A crime writer living in Venice while working on his new novel meets and soon marries his real-estate agent. Relocated to a remote house on Torcello Island, his obsession with his wife's daily whereabouts takes a dark turn.
Francis, an aging crime novelist and "king of the neo-Gothic thriller," relocates to Venice seeking peace and quiet and, most of all, time to write. He's quickly distracted from his plans when he meets and instantly falls for his real estate agent, Judith (Carole Bouquet), a younger but world-weary former model disarmed by her client's charming forwardness. As she shows off a quaint property on Sant'Erasmo, an island in the Venetian lagoon, Francis casually proposes marriage. It would certainly sweeten the deal on the rental, he explains.
His romantic gambit improbably works — or it's at least endearing enough to keep Judith interested — so much so that a year and a half later, the two are happily married. It's an abrupt narrative jump, and fast-forwarding the relationship from meet-cute to post-honeymoon phase is just one problematic temporal leap that advances the story but leaves out critical details of character.
Eliding the specifics of how this relationship is forged means there's little context for understanding who each of them is to the other — and with no measure for what stability has been for them, witnessing Francis and Judith's struggles feels less meaningful. But it's a sacrifice Techine seems willing to make, if it means greater focus on how the two come brutally apart.
And indeed, content though they may appear, Francis and Judith are realizing that happiness together comes at a cost. When Francis' impulsive actress daughter Alice (Melanie Thierry) and her own daughter visit in the summer, Alice asks how her father's new book is going. His eyes pained and helpless, Francis replies that he can't write when he's in love; Alice smiles and laughs derisively, and it's her cruel response that marks the first in a series of subtle but devastating indignities the characters will exact on one another for their own selfish gain.
When Alice suddenly goes missing, it's unclear whether she's been caught up in something beyond her control or has run off with a drug-dealing Venetian aristocrat. Francis believes the worst and — without permission — reaches out to Judith's friend and former lover Anna Maria (Adriana Asti), a mother with her own unstable son (Mauro Conte) to contend with, to hire her as a private investigator. She finds him answers, but they do little to unburden Francis, whose paranoia now extends to Judith, who he arranges to have followed.
Yet even as the couple's estrangement seems inevitable, the dramatic momentum you'd expect, given the situation, is strangely lacking. In some moments, resisting the impulse to play up the twists and turns pays off: When Francis spots Judith through binoculars, laughing with another man, the look of childlike distress on his face delivers a more crushing blow than a cliched confrontation could. It's an admirable effort to approximate realistic, human reaction over emotionally transparent performance — but it's an intermittently successful strategy: In other scenes, the same understated performances read obliquely, masking meaning rather than conveying it.
Tyler Perry returns as America’s favorite brash, no-holds-barred grandma in Lionsgate’s TYLER PERRY’S MADEA’S WITNESS PROTECTION, an outrageous culture clash comedy that also stars Eugene Levy, Denise Richards and Doris Roberts.
For years, George Needleman (Levy), the gentle CFO of a Wall Street investment bank, has been living with his head in the clouds. His frustrated second wife, Kate (Richards), has reached her limit taking care of his senile mother, Barbara (Roberts). His teenage daughter, Cindy (Danielle Campbell), is spoiled beyond hope and his seven-year-old son, Howie (Devan Leos), wishes his father were around more. But George is finally forced to wake up when he learns that his firm, Lockwise Industries, has been operating a mob-backed Ponzi scheme – and that he’s been set up as the fall guy.
Facing criminal charges and death threats from the mob, George and his entire family are put under witness protection in the safest place that Brian (Perry), a federal prosecutor from Atlanta, can think of…
His Aunt Madea’s house down South.
As a result, Madea and her live-in brother, Uncle Joe (Perry), find themselves managing a completely dysfunctional family from Connecticut. But as George tries to solve the mystery behind Lockwise's finances, Madea whips the Needlemans into shape using her hilarious brand of tough love. And together, they realize they just might have what it takes to unite George's family, outsmart the mob and change everyone's lives for the better.
