Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau

Is there free will? This is an interesting take on the question. If you don't follow "the plan" then there is a whole team of adjusters giving you a bump, or a nudge, or spilling coffee on you to make you look the other way so you don't see that one thing that will change your life path. Reminiscent of Sliding Doors where one innocent decision will drastically affect your life, here we get to watch as those decisions are "helped along". Unfortunately, our protagonist (Matt Damon) doesn't take to the nudging, even when he is confronted with the truth of how things work. Can you fight destiny? Well, Damon fights and I won't spoil the film by telling you if he his successful. But I will say that after all is said and done, this film raises quite a few great discussion points about the nature of God and how God might/might not interact in this world.
3 stars (out of 5)

Sunday, October 16, 2011


This is the movie that I was hoping The Expendables would be. Bruce Willis stars as an ex-CIA black-operative designated RED (Retired Extremely Dangerous) who is trying to transition into "regular life". He is pulled back into the business with a civilian woman he just met for the first time and resorts to getting help from his fellow RED colleagues (Mirren, Malkovich, and Freeman). This film is witty, fully tongue-in-cheek, and bordering on slapstick. But fortunately, it never crosses the line into slapstick and is just a fun adventure-thriller built on quirky characters. Quite fun.
4 stars (out of 5)

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Ides of March

I am not literate enough to recognize that this was a Julius Caesar reference which would have foreshadowed the entire story until after I saw the film. Even so, I feel like I knew the story as it developed. No surprises. Is that a commentary on the current political scene, or the current film? Clooney plays a presidential candidate running in his primary. We get the behind the scenes look with Gosling and Hoffman as friendly and then not-so-friendly members of his campaign leadership. Of course there is scandal and intrigue. Casting is excellent and this film is worth watching just to see Clooney, Hoffman, Gosling and the always good Giamatti do their snarling and flirting in a political war. But in the end I was largly unsatisfied, feeling flat and uninspired on the way out the door.
3 stars (out of 5)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Expendables

This is a classic summer action film with not much plot, not much acting and lots of explosions. The plot goes something like: A bunch of ex-military mercenaries hire out their services, they get a job that is against their morals, they still do the job but in a way that causes more explosions and makes them look like they care. In this case, the hook for the film is that in stars many of the big action names of the past decade (Stallone, Statham, Rourke, etc.). With Stallone as the lead, it becomes obvious how old he is. There are a couple scenes of him running where it is clear that he can barely run. I probably would have given this a higher rating had I actually seen it in the summer where it belongs, but now, it gets
2 stars (out of 5)

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Billed as the gay version of Linklater's Before Sunrise, we are introduced to Russell and Glen as a couple of young gay men who hook up randomly at a bar one night. Over the course of the weekend, the one night stand turns into a bit more as conversations and meetings continue to happen. The two men get to know each other and actually become interested in each other, finding out where they agree and disagree on a variety of topics. Be warned that the film is not rated, so we are shown significant episodes of both sex and drug use. The sex is important to the film, showing how the men navigate a relationship in which physicality and emotion are both important and both a bit scary. The drug use is frankly, disappointing. It seems to suggest that being high is necessary to reach the level of vulnerability required for true relationship. After seeing the film, I was wondering what the result would be if the film was played with a man-woman relationship, with the woman playing either the Russell or the Glen role. Effectively 3 different films would result and the hetero versions would both utilize built in stereotypes to poor effect. Instead, I think the film as produced avoids the stereotypes of relationship to allow the relationships to actually develop on screen.
4 stars (out of 5)