Wednesday, August 8, 2012


“The DARK KNIGHT RISES” (Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michel Caine, Gary Oldman, Marion Cottiliard, Morgan Freeman & Tom Hardy) I’ll save what bothered me about the theater we saw this in for the end, but as far as I’m concerned, this challenges "Batman Begins" as the best of the trilogy – It’s been a while since I’ve seen the original, so I’ll make the distinction when I see it again. I know, everyone else thinks ‘The Dark Knight’ was a fantastic film that deserved a Best Picture nod, but I couldn’t disagree more – as an overall quality film, ‘The Dark Knight’ did not rise to expectations – Heath Ledger did. Ledger’s Joker dominated that film. Everyone else paled in comparison. And let’s be honest, the Harvey Dent one minute I’m a saint, the next I’m the ultimate bad guy turnaround was stupid. No one else but Ledger was memorable in the film – In ‘Rises’ everyone except the villain is given a chance to ‘act’ and they all do very well. It’s also a much better story, as it brings the character Bruce Wayne and his inner demons back as the main focus. It is a tale of redemption and when it comes to those, it’s good to have Morgan Freeman around, eh? The Joker commanded ‘DK’, while you couldn’t find a blander villain than Tom Hardy’s Bane. And I’m not blaming Hardy, I’m blaming the creation of the character itself – How could Bane be as flamboyantly evil as The Joker when he’s wrapped in a headgear that completely covers his mouth and they give him a voice that sounds like Sean Connery doing a Darth Vader impersonation? James Bond playing a bad guy? Say it isn’t so! Bane stomps around in a fleece overcoat (from either Old Navy or a Sears’ back-to-school sale) and gives generic orders to his minions and the citizenry of Gotham City the same way Stephen Hawking would order lunch at a McDonald’s drive-thru. Please take note of all the product endorsements I’ve added to this review & let Goggle know that you heard about them here! Unlike The Joker, Bane never sent chills up my spine with his dastardly doings, even when he copies the Joker’s ‘ferry trick’ by telling Gotham that if anyone tries to cross the one bridge he didn’t blow up he will blow up the bridge and then the entire city as punishment – It was kind of a ‘been there, done that’ scenario. Usually a movie is defined by its villain, but that is not the case here – the story drives “The Dark Knight Rises” and that’s what made it a much better film for me. Along with Bane, I wasn’t pleased with the opening segment – it was dumb and contrived – the only reason it happened was because they wanted to start things off with a gnarly stunt to wow everyone – the only problem with that was – it was moronic. Think about it – why would anyone go to the trouble, expense and the possible sacrifice of several minions in order to kidnap someone while they were flying in a plane? They do this by hijacking the plane with another plane while in flight. They could have accomplished the same results on the ground. But of course, that wouldn’t have been a spectacle that wowed movie going audiences. Maybe I’m too picky, but if you’re going to open with an awesome stunt – at least make it plausible for those of us who don’t live in a comic book world. ‘Rises’ succeeds by restoring the franchise to Bale and the development of the character Bruce Wayne. Michael Caine’s Alfred has some nice moments, along with Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman with their recurring characters. New to the franchise actors that I liked were Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillaird and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (in that order) Hathaway played a cat burglar named Selina and it wasn’t just her skin tight outfits that caught