Category Archives: Drama

Rumor Has It (2005)

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Rumor Has It

Rumor Has It

Sarah Huttington, recently engaged, goes home to Pasadena with fiance Jeff for a family wedding. She hears a rumor that “The Graduate” (book and movie) are based on her family. Did her grandmother and her mom have flings with the same man just before her parents married?

Silly little chick flick. Well cast, from Shirley MacLaine as the battle-axe grandmother to Mena Suvari as the simpering, spoiled sister. Kevin Costner, one of my least favorite actors is fine here. Since his character is required to be basically flat and without emotion, he is an ideal choice. Mark Ruffalo as the sweet, slubby fiance, Jennifer Aniston as the neurotic mess of a heroine….

I found it hard to get past the idea of a mother & daughter sleeping with the same man, and harder still when the granddaughter joins the line. Eww, just ewwwww! The general message of the movie, though, is sweet. Love isn’t like the movies, love is like life. Much as Henry Fonda said in this quote.

Tepid comedy [that] almost screams ‘just wait for video.’ ~ Full Review


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 20%; Audience 51%

World Trade Center (2006)

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World Trade Center

On September, 11th 2001, after the terrorist attack to the World Trade Center, the building collapses over the rescue team from the Port Authority Police Department. Will Jimeno and his sergeant John McLoughlin are found alive trapped under the wreckage while the rescue teams fight to save them.

~ Claudio Carvalho

 

I hadn’t planned on seeing this one when I heard about it, since Oliver Stone is so completely in the tin-foil-hat club. I was not about to pay money to sit through two hours of his theories of how the 9/11 attacks were America’s fault, or perhaps a government plot. When Jeff Jarvis gave his reaction, I felt more inclined to give it a chance. After all, he lived the day more directly than anyone I have actually met and through his blogging I get the New York flavor, not just my distant Arizona memories of the day.

Other reviews, as well, said this was not like other Oliver Stone movies, that he allows the story to tell itself. Good enough, it is a story that needs to be told.

My trepidation, then, became solely my expected reaction to the heart wrenching emotion of it. The trapped police who were there to help, the men who put their lives on the line to help others, just the thought of it breaks my heart. The families who waited and hoped, not knowing. In my safe little house here in Phoenix I was unable to process the loss and I cried imagining what those families were going through; wondering if your loved ones were alive or dead, knowing that, either way, they had been terrified and in pain. I remember how we waited for more of these happy endings, how we would call each other about every rumor that they found someone alive.

I have to say that I agree with US Weekly in their review of this movie: “A disturbing and disjointed letdown”

Maybe I went from expecting too little to expecting too much. I kept waiting to be moved, kept wondering when the emotions would hit. In fact, at one point in the movie (one of the more action packed portions) there was a man in front of us snoring – yep, SNORING – his wife(?) had to jab him in the ribs to wake him up.

I was disappointed by what seemed like a lack of urgency on everyone’s part; the people leaving the buildings (which Jarvis commented on), the police and fire entering the building, the rescue crews working after the collapse. Everyone seemed sort of lackadaisical, not at all what I imagine it was really like.

I never believed that the wives were really waiting for that kind of news, I never felt anguish or longing… They are both fine actresses so I am not sure what the problem was (well, I did find the blue contacts on Maria Bello very distracting). The one moment of true emotion I felt came late in the film when another woman in the hospital was relating her last conversation with her son, an elevator operator. In her eyes, I saw the terror and the grief.

I wouldn’t say this was a bad movie, just not a good one. I needn’t have feared the blame America angle, it wasn’t here really. It may be worth seeing this picture, just for the story, but it needn’t be seen on the big screen. There is just nothing big in the way Stone presents it.

(I think they have the actual guys in the BBQ scene at the end. Anyone?)

UPDATE: Just found another reviewer who was bothered by (among other things) those stupid blue contacts. He, like several other reviewers I found through Rotten Tomatoes, claims to have dreaded United 93 and eagerly anticipated World Trade Center – only to have his opinion of both of them flipped.


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 71%; Users 70%

Last Holiday (2006)

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Last Holiday

Last Holiday

“…when she learns she only has a few weeks left to live, Georgia gathers her money, quits her job, and flies to a swank European resort she’s always dreamed of visiting. Naturally, her new carelessness with money and fearless candor lead everyone around her–including her senator (Giancarlo Esposito, Do The Right Thing) and her former boss (Timothy Hutton, Ordinary People)–to think she’s a mover and shaker. Last Holiday unfolds the way you expect it to (dozens of movies and TV shows have similar plots), but Latifah and the capable cast keep it alive.” –Bret Fetzer

I wasn’t expecting much from this movie, though I had heard it was funny. I was pleasantly surprised by how entertaining it was – though I would hesitate to call it a “good movie”. I would say it is what it claims to be, a fun little romp. It is also quite palatable for the whole family – not so chick-flicky that it would be hard for guys to sit through, not full of bad language or scenarios that would make it uncomfortable in mixed company.

Based on Word of Mouth Scale, I would recommend it to just about everyone in my circle.

