Archive for July, 2009
George Simmons (Adam Sandler) is a wildly popular and successful comedian who doesn’t really seem to have a solid friendship with anyone. When George is diagnosed with a terminal form of Leukemia, the desire to make a real connection with another human being becomes a priority. And, with death on his mind George is depressed and is having a hard time writing jokes, that’s when he hires up and coming comedian Ira Wright (Seth Rogen) to be his assistant, writer, and opening act. As the two end up spending more time with each other a real friendship is born; but, this friendship is challenged as George tries to win back the love of his life Laura (Leslie Mann). Can the two stick it out and will George overcome his battle with cancer?
Supporting roles from Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman add some color. And, a peek behind the scenes the world of stand up comedy does provide for some interesting material in this semi twist of It’s a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Carol; unfortunately, many bits and jokes just fall flat and off target. Not perhaps director/writer Judd Apatow’s strongest material to date. The film also feels long clocking in at just under two and a half hours in length. Fans of this modern day comedy troupe might enjoy this film as a matinee, but really this feels more like a rental in a few months. Funny People is rated R.
When the misogynistic host of a cable access show, Mike (Gerard Butler), is hired to do his schtick on a local news morning show, Executive Producer Abby (Katherine Heigl), just about blows her top. Mike is known for his loveless call it like it is attitude and helping men and women understand each other, Abby is a romantically challenged idealist. All seems well as Mike helps Abby win the man of her dreams on a bet, but what happens when Mike and Abby realize they actually love each other?
An innuendo laden script full of stereotypes takes this film on a predictable course with simple humor and few marks for creativity along the way. Despite the material, Heigl and Butler do manage to pull off a somewhat believable amount of chemistry. Maybe worthy of a rental for a date night somewhere down the road. The Ugly Truth is rated R.
In this 6th installment in the Harry Potter Book and Film Series, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is entering his 6th year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Much like the book, this installment is chalk full of drama and dialogue as Harry, Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) continue their studies all the while teenage hormones are raging and romance is in the air. But, behind the air of romance, a sinister plot is being put together by the evil Lord Voldemort. A plot that threatens the magical world, and the muggle world alike. As Voldemort’s power grows, lines are drawn and the stage is set for the final battle between good and evil. A battle that will take two more films to play out.
With a screenplay written by Steve Kloves, the writer of the first four Harry Potter films, the franchise continues on its well plotted course for success (Kloves incidentally has been tapped to write the final two screenplays based on J.K. Rowling’s novels). Despite Kloves return though, this film has the least amount of magic and action but contains more exposition. This is not necessarily a bad thing; but, fans looking for big showdowns and wild special effects will have to wait. Touches of humor are also appreciated as the young actors are coming into their own and developing a good sense of whimsical comedic timing. Couple this with seasoned actors such as Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, and Robbie Coltrane and you’ve got a potion designed for summertime magic. Worth seeing in the theatres. Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince is rated PG.