Search Results for: steve carell

The Big Short Movie Review

I am sure all of us can remember the financial crisis of 2008, but can any of us really explain what exactly happened? Do we actually know why the government bailed-out the national banks and why the housing market practically imploded? The answer is most likely no, and it is okay neither can I. So, take this opportunity now and drop what you are doing and see The Big Short. It is a brilliant indictment of the financial systems of America and allows you to see what exactly the banks did and got away with.

Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling in THE BIG SHORT

Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling in THE BIG SHORT

The Big Short, which is based on Michael Lewis book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, follows a group of outsiders that were able to predict the build-up and eventual collapse of the financial and housing bubble. More specifically, the film follows Dr. Michael Burry (Christian Bale), Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling), Ben Rickert (Pitt), and Mark Baum (Steve Carell) as they all begin to take on the big banks and prove that the most stable investment, the housing market, is destined to blow.

Share

Minions Mostly Miss Their Mark

Five years ago, Gru, an evil villain appeared on the big screen in the animated film Despicable Me. Steve Carell did a great job voicing the character, but the main character wasn’t the best part of the movie. His sidekicks were, the minions! These little yellow, pill-shaped creatures stole the show. Their presence grew in the sequel, Despicable Me 2, which came out two years ago. T-shirts, toys, plush dolls, and cups, minions were everywhere, which meant only one thing. It is time for their own movie, directed by Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin—Minions.

Bob, Kevin, and Stuart (all voiced by Pierre Coffin) in Minions

Bob, Kevin, and Stuart (all voiced by Pierre Coffin) in Minions

Minions tells the story of Kevin, Stuart, and Bob (all voiced by Coffin) who leave their tribe to find their new master, the evilest being they can find.

Share

Foxcatcher Wrestles with Emotions

At one point in Bennett Miller’s poignant and powerful Foxcatcher, John du Pont declares the importance of a coach, “A coach is a father, a coach is a mentor, a coach has great power on an athlete’s life”. While these words definitely sum up what your typical coach/athlete relationship is like, this film does more than enough to separate itself from the traditional sports drama. In this moment, this quote really sums up du Pont’s greatest delusion. Foxcatcher is a chilling tale of people hoping for greatness. They desire to be heroes, winners, and champions, but in the end no matter how much they give they feel like it will never be their best. This constant feeling of failure looms large for du Pont and his athlete, Mark Schultz, and it is ultimately the start of their own self-hatred. Led by terrific performances by the three leads Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo, Bennett Miller has created one of the best films of the year that shows you the pain of two disturbed and lost individuals.

Steve Carell in Foxcatcher

Steve Carell in Foxcatcher

Foxcatcher, which is based on true events, follows the unlikely relationship between Olympic Gold Medal winning wrestler, Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum), and the multi-millionaire heir to the du Pont estate, John du Pont (Steve Carell). When John du Pont invites Mark to his estate in order to offer him the chance to prepare and train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Mark eagerly accepts the offer. The two develop a special relationship that is driven by the need to win. Mark hopes to step out of his brother’s (Mark Ruffalo) shadow, and du Pont is motivated by wanting to be respected by all, especially his disapproving mother. However, their relationship soon turns toxic and not even winning Gold can prevent a tragic outcome.

Share

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

For the majority of the time, a comedy only sustains its great moments of laughter when sticking to a singular film. What is funny the first time doesn’t necessarily mean it will be equally funny the second or even third time. How many people reference Airplane II, Blues Brothers 2000, Dumb and Dumber: When Harry Met Lloyd, Weekend at Bernie’s 2, and Caddyshack II more than they do the originals? Although the sequels to The Hangover are relatively fresh in our minds, there is no way that those movies will be remembered more than the original. There are countless of unwarranted and unnecessary comedy sequels, yet more and more are still getting made. Next up we have the sequel to the 2004 Will Ferrell led comedy, Anchorman. It is great to see the whole cast returning with additional famous faces popping up along the way, but Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues proves to be another unnecessary comedy that tries to recapture the same laughter and spirit of the first.

Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, and Will Ferrell in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, and Will Ferrell in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues follows the great newsman, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) as he takes New York by storm when he leads the first 24-hour news channel in the country. With the help of his old news team from San Diego, Ron and crew prove that; even though the times have changed, they have not lost a step. However, with competition from Ron’s wife, Victoria Corningstone (Christian Applegate) and the handsome Jack Lime (James Marsden), Ron and his team are tested greatly. Can they overcome all of the odds and prove they are the most watched news team, or will they finally lose their touch and have their legends killed?

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is in parts entraining and even amusing; however, the overall production is less than memorable and remotely hilarious. The gags and jokes that are found in the movie are thrown at  a mile a minute, and it rarely sticks the landing. There are barely any setups, and most certainly there are no payoffs. The many jokes are recycled from the first, and are so ridiculous and unfunny that it becomes apparent that this movie lacks a coherent comedy structure. With the many different jokes, it tries to cover a wide variety of different topics, references and material. This leads to an uneven movie that has scenes that are not only unequally funny, but also completely absurd that you become numb to the hit-or-miss material. Underneath the jokes there is a quiet-dare I say it-clever satire; however, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues can’t decide on what it really wants to satirize. At times it does make for a funny spoof on the current news network, and on sexism/racism in the workplace; however, instead of sticking to one and getting it right it tries equally to spoof each topic and then some. As the movie progresses it becomes less funny and less clever. Along with their self-created spoof, the crassness of the jokes become extremely idiotic and it will be the most juvenile thing you will see this time of the year. It is one thing to be stupid and genuinely funny at the same time, but to be stupid and not funny is just embarrassing, and that is the only thing this sequel accomplishes. It is borderline so bad its good, but sadly it just comes off as redundantly foolish and vacuous.

The rare highlights of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues are singlehandedly from the master of comedic stupidity, Steve Carrell. He is constantly on point throughout the movie and when he is coupled with an equally funny, Kristen Wiig, the movie gets the only few genuine laughs. The other highlight is from the many different cameos that pop up throughout the movie. There are far too many names to mention here, but each one earns a belly of laughter that will make you laugh till you cry. These cameos are without a doubt the most memorable aspect of the movie, and overshadows the main draw of the film, Will Ferrell. Will Ferrell has lost his charm, and has not appeared in a great comedy for some time now. It feels as though he has peaked, and has now given up on being truly a great comedian. Instead of focusing his talents on something different or even on funny material, it seems that he just tries to be so over the top in his delivery that he comes off as being insincere and stupid. Ferrell now reminds me of the uncle that you avoid at family reunions. He is belligerent, loud, tells jokes that you have heard before, and he thinks he is the funniest person in the room. It might have been funny when you were younger, but now that you are older it maybe time to look elsewhere for consistent laughter.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is yet another sequel that is unwarranted and unfunny. It rides on the success of the first one hoping it can borrow from what was once funny, while only progressing in stupidity. To continue a legend there must be a legend established; however, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues proves that there was never a legend to begin with.

The cast includes: Will Ferrell (Old School), Paul Rudd (This Is 40), Steve Carrell (The Way Way Back), Christina Applegate (Anchorman), James Marsden (X-Men), and Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids). It was written by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, and it was directed by Adam McKay (The Other Guys).

 

1 out of 4 stars

-By Louie Coruzzolo

Share

Despicable Me 2

It has only been two years since Gru and his yellow minions won the heart of movie goers and now they’re back and better than ever in Despicable Me 2. The story of the cold-hearted villain turned lovable father has become one of the most popular films amongst kids and adults alike. As this movie earns outrageous laughs, it still raises the question, are the audience their for Gru or just the minions? Directors of the original, Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, return to direct the creatively cute sequel.

Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig in Despicable Me 2

Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig in Despicable Me 2

Now a father, Gru (Steve Carrell) is learning how to put down the freeze ray and pick up birthday cakes. The former evil villain has completely turned from wanting to take over the world to wanting to give his girls a better life.While enjoying their new father, Edith (Dana Gaier), Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), and Agnes (Elsie Fisher) all know something is missing in his life, a woman. After numerous attempts to get Gru to start dating, the girls quickly realizes that he may be afraid of commitment. However, during the midst of their new life, Gru is kidnapped by a woman named Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) working for the Anti-Villain League. Gru can think like a villain, act like a villain, and with that they want his help. Lucy and her employer of the AVL, want Gru to go undercover and stop a new villain that they can’t track. Now Gru and Lucy must work in a mall to discover who may be the new evil mastermind behind these new villainous acts.

Despicable Me 2 is easily one of the funniest films I’ve seen all year. The movie had tears streaming down my eyes, but that is probably its strongest quality. Though the film is very creative, the movie loses sight during the middle, and gets kind boring. This maybe because the reason the Despicable Me films are popular are because those lovable, yellow sidekicks. When the minions take the screen, movie magic are the only words that come to mind.

Despicable Me 2 is funny, really funny. The comedy of the film is the best thing that this sequel has going for it. I found myself laughing harder then most of the kids in the screening, because Despicable Me 2 headlines my kind of humor. Who is to thank for all of these comedic, outrageous moments? Simple, the minions. The smaller scenes that just show the lovable yellow creatures wondering around, interacting become the best parts of the movie. I will be completely honest with you, these scenes had me in tears…more than once. For example, one scene was used as a trailer. The scene shows two minions putting the girls to bed then going outside to investigate a strange noise. As these two shivering minions tease one another, and then fight, I couldn’t stop laughing. It was cute, simple, clever, and just funny. The minions remind me of the classic slapstick comedy brought to us by Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, or The Three Stooges. Especially, The Three Stooges. Though the minions are apart the funniest moments in the film. Despicable Me 2 offers humor in other places as well. The movie goes into a lot of pop culture references and offers plenty of satire. It’s the comedy that Despicable Me 2 worth watching.

Now, the major problem with Despicable Me 2, as funny and creative as it is, it gets boring. During the second act somewhere, I just remember the excitement and laughter happening less and less. I started asking myself, what happened? What changed? That is when I confirmed my thoughts I’ve had since the first film. It’s all about the minions. Don’t get me wrong, Gru and the girls is a good story line. It was fun and nice, but the kids, the movie goers, and myself aren’t there for them, we were there to watch the minions. There scenes were the funniest, and they are really what brought this film to life. If Despicable Me 2 or the original removed these incredible yellow creatures, I wouldn’t have liked neither as much. So my criticism isn’t that they had yellow minions making laugh, my criticism is that I want the whole movies to be about the minions. At one point, I felt the Anti-Villain League, Gru, and the girls, just got in the way of a potentially phenomenal comedy. I obviously wasn’t the only one thinking this way, because supposedly the minions have their own movie coming out sometime next year.

I will easily give credit to Despicable Me 2 for being so creatively fun. The movie, as it should, creates an entirely different world. It brings you into this world of superheroes and evil villains like we’ve never seen. They are cheesy and out there, only making the movie that much more enjoyable. A perfect example is the legend of a villain named El Macho, that road a shark, on a rocket, with a bunch of dynamite, into a volcano. I’ll repeat that. He road a shark on a rocket, with a ton of dynamite, into an active volcano. It is so out there, I can’t do anything but stand back, laugh, and applause the brilliant minds that thought of that. Not only is his death hilarious, but him as a character is just as comedic. El Macho is heavy set man dressed as a masked Lucha libre. Now imagine that on a shark, on a rocket, flying into volcano and tell me you aren’t laughing. Beyond characters and settings, even the minor things are creative. For instance the weapons used, or vehicles are all really exciting and different. There were major creative forces involved in Despicable Me 2 and it paid off.

