Jan 31 2014

Labor Day

Escaped convict Frank (Josh Brolin) is in desperate need of cover from the law until he can make an earnest run from the officials. As luck would have it, the planets aligned when Frank meets Adele (Kate Winslet) and Henry (Gattlin Griffith), a divorced and deeply depressed mother and her young son. Initial fear gives way to passion and the hunger for human contact as the three teach each other more about life in one long weekend than most get in a lifetime. But as the long arm of the law closes in, who’s heart will carry a torch, and what will Frank’s gift be to Henry?laborday Directed and co-written by Jason Reitman a sense of roundness, sensuality, and passion is artfully and delicately portrayed against what could be a bloody story with catastrophic proportions; instead the tale of helpless romantics is woven and played out by two incredibly capable foils, Winslet and Brolin, who’s screen chemistry is sizzling. Only one objection comes to mind, Reitman’s choice to drop in a sassy and precocious pre-teen, Eleanor (Brighid Fleming); in a part that seems more fitting for Juno, one has to question Reitman’s thinking, but lest one apple spoil the bunch, an emotional and heart throbbing story awaits none the less. Total date movie, Labor Day is rated PG-13.

Jan 31 2014

That Awkward Moment

Daniel (Miles Teller), and Jason (Zac Efron) are best friends who’ve made an art out of dating and using women; so, when their married and soon to be divorced friend Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) is down on his luck, the three agree to all remain single, all hail a young man’s 20s! But, just when the three think they’ve got it made, in walks love and the desire for something deeper than just sex– oh conflict. And what of the boy’s ladies, Ellie (Imogen Poots), Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis), and Vera (Jessica Lucas)? AwkwardMoment Writer/Director Tom Gormican clearly had fun when coming up with witty dialogue for our heroes, and it’s implied a fair amount of riffing was done on the part of the actors lending to some very funny moments, to that gentlemen, bravo. But sadly, like so many romantic comedies, the crossing of the line and redemption/resolution this go round feels so far derailed any believability is thrown out the window. Still, it’s the overall arc and level of enjoyment that’s worth focusing on here, and, while not terribly quotable, the laugh out loud moments make for a fun escape. Matinee worthy, maybe more, That Awkward Moment is rated R.

Jan 17 2014

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Former Marine turned C.I.A. analyst and financial whiz, Jack Ryan (Chris Pine), uncovers a Russian plot to send the U.S. economy into a second great depression. Deployed to Moscow, Ryan will have to use his cover as a financial analyst to investigate Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh) all the while dancing precariously close to death. Following the guidance of Commander Harper (Kevin Costner) getting to the bottom of the terrorist plot will take some serious digging. Making matters worse Jack’s girlfriend, Cathy Muller (Keira Knightley), is growing increasingly suspicious of Jack’s activities and plans a surprise visit to Moscow. Now getting out from behind the iron curtain alive will be harder than ever. JackRyan Staying fairly close to Tom Clancy’s original character Director Kenneth Branagh successfully creates an interesting reboot of a fond C.I.A. favorite. And, while we’re not exactly panning new gold in the spy thriller department, a competent and fun story is told none the less. Granted, the final act does make some incredibly large jumps of logic and does unwind into an utter paint by numbers action flick, don’t let that detract from the fun of the rest of the ride. Sharp acting from the ensemble makes for an easy watch, although some of the editing is a bit questionable and stylized. Still worth your attention despite this sea of Oscar madness, Rack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is rated PG-13.