my eye – I got a kick out of her pussycat like headgear (everything she wore on her head looked like cat ears) But she wasn’t playing the traditional ‘Catwoman’ role; Selina was a flip-flopper – you never knew which side she was on – or if she was basically just out for what she could get out of any given situation. So she was a cross between Catwoman and Batgirl – and I liked the blend. Not knowing how she would react from scene to scene made her a fun character to watch... and the skintight outfits didn’t hurt either... Cotillaird was less noticeable as a woman that helps keep Bruce Wayne’s charitable organizations running while he goes into recluse following his taking the fall for the death of the beloved Harvey Dent. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is usually a favorite of mine (except when he’s in Christopher Nolan films, apparently) as his beat cop with a connection to Bruce Wayne doesn’t give him much of a chance to stretch any acting chops. The sub-plot of why he’s followed Wayne’s career works splendidly – you come to care about him and his cause and you can’t help but grin when you see what his character does at the end of the film... The ‘twist’ in ‘Rises’ was unexpected, but feasible (Unlike Dark Knight’s foolish twist) So there are a lot of reasons ‘DK Rises’ is a better film than ‘DK’. I think Nolan knew he couldn’t compete with Ledger’s Joker, so he purposely made Bane somewhat boring and focused instead on the character that the franchise is based on – and for me, that was the perfect way to go. Too bad there won’t be a 4th one... Like Peter Jackson said he’d never do another movie based on the ‘The Lord of The Rings’, right? Just a word on my movie-going experience seeing “The Dark Knight Rises” on its third weekend. My wife & I were the first to arrive in the theater (I won’t say which one because I’ll still go there even though I wasn’t pleased with them) so I got a good look at the fellow patrons as they wandered in. Tattoo’d biker guy was first on my radar (If anyone was packing heat, it was tattoo’d biker dude) Head shaved goateed jackass next caught my eye – Check out death row sometime – 95% of serial killers are goatee’d wearing skinheads. Head shaved dude had an out, though; entering the theater with his sunglasses perched atop his bald head gave him that ‘fresh out of the closet’ look that didn’t scare me at all. About an hour into the film someone shouted, “Woo! Batman! Yeah!” This made me very nervous... A few minutes later another lame outburst of ‘Woo’s’. I waited for an usher to do their thing of wandering through the theater with his little red glowing flashlight to let them know the moron in the front row was disrupting the film. I think we all had determined that the kid was mentally handicapped so no one wanted to yell at him to shut up... Plus, people were murdered while viewing this movie - I don’t think anyone wanted to chance getting shot over it! What bothered me most is that NO ONE ever entered the theater throughout the entire 3 hours of the film! NO ONE. Not once. It’s like they were afraid to come in and check on us. After running a disclaimer before the previews started of how ‘If we see you talking on your cell phone, or texting during the film, we will tell you to step out into the hall – or if you talk or disrupt the film inany way, we will ask you to leave' – “Don’t be the one we kick out of the theater, because we WILL do it.” we were warned... Then NO ONE enters the theater for almost 3 hours? When I heard that there were uniformed security guards inside the theaters after that horrific and disgusting act in Colorado, I felt that was a bit of over-compensating... but NO ONE, not even a 15 year old usher armed with a little red glowing flashlight? Are you kidding me?