As the result of a childhood wish, John Bennett's teddy bear, Ted, came to life and has been by John's side ever since - a friendship that's tested when Lori, John's girlfriend of four years, wants more from their relationship.
The merrily rude humor of Family Guy slides right into feature films with nary a burp nor a fart in Ted, a raucously funny goof about a boozing, pot-smoking, foul-mouthed teddy bear who would be instant new best friends with The Hangover guys. Not too many films serve up laughs that just keep on rolling with regularity from beginning to end, but Seth MacFarlane's directorial debut does so and without any feeling of strain. There's admittedly something a bit weird about the premise that might keep away some viewers who would otherwise belly up for a good gross comedy, but the comedy quotient is more than high enough to prompt upbeat word-of-mouth and solid summer business.
MacFarlane's wise-ass, ecumenically offensive joke-making is recognizable from the first scene, in which a bunch of suburban Christian kids celebrate Christmas by beating up the neighborhood Jewish kid, who in the middle of things warns the unpopular kid not to help him out. Poor little John Bennett has no friends at all until his parents offer him his dreamed-of present: a stuffed bear who fulfills the boy's wish of coming alive.
Naturally, this one-of-a-kind walking and talking creature becomes a national celebrity in 1985 and a wonderful Zelig-like scene has Ted, a totally credible CGI creation voiced in a thick Boston accent by MacFarlane, appearing with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. But even a talking bear becomes old hat after a while and, a quarter-century later, Ted suffers the fate of many other child stars, indulging in major substance abuse while living in the past and mooching off others.
Ted's main enabler is his lifelong “thunder buddy” John (Mark Wahlberg), who, at 35, still spends way too much time getting wasted with his fuzzy friend, whose coat, truth be told, is beginning to wear as thin as his act in spots. John's dreamy girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) is more tolerant of the best friend than John deserves, but their fourth anniversary of togetherness cues certain expectations in her that John is not yet ready to offer.
Like Family Guy, the film serves up cutaway digressions that are hilarious partly for being so unexpected; a flashback to John's first meeting Lori is cast in the form of homage to the Saturday Night Fever disco dance lampoon in Airplane! The fact that some of the jokes sound as if they really belong in the mouth of cartoon characters might have something to do with the fact that Ted was originally conceived as an animated series, but the script by MacFarlane and longtime Family Guy writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild acknowledges and adheres to traditional structural rules concerning emotional expectations and payoffs; it might even take one step too many in that direction at the close.
Michelle Williams plays twenty-eight-year-old Margot, happily married to Lou (Seth Rogen), a good-natured cookbook author. But when Margot meets Daniel (Luke Kirby), a handsome artist that lives across the street, their mutual attraction is undeniable. Warmly human, funny and bittersweet, "Take This Waltz" deftly avoids romantic clichés and paints an unusually true and unsentimental portrait of adult relationships.
Take This Waltz is a rather sweet, very nuanced film. Sarah Polley has some great talent in both screen writing and directing, and her effort here is... both a success and failure. It's a very gentle, very fragile film, one where all of the spoken dialogue is said with such precision and emotional truth and one in which the characters feel unwilling to reveal themselves completely. I appreciated it's tone, optimistic, but very melancholic. At times, it left me in a sort of trance. But it's not great simply because I found it too self-conscious at times. It has its great moments that ring true, but also moments in which it just feels like an exercise to be "sweet" and "subtle". The characters are not all as interesting as I would hope for. After the film's first act, I felt like the film had nowhere to go, and instead it kept going in circles. Still, it was involving for what it was.
The performances here are what is excellent. Although the characters do bring you into the story, they also really make you think twice about their flawed developments and overall writing. But the actors all give it their best. Michelle Williams is slowly becoming one of my favorite actresses, and while she is great in the role, I can't help but feel like it's something that she has already done in much more interesting ways. I love Williams, but I do hope that she starts to branch out in different ways and not just go for these type of roles. Rogen shows a real gracefulness and maturity that we haven't seen from him before, and he makes the most of his character definitely. Not a ground-breaking performance, but one that will make you appreciate him more as a dramatic actor. Kirby is also mysterious but also very appealing and seductive in his own way.
