August 2011

I Watched "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" Again

I watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding the other day. I hadn’t seen it since it was in theaters back in 2002, but I wanted to cook gyros, so what choice did I have but to pair it with this movie? The movie was still good—John Corbett and Nia Vardalos’ chemistry as the two leads was still strong and the writing didn’t always fall to easy stereotyping. But, like almost all romantic comedies, it was easy and uncomplicated, a little too stupid for you to tell your friends to run out and rent it. Unless they have serious nostalgia for leftover ‘90s styling. Because then I’d recommend it to them for sure.

Kevin Smith On Red State, The Decline of Moviemaking, and His Love Affair With "This Ridiculous F*cking Art Form"

Smith speaks with Toronto Underground Cinema on his international "Red State" tour.

In the 90's Kevin Smith was a household name, with his 1994 smash indie hit Clerks, and several other less prominent, but equally well-done films like Mallrats, and Chasing Amy. Several less important Jay and Silent Bob movies later (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back felt like Kevin Smith trying to write all of his friends into a movie he didn't really care about) and Smith has shrunk from the national stage somewhat. However, it wasn't until the brutal critical backlash for his movie Cop Out, with Bruce Willis and Tracey Morgan, that he decided to officially hang up his stirrups in the mainstream market. Frankly, I'm glad to hear it. There are some artists that get into the mainstream of popular acclaim (and criticism) and fade with their follow-ups, and others than cave to what's trending and lose the very quality that made them great in the first place. I don't see Smith as either of these, but as someone that needs to be on the fringes because that's just where he belongs. I don't see Clerks being the product of anything but someone on the outside, not bothering to look in.

"The Help" is worth the trip to Jackson

I went to see The Help last night. The movie is based on the incredibly popular book of the same name and stars every celebrity or familiar face I’ve ever seen. I’d heard quite a bit about the film’s potentially racist problems—that a white girl "saves" black maids from their plight—but aside from flashes of paternalism, the movie didn’t raise my hackles at all. In fact, Emma Stone surprised me with her acting chops (I hadn’t seen her in anything since Superbad!) and Viola Davis not so surprisingly stole the movie.

"The Day of the Jackal"

A nameless, faceless man sets out for a big kill

 

In 1971, Fredrick Forsyth's novel The Day of the Jackal was released, the story of one man attempting to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle, and the international manhunt unleashed to stop him. Based on the success of the novel, a film adaptation was produced two years later. The tale of how a nameless assassin came within an inch of killing one of the most influential statesmen of the 20th century has left a permanent mark on spy thrillers and assassination movies since its 1973 release and is every bit as gripping and believable now as it was 38 years ago.

 

 

A Paul Rudd Primer

Some actors are so thoroughly likable that they draw good will just by being pleasant on screen. Paul Rudd is one such actor. He's handsome and talented, enough so to make it in Hollywood with any personality, but he's a constant critical favorite because he exudes a sense of humor and a love of entertaining that douses the cynicism of the movie business. This year, he's continuing his recent elevation to leading man status in Our Idiot Brother. If you've never witnessed Rudd's on-screen charm, here's a list of essentials from his 16 years in the the major motion picture business.

Clueless- 1995

Only his second significant role, Paul Rudd played the comic and romantic foil to Alicia Silverstone's Austen-meets-Malibu lead in Clueless. In a movie that reveled in its alternating wit and silliness, Rudd stands out as the one grounding factor. He gives the audience a stand-in and he never attempts to upstage the more glamorous stars around him. That natural ease and willingness to bring his best to a supporting role would serve Rudd so well throughout the next decade of his career that it would land him on the A-list.

Wet Hot American Summer- 2001

Paul Rudd does wonderfully as a part of an ensemble, as evidenced later in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, but nowhere is his work as a part of a large, impressive cast more revered than the new cult classic, Wet Hot American Summer. It's a film that brings a non-traditional sensibility to the well-worn topics of 80's nostalgia, sex humor and the timelessness of adolescent awkwardness. Rudd plays against type as the prototypical jerk boyfriend, so that makes this role an essential if only to showcase his ability to be fun outside of his comfort zone.

"WALL-E"

Pixar do Short Circuit, and how

Pixar has made a name for itself by crafting unique, touching and universally-appealing movies seemingly at will. It's nigh impossible to single any one Pixar presentation as encapsulating their true scope of success and craftsmanship, but 2008's WALL-E must certainly be one of the best representations of the magic - an overused term, but one very fitting here - that Pixar have made their own.

 

 

"The Adjustment Bureau"

What happens if your life does not go according to plan?

 

Every now and then, you get a movie which makes you wonder about this mortal coil. In The Matrix, the question was whether reality, as we perceived it, was a computer program. Inception asked if everything we saw and felt was nothing more than a dream. In 2010, George Nolfi wrote, produced and directed The Adjustment Bureau, a theatrical adaption of "Adjustment Team", Philip K. Dick's short story, which asks a new question - what if our choices … aren't our choices?