Jul 30 2010

Dinner for Schmucks

Tim (Paul Rudd) is an executive for a financial portfolio management company full of ideas, aspiring to move up in the world. When an opportunity to land a very lucrative and important client winds up in his lap, Tim appears to be the perfect candidate to manage the account. But, before Tim is given the opportunity, he needs to impress his boss in a bizarre and cruel ritual dinner in which all the executives for the company are asked to bring an “idiot” as a guest. The person who brings the biggest idiot is the winner and wins the affection of the boss. Enter Barry (Steve Carell), an IRS agent with an affinity for taxidermy of mice. When Tim meets Barry it appears he’s found his guest for the dinner, but, not if Tim’s girlfriend Julie (Stephanie Szostak) has anything to say about it. Stress between Tim and Julie rockets as Barry steps between the two, before long a series of misunderstandings builds to a peak in this comedy of errors. Predictable from the start there isn’t exactly suspense in this one; and, while there is some merit to the comedy here, situational and absurdist humor, I can’t exactly say the writing felt like true comedy gold for any of the players. Perhaps the fairly wicked spirited humor lent to part of this, but then again maybe it was just that the whole thing felt a little too drawn out and labored in general. Whatever the cause, I don’t think we’ll see this as a box office crusher this weekend despite the potential this film could have had. Maybe a matinee, but really more of a rental later. Dinner for Schmucks is rated PG-13.

Jul 30 2010

Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore

The ongoing battle for human affection and dominance in the animal kingdom between cats and dogs is suspended as two canine secret agents: a rookie named Diggs (James Marsden), a K-9 German Shepherd, and old salt Butch (Nick Nolte), a golden lab, learn of a wicked plot to turn dogs against their humans and enslave humans to cats. Behind the evil plan is Kitty
Galore (Bette Midler), a former feline agent gone rogue with a score to settle. Before long, the two hounds are matched with a guile and agile feline agent named Catherine (Christina Applegate) and Seamus the pigeon (Katt Williams). But firepower and all, can the two species learn to put aside their differences and stop Kitty?├é┬áDesigned with kids in mind, but with plenty of subtle adult nods to spy film and detective cinema Cats and Dogs certainly gets a few points for cleverness; however, the overall laughs are sparse and performances rather hit and miss from what could otherwise be a strong cast. A cookie cutter screenplay doesn’t help the case for this film much either. Bottom line, despite it’s cute factor and occasional wit, this is a rental for younger audiences, I really can’t see adults finding much sustenance here. Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore is rated PG.

Jul 23 2010


When a mysterious Soviet defector named Orlov (Daniel Olbrychski) turns himself in to the CIA, red flags are immediately raised about one of the CIA’s best and brightest– Evelyn Salt (Aneglina Jolie). Orlov explains that Evelyn will be responsible for the death of the Soviet President who is currently visiting the United States for a funeral. Upon receiving this message Evelyn takes evasive action to elude the authorities and apparently carry out said mission, but why, what is her motivation, where is her loyalty, and what is her relationship to Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber)? Doing what we’ve grown accustomed to seeing Angelina do best, intense cat and mouse action scenes run rampant through this summertime popcorn chomper. And, while the nature or history of the action drama genre isn’t exactly being rewritten, there’s still plenty to sink your teeth into in this one. With just enough twisting and turning of the plot to keep you guessing for at least the first two thirds of the film director Phillip Noyce pulls back the layers of this onion at a calculated pace and still manages to leave some of the best material for last. Sure to be a hit at the box office this weekend. Salt is rated PG-13.