A couple of silly complaints:

  • I think Queen Latifah has shown she has acting chops and she is well cast here, but if you are going to have her in your movie, find a way to get her to sing.
  • I don’t know how they would have gotten it into the script, but why have LL Cool J in your movie and not have him shirtless at least once?

Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 55%; Audience 70%

Derailed (2005)

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Derailed

Derailed

Yeah, yeah, yeah – I heard the bad reviews. I like Jennifer Aniston, though, and Clive Owen is usually good to watch (in more ways than one), so I gave it a try.

I tend to like my suspense movies to be, well, suspenseful. This one was so obvious I kept thinking I must be wrong; surely there must be a twist coming that I was not seeing, surely it couldn’t be as insipid as it seemed. Unfortunately, it was every bit as predictable as the alphabet, but not as nuanced.

It also suffers from Thelma & Louise syndrome – two people making bad decision after bad decision, spiraling down into a worsening situation, able to stop it at any point simply by going to the authorities, choosing to continue on their merry little doomed way. By the end you actually want them to get taken out of the gene pool (I was so glad to see Thelma & Louise die – they were just wasting oxygen and police resources).

However, it took my boyfriend to point out one of the big failings – I just couldn’t put my finger on it. He nailed it right away; you just don’t buy Clive Owen as such a wuss. 1 of 5 just because I know a couple of girls who will sit through it solely to look at him for an hour or so.


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 20%; Audience 61%

Stay (2005)

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Stay

Stay

For this one I am going to give you word for word the review I found on Amazon:

“Striking images abound in the twisty, surreal thriller Stay: Walruses rubbing up against the glass in an aquarium; a corridor painted neon green; entire crowds composed of twins and triplets; a piano being lifted several stories in the air. The plot is impossible to encapsulate: A psychiatrist named Sam (Ewan McGregor, Trainspotting) takes on a colleague’s patient, Henry (Ryan Gosling, The Notebook), who announces his intention to kill himself. As Sam pursues Henry, hoping to save him, the world around them begins to fracture and distort–until the movie’s conclusion, which may induce viewers to argue loudly about whether or not it makes sense. But Stay’s weakness isn’t whether it coheres, but its terrible dialogue. David Lynch movies (a clear influence) work in part because the dialogue is usually simple, even banal, and doesn’t compete with the rich chaos of the visual images and narrative turns. Stay’s dialogue, full of portents, interferes with an intriguingly corrupt (in the sense that digital information corrupts) storyline and eerily dislocated visuals; try watching it with the sound off. Also featuring Naomi Watts (Mulholland Drive), with brief appearances by Janeane Garofalo (The Minus Man), Bob Hoskins (Mona Lisa), and other familiar faces.” —Bret Fetzer

Yep, that about sums it up ~ the movie was disjointed, the dialogue was dismal.

The twist ending was asburd. The plot may have been salvagable, with a different ending. The twist ending does present an interesting idea, however. Had it been explored by a more competent storyteller we may have been presented an intriguing film. This one just left me shaking my head at the time I wasted watching it.

But I give it 1 out of 5 anyway, because I have a couple of friends who like that sort of thing.


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 26%; Audience 66%

Capote (2005)

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Capote

Capote

In 1959, Truman Capote learns of the murder of a Kansas family and decides to write a book about the case. While researching for his novel In Cold Blood, Capote forms a relationship with one of the killers, Perry Smith, who is on death row.

I must confess at the start of this review that I went into this viewing expecting the best. I think that Philip Seymour Hoffman is one of the best actors working right now, and find his performances enjoyable even in less than stellar movies. I also, generally, enjoy Catherine Keener, and I had heard that this movie was a knockout.
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United 93 (2006)

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United 93

United 93

A real time account of the events on United Flight 93, one of the planes hijacked on 9/11 that crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania when passengers foiled the terrorist plot.

If you have not yet seen this movie – go.

If you have already seen this movie – go again.

United 93 posterIf you are afraid to see this movie, don’t be. It is very respectfully done, very moving, and very palatable. This is not an action movie interpretation, it isn’t presenting any specific viewpoint, yet you do get a sense of all the things that went wrong and just how complacent we were. Just how complacent we are becoming again, BTW.

This isn’t a good movie for children, not because of the subject matter but because of the pacing. There isn’t a lot of overt violence to scare them and bad language is minimal. The movie, however, is presented more or less in real time and so young viewers, with no idea of what is unfolding, will be squirmy. For teens, it is a good movie to see, though their level of interest will be directly proportional, I imagine, to their knowledge of the events of 9/11.

For those of us who remember that day, the violence will be mostly in your memories – not on the screen. He does show us the towers burning, and we hear about the Pentagon being hit, but the focus is really on what is happening on flight 93 and with the military, ATC and FAA workers trying to deal with the unfolding tragedy. I found myself tearing up at times that I wouldn’t have expected – and not tearing up during the scenes you would expect to elicit the most emotion.

Really, truly – no matter where you stand politically, you should see this film.

When I say to GO see this, that is exactly what I mean – in a theater with a crowd of people. The experience is compelling. I have never been in a theater that was so quiet through an entire movie – not even candy wrappers crinkling. When the film ended and the lights came up, you could see in the faces of the other patrons the fear and the sorrow and the pride and the questions…


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 91%; Users 89%

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