One of my biggest problems with Despicable Me 2 is the movie doesn’t dare to get deeper. Sure the movie has its sentiment, however it still lacks a personal connection. There is one scene at the end of the movie that touched me, but it was so quick and so little, it left me dissatisfied. With a story about an evil villain who chooses to love children over taking over the world, there should be a lot more heart in this film. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t need to be a tear jerker or have the sentiment of a serious drama, but it could have offered more heart. The movie’s mind was there with the humor and creativity but the movie failed to offer that heart that touches you. A perfect example, is any Disney and Pixar film. Though they are cute, funny, there is always something more to get out of those pictures. This movie is for the laughs but that’s about it.

Despicable Me 2 was hilarious but it lacked that real touching depth or personal connection that I want out of every film. It seems to get a bit aimless, but aimless in a creative manner. This movie was all about the minions, they were the heroes of the movie, while Despicable Me 2’s cast and plot were just the sidekick.

 

2.5 out of 4 stars

-By Jacob R. Tiranno

Share

Now You See Me

This year, we have already seen two magical adventures at the movie theaters. The first one came in the form of Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician, who is thrown into the vibrant Land of Oz. There, Oscar must use his magical powers and trickery to do some good in order to transform himself into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz. The second adventure was more or less a frivolous tale of magician Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) as he is surrounded by a superfluous lifestyle that is enthralled in trickery, stupidity, and the love of magic. Apparently those stories have not quenched our thirst for magic on the big screen. Opening up this week is a new film that appears to offer and present a grand trick that might very well be the greatest illusion to ever be revealed on screen.

Isla Fisher, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, and Dave Franco in Now You See Me

Isla Fisher, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, and Dave Franco in Now You See Me

Now You See Me follows a group of the world’s greatest illusionists, The Four Horseman, as they pull of a series of not only daring, but mystifying heists. In each of their performances, they pull off these incredible heists, and reward the audience members by showering them with the stolen money. As The Four Horseman gains more notoriety they become pitted against a FBI squad led by Agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo). What transpires is a cat and mouse chase that leads the FBI unit chasing the illusionists across the nation hoping to put an end to their crime spree. Can The Four Horseman elude the FBI, or will Agent Rhodes be able to capture them and prove that this has all been a grand illusion?

Now You See Me may be the most frustrating movie of the year for me. The film shows and provides a great amount of potential, but is ultimately undermined by its own arrogance. Yes, you could say that this film is extremely clever and smart, and for the most part you are probably right. I will admit that this film has aspects that are sly and intelligent; however, the shrewdness only lasts on a superficial level. Now You See Me possesses a great idea and an entertaining cast, but the material actually proves to be a substance-free diversion. The cast and crew keeps pulling off magic tricks after magic tricks that are rooted in mystery and would be thrills, but those tricks soon culminates into no authentic suspense, or any real investments in the characters and story. Now You See Me simply makes a promise that it can’t keep. At the heart of the film, there is too much illogical situations and implausible setups and resolutions that I began to not only not care what transpired on the screen, but began to ponder to myself what is the point? Why is this happening? By the time the film comes to the big shocking finale, nothing will catch the audience off guard, and the shocker will only be rewarding for mere seconds. Director, Louis Leterrier, has some nice style and the perfect amount of energy, but lacks the visual panache to help put over the magicians and the illusions. Now You See Me wants you to be amazed by the magic, and even inspired by the tricks, but by doing so it comes off so absurd and pretentious that it is hard to play along with the magic.

Now, I have been accused that I lack an imagination, had a bad childhood, and just could not understand the heist part of the film, and those are the reasons why I did not like Now You See Me. I find this to be as ludicrous as the film itself. I understand that the film deals with magic, and that magic is supposed to challenge your beliefs and make you believe in the unbelievable, but the problem is that the film never allowed me to. For anyone to really like that film, one needs to check all of his or her intelligence, logic, and reasoning at the door. That is my major complaint about the film. Throughout the duration of Now You See Me, the many characters beg you to look closely and to use your smarts because they are always one step ahead. Aww, that is a really nice try guys. You might fool a couple of people, but let me do my own magic trick right now. Let me read the minds of the writers and creators of the film. What I am about to do is called mentalism, according to the film. In reality, Now You See Me is really trying to tell you don’t think, don’t try to connect the dots, and please don’t try make any sense of it all because if you do you will know that this is actually a big scam.

