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September 20, 2017

Get to Know '818 Empire'

by Luckie
September 19, 2017

Time As Activity – David Lamelas and Bernd & Hilda Becher

by Raleigh Barrett
September 13, 2017

A Weekend in the "American Riviera"

by Jack Witt
September 12, 2017

KCON LA 2017 @ The LA Convention Center

by Caroline McElroy
September 11, 2017

What Can a Dollar Buy? Depends on Where You Live

by Lillian Appleby
September 08, 2017

How successful are you?

by Jessie Marcus
September 07, 2017

Six Simple Dating Tips to Call in The One This Fall

by Cristina Morara
September 01, 2017

Logan Lucky; The Trip to Spain Reviews

by Mike Peros
August 31, 2017

Free Monthly Horoscopes - September 2017

by Maya White
August 30, 2017

Wallpaper; is it right for me?

by Christopher Porikos
August 27, 2017

Making Independent Movies - The Women in Red

by Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros
August 24, 2017

Overcoming Dance Anxiety

by Luckie
August 23, 2017

Give to Life

by Connor Coman
August 18, 2017

Jail People Who Mistreat Animals?

by Nancy Bianconi
August 14, 2017

New Frontiers, the Many Worlds of George Takei

by Raleigh Barrett
August 07, 2017

Six days on the Camino de Santiago

by NoHo - North Hollywood
August 07, 2017

6 Financial Tips for Your Aging Parents

by Lillian Appleby

While some have been waiting for the screen version of Wicked, I guess we’ll have to make do with the anticipated adaptation of Into the Woods. With a beautiful score by Stephen Sondheim and well-crafted screenplay by James Lapine (adapting his own “book”), Into the Woods approaches a beloved story (or two) in a different manner.

Published in Archived Movie Reviews

Jay Roach’s funny but uneven political spoof The Campaign pits morally lax incumbent North Carolina congressman Will Ferrell against insecure, uptight tour guide Zach Galifianakis.  Before you can say “no contest,” Galifianakis, with some seriously shady financial backing, not to mention a shark of a campaign manager (Dylan McDermott), manages to give the previously unopposed Ferrell a run for his money, as the two candidates descend to the kind of overzealous one-upmanship (including a novel use of a sex video) that gives politics a bad name.   While the movie makes some passing references to the current economic situation and the power of the media, much of what occurs is a little too silly, with a corresponding lack of insight, to make this a genuine political satire.  Despite this lack of artistic ambition, The Campaign is pretty funny, with a few hilarious sequences including a dinner in which Galifianakis learns more than he wanted about family secrets, and a scene involving the overly eager candidates and a baby.  There is solid support form Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow as Galifianakis’ rapacious backers, Jason Sudeikis as Ferrell’s campaign manager, and Dylan McDermott as Galifianakis’ campaign manager from Hell-almost literally.  As for the candidates: I've rarely found Galifianakis funny in the past, yet here he manages to be likable and appealing, even when he engages in some down and dirty dealings.  Ferrell’s incumbent also manages to retain his likability, even when indulging in the must outrageous, childish behavior.  Amidst all the shenanigans, there is a quiet scene where Ferrell and Galifianakis share some bourbon and reflections. It is not a particularly funny scene (nor was it intended to be), but it manages to convey some of the characters’ decency, so that what happens at the end of the contest is not totally unexpected or unfounded.

The sunny trailers for David Frankel’s Hope Springs might lead you to believe this may be a cheerful comedy about post mid-life crisis, but it’s much more serious than that.  Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones’ lengthy marriage has fallen into a malaise of hasty morning goodbyes, unrelieved small talk (if any) at dinner, separate bedrooms, and nothing in the way of intimacy.  While Jones is seemingly content with how things are, Streep has decided (over Jones’ objections) that they will travel to a small town in Maine (called-you got it-Hope Springs) for some intensive couples therapy with compassionate counselor Steve Carell. There is some humor here- in the befuddled, cantankerous Jones’ reactions to small town life, as well as Streep’s sojourn in a tavern (under the watchful eye of bartender Elizabeth Shue—somebody get that actress more work). However, the wrenching power of the movie is in the portrayals of Streep and Jones.  They are entirely convincing as a couple whose relationship is more like that of roommates than of soulmates. One can see Streep’s insecurity as she wonders if she is still attractive to Jones, as well as Jones’ fear that he is no longer the man he was-or that Streep deserves.  The most intense scenes are in the therapist’s office as they lay bare, under Carell’s gentle prodding, all the disappointments and regrets-as well as the happy memories that caused them to find each other in the first place.  The movie shows is how easy it is for two people to fall into marital monotony, to forego meaningful communication in favor of impersonal distance.  Where the movie occasionally falls down is in not trusting the actors’ abiltities and instead adding some music to needlessly underscore the emotional moments.  In spite of this shortcoming, the exquisite artistry of Streep and Jones should manage to move the hardened heart.

Published in Archived Movie Reviews

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