Monday, April 2, 2012


“SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN” (Ewan McGregor & Emily Blunt)

Not exactly an intriguing title, is it? Sounds like a cross between ‘Moneyball’ and ‘Jeff, Who Lives At Home’ two boring titles where the former was as boring as it looked and the latter was quite enjoyable – ‘Salmon Fishing’ falls in between those two (though closer to ‘Jeff’ because it was a nice little film)
Emily Blunt plays Harriet Chatsworth-Talbot. I remember this because Ewan McGregor’s character (Dr. Alfred ‘Fred’ Jones) calls her Ms. Chatsworth-Talbot about 80 times throughout the movie. I won’t do that here – I’ll refer to her as Harriet.
Harriet has a job that somehow includes her assisting a Prince from Yemen (Amr Waked as ‘The Sheik’) The Sheik wishes to bring the religious aspect of salmon fishing to his community. He has spent millions building a dam to assure there will be water for the salmon year round and contributes another 50 million to Dr. Jones when the fishing expert throws that number out sarcastically when Ms. Chatsworth-Talbot asks how much he would need to bring the project to its fruition.
So yes, the basic idea of this film is about an eccentric Arabian prince that frivolously spends a fortune on a cockamamie plan that has little hope for success - And all to stand waist deep in a river with a fishing rod in his hand for endless hours.
The project gets spearheaded by the British government when a military snafu leads Parliament PR person Patricia Maxwell (Kristen Scott-Thomas) to look for a gesture of goodwill toward the people of Yemen and happens upon the salmon project on the internet.
But despite that rather dull sounding concept, ‘Salmon Fishing In The Yemen’ works because of the interaction of the three basic characters (Harriet, Alfred & The Sheik) and a pleasant mix of side characters that stay interesting enough to keep the silly storyline afloat.
This is a good character study, with only one flaw – Harriet’s devastation of learning that the ‘boyfriend’ she’d known for three weeks was M.I.A. in Afghanistan. Okay, so you meet and go out on a date – that’s week one. You meet for a couple of meals and have sex for the first time during week two and you start to feel comfortable around one another during week three and then he gets deployed. You hardly know the guy, let alone feel that the love of your life has been ripped from your bosom.
The problem is how the news of his being ‘missing’ makes Harriet completely fall apart. She leaves Yemen and the project that has engulfed her life with a purpose simply because some dude she’s known for 3 weeks is M. I. A. ?
Meanwhile, married Dr. Jones becomes involved with the project he deems a hopeless waste of time and money because he's told he'll lose his job if he doesn't participate and his wife’s job sends her to Geneva for several weeks.
It isn’t difficult to tell that Alfred is becoming enraptured with the pretty and personable Ms. Chatsworth-Talbot but he finds himself in the dilemma of wanting to express his feeling toward her without looking like a greasy scumbag that just wants to take advantage of her vulnerability as she emotionally crumbles before his eyes while waiting to hear if the guy she’s known for three weeks is alive or dead.
There is also the added dimension of how the Sheik’s people react to his eccentric expenditures and what most would call a foolish dream.
So don’t let the anemic title keep you from checking this film out – if you like original stories that have an offbeat theme with interesting characters that are well acted, you’ll enjoy “Salmon Fishing...” and you might actually find yourself unexpectedly cheering for a mob of 10,000 salmon to swim upstream. It sure shocked the heck out of me when I found myself caring whether they did or not!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The BOTTOM 10 MOVIES Of 2011

Just when I thought I would stop lambasting films and try to look on the bright
side of life - I rented "The Tree Of Life".
One line review; This may possibly be the worst movie ever made.

I have had friends ask me what I thought of certain movies that they've recently
seen - usually via the rental route - and when they mention the name of one of
the really bad ones, I always say, "Why didn't you read my review first?"

My best friend rented "Black Swan" and as she and her husband were suffering thru
it, she sent him to the computer to find out what I thought of it. Their
conclusion was 'Always check Terry's blog before renting something'.

With that story in mind, I figured I should present my Bottom 10 of 2011,
just to create an easy to follow list of films to avoid. So stay away from ;

10 (meaning 10th worse) EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE
It is exceptionally lame & ridiculously annoying.

Yeah, I know, if you haven't learned that anything with a number in the title
is going to suck, you never will. The mermaids were cool, though.

It is the best Adam Sandler movie onlt because of 10 seconds of footage -
Jennifer Aniston in a very skimpy bikini. Other than that precious moment,
it may be the least funniest 'comedy' ever.

Another Oscar nominated film I hated. The fact that dull as dishwater Jonah
Hill was nominated for an Oscar is probably the dumbest nomination of all

It was bad. It was Ashton Kucher bad. However, I liked Natalie Portman more
in this disaster than I did in her Oscar winning role in 'Black Swan'.

It was bad. It was 'No Strings Attached' bad. I love Mila Kunis and was
looking forward to seeing her do an Anne Hathaway style 'let it all hang out'
nude fest (Ala "Love & Other Drugs") and instead all I got was Dusty
Craterlake's butt and a whole lot of assinine dialogue.

Well, Ashton Kucher strikes again, but he isn't horrible in this - he isn't in
it that much, except to grin. The fact that Robert DeNiro and Halle Berry
embarrass themselves by appearing in this garbage not only make it torture
to sit thru, but also cause several moments of painful 'cringing'.

I normally cut a lot of slack for talking animal flicks, but this one is the
bottom of the barrel. Why Rosario Dawson stooped to this level of junk is
the big mystery here.

It brings new meaning to the question, "How ridiculous of a premise do you
think the American public will buy?" The sad part is - they were serious
with this tale of a young teenaged girl beating up and killing every adult
she encounters - and yes, every adult she encounters has military training,
yet they're no match for the deadly little blonde girl.