I do, however, give Now You See Me credit for pulling off one elaborate illusion. One grand trick that actually worked and will not be noticed or revealed until viewing the film. Behind all of the one dimensional characters and impractical tricks there is actually something worth viewing. Behind the facade of being a magical thriller, Now You See Me offers a great on screen duo to watch. The always solid Mark Ruffalo teaming up with the stunning Mélanie Laurent is by far the best part of the movie. Ruffalo as Agent Rhodes and Laurent as a Interpol agent, Alma Dray, work wonders together. They provide the best chemistry of all of the cast, and actually provide stability, and integrity to the film. When the film focuses on their relationship and their search for the Four Horseman it is a fun, entertaining heist thriller to watch. That is the movie right there. I would have love to see a film that focuses on those two’s dynamic interactions. Ruffalo’s American rigidness and stubbornness matched perfectly with Laurent’s European sensibilities and sophistication, and it is a joy to watch. Laurent and Ruffalo is the real magic of the film. The rest of cast is either misused or hurt by the misdirections of the film. Jessie Eisenberg plays an arrogant ass so well, and here he does it with ease, but with this usual shtick and a character that you could care less for you will soon be indifferent to his J. Daniel Atlas. Woody Harrelson and the pretty Isla Fisher are fun to watch, but are ultimately wasted. The same can be said of Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine. Now You See Me manages to pull a disappearing act on their stars and inhibits them for truly shining.

Now You See Me is satisfactory at best. It provides cheap thrills if any, and does so in a manner that is sometimes sluggish and ineffective. The movie leaves the audience indifferent for far too long, and uses superfluous trickery that distracts them from the many plot holes that can be found. The twist is well disguised, but nothing was truly at risk; thus, limiting any thrills and providing an ending that is lackluster and unfulfilling. Like magic the film will disappear right before your eyes because, ultimately, Now You See Me has nothing up its sleeves.

The cast includes: Jessie Eisenberg (The Social Network), Woody Harrelson (No Country For Old Men), Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers), Morgan Freeman (The Dark Night Rises), Michael Caine (The Dark Night Rises), Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers), and Mèlanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds). The film was written by Ed Solomon, Edward Ricourt, and Boaz Yakin. It was directed by Louis Leterrier (The Clash of the Titans).

 

1.5 out of 4 stars.

 

-By Louie Coruzzolo

Share

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone isn’t the hilarious, magical picture they promised, but its a clever little satire that’s worth watching. From director, Don Scardino, comes a satire that laughs about the world of magic from Siegfried and Roy to Criss Angel. Though the overall joke about magic is quite clever, the pathetic one liners in the movie just seem to tarnish the quality of this new comedy. Even the major comedy figures like Steve Carell and Jim Carrey couldn’t keep the comedy from this picture from disappearing.

Steve Buscemi and Steve Carell in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Steve Buscemi and Steve Carell in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and his partner Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) have been headlining magicians at the Bally’s Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas for nearly a decade. Wonderstone and Marvelton had met years ago when they were just kids. Burt was an outcast at school, but when his mother left him a Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin) Magic Kit for his birthday, his life would change forever. Although he was still being mocked at school, Burt met Anton, a boy who was amazed by the tricks Burt would perform. Burt asked Anton to be his partner, the two would go on to make tricks and perform together for years to come. Their shows were always sold out, and they were the biggest magicians in Vegas, but Burt has lost the passion. It seems Burt only does his craft for money and fame, and it’s starting to affect their show. After the two see new street magician, Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) they realize it’s time to change their act. However, Burt doesn’t seem to interested, and doesn’t believe he needs help from Anton or their new assistant, Jane (Olivia Wilde). This causes a major falling out, and Anton and Burt split, now Burt must prove he can do the show alone and prove he’s a better magician than the “Brain Rapist” Steve Gray.

