To say that Jason Bateman saves The Ex from collapsing in on itself would be to suggest that The Ex is actually a worthwhile film, which it basically isn't. It's not the worst thing ever, and there are some laugh-out-loud moments (all of which feature Jason Bateman or else another skilled comedian, such as Amy Poehler or Fred Armison), but it's not really worth the price of admission. My advice: Unless you are a die-hard Jason Bateman fan and refuse to miss a thing he does, then you should wait — not until this is out on DVD, but until it's on TBS at some random time like 2:00 PM the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
Zach Braff and Amanda Peet star as Tom and Sofia, a young couple pregnant with their first child. When the baby is born, Tom loses his job and the family move from New York to Ohio where Sofia's father gives Tom a job at his advertising agency. There Tom meets Chip (Jason Bateman), his wheelchair-bound mentor who also happens to still have a massive crush on Sofia from their high school cheerleading days. What follows is a string of SNL-type skits in which Chip tries to sabotage Tom's career, while Sofia learns stay-at-home mothering is not exactly what she wants. There's more to learn about The Ex, though, if you read more
If Eagle vs. Shark doesn't take over Napoleon Dynamite's position at the top of the nerd-core film canon, it will be a shame. The movie, which will be released in select cities June 15, is a pitch-perfect, poignant and often hilarious look at love between two socially awkward misfits. I saw the film over the weekend at a sold-out screening at the San Francisco International Film Festival, and it truly was a movie where I both laughed and cried — often simultaneously.
The film, developed at the Sundance Institute by Oscar-nominated New Zealand writer-director Taika Waititi, focuses on Lily, a well-meaning but gawky oddball, and Jarrod, a lovable loser who doesn't know he's uncool. They connect at Jarrod's "come as your favorite animal" party, and she ends up tagging along on a trip to his hometown, where he plans to exact some ninja-style revenge on his high school nemesis. There, she meets his unsurprisingly dysfunctional family (swindling siblings, emotionally withdrawn father, child who could give Abigail Breslin's Little Miss Sunshine a run for her money) and tries to navigate her new relationship with a guy who thinks he's much more important than he is. To hear more about the film and watch the trailer, read more
What can I say about Spider-Man 3? It's good. It's a comic book movie. I don't understand the vitriol aimed toward this movie from other critics unless, of course, the relentless marketing and hype leading up to the movie has caused anyone to believe this would be more than it is: another movie about Spider-Man. It certainly has its flaws — most notably there's a thoroughly bizarre sequence featuring the new "evil" Spider-Man, but more on that later. Overall, it's cool in the computer effects sort of way, but it's not a masterpiece. It's just fun and flashy and will more than satisfy Spider-Man fans.
The biggest flaw on which I must agree with all the other critics is that there is way too much stuff packed into this one story. There are several superheroes, each with his own set of issues to figure out, Peter Parker's struggle with his own ego and then his obsession with revenge, and the whole Peter-Mary Jane saga, which is weirdly drawn-out in a movie that has little to no room to spare. There's a lot more to it than this, though, so read more
Not long ago, the New York Times published an article wondering why Hollywood is "short on female power," stating that while there are some "female films" out there, it's still a "boys market." Agreeing with half the article (the "boys market" part), Cinematical writer Monika Bartyzel responded specifically to a female producer's comment bemoaning the fact that there aren't as many Devil Wears Pradas or The Break Ups thusly: "Maybe that's because women are more than flipping crazy ex-girlfriends or girls starving their already-thin frame to fit into the latest fashions? Could it be, perchance, that women want films that give them more credit?"
I wholeheartedly agree with Bartyzel's indignance, and, happily, I think movies like Waitress could be the kind of "female films" we need: films that are funny, creative and not too "floofy" (to borrow Bartyzel's term). To see what I mean, read more
Diggers is less like a movie than a moment, a few minutes of poking your head into someone else's life. It's a small, quiet movie where nothing much happens, but its subtle charms make it worth a look — especially because it's already available on DVD.
Diggers focuses on a ragtag group of of clam diggers growing up on Long Island in 1976. It's a hardworking but mostly comfortable life — until a big corporation starts encroaching on their turf. In the midst of the storm is Hunt (played with a quiet sweetness by Paul Rudd), a slacker-digger who oversleeps one morning and later finds his father, whom he was supposed to dig with that day, dead in the water. The death prompts Hunt and his friends — the angry Frankie (Ken Marino, who also wrote the movie), lowbrow pot dealer Cons (Josh Hamilton), and ladies' man Jack (Ron Eldard) — to re-examine their own lives, so read more