I would say that this is a failure in many ways, but also a film that I could still slightly recommend. I don't think it's anything original or even anything special, although it has its moments where it truly soars. I actually think that while Polley showed a different kind of directorial style, this is not as good as Away From Her. For Williams fans, check it out. She is great, but it feels like such an obvious role for her, and her performance, her mannerisms, all feel recycled. It leaves me torn because as an exercise in acting, she does more with the role than Polley did with her writing, but at the same time it can't hep but feel uninspired. The last 10 minutes however, are better than the rest of the film, and I do greatly admire what Polley did with this ending.
While settling his recently deceased father's estate, a salesman discovers he has a sister whom he never knew about, leading both siblings to re-examine their perceptions about family and life choices.
"People Like Us" is about a monumentally selfish and closed-off character, Sam, all mouth and emotional defenses. Sam's shady sales business, which the movie bends over backward to explain in the opening scenes, keeps him hustling one step ahead of the Federal Trade Commission.
Then life throws the curve, and Sam receives news that the father he barely knew, an LA music producer, has died. Sam and his girlfriend arrive in time for the tail end of the post-funeral gathering at Sam's old house, owned by his guarded and wary mother.
And then? Sam learns that his father fathered another child, a girl — Sam's half-sister, who is now grown and a recovering alcoholic with a dangerously rudderless 11-year-old son. Sam receives a satchel containing $150,000, earmarked for the relatives he never knew he had. Sam and half-sister Frankie meet. Sam begins shadowing his troubled nephew. And up until the 90-minute mark, "People Like Us" dances around in circles contriving reasons, mostly emotional, some practical, why Sam would keep the big news a big secret for an ill-advised amount of screen time. (When finally delivered by Sam, the beans-spilling moment got a hearty "THANK YOU!!" from one member of a Chicago preview audience.)
A fine and moving film could be made from this story, which was inspired, loosely, by events and situations in the lives of Kurtzman and Orci. But the script sets an awfully low bar for Sam's redemption: All he must do is not keep the money for himself, and to learn to say, "I love you," and to generally be less of a punk.
Many, I suspect, will find the film's climactic assault on the tear ducts effective. But in his debut feature outing as a director, Kurtzman — whose producing and/or writing credits with Orci include the frantic thriller"Eagle Eye"and the"Transformers"pictures — hammers every scene and eye blink with a heavy hand. This film is shot and edited like a second-rate tent-pole action picture. A key moment early on, in which Sam's mother hauls off and slaps his face, becomes a nerve-jangling five-shot sequence, pushy and false. Why? Why shoot it that way?
Chris Pine portrays Sam; Elizabeth Banks, Frankie; Michael Hall D'Addario, the preteen wiseacre Josh; and Michelle Pfeiffer brings a weary ex-groupie glamour to Sam's mother, Lillian. Pine has considerable presence and tons of promise, though playing a relatably dislikable fellow often he's just dislikable. In the"Star Trek" reboot (which Kurtzman and Orci wrote), Pine brought a piercing Shatnerian intensity to every looming close-up. That same quality is a bit much for the parameters of this story, and Kurtzman's technique behind the camera has the effect of crowding the performers.
This past May, Neil Young brought his solo tour to Toronto's Massey Hall, an iconic venue in the city of his birth. Jonathan Demme was on hand to capture the two nights, which highlighted new songs from the album Le Noise, produced by Daniel Lanois, mixed with classics like "Ohio" and "I Believe in You." At sixty-five, Young retains a youthful vitality and musical curiosity that balances his wisdom and experience. It's no wonder he's been an inspiration to the likes of Pearl Jam and Sonic Youth. In Neil Young Journeys, Demme intersperses the Massey Hall concert footage with brief scenes from a road trip through Ontario. Driving a 1956 Ford Crown Victoria, Young visits the rural town of Omemee, where he spent a key part of his formative years, and reminisces about his former neighbors and their daughters. As he drives past bulldozers transforming the landscape, he remarks, 'It's all gone... it's still in my head.'