I had the good fortune to watch this on DVD so the 2 hour & 15 minute running
time flew by in about an hour & a half. Even then, I could only take it in
half hour installments. The only reason I gutted it out until the end was to
find out why the middle kid killed himself at age 19... They never say.
Sean Penn (who's in 3 totally insignificant scenes) after viewing the finished
product said, "I have no idea what the film is suppose to be about."
I can answer that question for you Sean, "It's about 2 hours and 15 minutes
too long."
Avoid this movie at all cost - If you're on an airplane & it comes on - Jump
out! Trust me, you'll thank me later.

ALSO - don't waste your time & money on
I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT - Why isn't this on the list? Olivia Munn is in it.
The horrible Re-make of ARTHUR - Not on the list because Helen Mirren is in
ONE DAY - I barely remember this, but I gave it a C-/D+.
TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY - Unless you have insomnia and are looking for a
for cure - avoid this snoozer.

The FILMS THAT DID NOTHING FOR ME (Other than I didn't hate them so much as felt
indifferent by them) In other words, the films I gave C-'s...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


“JEFF, WHO LIVES AT HOME” (Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon & Judy Greer)

This is the story of Jeff (Jason Segel) who lives in the basement of his mother’s house. The odd part of ‘Jeff, Who Lives At Home’ is that for the bulk of the film Jeff isn’t at home. He’s at home when he receives a phone call from someone asking for Kevin, but then he leaves... possibly never to return.

To say Jeff leads a mundane life is putting it mildly. Jeff smokes pot, gets the munchies a lot and believes the movie “Signs” starring Mel Gibson was based on a true story.
The man asking for ‘Kevin’ becomes a sign to Jeff when he sees a black kid wearing a basketball jersey with the name Kevin on the back.
Did I say Jeff liked the movie “Signs”? We soon find out that he’s obsessed with it.
He stalks the kid with ‘Kevin’ on his back; gets into a basketball game with Kevin and his friends and seems genuinely excited when Kevin asks if he’d like to smoke some weed with him.
Ed Helms is Pat, Jeff’s older brother. Pat is the opposite of Jeff. He has a job. And a wife, Linda (the always adorable Judy Greer) Pat is high strung and somewhat of a jerk.
A chance encounter between the two brothers leads to a very telling line when Jeff yells at Pat, “You and mom will never understand me! And you’re all I have left!”
Jeff’s obsession with ‘Kevin’ picks up again when he sees a truck delivering ‘Kevin Kandy’ to various venues and hops onto the back of the truck to see where it takes him.
The adventure rolls through Pat and Linda’s troubled marriage as Jeff discovers his sister-in-law having lunch with a strange man.
Interspersed with Jeff’s Kevinly meanderings are scenes of his mother (Susan Sarandon) at work, discovering she has a secret admirer who throws a paper plane at her desk with a flower drawn upon it. The secret admirer then begins sending her Instant Messages.
So as mom searches thru the office hoping to draw out her secret admirer, Jeff is trying to keep his brother’s marriage from falling apart but not knowing how to do it.
Not surprisingly, “Jeff, Who Lives At Home” is a low budget venture; no hi-tech cameras, the film’s a bit grainy (going for that ‘realistic’ feel)
And it is realistic – at times too much so – it kind of meanders after a while.
It was entertaining with enough humorous lines to keep it from becoming boring, but after a while I just wanted something a little more interesting than Pat and Linda heading for a divorce and mom's secret admirer search.
Obviously, I won’t even give a hint as to what happens at the end – but it blew me away.
I loved it. Just as the film seemed to be grinding to a halt, thanks to a huge traffic jam, “Jeff, Who Lives At Home” comes up with a surprisingly energetic finale.
For a while there I was thinking to myself, “It’s called ‘Jeff, Who Lives At Home’, they weren’t trying to mislead anyone into thinking this film was going to be anything other than the life of slacker.” So I was content enough with what I was getting – it was an ‘OK’ movie... and then I walked out of the theatre thinking it was great...


“WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN” (Tilda Swinton & John C. Reilly)

I can’t decide if this is a poignant, impressive film, or just an exploitive piece of junk. Seriously, I can’t make up my mind – the more I lean toward the junk side, the more disturbing images flash in my mind from the film and I then start leaning toward the impressive angle simply because I can’t get the darn thing out of my head.

“We Need To Talk About Kevin” concerns a mother (Eva K., played by Tilda Swinton)
a father (John C. Reilly as Eva’s husband, Franklin) & their first born – the title character, Kevin. Later, when Kevin is around 9 or 10, his little sister, Celia enters the dysfunctional ‘K’ family.

The film opens with Eva on vacation in India, presumably prior to Kevin’s birth, since she appears to be carefree and happy. The reason for the sight of a large group of people playfully smearing each other with what appears to be salsa is never explained – but by film’s end, I assumed the movie opens with this as being ‘Eva’s last pleasant memory’.

In the next few scenes, the mood becomes darker and Eva doesn’t look so playful anymore. A glass door that opens out onto a patio is shown in darkness with the light coming from outside shining on the white curtains that billow as a breeze blows them inward. And then Eva awakes with a start. She is pale and looks hollow – nothing at all like the woman enjoying her splooshing experience in India.

Eva opens the door to her small house to find it splattered with red paint - her car has had a bucket of red paint splashed across the front of it as well. She waves at a neighbor across the street as he mows his lawn. The man reluctantly waves back. Eva acts as though nothing out of the ordinary has taken place. She gets into her car and goes to a job interview. Eva is shocked and excited when she lands a position for a travel agency. She rewards herself by going out to lunch where she is approached by a woman she obviously knows, but doesn’t want to encounter. The woman calls her a horrible person and slaps her hard in the face. A man comes to Eva’s aid, offering to call the police as a witness to the assault but Eva begs him not to do anything. Eva rushes away wiping the blood from her face. Her joyful moment was fleeting indeed.

A blur of scenes ensue; it’s dark out but there are several people gathered outside a school gymnasium. Police and firemen keep the crowd at bay as they demand to know what has happened. The woman that attacked Eva is seen among the crowd. Eva appears and tells the police, "My son goes to this school." She sees what is on the door to the gym and freezes.

“We Need To Talk About Kevin” does something that I normally hate – It bounces around in time without any reference as to what moment in time we are actually watching. I’m sure it would be easier to decipher the timeline should I watch this film again, but I’d have to be in the right frame of mind to want to take on this disturbing heavy duty drama one more time. The reason for the bouncing around in time becomes apparent about a quarter of the way thru the story – What we’re seeing are Eva’s drug induced/alcohol impaired memories of what led her son to do the horrific thing he does. Eva K. raised a monster. What I believe this movie tries to tell us is that – in Kevin’s particular case – he was BORN a demon, it wasn’t his upbringing. He wasn’t mistreated, except when his mother accidentally breaks his arm by shoving him during one of his extreme brat-attacks. This scene is introduced by Kevin, in prison garb, telling his mother, “It was the only time I got an honest reaction from you.”

Eventually the film starts to make sense, even though it continues to bounce around in time. We discover that when they’re living in the big fancy mansion that Franklin purchased we are in 'pre-whatever it is that Kevin did' era and if they’re in the dilapidated shack with the red paint splattered across it, we are in 'post-whatever it is that Kevin did' time.

Eva and Franklin are a loving couple until the baby comes along.
The problem is Mom can’t stand being around her baby because the child is constantly screaming. She stands on a street corner next to a group of construction workers using jackhammers just so they’ll drown out the sound of Kevin’s bawling.

Franklin comes home and heads for the basinet. “Oh please don’t wake him, “ Eva begs, “I just got him down for his nap.”
Too late – Dad is already cradling the baby in his arms. Kevin doesn’t make a sound, except for the occasional ‘coo’. “See?” Franklin tells his wife, “You just have to rock him & he’s fine.”

