Saturday, March 19, 2011


Murder mystery

Matthew McConaughey: Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Mick Haller
Laurence Mason: his chauffeur Earl
John Leguizamo: bail bondsman Val Valenzuela
Ryan Phillippe: Beverly Hills playboy Louis Roulet
Bob Gunton: the Roulet family lawyer Cecil Dobbs
Frances Fisher: Louis’ mother Mary Windsor
William H. Macy: private investigator Frank Levin
Marisa Tomei: Mick’s ex Maggie
Josh Lucas: assistant D.A. Ted Minton

I don’t know if there are street-smart wise-guy lawyers like Mick in LA but there should be. It’s refreshing to see a lawyer who comes across as somebody you’d like to sit down and have a drink with. Perhaps it’s the way McConaughey plays it but it makes for an entertaining outing.

The well written story plays out quickly with enough clues for solving the mystery rather than leaving the viewer totally befuddled; that’s worth the price of admission alone.

The acting is uniformly very good and the characters more-or-less believable. Something you don’t see too often in movies of this sort.

for some violence, sexual content and language.

Friday, March 18, 2011



Liam Neeson: Dr. Martin Harris
January Jones: his wife Liz
Diane Kruger: taxi driver Gina
Karl Markovics: Dr.Farge
Eva Löbau: Nurse Gretchen Erfurt
Bruno Ganz: former Stasi agent Ernst Jürgen
Sebastian Koch: seminar host Professor Bressler
Frank Langella: Martin’s longtime colleague Professor Rodney Cole

It is far too complicated to make any sense of it. And too long at almost two hours in part because the chase scenes go on forever.

But back to the storyline: there are far easier ways to accomplish the task at hand than this convoluted mishmash round-about method involving at least a half dozen people on both sides. It gets to the point there is no way of knowing what is real or not, why the bad guys (or are they the good guys?) are out to harm our hero.

After a while you just give up trying to figure things out because it does not make any sense, hoping that at the end the dénoument will clarify things. Well sorry to tell you but it doesn’t.

for some intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sexual content.

• While in the taxi on their way to the hotel Dr. and Mrs. Harris pass a roadside clock that shows the time to be 8:37 but moments later he checks his cell phone and the time shown is 9:03.
• While checking in he tells the receptionist his name but she addresses him as Mister Harris, something that would never happen in a five star hotel.
• The Band-Aid he has on his forehead changes position from one scene to the next
• When Martin takes the subway he checks his watch; it reads 2:18 but a minute later when he alights the platform clock shows it to be 9:30.
• Unlike the real thing his Canadian passport has a clear film covering the photo page.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


84th Academy Award for Best Animated Feature film

Animated Western

Johnny Depp: Lars, a pet chameleon later known as Rango
Alfred Molina: Roadkill, an armadillo
Isla Fisher: the rancher's daughter Beans, a desert iguana
Ray Winstone: Bad Bill, a gila monster
Ned Beatty: Mayor Tortoise John
Bill Nighy: Rattlesnake Jake
Abigail Breslin: Priscilla, a mousy schoolgirl
Harry Stanton: Balthazar, leader of the robber gang

Although the movie poster would have you believe this one is for kids, that is deceptive because it definitely is not for young children. In fact, some older children will be frightened by the sight of the ferocious hawk swooping down on the townspeople about 15 minutes into the film. And if that is not scary enough wait until the western diamond back rattlesnake shows up with its menacing fangs threatening evil to all.

Although the animation is state-of-the-art, most of the creatures are unpleasant to look at, particularly the extreme close-ups with warts and all. And how about trying to focus on the storyline while some poor bird is walking around with the shaft of an arrow sticking out of one eye?

There’s no shortage of violence to keep the kids amused including shooting off someone’s unmentionables to settle the score. But there definitely is a shortage of humour, at best the odd groaner from time to time.

for rude humor, language, action and smoking.