Once every few years, there comes a concert film that’s so memorizing, it’s transportive, putting you in better seats than the front row. This definitely applies to Director Jonathan Demme’s NEIL YOUNG JOURNEYS. It’s a stunning and resplendent mix of behind-the-scenes footage of the master singer-songwriter in the town where he grew up, capturing a full circle moment for the iconic rock star. This is what happens when two masters in their respective fields get together to create magic. It’s explosive.
The film is mostly concert footage of Young’s one man tour. He plays a few songs from the 70s mixed in with songs off 2010s LE NOISE record. The show is interwoven with Young (who’s somewhat of a gearhead) driving around Omemee (a small town outside of Toronto), Ontario in his 1956 Crown Victoria reminiscing about his childhood. During these stories, Young is cool, calm, and open. They stand as a perfect counterpoint to the intense performance he gives on stage for two nights at Massey Hall. Not heavy on biography, Demme lets the music tell the story. And it’s not a complete retrospective either. Just a corner on the road this performer’s life has taken.
I must make it a point to say that I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself to be a huge Neil Young fan. While his music is great, it’s not something I find myself ever reaching for. Nevertheless, I can appreciate the masterful way he channels his political rage into beautiful prose. He’s a dynamic performer who benefits when he reunites with Demme. As this is their third outing together (HEART OF GOLD and TRUNK SHOW being the previous two), there’s a certain tangible relaxed attitude from Young as he takes us on a tour of his hometown. Demme’s shooting style elevates the songs to a fresh new level – one with perspective. Perhaps the most transcendent segment takes place during Young’s ballad “I Believe In You.” Demme (along with cinematographer Declan Quinn) shoots through a piano with Young’s face obscured by the instrument. It’s heart-rending and brilliant. Going handheld for a few of the songs adds to the gravitas of the picture and adds a new dimension to his music.
It’s an intimate portrait of a rock star and an exquisite concert documentary that gives us a peek behind the curtain at two enigmatic storytellers. This film proves to be worth catching in a theater as his music hits notes that sock viewers in their gut – a feeling most of us won’t be able to replicate in our home theaters. It resonates not just in lyric but also in melody. Simply put, this film sings!
Mike (Channing Tatum) is an entrepreneur. A man of many talents and loads of charm, he spends his days pursuing the American Dream from as many angles as he can handle: from roofing houses and detailing cars to designing furniture from his Tampa beach condo.
The hot headliner in an all-male revue, Magic Mike has been rocking the stage at Club Xquisite for years with his original style and over-the-top dance moves. The more the ladies love him, the more they spend, and the happier that makes club owner Dallas (Matthew McConaughey).
Seeing potential in a guy he calls the Kid (Alex Pettyfer), Mike takes the 19-year-old under his wing and schools him in the fine arts of dancing, partying, picking up women and making easy money. It's not long before the club's newest act has fans of his own, as the summer opens up to a world of fun, friendship and good times.
Meanwhile, Mike meets the Kid's captivating sister, Brooke (Cody Horn). She's definitely someone he'd like to know a lot better, and it looks like he has a chance...until his lifestyle gets in the way.
"Magic Mike" stars Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Cody Horn, Olivia Munn, Matt Bomer, Riley Keough, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez and Gabriel Iglesias.
This movie isn't just a stripper film...I can only describe Magic Mike as a TOTAL PARTY.. it's funny, shocking...and surprisingly heart felt..I really wanted Magic Mike to get the girl (as if there was ever any doubt)
Yes, there's dancing, yes they're nearly naked..but I thought the relationship between Magic Mike and 'The Kid' was really great..all the guys are funny (and of course hot) but there's great chemistry between the whole group. For people who think this is just a film for the ladies and the gays, I think you're wrong...the two straight guys who were with our group really liked the film..and who cares if they (pretended?) to cover their eyes during the stripping scenes...they liked seeing guys party..it's definitely a male fantasy I think..to be up there and to make women scream for you to take your clothes off.