As Eva watches television she is jolted by the image of her son glaring into the camera as he says, “You think you’d be watching me on TV right now if all I did was get an ‘A’ in geometry?”
Eva searches her memory again, wondering where she went wrong.
Kevin is now a young tyke about 5 or 6, but still wearing diapers. He is joyless and morose until Daddy comes home and he gives him a hug and a kiss.
As Mom cooks dinner Kevin and Dad play a video game and all Eva can hear is Kevin repeatedly yelling, “Die! Die! Die! Die! Die! Die! Die Die!” as he presses the buttons on his game player.

There was one moment where mom trumped dad in Kevin’s eyes; She decided to try reading to him at bedtime and selected ‘The Tales Of Robin Hood’. Dad peaks into the bedroom and Kevin tells him to “Go away.” He then crawls into his mother’s lap & says “Keep reading, mommy.”
Eva looks up at Franklin and beams a bright smile as she telepathically tells her husband, “This is the break thru we’ve been waiting for!”
Not to be outdone, dad buys Kevin a plastic bow & arrow set for his birthday. As they play with the plastic suction-cup tipped arrows in the back yard Kevin turns to see his mother peering at them from the kitchen window. He picks up an arrow and shoots it in her direction – the suction cup tip sticking to the glass beside her face.

When Kevin was 9 or 10, his baby sister Celia is created.
With Kevin in his teens & Celia a small tyke, it is obvious that Celia loves her big brother no matter how big of a jerk he is toward her. She brings him a Mountain Dew when he comes home from school & he says, “No, you retard, I want a Root Beer!”
His mother reprimands him for talking to his sister that way, but Kevin just grabs the can of soda from his sister and stalks off.
He belittles the little girl every chance he gets and yet she just keeps on smiling adorably at him. Kevin does something horrible to Celia’s pet and then to Celia herself – though I have to chastise the film for not explaining exactly why Celia is suddenly wearing an eye patch after being left alone with her big brother. Which also begs the question, why would Eva leave her trusting, loving little girl alone with what she knows is a sadistic creep?

It isn’t difficult to figure out why Kevin is in prison, and I won’t reveal what happens at the end, but it sickened me. If the film had ended the way I wanted it to, I’d be hailing it as a masterpiece, but it has one of the worse final scenes of all time and because of that, I’m not sure how much I should regale this film. IT IS MEMORABLE, I’ll grant you that.

Monday, March 19, 2012


“WANDERLUST” (Paul Rudd & Jennifer Aniston)

This raunchy R-rated comedy looked to be a comeback for Paul Rudd (from “How Do You Know?”) and a continuation of Jennifer Aniston’s breaking free of generic dumb comedies (from the promise of “Horrible Bosses”) Although it isn’t nearly as bad as “How Do You Know?” it isn’t even in the same galaxy as “Horrible Bosses”. For an R-rated comedy featuring my least favorite reason for an R rating (full frontal male nudity) “Wanderlust” is actually kind of tame; almost like a regular Jennifer Aniston movie, except with ‘F’ bombs and penises. “Wanderlust” even uses that old ploy of showing flubs and out-takes as the end credits roll – which usually means – ‘Sorry, we put forth such a bland effort so here are some out-takes so you’ll leave the theatre with a grin’...