One of the most enjoyable parts of watching, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, is seeing the satire at work. The movie laughs and jokes about famous magicians from Siegfried and Roy to Criss Angel. I do give the movie credit for taking such an odd direction for a satire. Most comedic satires tend to be political, or make fun of major genres like horror or action movies. Some of the most notable of the past couple of years would be The Campaign (2012), The Dictator (2012), Cabin in the Woods (2012), Hot Fuzz (2007), and the Scary Movie franchise. These movies either try to attack an entire movie genre or have the most common type of satire, political. Now, for a movie to concentrate completely on the world of magic, is quite brave. For that alone, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone deserves credit, but surprisingly, it deserves a bit more because the movie kind of works.

Ever since Criss Angel and David Blaine started appearing on television, the world of magic became a popular trend once again. It seems magic, like most things, goes through cycles, it’s popular for a decade then it’s under the radar for five or ten years then resurfaces with new talent. From the late 70s the late 90’s David Copperfield ruled the world of magic, then David Blaine brought back some the power to street magic in the late 90s, early 2000s. However, the “Mindfreak” Criss Angel surfaced in 2005 making illusionists and magic a popular form of entertainment again. However, Criss Angel and David Blaine changed the face of magic. Blain and Angel took magic to a darker more modern place, that lost the fancy costumes, and tried to be way more daring—or at least appear to be. This is basically the entire purpose for The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. The movie tells of two magicians, who dress a lot like, two former Vegas magicians named Siegfried and Roy. While the “Brain Rapist” Steve Gray looks a lot like the “Mindfreak” Criss Angel. The movie is about how different these worlds of magic are, and the movie quickly laughs at both of those worlds, while also showing great homage to the craft and art of magic.

Beyond the bravery of the satire, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone also deserves a nod because the movie has a great deal of heart. Even though the humor is sometimes stupid, or the jokes don’t seem to be very funny, the movie holds a nice genuine touch, that I felt during the entire picture. The stars of the picture, Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi really offer some wonderful chemistry throughout the picture. The partnership of Wonderstone and Marvelton seems to be very real, regardless of how ridiculous the movie plays it off. One of the funniest moments in the film, is when Wonderstone and Marvelton decide to lock themselves in a box for seven days, the outcome is hilarious. The Steve Carell freakout is familiar and is just a riot to watch unfold. Unfortunately, Buscemi isn’t in the picture as much as I wanted him to be, but Carell handles himself well as he becomes the center of the picture. Carell has a few comedic moments, without Buscemi but it dangles over the line of poor and stupid humor. Carell does have his redeeming qualities in some surprising places. For instance, when Wonderstone is faced with his idol Holloway, their is some genuine emotion under that spray tan. It was the small moments like these, that Carell would have with Alan Arkin that made this movie’s heart grow. While this was happening, Alan Arkin was doing a fine job making the audience laugh, without poor humor. Another addition that was great was from James Gandolfini, who played the owner of The Bally’s Hotel & Casino. His parts are small but somehow managed to make me laugh more than the rest of the characters. Wilde gives the movie some charm, but she doesn’t steal the show, just more of a good addition. Seeing the hilarious Jim Carrey return to the screen was quite enjoyable. His visual portrayal of the Criss Angel type character was funny and had me laughing multiple times, unfortunately, the script keeps feeding him poor jokes, that don’t get any laughs.

Overall The Incredible Burt Wonderstone has its moments, that are quickly lost in ridiculous or poor humor, but there is some heart to the movie that makes it a bit more alluring. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone isn’t the greatest magic trick of all time by any means, but more like a cool trick a family member showed you, that was good at the first, but will get old quick.

 

2 out of 4 stars

-By Jacob R. Tiranno

Share

Hope Springs

The latest romantic comedy, Hope Springs, will dazzle audiences and leave a heartfelt message as well. Directed by David Frankel, this heart warming picture, tells the story of love and marriage, and the things that time may do it. Written by Vanessa Taylor, this film is a prime example of how a romantic comedy should be, touching, relevant, real and of course can make audiences laugh. Hope Springs stars Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, and Steve Carell. The picture also stars Elisabeth Shue, Jean Smart, and Marin Ireland.

Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep in Hope Springs.

After celebrating 31 years of marriage, things may not be the same for Arnold and Kay Soames (Lee Jones and Streep). Their lives have been scheduled the same for years, simply having dinner, with little or boring conversation, which is followed by Kay washing the dishes as Arnold, simply falls asleep while watching a golf program. The two live in the same house, but might as well live in different countries, worst of all, the two sleep in separate bedrooms. As Kay begs for intimacy and demands to have her “old husband” back, she stumbles upon Dr. Bernie Feld (Carell), a marriage counselor. Now, Kay must gather her courage and persuade Arnold to go to Maine for one week for intense couples counseling.

David Frankel’s Hope Springs, is a charming, adorable picture, that will leave audiences with a smile on their face. It is heartfelt and really connects with its audiences, unlike most romantic comedies, that give viewers a wild idea of love, this movie tries to understand and reflect its audience. Its possible most viewers will watch this charming picture, and either imagine their parents, or someone they know. Hope Springs concentrates on real life, and that sometimes, the fire of marriage does need to be rekindled.

Meryl Streep can make any movie lover smile, and it’s a joy watching her perform not matter what picture, it really is like watching Picasso paint. She is an actor, who can simply use a glimpse, or a look to describe a wide range of emotions. For instance, when Streep hears that their first exercise is to “hold one another for a period of time,” hope fills her face, with a small smile of excitement. This lets the audience root for her, in simply being an everyday woman. Her character Kay, holds back the entire movie, when audiences just beg for her to lash out, or finally say, what she is thinking. The fact viewers feel that, expresses her performance. She will melt your heart, with just how kind hearted and pure she is, making her just a loveably character, viewers pray succeed. Streep plays the human possibly better than any other actor living, she truly understands the feelings and emotions of a person, making her the best at what she does.

Tommy Lee Jones, brings a different, but still humorous side to his performance, playing a character very, unlike his predecessors. In most of his performances, Tommy is confident, with his every movement, sure of his decisions. In this picture, however, Jones steps out of his comfort zone and plays a repressed, awkward character. Watching him stumble over the words of sex, and express his feelings, are true and comedic. As Tommy is told to explain his “fantasies” audience can feel his tension, and laugh as he searches the room for an answer. Finally, as great as Streep is, Tommy Lee Jones is right behind her, making her jokes funnier, and her character more lovable. At the same time Jones himself, sneaks himself into the hearts of the audience, by simply playing, an honest man. His character, Arnold, may be the reason Kay is hurting, but he is still charming, and coy, with a sense of style, which just keep the smile on their faces.

The odd part of the picture, is there is very little to say of Steve Carell, not because he did poorly in the picture, but because he didn’t give very much. Carell plays the calm, marriage counselor to a tee, but doesn’t give anything to emotional for audiences to connect with. Therefore, he still helps the picture go by, portraying the referee, but gives nothing too memorable.

With these two amazing performances, the writing is the third pillar that makes this picture stand, giving people a pure, humane movie that will truly touch its audience. Although, the ending, maybe just settle for satisfying, could have used an ending that would truly make it a complete puzzle. A part of the ending, is played during the credits, which kind of degrades what the images are saying. This takes away the emotion or any kind of power, because half of the audience is walking out of the theater.

 

Regardless, Hope Springs reminds people, just how fun, and lovely life can be, especially with the one you love. Also, that with the right cast, and the right writing, maybe hope can fill the genre of the lost romantic comedy.

 

3 out of 4 stars

 

-By Jacob R. Tiranno

Share

Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World

The world is coming to a near end. An asteroid named, Matilda, is heading Earth’s way, and there is nothing that can be done to stop it. The movie follows Dodge (Steve Carell) and his three weeks left on this Earth. Dodge becomes a very lonely man, after his wife leaves him. So, Dodge decides not to waste his remaining days. He goes on a trip to find his high school sweetheart and reconnect before it is too late. Along for the journey is one of Dodge’s neighbors, Penny (Keira Knightley). Can Dodge make it in time to fall back in love with his sweetheart, or does he find love along the way?