I'd never seen Cody Horn in a film before..she's definitely got that 'next big star' quality. I could totally see Matthew Mcconoughay getting some sort of award nomination for his role as the strip club owner, 'Dallas'...but seriously..I've never seen Channing be this good...Brad Pitt should stay home with the kids, because he's definitely been replaced as the hottest man alive in my book..I'm going to start the campaign now for Channing to be People Magazine's sexiest man alive for 2012!
I Heart Shakey is the story of a widower J.T. O'Neil played by Steve Lemme, his ten-year-old daughter played by Rylie Behr and their loyal mutt Shakey. The family moves from Toledo, Ohio to the big city of Chicago, Illinois. When they arrive, they discover that their luxury hi-rise does not accept pets. J.T. must decide what to do, break up the family by giving away their dog, high-tail it back to Toledo and abandon his dream, or figure it all out while keeping the family together. J.T. heads down the wrong path of giving Shakey away initially...but that is when all the fun begins. Although I Heart Shakey is a comedy, at its core it is a story about love, loyalty and family.
This is a film that demonstrates the power of a father's love for his daughter, Chandler, and family dog, Shakey.
This movie includes the positive themes of a father who takes his parental duties seriously and spends time with his daughter doing what he can to ensure her happiness and the safety of Shakey. Due to the content listed below, we are recommending this one for ages twelve plus and suggest that parents watch the movie with their kids and initiate a discussion about family pets and rules which sometimes don't seem fair. We recommend "I Heart Shakey" especially to pet lovers or anyone who has a rowdy dog in their homes.
Hushpuppy, a slow-to-smile 6-year-old girl played by Quvenzhané Wallis, lives in the Bathtub, a proudly independent pocket of Louisiana where a handful of residents exist on what nature and the scraps of civilization provide. Some of the Bathtub’s residents, like Wallis and her troubled, ailing father (Dwight Henry), dwell in trailers mounted above ground to fight the rising tides, and eat food culled from the animals that live alongside them, or pulled from the ocean, or taken from a seemingly endless supply of canned goods, most of which look aged and beaten, and some of which were never intended for human consumption in the first place. Wallis doesn’t share a home with Henry, but she lives nearby in a dilapidated space she shares with the ghost of her mother, or a voice she imagines to be her ghost. Sometimes Henry tosses a whole chicken on the grill—after first pulling it from an iceless cooler—and shares it with her. Other times, he’s not around at all. Wallis gets by anyway. The people of the Bathtub are good at getting by.
At school, she learns about the aurochs: unpitying, prehistoric beasts now awakened to walk the Earth again. At night she dreams of horned, woolly animals making their way across the land, awakened from frozen slumber by melting ice caps and destroying whatever crosses their path. She might be letting her imagination run wild. Or she might have a gift for seeing what others can’t: The little bit of rundown world her people call their own may soon face a new threat to its existence.
Beasts Of The Southern Wild never fully chooses between those options, but it isn’t really in the question-answering business. The remarkable, lyrical feature debut of Benh Zeitlin—a New York filmmaker with a background in animation who relocated to Louisiana in advance of making the film—Beasts moves with a dreamlike pulse, and is never better than when it doesn’t feel the need to move much at all. The opening scenes present an idealized idea of life amid those with nothing to lose. In a voiceover made all the more poetic by Wallis’ unpracticed delivery—the first of several elements that bring Terrence Malick to mind—Wallis contrasts life in the Bathtub to life behind the levee, where folks have means but little time for the Bathtub’s seemingly nightly celebrations, where alcohol flows freely and fireworks light up the sky. It’s a joyous existence, but also a perilous one. A strong storm could wipe them out. Those that live there do so at their own peril, but consider it worth the risk. Better to live free in the riches of nature than surrounded by prosperity and plenty that’s always out of reach.
