Remember when you were 10, and you thought by 22 you’d be married, with a big house (that has a white picket fence) and two perfect children? Maybe a dog and a cat to complete the family? But when you hit 30, you may start to realize that all those dreams won’t necessarily come true. Welcome to the suck, sucker.
"Lola Versus" is the story of a girl who didn’t get everything she wanted, at the time she wanted it — and how she deals with that. Greta Gerwig is Lola, who’s fixing to marry the man of her dreams, Luke (played by future RoboCop and current Detective Stephen Holder on AMC’s “The Killing,” Joel Kinnaman). Things are going well for Lola. She’s about to finish school, the wedding planning is coming along nicely … and then kerplunk, Luke calls off the engagement just three weeks before the wedding.
Editor’s note: This review was originally written on February 3rd, 2011 at the Sundance Film Festival
Tom McCarthy can do no wrong. He first captured our hearts with his writing/directing debut, THE STATION AGENT. Then he showed the world Richard Jenkins has the full potential to be a leading man in THE VISITOR (for which Jenkins garnered a well-deserved Oscar nod). And now, in 2011, McCarthy is back with his third feature, a high school wrestling movie with a lot of heart, WIN WIN.
Writer: Kevin Williamson
Director: Wes Craven
Cast: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Anna Paquin, Kristen Bell, Alison Brie, Hayden Panettiere, Emma Roberts, Rory Culkin, Anthony Anderson, Adam Brody
Studio: Dimension Films
Like most people in their late twenties reading this review, the SCREAM franchise was a staple of my teen angst years. The first film was filled with terrifying goodness, which opened the floodgates of copycat scripts and features (most notably URBAN LEGEND and I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER) for years to come. What was so enthralling about the SCREAM films was watching director Wes Craven try new things, poke fun at his past mistakes, and create admirable cinematic horror.
Rating: SUPER 8/10
J.J. Abrams has a lot on his mind. Starting out his career as an actor in REGARDING HENRY (which he also happened to write as only his second feature), Abrams then broke into producing and has turned everything he’s backed into gold, starting with television series like Alias, Lost, and Fringe. But it wasn’t until MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III that he started directing features and showed the world that the third film in a series can be its best, and that Tom Cruise can run really, really fast. Then Abrams went on to prove that you don’t have to be a Trekkie to appreciate Star Trek with his super-successful STAR TREK feature reboot. This leads us to now, and to his superb love letter to the late ’70s/’80s-era films of Steven Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment - SUPER 8.
Writer: Antonio Macia
Director: Kevin Asch
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Bartha, Q-Tip
If there’s two things that just don’t mix, it’s drugs and religion. These two entities come crashing together in HOLY ROLLERS, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Bartha. Eisenberg plays Sam Gold, a young adult from Brooklyn living in a very strict Orthodox Jewish community. All Sam wants is to make his father happy and marry the girl of his dreams; but in order to do that, he feels he needs to be rich. As Fresh Prince once said, “Life got flipped turned upside down” after his pal Yosef (Justin Bartha) persuades him to deal Ecstacy - you know, the stuff that makes sandpaper feel like cotton.
Ramona Quimby (Joey King) has two traits that define her more than anything else: she spends half of her time daydreaming and the rest annoying her elementary teacher with her made-up words. She doesn’t want to learn real words used in everyday speech, she wants use the words that she’s invented. And, besides the daydreaming and wordsmithing, the only other major thing going on in young Ramona’s life is that she was just informed that her family might be moving because her father, Robert (John Corbett -Sex and the City), was just laid off from his job. I remember moving when I was in the second grade and I hated it. And what Ramona does in response is what any child would do to gain more attention from their busy parents - she causes trouble.
James Wallace saw and wrote a review of ANIMAL KINGDOM at Sundance 2010. You can read that HERE.
Writer/Director: David Michôd
Cast: Guy Pearce, Jacki Weaver, Ben Mendelsohn, James Frecheville, Joel Edgerton
I’m a fan of Twitter, so naturally, after seeing a movie, I micro-review my thoughts about what I just saw for my followers to read. It gives them a sort of heads up on what to expect from a film. When I walked out of the screening for ANIMAL KINGDOM, I instantly tweeted, “This is the first film that ripped every emotion out of my body.” Some wondered if that was a negative statement or a positive. Let me clear that up for you in six words: ANIMAL KINGDOM is just plain badass.
Love is hard enough as it is. You have to do the whole getting along thing, make it work, and stay happy. You also have to, often at times, give your significant other breathing room. There is another type of relationship that a lot of people explore knowing the tough road that lay before them: that’s the “long distance relationship.” Statewide or cross-country, you’ll be seeing your lover every couple of weeks… if that. This is the main topic of Nanete Burstein’s GOING THE DISTANCE. Going in, this easy looks like a snooze rom-com, but she has so much more in store for us adults.
Writers: Jonathan Hensleigh (screenplay), Jeremy Walters(screenplay), Rick Porrello(book, To Kill the Irishman)
Director: Jonathan Hensleigh
Cast: Ray Stevenson, Christopher Walken, Vincent D’Onofrio, Val Kilmer, Linda Cardellini
It’s going to take a lot more than firecrackers to kill Danny Greene. You see, the firecrackers he’s referring to are the car bomb rigs that just exploded in his car - as he was driving it. Luckily for this tall drink of water, the radio started shorting out moments before, alerting Mr. Greene to stop, drop, and roll out of his car before physics placed his body all over the street. Greene isn’t a wanted man all over, in fact he has respect from most people in his area.