapt to current business trends, it’s possible he will be out of a job within the next three months. Mickey reluctantly tags along at the request of her father’s boss and friend, Pete (Goodman), who knows something is wrong with him physically and believes he needs to be looked after. Gus is himself not too thrilled with the arrangement; he just wants Mickey to forget about him and move on with her life in Atlanta. We already know that this isn’t rejection so much as it is his way of wanting his daughter to have all he couldn’t give her. But convention dictates that she initially doesn’t see it that way, and therefore must spend the rest of the film trying to get him to lower his defenses and actually communicate with her in a way that doesn’t involve baseball.
 
Together, they scout a top prospect in North Carolina, completely unaware that the peanut vendor, who lives in a nearby motel with his poor family, has a decent pitching arm. It’s gradually revealed that Mickey’s first love is baseball, not law; not only does she know scores of facts and figures, she also possesses the same scouting instincts her father relied on for years. During the trip, we meet Johnny Flanagan (Timberlake), a former baseball player who was scouted by Gus some years earlier before his pitching gave way from overuse. He now works as a scout for a rival team, although there’s a broadcasting position he has his eye on. Mickey becomes his love interest, despite the fact that she has a man waiting for her back in Atlanta. That, coupled with an upcoming presentation that will determine her future in the firm, will repeatedly test her relationship with Johnny.

                                               
                                                 
If you can’t see where any of this is going by now, you obviously haven’t seen as many movies as I have. You might be better off. It will take you a lot longer to become jaded. It’s not so much that we’re watching a bad movie; it’s technically competent, decently cast, and adequately performed. It’s just that we’re watching a movie that has been made a thousand times before – and, in all likelihood, will be made a thousand times again. There’s nothing innately with telling the same story multiple times (God knows I’ve recommended more remakes and romantic comedies than most would in a lifetime), although perhaps it would be best to space them out a bit. At the very least, filmmakers shouldn’t have to rely on such high caliber actors, who can surely apply their talents to more ambitious projects.
 
If, however, you truly do have your heart set on seeing this movie, rest assured that no harm will come of it. Even I couldn’t resist the final act, which, were it not for the lack of a big game, would fit right with the final acts of most inspirational sports dramas. And although Eastwood has remained very active in Hollywood as a director, seeing him perform once again was a welcome experience. Nevertheless, there was nothing about the Gus Lobel character that said, “Only Clint Eastwood could have taken this role.” Any qualified actor could have taken it to more or less the same effect. From now on, he’d be much better off steering clear of movies like Trouble with the Curve. He should instead focus on movies like Gran Torino, which allow for more original plotlines and feature characters that are infinitely more complex and compelling.

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<![CDATA[ 'Trouble With The Curve' Predictable But Eastwood Makes It A Worthwhile Trip (Video)]]>
By Joan Alperin Schwartz
'Trouble With The Curve' is...a)corny...b)nothing you haven't seen before and c) totally entertaining.

Clint Eastwood is Gus, an aging baseball scout for the Atlanta Braves. Gus has more than a few problems...He's losing his eyesight, has trouble peeing, his contrat expires with the team in three months and might not be renewed.

Oh and did I mention that his relationship with his high powered lawyer daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams) is far from great.  In fact it sucks....


Amy and Gus are total polar opposites. Gus hates technology...Thinks computers are a ridiculous way of tracking a players stats and won't even consider using a cell phone.

Amy, on the other hand, practically sleeps with her laptop. They do, however, have on thing in common...Their love for baseball.

When circumstances arrive that forces Mickey to accompany Gus on a scouting trip through North Carolina, they both get one last chance to heal old wounds and maybe...just maybe, have a real father/daughter relationship.

Yes this film is old fashion, but it works. There's even a little romance thrown in and a moonlight swim thanks to Justin Timberlake. He plays a former pitcher who's now a Red Sox scout. Mr. T. does an adequate job at being boyish and charming. His chemistry with Amy isn't great, but it won't put you to sleep either.

Rounding out the cast is John Goodman, Gus's long time bff/co-worker and Matthew Lillard, an obnoxious jerk who wants to be the next...Gus.
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'Trouble With The Curve' which opens in theatres Friday, September 21st.

The film was directed by Clint's long time producing partner Robert Lorenz and for a first time director, he does a good job with his cast. Randy Brown, also a first timer, wrote the script.

I gave 'Trouble With Curves' 3 bagels out of 5. Check out our video to see John's rating and for more of our banter.                                    

                                                               

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<![CDATA[ Review: 'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower' A Beautiful, Touching, Funny Film About Being An Outsider]]>  
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  •  Some critics, especially those who have majored in journalism, take great pride in dissecting a film...The story, structure, characters, doing their best to impress us with their knowledge about what works and what doesn't.