As the film progresses, the peril starts to overtake the joyousness, sending Wallis, her father, and others on an episodic journey that takes them to what’s left of civilization—and maybe back home again. Zeitlin, who co-wrote the film with Lucy Alibar from her play, offers only vague allusions to a catastrophe that’s reshaped the world, leaving viewers as much in the dark as Wallis as to what’s happened, and what might happen next. But the state of the Bathtub bears a familiar look of not-so-benign neglect. No one mentions Katrina, but the hurricane and other recent disasters loom over Beasts. Zeitlin transforms the aftermath of the storm into a fantasy of neighborly barbarism, as if all those neglected in Katrina’s wake decided to split off from a nation that had no interest in their well-being. They’ve lapsed into what’s, by all appearances, an agreeable state of anarchy, albeit one in danger of being washed away.
Philippe Garrel’s laconic portrait of two couples striving to stay together. Painter Frédéric (Louis Garrel) and his actress wife, Angèle (Monica Bellucci), invite struggling actor Paul (Jérôme Robart) and his girlfriend Elisabeth (Céline Sallette) to Rome for the summer, only to involve them in their imploding relationship, brought about by past infidelities and Frédéric’s aloof, domineering attitude. Tonally complemented by the Velvet Underground legend John Cale’s moody score, Garrel’s direction—exhibiting a fondness for long takes—has a charged tranquility that imbues the proceedings with edgy energy even when the plot fumbles around with superfluous asides (like Elisabeth’s sleepwalking) or emphasizes its political divides too starkly via the differing worldviews of fat cat Frédéric and socialist pseudo-revolutionary Paul. Although Angèle’s religious faith and Frédéric’s belief in luck seem like strained attempts at adding heft to the material, the film nevertheless works up a potent dramatic restlessness, derived from the push-pull between an entitled, obsessive Frédéric and Bellucci’s quietly chaotic Angèle. In Angèle’s prolonged dance at a party with an alluring stranger, Garrel captures a striking, thrilling sense of the simultaneous constriction and freedom that’s fundamental to monogamous love.
Flashing back to the main narrative reveals that the woman is Angele (Monica Bellucci), an Italian actress, while the man in the car is Frederic (Louis Garrel), a French painter. They're married and live in Rome.
A few minutes later, the film's narrator makes his first appearance on screen. He's Paul (Jerome Robart), who plays bit parts in movies. So does Elisabeth (Celine Sallette), who meets Paul when they appear in a French Resistance drama. Soon, they're living together.
Also soon, Paul and Elisabeth are sharing Frederic and Angele's large apartment. The painter, who seems to be independently wealthy, likes having them around, and the underemployed actors enjoy their hosts — and the free rent.
Too much togetherness can be problem, though, especially when needy Elisabeth begins to fear that Paul is falling for Angele. But couple No. 2's problems are minor compared with the turmoil between Frederic and Angele, both of whom are frequently unfaithful and periodically spiteful.
None of these conflicts has any great urgency, and the film's heady themes — art, fidelity, religion, death, the search for meaning — are merely invoked rather than explored. One oddity is the casting: Bellucci is 18 years older than Louis Garrel, which is unusual enough to rate some comment but doesn't. (The fictional marriage must be a nod to the actor's real-life relationship with actress Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, who is the same age as Bellucci.)
The scenario recalls Jean-Luc Godard's Contempt, another tale of an actress who comes to disdain her husband. Both movies are set in and around the Italian film industry, but Godard had a lot more fun with that fact. Philippe Garrel uses the movie-set vignettes mostly to punctuate the talkier scenes with action, although that French Resistance movie suggests one possible theme: Earlier generations had a sense of purpose lacking in kids today.
For cinephiles who like to connect the dots, A Burning Hot Summer offers links galore. Philippe Garrel is directing his son, and there's a cameo by his father (playing Louis' grandfather).
The youngest Garrel also appeared in his dad's Regular Lovers, the 2005 film that attracted more international attention than any of the director's efforts in decades. It was co-written by Marc Chodolenko, who also helped script this movie, and was set in politically charged 1968 Paris — as was Bernardo Bertolucci's 2002 The Dreamers, which also starred Louis Garrel.