Heartbreak Kid

Would you forgive me for being curious? The Farrelly Brothers doing a Neil Simon script? It seemed odd and I think the "ick factor" prevailed for me. I LIKE some of those guys movies, so I really did have an open mind.

The story is basically about a man who falls in love with the Love of His Life on his honeymoon. This updated script gives Ben Stiller ("There's Something About Mary" and "Dodgeball") ample reason to become disenchanted with his brand new bride. His father, played by his father, Jerry Stiller ("Zoolander" and LOTS of TV) is a foul-mouthed dirty old man and the supporting players give us varying degrees of not-so-nice.

You know me, I want people I like well enough that I can root for them. I admit I giggled a couple of times, but bottom line: I didn't much like it...sorry...

Run, Lola, Run

"Run, Lola, Run" has been around since 1998 and I FINALLY got around to watching it!

When it begins, the main character, Lola, played by German actress Franka Potente ("The Bourne Identity" and "The Bourne Supremacy") starts out in a pickle and has 20 minutes to solve a huge problem. Her boyfriend is in trouble and her scooter has just been stolen. She starts running and even with my math anxiety, I knew that 20 minutes wouldn't fill up a standard length film. By the time she is fatally shot, 20 minutes into the film, I was just a tad bewildered...

This thing is sorta like "Groundhog Day," "Sliding Doors" and "12:01." Things start over and in this particular case, the character doing the starting can remember lessons from the previous iterations. All in all, this is an exciting film with Ms. Potente doing a commendable job of running...and running...and running... Be advised though, it isn't nearly as boring as you might think.

LOVED the captions (the original dialogue is in German).

I liked it!


Fierce People


Diane Lane ("Unfaithful") is the mother of a spirited but sensible teenage boy who has tolerated her alcoholic/druggie behavior most of his life. His father is a well-known anthropologist who went to South America when the boy was three and all the kid knows of him are his films of aboriginal tribes and their primal relationships with the spirits of animals, their brutal treatment of non-tribal strangers, their religious attitude about the sanctity of marriage, etc.

Donald Sutherland ("The Italian Job") is a fabulously wealthy man who hires Lane to be his on-site "masseuse." This job motivates her to join a 12-step program and move from New York City to his enormous New Jersey estate where he will provide her with a domicile for her and the boy. This place is so huge there are vast expanses of wilderness between the various houses, with unexpected violence and cruelty lurking among the pretty trees.

If you take a step back from this movie and take the long view, using the boy's voiceover as a guide, you are studying the tribal customs of a wealthy New Jersey tribe, with its customs, warfare, initiation rites and brutality. It became extremely involving and I responded on cue with appropriate gasps and white knuckles, but I did NOT like this movie.

Waaay too unsettling....


In the Shadow of the Moon

What a delightful documentary! The audience applauded as "In The Shadow of the Moon" concluded. It is masterfully researched and edited, with warm and humorous interviews that feature at least eight of the astronauts who made moon shots relating their experiences in their own words. Of course, Lovell, who was captain of Apollo 13, expresses a twinge of regret about his aborted attempt, but his crew's safe return was as miraculous as the other landings! We can thank Tom Hanks and his wonderful movie for our grasp of THAT one. By the way, Ron Howard is a producer/distributor for this new film, as well.

The interviews include lots of historic footage of world events, political figures, civil rights marches, riots, Vietnam protests, astronaut training films, Russian documentaries, and then return, over and over again to the astronauts' own personal insights and memories. For example: During that first successful blastoff, Michael Collins said his pulse rate was 140. Neil Armstrong's was 70. The man was an iceberg...calm, cool and resourceful, the perfect man to lead that first team. He has remained reserved and reclusive. He is NOT one of the participants in this current film. But of course that only adds to his mystique...

Not only is this a terrific film, well worth your time to watch, do yourself a favor and rent "The Dish" to go with it! This delightful Australian film shows how a dinky, little-known spot in the Outback was saddled with the responsibility to receive that historic signal from the moon and transmit "One small step for man..." to the world. It shows the trouble those dedicated and creative blokes were having with undependable power, bad weather, and numerous other glitches that almost prevented the world from hearing those memorable words.


The Game Plan

You have to give him credit. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson ("Gridiron Gang" and "The Mummy Returns") just does NOT give up. He has been working steadily for over ten years and he seems to have his stuff together. Obviously he knows how to act (despite a Razzies nomination for his role in "Doom"). He was, after all, a professional wrestler after an injury sidelined him from pro football. (Yeah, I Googled him.) The upshot is, he seems to be trying to teach some lessons in this movie and I was curious about him...

The preview audience was littered (...smile...) with rug rats and it was clear why the parents brought them. The movie opens with our hero clearly on top of the world. He is a football hero, sitting on the brink of "The Big One" in which his team will finally bring home a long-coveted victory. He dates super models, drives a Lamborghini, throws huge parties in his stunning penthouse apartment, which is generously decorated with huge portraits of himself and shelves of his countless trophies. He is self-centered, egotistical, wealthy and absolutely delighted with his life. His favorite pastime is to lounge in his fabulous home with his ugly, ugly bulldog "Spike," and watch his favorite victories...with himself as the star, naturally.

So here comes the glitch, in the form of an seven-year-old girl claiming to be a daughter he didn't know he had, from a long-defunct marriage. The girl, played by Madison Pettis, teeters on the brink of being a little too precocious, but she's cute, funny, scheming and very sure of herself... sort of a chip off the old block.

Kyra Sedgwick ("Something the Lord Made" and "The Woodsman") is Joe's agent who has lined up a multi-million dollar endorsement for him after they win "The Big One." She is NOT happy to see a domestic side emerging in her cash cow. (Tiny spoiler, you might be interested to know that Dwayne declined a multi-million dollar endorsement for Dunkin Donuts a few years ago.)

Obviously this is a relationship movie in which Johnson never hesitates to make himself the goat in one humiliating scene after another. Seeing all 6'4" of him squeezed into a ballet leotard is (almost) worth the price of admission. He sings, he dances, he has a blender spray him in the face. This movie is a cliché and as I have said before, clichés become clichés because they connect emotionally with large groups of people. Thursday's audience was no exception.

His message is a nice one and the rug rats seemed to respond. Worse things could happen...


The Brave One

Cathartic... This movie is cathartic.

When my sister was first starting her writing career, a good friend told her that most crime-type stories work best if there is a good reason for the reader/audience to feel a need to be avenged. The villain has to be really villainous and when he/she is punished, the reader/audience should get a warm glow.

Jodie Foster ("Maverick" and "The Accused") is terrific as the victim of a horrific beating in a New York park, in which her fiancé, played by Naveen Andrews ("The English Patient" and "Bride and Prejudice") is beaten to death. After being released from the hospital, she is so fearful she doesn't dare leave her apartment. Because she is a local radio personality, she wants to get back on the air but the entire concept of her radio show ("Sounds of the City") has changed because now SHE has changed.

Terrence Howard ("Crash" and "Pride") is a detective who is pulled into an investigation of what appears to be some sort of vigilante activity. The dead men all seem to "deserve it." Local New Yorkers are all for it and whoever is doing this is accumulating quite a vocal fan club.

The script makes the characters very accessible, the preview audience laughed with delight each time a New York-type witty exchange took place...and that was fairly often.

The bad guys are really bad, but the good guys are kinda bad, too. And a neat turn of events near the end had the audience applauding. No CGI, no car chases, no blowie uppie stuff. Gun shots, though...

I liked it.