    I am definitely not that kind of critic. All I do is share my subjective, emotional reaction to a film and sometimes, call my husband, John, an idiot if he doesn't see it my way.

    With that said, I will now share my emotional reaction to...'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower' ...I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. IT'S OUTSTANDING...A PERFECT FILM and...

    So far, my favorite film of 2012...


    'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower' is based on the bestselling novel of the same name. The book and the film was written by Steven Chbosky and he directed it as well. And all I want to say is...BRAVO Mr. C. Well, of course that's not all I want to say...

    The film is about an outsider...a lovable, naive, troubled, high school freshman, named Charlie (the super fabulous Logan Lerman) who is dreading his first day of school...In fact, he's already counting down the days until the summer break.

    Charlie is picked on by the other kids...He's too scared to raise his hand in English class, even though he knows all the answers...He's haunted by the death of his Aunt Helen (Melanie Lynskey) as well as the suicide of his best friend.

    Charlie is one scared, alienated, lonely dude...

    Until...he is taken under the wing, by some pretty extraordinary seniors...

    They are in no particular order...
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    Sam (Emma Watson at her best) and her stepbrother, the flamborantly gay, Patrick (the equally wonderful Ezra Miller).

    Angry Buddhist chick, Mary Elizabeth (Mae Whitman) and her bff, Alice (Erin Wilhelm) welcome Charlie into their group, known as...'The island of Misfit Toys'.

    It's through Charlie's relationship with this fantastic group of eccentric characters, he's able to step out of his shell, face his demons, deal with his guilt, and eventually step into his true self. Oh, he even gets to perform in a production of 'The Rocky Horror Show'

    'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower' is an incredibly moving take on love, loss, hope and the unforgettable people that help us through life.

    In Charlie's case, it wasn't just his friends, but his supportive teacher (Paul Rudd) who sees his potential to someday be a great writer.

    The dialogue is some of the best and every actor is pitch perfect in their performance. The sound track...KILLER!

    You will laugh, cry and applaud. This is not just a film for teenagers...It's a must see film for everyone...Because, when Charlie, in V.O. says...

    'There is this one moment when you're not a sad story...You are alive and you stand up and see the lights of the buildings and everything that makes you wonder and you're listening to a song and you're driving in a car with people you love most in the world and in that moment, I swear we are...infinite'...

    No matter what your age, you will understand what he means...Because we've all had at least one moment in our life, when we have felt...infinite.

    'The Perks of Being A Wallflower' opens in theatres Friday September 21st, 2012. I gave it five bagels out of five and John was just a half a bagel away in his rating.  Check out our video for more of our thoughts.


     Please SUBSCRIBE to our channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page. Love to hear what you think.
    Thanks everyone.
     
     
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    <![CDATA[ About as good as the second film.]]>
    Jim and Michelle agree to go to the reunion with the understanding they will try to make together time to patch things up. Things are different these days. Jim's father is a widower who hints at having done some things like massage parlors and such but has not yet started to date. Oz runs into his own girlfriend and is thrown because she is just like him in personality but they both are dating people that they have nothing in common with.

    Jim used to work as a babysitter and the girl he had taken care of is now 18 and has the hots for him. Kevin also runs into his old girlfriend and seems that he still has some feelings for her even though he is married. Finch shows up on a motorcycle and tells the gang that he has been a world travelller.

    The movie is loaded with the usual American Pie antics centered around masterbation, accidents to genitals and chasing MILFs. Just about everyone who was in the first two films makes an appearance including the MILF guys, the Shermanator, and Nadia.

    I don't want to give away the movie but let's say that in this one Stifler finally gets back a Finch and Michelle's flute makes an appearance. Just about everyone knows that there are some hilarious scenes with Jim's Dad and Stifler's mom. I liked it and wouldn't mind if another sequel is in the works.]]>
    http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/movie/UserReview-American_Reunion_2012_film_-491-1808983-228356-About_as_good_as_the_second_film_.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/movie/UserReview-American_Reunion_2012_film_-491-1808983-228356-About_as_good_as_the_second_film_.html Sun, 16 Sep 2012 16:41:49 +0000
    <![CDATA[The Lucky One (Film) Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
    Yes, this is a movie, not real story. I watched it on a plane so can't complain about it. If I paid to watch it, it's another story ;-)]]>
    http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Lucky_One_Film_-13-1811117-228351.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Lucky_One_Film_-13-1811117-228351.html Sun, 16 Sep 2012 06:39:41 +0000
    <![CDATA[ In Life, We Make Choices]]> Star Rating:


    In the best possible sense, The Words may not be about what we think it’s about. It could very well be the story of a man who steals another man’s manuscript and claims it as his own. On the other hand, it could also be about an entirely different man trying to process his grief and torment through his writing. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that it’s about the latter. What is he grief-stricken and tormented about? Did he in fact secretly plagiarize someone else’s work, or is he trying to make sense of an issue using plagiarism as a metaphor – or, at the very least, as a narrative device that provides a convenient explanation for the reader? Regardless of our assumptions, this movie doesn’t provide answers to most of our questions. I suspect this is why it has received such negative reviews and why certain audiences will undoubtedly find it confusing and manipulative.
     
