Movie Review: Stuck in Love

IMDB, Stuck in LoveDrama/Romance, 97 Minutes, 2012: “Stuck in Love” on IMDB

You know what makes a good love story? When you can’t decide if the people involved are assholes or not, that’s what. If they’re clearly assholes then it’s easy: they don’t deserve love and it’s a bad love story. If they’re clearly not assholes then it’s also easy: they’ll get love but it won’t matter because it’s not real and it’s a bad love story. On the other hand, if you’re honestly not sure there’s a good chance that those characters may be worth caring about. Real people are assholes sometimes and a good love story needs real people.

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Movie Review: We Need to Talk about Kevin

IMDB, We Need to Talk about KevinThriller, 112 Minutes, 2011: “We Need to Talk about Kevin” on IMDB

Kids suck, amirite or amirite? I mean you’re perfectly happy living your life, spending your disposable income and sleeping through the night. You want to go out; you go out! You want to beat “Final Fantasy VII” in a sitting; you do it! Then, out of nowhere, BAM! Then, nine-months later it all goes to hell. The crying, diaper changing and total lack of privacy. And don’t get me started on the enduring antisocial behavior, diminished empathy and remorse, and disinhibited or bold behavior!

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Movie Review: This is 40

IMDB, This is 40Comedy/Drama, 134 Minutes, 2013: “This is 40” on IMDB

This is Judd Apatow’s [IMDB] “sort-of sequel” to 2007’s “Knocked Up” [IMDB], the growing-up comedy about accidental pregnancy. This features two of the secondary characters, married couple Pete (Paul Rudd [IMDB]) and Debbie (Leslie Mann [IMDB]). Like that film and his last big film, 2009’s “Funny People” [IMDB] this movie is very well done, features a horde of insanely talented people and is long. Really, quite long.

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Movie Review: Don Jon

IMDB, Don JonComedy/Drama, 90 Minutes, 2013: “Don Jon” on IMDB

Joseph Gordon-Levitt [IMDB] has made a remarkable transition from television child-actor to featured roles in many critically-acclaimed blockbusters. While luck has likely played a part, there’s no doubting his talent in front of the camera.  “Don Jon” is his writing/directing debut. With an excellent A-list cast, he also stars.

Gordon-Levitt plays Jon, a good Italian Catholic New Jersey boy. Via a series of surprisingly palatable internal monologues we learn about him and how he sees life. Most films use such narration as a crutch, and that’s true here to an extent, but this felt more natural; as if the audience were just another buddy to chat with. He loves his car and his apartment. He hates bad drivers and dirt. He works out, visits his parents and basically has a good bead on things.

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Movie Review: 12 Years a Slave

IMDB, 12 Years a SlaveDrama, 134 Minutes, 2013: “12 Years a Slave” on IMDB

Slavery was a reality in the United States for the first 89 years of its existence and in the colonies for 157 years before that. It was abolished only 149 years ago. It’s impossible to underestimate the devastating impact this had, and continues to have, on this country.

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Movie Review: The Lifeguard

IMDB, The LifeguardDrama, 98 Minutes, 2013: “The Lifeguard” on IMDB

Leigh (played by Kristen Bell [IMDB]) is having an existential crisis. Life just hasn’t turned out the way that she had hoped it would. In high-school she was a straight “A” student, class valedictorian and spent her summers working as a lifeguard at the local public pool. In real-life she’s working as the most junior of reporters at a scruffy newspaper in New York, dating the wrong guy and unable to get anybody to take her seriously.

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Movie Review: The English Teacher

IMDB, The English TeacherDrama/Comedy, 93 Minutes, 2013: “The English Teacher” on IMDB

Miss Sinclair (Julianne Moore [IMDB]) is a dedicated high-school English teacher in a small, Pennsylvanian town. Her encompassing love of literature has given her an overactive romantic sensibility and little patience for ordinary relationships. She’s perfectly content being left alone with her teaching, her cats and her books.

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