Theatrical Releases: Jack Reacher & This Is 40

THIS IS 40 || December 21st, 2012

Amour-poster AMOUR || Anticipating the Academy Awards nominations slightly, “Amour” almost guaranteed to be nominated for Best Foreign Language Film (if not more) at this year’s Oscars, meaning I will most likely be seeing this film. Although I may miss it in its theater run, if it is nominated, I will definitely be renting this film, which I have heard nothing but good things. RENT
CirqueDuSoleil3D-poster CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY 3D || Not a fan of Cirque du Soleil or 3D, I have no real reason (or even desire) to ever see this film.
PASS
TheGuiltTrip-poster THE GUILT TRIP || Highly relatable and impressively heartfelt, “The Guilt Trip” takes the unlikely pairing of Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand and makes the script work for them. Although there’s nothing extremely new pouring out of the scenes of this film, the delivery and pacing work to the film’s advantage, allowing the audience’s investment without beating a dead-horse. Streisand is unequivocally sincere in her role as mother, proving her strong poise in front of a camera has not dwindled, but has blossomed, with age. Rogen delivers well enough as the role of the annoyed son, and steps away from his crude humor roles that he’s known for, showing an impressive maturity that was yet unseen in his previous performances. At the perfect length for a comedy and carrying the needed grandness of a road trip adventure, without much expectations walking into this film, “The Guilt Trip” was a welcomed surprise.
TheImpossible-poster2 THE IMPOSSIBLE || Similar to how I felt about “Hereafter”, which I suppose is quite different, “The Impossible” takes a look at the brighter side of tragedy as a family is split apart and brought back together after a tsunami washes away their tropical vacation destination. I am a growing supporter of both Ewan McGregory and Noami Watts, so both are great reasons to see this film, as is the emotional nature of the film. RENT
JackReacher-poster JACK REACHER || With a solid performance from Tom Cruise in a role that is all too close to his “Mission Impossible” persona, “Jack Reacher” pulls itself out of the disaster it could have been, and remains a decent action thriller. With the film banking on several twists, there is often the cause for concern of diving into melodrama, yet director-writer McQuarrie never quite takes the audience there and keeps most twists straight-forward. There are several moments in the film I still don’t agree with, one of which was used in marketing, in which by-standing pedestrians help Reacher to elude the huge mass of cop cars chasing him. I get that as the audience, we know Reacher is the protagonist and, for the most part, we root for that character, but those pedestrians have no idea who he is and the fact that police are chasing him should be more cause for concern. Are they afraid of him? Are they genuinely bad people allowing criminals to escape? Who can tell for sure. Overall, “Jack Reacher” overshadows its shortcomings with decent performances, especially from the all-but-unknown Jai Courtney as one of the main villains and a surprising, yet astounding performance from director Werner Herzog.
MonstersInc3D-poster MONSTERS, INC. 3D || Believe it or not, I have never seen “Monsters, Inc” but I cannot fully support seeing it in 3D, since I hate the medium and will probably stick to renting the blu-ray when it finally comes out and will then experience this film for the first time. Disney/Pixar rarely falls short of brilliance, so I look forward to that initial viewing. RENT
ThisIs40-poster4 THIS IS 40 || Props must go to Judd Apatow for “This Is 40”, as it is a realistic look at a couple’s life in their 40’s. The major problem with “This Is 40”, however, is it’s a far too realistic look at a couple’s life in their 40’s. Yes, there are portions of the Apatow-written film that are humorous, but to wade through its two hour plus run-time to find them is atrocious. Paul Rudd steps up to the challenge of carrying this film as the lovely Leslie Mann often just comes off naggy and ill-equipped. Had this film taken a much tighter, less rounded approach to displaying this couple, relating a little more to the characters we knew of “Knocked Up”, and cut down on the painstaking length, this could have been much more enjoyable.
ZeroDarkThirty-poster ZERO DARK THIRTY || “Zero Dark Thirty” is powerful and captivating, with overly impressive and year’s best worthy performances from Jessica Chastain and Jason Clarke who hand-carry this film with their determination and prowess in front of the camera. From scene one until the suspenseful night raid of which the film gets its name, Kathryn Bigelow builds a distinct surrounding of political and actual warfare, with phenomenal moments built around actual occurrences following the events of 9/11. Whether this film is fully, loosely, or not all based on the actual events of killing Osama bin Laden doesn’t matter, as the progression through the aggravation and constant loss amongst this impossible manhunt is more than enough to mark this film as monumental.

Barbara-poster2 BARBARA || The visuals of “Barbara” are strong enough to get me interested in this film, but with a rather quaint story that is not so original as it should feel and leading lady that is not entirely impressive, I am inclined to say it make take a lot for me to see this, but I would not say I wouldn’t give it a shot. STREAM
NotFadeAway-poster NOT FADE AWAY || What feels like it should be a film based on a true story about an actual band that we’ve heard of, instead, “Not Fade Away” appears to be about three fictional friends that hear the Rolling Stones and start their own band. A mix between comedy and drama, coming off like “The Runaways” or “Almost Famous”, the film looks enjoyable enough, even if it’s somewhat strange that the creators also did “The Sopranos” and that is also stars James Gandolifini as one of the boy’s father. RENT
OnTheRoad-poster ON THE ROAD || Interesting and sublime enough to grab and hold your attention, speckled with strong actors and believable performances, “On The Road” takes Jack Kerouac’s novel and presents it almost literally to the audience, leaving a sense of actual storytelling and plot progression behind. Garrett Hedlund steals the show as Dean Moriarty, the eccentric and constantly shifty ex-con, who befriends writer Sal Paradise, the character based on Kerouac, played convincingly by Sam Riley. Accompanied by familiar faces like Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, and Kirsten Dunst, along with strong showings from Alice Braga and Tom Sturridge, this novel adaptation is enthralling if not a bit too plodding. The real question arising from the film is whether Kristen Stewart is starting on the correct path following her “Twilight” days. The answer is yes, she does take a step forward in my book, finally exposing herself, not only physically, which often takes a lot of willpower, but showing her first seminal range of emotions, from an invigorating dance scene with Hedlund to the expression of her devastation regarding Dean and being his mistress. “On The Road” definitely is not the film to highlight a Beat Generation, but it is entertaining enough to warrant a viewing.

THEATER

  • The Guilt Trip
  • Jack Reacher
  • On The Road
  • This Is 40
  • Zero Dark Thirty

RENT

  • Amour
  • The Impossible
  • Monsters, Inc 3D
  • Not Fade Away

STREAM

  • Barbara

PASS

  • Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3D

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