From the minds of the Coen brothers comes this tale of a rather pathetic Jewish professor of physics in late 60′s Minnesota. Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) is having all kinds of problems, from the serious to the mundane.
Larry is indeed A Serious Man, and one whose existence isn’t likely to be improved over the course of the film. Though you have a feeling if he could see the dark humor of his own situation he might laugh himself to death.
His wife (Sari Lennick) has decided to leave him for a widower (Fred Melamed), his unemployed brother (Richard Kind) is living on his couch, his daughter (Jessica McManus) is stealing from him, a student unsatisfied with his grade (David Kang) and his family are bribing and threatening him, a neighbor wants to build a shed on his property, the committe deciding on his tenure at the college is receiving unflattering letters about the professor, and he’s being hounded by a telephone calls from a man demanding money for records Larry neither asked for nor received.
Psych may be off the air for a short hiatus, but it will be back in January with new episodes. I’m a fan of the show’s offbeat irreverent nature and plentiful pop culture references. In this clip taken from “Shawn Takes a Shot in the Dark” Shawn’s pals finally track down the robbers who have taken the psychic detective hostage. Although happy to see the cavalry our hero is less than enthused by being the Paul Walker of the scenario.
I’m pretty sure Ed Wood would have loved Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant. Messy, flawed, riddled with odd choices and questionable casting, and stuck with a plot that make less, not more, sense as it progresses, The Vampire’s Assistant is in every way a B-movie. And, I’ll admit, I kinda liked it.
Based on a series of novels by Darren Shan the film’s main plot revolves around a rather bland high school student, Darren (Chris Massoglia), and his more rambunctious best friend Steve (Josh Hutcherson) whose main purpose it seems is to get Darren into as much trouble as possible.
A night out takes the pair to a freak show where events unfold that lead Darren into an agreement with vampire Larten Crepsley (John C. Reilly) in order to save his friend. Leaving behind his life, Darren becomes part vampire, and begins his new life in the Cirque de Freak as Crepsley’s assistant.
There will no doubt be critics and film professors who dismiss Where the Wild Things Are for it’s lack of story and structure. There will also be those who find immediate emotional attachment to this primal story of a child struggling with a world he can’t control.
Although I do have some qualms about the film mainly dealing with its length (and I thought it could use a bit more polish plot-wise), and didn’t have the emotional attachment to the story I expected, I will freely admit the film is worth a long look.
Aside from the bookends of his normal life, the entire movie takes place in a world Max (Max Records) discovers while trying to escape problems at home he can neither deal with nor articulate. In running away Max discovers a refuge on island of monsters (voiced by James Gandolfini, Paul Dano, Catherine O’Hara, Forest Whitaker, Chris Cooper, and Lauren Ambrose).
It seems Richard Castle has a best seller on his hands. Who cares if he’s fictional? Heat Wave, which debuted at #26 on the New York Times Bestseller List, was authored by the fictitious author played by Nathan Fillion on Castle (no word yet on who really wrote the book), and follows Detective Nikki Heat (inspired by the character played by Stana Katic on the show):
“Tough, sexy, professional, Nikki Heat carries a passion for justice as she leads one of New York City’s top homicide squads. She’s hit with an unexpected challenge when the commissioner assigns superstar magazine journalist Jameson Rook to ride along with her to research an article on New York’s Finest. PulitzerPrize-winning Rook is as much a handful as he is handsome. His wise-cracking and meddling aren’t her only problems. As she works to unravel the secrets of the murdered real estate tycoon, she must also confront the spark between them. The one called heat.”
“That stuff about me being emotional, falling in love with men whose bottoms I’ve smelled, submitting x-rays to a judge who has a tooth fetish and sleeps with hookers, snapping at pedestrians who think a square shoulder can be mitigated by ‘I’m sorry.’ I am human, I am temperamental, I am guilty.”
Fishisms. Short skirts. Barry White. The Law. The unisex. Theme song. Coffee. The bar. Waddle. Hallucinations. Snappish. The dumb-stick. Dancing babies. The penguin. Knee-pit. The first kiss. A woman with a penis. Face-bra. Good Night My Someone. Nose whistle. Teeth. Smile therapy. The hole. Hair. A nine year-old genius midget lawyer. The Biscuit. Pokipsy. Ooga Chaka. Dulcinea. Money. The Fed Ex girl. Pips. Love. Bygones. Five seasons. 112 episodes. Ally McBeal.
The premise is simple: In a world where everyone tells the truth one man (Gervais) discovers the ability to lie. Some of the turns the script takes are expected, Mark Bellison (Gervais) uses his new ability for personal and professional gain, and some are less so such as using little white lies to improve the lives of those around him by giving them hope about life, and what comes after. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The film’s major achievement is creating a world of truth which is constantly giving us funny moments. Aside from the most inappropriate name for a retirement community ever, the film also includes the funniest (and most truthful) Pepsi advertisement I’ve ever seen. Although the story itself is fine, it’s in these small touches the film ultimately won me over.
The film isn’t perfect. The people of this world are truthful, but at times they are also more forthcoming with much more information than is required, truthful or not. Yes they should be truthful, but should they be compelled to share every harsh truth that comes to mind?
Drew Barrymore might have found a new career as a director of offbeat films. (Better that than starring in more forgettable romcoms or Charlie’s Angels 3).
Although Whip It is rough, which you would expect from a first-time director, Barrymore provides an engaging and unexpectedly good sports movie.
Ellen Page stars as Bliss Cavendar, a 17 year-old small town girl who becomes instantly fascinated by the world of roller derby. Stuck in the beauty contest world of her controlling mother, Bliss finds solace, and the opportunity to find herself, in something new.
Lying about her age, Bliss is selected to be part of the team of misfits known as the Hurl Scouts who are just as happy to come in second place, perhaps even more so, than actually win a contest.