Month: May 2008

Thorny "Rose": Review for "La Vie en Rose"

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Theatrical PosterMarion Cotillard won the Academy Award, the Cesar Award, the BAFTA Award, and countless others for her portrayal of French diva Edith Piaf (Piaf means “Sparrow” in French). Her nickname and her voice are icons in France. Olivier Dahan has directed the life of the chanteuse in a very cinematic yet confusing way. Dahan switches scenes from the beginning of her life in the slums of Bellville to her last days in the studio recording “Milord”. Gerard Depideu plays Piaf’s singing teacher during her teenage years. Throughout her life (as this film chronicles it), it does not seem as if she were a woman to be admired. Yes, her voice is amazing, but if I were to find a personification of prima dona, the answer may be Edith Piaf. Cotillard’s performance is an extraordinary transformation of an actress. As if that it is not actually Cotillard, but the spirit of Piaf embodying and possessing the body of Cotillard. But due to the confusing order of the film, it is my regret to say that this film is not one that a person who is simply watching La Vie en Rose to waste time. With shots from her early life being raised in a brothel to her death bed at an “old folks home”, you may get confused. You really have to pay attention, otherwise, you may be lost in Edith Piaf’s Life of Pink.

Grade: B-

An Almost Perfect Fit: Review for "27 Dresses"

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The new film with Hollywood’s it girl, Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up, TV’s Grey’s Anatomy), is a cute and bubble movie about a girl who loves weddings. Jane is always a bridesmaid and never a bride. She has been a bridesmaid twenty-seven times and has the ridiculous looking dresses to prove it. She has been been secretly doting on her boss, and when she finally plucks up the courage to say something to him, her ditsy sister comes in and steals her. The two have a cute relationship, made up of her lies and his hard work. They decide to get married. Meanwhile, James Marsden (Hairspray, X-Men) plays a reporter who writes in the commitments section, going to weddings and engagements, offering cynicism where it is warranted. But deep inside, he’s absolutely sappy for weddings and falls in love with Kate. This is a cute romantic comedy with good acting all around, a tidy plot line, and dresses that are so appalling, they will make your jaw drop.

Grade: B+

Murder Is E-asy: Review for "Untraceable"

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Untraceable is one of the newest in the “torture porn” collection; which includes gruesomely graphic films as the Saw movies, The Hills Have Eyes remake, and the Hostel movies. FBI agent Jenifer Marsh (Diane Lane) tracks down the crimes that are committed on the World Wide Web. She finds this new website called killwithme.com (it’s not real; however if you do go to the address, you will play a game and shut down one of the killer’s websites). What people have found there is a man killing and torturing people on live streaming video. Every time a person logs on to the website, it kills the person faster. The film (supposedly) promotes anti-torture porn movies, when, in fact, it features graphic torture which would make you think “What was the MPAA ratings board thinking when it gave this an R?”. I will, however say that Diane Lane’s performance was good. I have to say the Saw movies do have a reasonable plot line (yes, including Saw IV, which I gave a bad review. Click here¬†to read.) It was about a guy who was teaching people life lessons, yes, by torturing people, but even so, the plot made sense. This film does not give a reason why he is torturing people and broadcasting it on the Internet. Sure, his father died, but making the public look like hypocrites just sounds like that Austrian film Funny Games. One blurb that was on a TV commercial for the movie was “The Silence of the Lambs for the Internet age!”. I’m not sure who said that, but only one thing here resembles Silence of the Lambs and that is Diane Lane’s hair. This has neither the great storytelling nor the great suspense that Silence had. Instead of making you scared, it just makes your stomach turn.
Grade: C-

Footballers’ Lives: Review for "Leatherheads"

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Set in prohibition era 1925, Leatherheads stars two of the biggest stars in Hollywood: Renee Zellweger and George Clooney. It also stars John Krasinski, whom you may know from NBC’s The Office. Clooney plays a pro football player, Dodge Connelly, during an age where pro football had no rules and almost no audience. The public’s eye was on war hero/boy wonder Carter Rutherford, who, it is said, singlehandedly¬† made a troop of German soldiers surrender. He happens to be a star at his college. He’s handsome, a college football player, and a war hero (nicknamed “Bullet”). But Chicago Tribune writer Lexie Littleton (Renee Zellweger) and her superiors suspect that this guy isn’t all he’s made out to be. Dodge, meanwhile, wants to set up a brand new team. He thinks hiring Carter will bring money and people to his games. Under the public’s scrutiny is hard for a kid that young. He fesses up to Lexie one night and she writes all about it. It becomes a big scandal and Carter vehemently denies the allegation. Clooney and Zellweger trade funny repartee. At the end, there are rules in football, much the Dodge’s dismay. Enjoyable, though not perfect, film. Sports fans will enjoy. The script was written by two writers from Sports Illustrated. Kransinski does much better off in his second film than his first, the turkey called License to Wed.
Grade: B

Pitch Problem: Review for "Alvin and the Chipmunks"

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In Alvin and the Chipmunks, Jason Lee (TV’s My Name Is Earl) stars as Dave Seville, a down on his luck singer-songwriter trying to make it big in the music biz. The head of the company, Ian Hawke (David Cross), is a particularly cruel and manipulative guy. A guy who would personify evil (evil as in “Greed is the root of all evil”). He barely gives Dave a chance. That night he hears a few voices of chipmunks talking. They just happen to be some of the most iconic animals in history. Alvin is the rebel, while Simon is the wise one, and little Theodore is the chubby one who indulges in food a little too much. It turns out they have great voices, which makes Dave realise that these animals could sing his songs. When he brings them to Ian, they get stage fright and Dave is ridiculed. These little scenes of over dramatic smypathy is what causes me to dislike the film. Ian becomes a manipulative, egotistical agent, while Dave whines. Though it may be fun for kids, there may be one too many squeaks for adults.
Grade: C