Seeking A Friend For The End of The World

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is mostly categorized and marketed as a comedy. While the movie does provide a few chuckles a long the way, the movie is very depressing and touching. The world is coming to an end, and there is no hope left in sight. People are either left in dismay, or they are making the most of their time. Throughout the movie you get to see a lot of different ways society is reacting to this scary predicament. There are multiple parties, there are riots, and there are people trying to spend their last days with the ones they love. The main characters are Doge (Carell) and Penny (Knightley). They are the complete opposites. Dodge is an average man who lives his life in a very safe manner. He doesn’t take risks and it appears he does the same thing over and over again. Dodge doesn’t mind this, but you can tell he is not happy about his life. On the other hand, you have the extremely outgoing Penny. She lives her days between smoking pot and obsessing with her impressive record collection. Penny is very critical of herself and feels that she has made a lot of mistakes. At first, Dodge is not keen on meeting new people because the world is coming to an end; however, Penny changes all of that. Dodge’s calmness is the perfect match for Penny’s uninhibited personality. Penny provides enough of inspiration or a spark in Dodge that he decides to make the most of his days. Penny promises to take Dodge to his high school sweetheart, and in return Dodge can bring her to a plane and a pilot and she can go back to her family in England. It seems that theses characters are going in opposite directions, but it seems that they will end up in the same place. While the premise seems like a tailor made romantic comedy, the movie provides very little comedy, and the tone is far from your everyday romance story. This hurts the film because it leaves the audience not sure what to make of the this movie.

The movie solely rests on the shoulders of Carell and Knightley. For the most part, they do deliver and provide solid performances. The lovely Keira Knightley supplies enough of charm and emotion in this movie that the audiences instantly likes her. Knightley definitely brings forth the warmth the movie needs. Steve Carell has been building a very interesting acting resume. I have been a fan of Carell since his Office days, and I am interested in seeing where his career will go from here. Carell is mostly know for his comedic performances, and his stupidity. However, I believe that there is a true thespian inside this man. From Little Miss Sunshine, Crazy Stupid Love, and to Dan In Real Life, Carell has offered some solid performances. In Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Carell offers a glimpse into his acting talents, but it is nothing we have not seen before. Dodge is very much like his characters in the previous films that I mention, and it does not provide enough of a challenge for Carell. Nevertheless, Carell does a good job, and he definitely makes this movie watchable.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a slow paced film filed with little action. The movie is very dialogue heavy, and all of the scenes revolve around the dialogue. This helps and hurts the film at the same time. There are scenes that are well written, and it just flows so perfectly. Then, unfortunately, there are scenes that seem very forced and begging for a few laughs. The script is uneven with what it wants to do. The movie also seems to drag on a bit, and the characters and the story are in a stalemate. Then when the movie gets going again; it is hit with another major flaw. The emotional scenes are effective, but they do not offer a big enough pay off. Finally, once the audience gets a feel for what the movie is truly about and what it is going to be the movie sadly ends. The movie is truly about getting to know a couple of people before it is too late. We watch these two characters, and we slowly get to know both of them well.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World deals with big themes and tries to make a bold statement. The movie is all about getting to live your life to the fullest. It is about going the extra mile to meet someone new. We don’t have a lot of time on this Earth, and we should not live in regret. We need to seize the moment, and go out and make the most of our lives. Go out and meet someone new and learn about this person. You might find the love of your life, or you might just rediscover who you are.

The cast includes: Steve Carell (Crazy Stupid Love), Keira Knightley (Pirates of The Caribbean), Patton Oswalt (Young Adult), William Peterson (Fear), and Martin Sheen (The Amazing Spider-Man). It was written and directed by Lorene Scafaria (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist).

 

2.5 out of 4 stars.

-By Louie Coruzzolo

Share