Sunday, March 22, 2009

I Love You, Man

Movie name: I Love You, Man
Year of release: 2008
Director: John Hamburg
Stars: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, JK Simmons, Jane Curtin, Jaime Pressly, Jon Favreau, Sarah Burns, Thomas Lennon, Rob Huebel
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5

"I Love You, Man" follows the story of Peter Klaven, a young real estate broker, who is an all around nice guy, who proposes to his girlfriend Zooey and who has no real male friends. When Zooey and her girlfriends make some comments on how Peter does not have male friends, he decides to get help from his mom and gay brother who set him up on a couple of man-dates. These dates end up all without much success, but on one of his open houses, Peter meets Sydney, a young slacker who's out to meet some divorcees, and whose honesty and directness makes Peter immediately feel at ease. With the encouragement of Zooey, Peter starts going out more with Sydney in the hopes of having a best man for his wedding. The premise of this film is one that is rich with misshaps, and for some scenes the film succeeds in being funny, but most of the times it barely resonates. The choice of Paul Rudd and Jason Segel is spot on, since they both have come to tipify the characters they play: Rudd as the good guy who needs to get loose and Segel as the eternal slacker who needs to mature. However, unlike Judd Apatow's comedies that have a heart and a brain, this one has the willingness to debate things you don't see in romantic comedies, but it also has a lot of the Farrely Brothers school of comedy (the more "physical" part). It's a comedy that hits some spots, but one that in the end, doesn't register much.


Movie name: Duplicity
Year of release: 2009
Director: Tony Gilroy
Stars: Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Tom Wilkinson, Denis O'Hare, Kathleen Schalfant, Thomas McCarthy, Wayne Duvall
Genre: Crime, Thriller, Romance
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

After the success that was his first film "Michael Clayton", acclaimed screenwriter Tony Gilroy is back, on a lighter tone, with this story of industrial espionage/romantic comedy, that uses the palpable chemistry between it's two main leads. The film introduces us to a couple, Claire Stenwick and Ray Koval, both former secret agents, who decide to go to the private sector and get some quick money that will allow them both to retire and lead comfortable lives. They focus on two great corporate rivals, and try to find a way to make a profit out of a fantastic discovery that one of them has had. However between backstabbers and surprise twists, who is deceiving whom? The film is in many ways an ode to the classic hollywood style, much like Stanley Donen's "Charade" or even Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest", with Julia Roberts and Clive Owen filling in for Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint. The story itself moves us back and forth, explaining how Claire and Ray came up with the plan and how everything comes to fruition. However one of the films main issues is it's rythm - the film feels stalled at certain sections. Some characters are very underdeveloped, particularly the severely underused Tom Wilkinson. The film belongs through and through to Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, who had played a couple in Mike Nichols' "Closer", but who are in much lighter mood here. They have such an easiness and cool rapport that they make this film worth watching.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Movie name: Watchmen
Year of release: 2009
Director: Zack Snyder
Stars: Jackie Earle Haley, Billy Crudup, Patrick Wilson, Carla Gugino, Matthew Goode, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Malin Akerman, Matt Frewer, Stephen McHattie, Laura Mennell, Rob LaBelle
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

Zack Snyder's third film is another adaptation of a graphic novel, following his hugely successful "300" (an adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel). "Watchmen" has been a project that went through different hands, from Terry Gilliam to Paul Greengrass, and following the success of Zack Snyder's first two films ("Dawn of the Dead" was the first), he was chosen to bring the project to life. Alan Moore responsible for writing the graphic novel (he also wrote V for Vendetta, From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) has long distanced himself from the film adaptations of his work, and this was no exception. The film starts by introducing us to the death of a character called the Comedian. We find out he was part of a group of masked superheroes named Watchmen. The year is 1985 and the heroes have long been in retirement, since the 70s, when they helped the US and president Richard Nixon win the Vietnam War. The world is at the brink of nuclear war and the only one who can stop it, is one of the heroes called Dr. Manhattan, a blue superbeing who was transformed after an experiment gone wrong. The film follows the lives of these super heroes, flawed human beings with their own hopes and fears, all anchored in the dark character that is Roscharch, the one desperately trying to find the culprit behind the death of their former colleague. This faithful adaptation of the comic book, oscillates between being fantastically enthralling and visually stunning and at points borderline cheesy and ill conceived. The film hits the high marks visually, with the attention to detail and the production design and the photography of Larry Fong, that makes everything look eternally gloom, but on the other hand, it has pacing problems, sometimes over explaining things or presenting a very dubious ideology. The acting is also mixed, with high points being given to Jackie Earle Haley (who gives the best performance) and Billy Crudup, with low points being given to the wooden Malin Akerman and Matthew Goode. To sum it up, it's an entertaining, yet uneven film. Notheless worth checking out.