    There are several narrative layers to this film, all of which are intended to be stylistically different from each other. One, a cautionary tale of the choices we make, focuses on Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper), whose aspirations to be a full-time writer are initially met only with rejection letters. Knowing he can no longer accept monthly checks from his father (J.K. Simmons), he lands a job at a publishing house as a mail clerk. It provides him with the financial stability he needs to marry his girlfriend, Dora (Zoe Saldana), and take her on a honeymoon to Paris, although it also forces him to face the possibility that he isn’t the writer he thought he was. While in Paris, Dora buys an old briefcase from an antique store; upon returning to New York, Rory discovers a manuscript tucked away in one of the pockets. He reads it and, in attempting to capture the feeling of writing those powerful words, transcribes the entire thing onto his laptop.

                                                   
                                                     
    Plagiarizing someone else’s work was never Rory’s intention. At least, it wasn’t until Dora read the retyped copy on his laptop; her reaction was so positive and emotional that Rory couldn’t bring himself to admit that the story wasn’t his. At her insistence, he passes the reprinted manuscript to a publisher (Zeljko Ivanek), who of course loves it and immediately offers Rory a contract. He could have prevented this from going any farther, but in a moment of weakness that obviously stemmed from his newfound sense of acceptance, he accepts it. The book is published and is an immediate hit; Rory becomes a literary celebrity and is even honored with a prestigious writing award. In due time, he’s approached by an unnamed frail old man from England (Jeremy Irons), who reveals himself to be the true author of the manuscript.
     
    We now transition to the second narrative layer – a romantic melodrama photographed in nostalgically muted shades. Rather than simply come forward and accuse Rory of plagiarism, the Man instead narrates his own back story, detailing the events, traumas, and emotional states that led to the creation of the manuscript. We flash back to the end of World War II, when the Man, then only eighteen years old (Ben Barnes), was stationed in Paris. After being exposed to literature for the first time by a fellow soldier, he falls in love with a young French waitress named Celia (Nora Arnezeder) and marries her not long after being discharged from the Army. Their subsequent life, which I will refrain from describing in detail, inspires the Man to try his hand at writing. The resulting manuscript is placed in a briefcase, which is lost due to an honest oversight.

                                                   
                                                     
    A third layer, which can best be described as a mystery, ingenuously calls the authenticity of the first to layers into question. We meet a successful author named Clayton Hammond (Dennis Quaid); he attends a public reading of his novel, The Words, in which Rory, Dora, and the Man are all characters. During breaks, he’s approached by a young grad student named Danielle (Olivia Wilde), who, despite being overly flirty, is genuinely interested in interviewing him for a dissertation paper she’s writing. She purports to know a great deal about his personal and professional life, but when it comes to the ending of his novel, she only has so much to go on. As she pressures Clayton for more information, we in the audience are actively considering the possibilities. Perhaps Rory is a fictionalized version of Clayton, and he wrote his book in an effort to overcome the guilt of getting away with plagiarizing. Or perhaps nothing was plagiarized, and there was no Man, and the whole story is really just Clayton’s way of dealing with another painful choice he made.
     
    Perhaps. Perhaps not. The film’s ambiguity is unlikely to be appreciated by everyone. To a point, this is understandable; the final shots raise more questions than they answer and force us to think back on and second-guess everything leading up to them. But you have to ask yourself: Are all movies required to spell everything out for us? Sometimes, isn’t it much more satisfying to apply our own meaning based on the evidence provided? The only indisputable aspect of The Words is its theme, namely that in life we make choices and we must live with them regardless of whether they’re good or bad. With this in mind, being told what choices were made by Clayton – or Rory, or the Old Man, for that matter – would be unnecessary and even a little anticlimactic. There will be initial reluctance, but eventually, this film deserves to be structurally, emotionally, and thematically analyzed.

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    http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Words_2012_film_-491-1836089-228145-In_Life_We_Make_Choices.html http://www.lunch.com/WeddingPlanning/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Words_2012_film_-491-1836089-228145-In_Life_We_Make_Choices.html Mon, 10 Sep 2012 04:48:34 +0000