“Wanderlust” has a decent beginning; Paul and Jen are married couple George and Linda. Living in New York and looking to buy an apartment – something they can call their own, instead of adding to someone else’s nest egg by paying rent. George is on the cusp of landing a big promotion at his job and Linda has produced a documentary she’s sure HBO will want to buy, so they invest in a tiny ½ bedroom apartment. George not only doesn’t get his promotion, his boss is arrested and the business goes under and Linda’s documentary on penguins with testicular cancer is deemed too depressing.
A promising opening, but after setting up the plot – where this ‘big city couple’ end up in rural Georgia at a commune called Elysium (or something like that) which changes both of their lives but in opposite directions – “Wanderlust” loses all momentum and turns into a run of the mill fish(es) out of water tale with very few humorous lines.
Part of the blame I felt came from the poorly thought out characters; George’s brother and sister-in-law being the most objectionable. They were totally unbelievable.
The wine making nudist that desires to be an author doesn’t lend much to the story, except his ever present penis, which of course he has to display for that hysterical never-before-seen sight gag of a man waking up to find a dong just inches away from his face. It’s that stooping to Adam Sandler-style comedy that runs “Wanderlust” into the ground.
Malin Ackerman plays virtually the same role she had in the original “Harold & Kumar” movie who wants to make ‘free love’ with George and for some unexplainable reason, George turns into a babbling incoherent a—hole after receiving permission from his wife to go ahead and nail her.
When one of the commune dwellers turns out to be a greedy sell-out, the film lost all credibility as far as I was concerned – It went from being an amusing idea with anticipation of bigger and better laughs to come to something you’ve seen before and didn’t care for the first time around.
And if you heard that Jennifer does a nude scene – it’s another cruel joke – she’s only topless – and because it’s shown as part of a newscast, her chest is pixilated...
I wanted to love “Wanderlust” because most of the comments I read and heard about it were positive, but I only liked it. And it made me wonder why everyone seemed to be raving about it. Is it just because it’s so early in the year everyone’s expectations are low? But then again, “Paul” came out early in 2011 and finished in my Top 10. I hate to think it, but I’m beginning to feel that Paul Rudd’s magical touch of making mediocre material work is wearing off. If his next project doesn’t pan out he’ll have 3 strikes in a row... I didn’t have a problem with the Rudd-Aniston pairing so I wouldn’t mind seeing them try it again with better material – or it could just be that the Rudd’s style of comedic acting is wearing thin on me...


“MAN ON A LEDGE” (Sam Worthington & Elizabeth Banks)

I liked this movie. I think the reason I liked it was due to the fact that it was a ‘crime caper’ without any car chase scenes & a minimal amount of weapons fired (Until the final scenes)
Was it far fetched? Sure, what crime caper movie isn’t? Did it get a little mundane with the ‘phew, that was a close call’ moments – Of course it did. But I liked the fact that the bulk of the movie concerned Sam Worthington’s Nick Cassady standing on the ledge outside of the hotel room he checked into as Joe Walker and his conversations with detective Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) as she tried to talk him off the ledge and he used her to stall for time while his accomplices robbed a safe in a building across the street.
Nick is an ex-cop who claims he was set up by billionaire David Englander (Ed Harris) by making Nick the fall guy for the theft of the Monarch Diamond. Nick’s defense was that Englander stole his own jewel but no one on the jury saw any sense in that. Harris, who normally plays a terrific bad guy seemed rather bland to me in this role – he actually showed more life playing bland John McCain than he did as a despicable billionaire.
When Nick’s father dies he is allowed, under armed guards to attend the funeral. During a heated skirmish with his younger brother, Nick escapes and sets his ‘man on a ledge’ diversion into action.
Ed Burns, one of the purveyors of bland acting to the point where he might as well use the same name for every character he plays since they all seem to act alike, is Jack Dougherty – the detective that is first called to the scene. Nick tells Jack the only person he’ll talk to is Lydia Mercer. Mercer, infamous for not talking down a depressed cop enters the film by crawling out of bed to answer the phone. It is one of the hottest non-nude scenes I’ve seen in a long time as Elizabeth looks smokin’ hot in just a wife-beater tee shirt and shorts.
Anthony Mackie plays Nick’s ex-partner Mike Ackerman and his uneasy facial expressions tell you that he’s hiding something, but yet he seems to care about what happens to Nick.
Add Kyra Sedwick as a bothersome news reporter and “Man on a Ledge” has a nice, easy to follow group of characters – It doesn’t get bogged down with too many exponential characters that only exist to complicate matters for the viewer.
Still, calling this plot ‘simple’ would be a misnomer; what goes on in the building across the street is where all of the ‘phew, that was close!’ scenes occur.
I wouldn’t discount anyone for disliking this film because of how easily Nick’s accomplices get inside a heavily guarded building and blow things up inside it without being detected. Plus, there’s only two people carrying out this elaborate scheme which makes it all the more unbelievable.
The surprise twist of revealing a supporting character’s true identity at the end wasn’t way off the wall like most surprise twists – this one made me smirk instead of roll my eyes... So there were some clever moments and some dopey moments, but over-all I liked the film because of the interplay between Worthington and Banks.