Friday, August 24, 2012


 Fantasy drama

Jennifer Garner: Cindy Green, tour guide
Joel Edgerton: her husband Jim, plant employee
Shohreh Aghdashloo: Ms. Onat of the U.S. Adoption Services
Dianne Wiest: Cindy’s boss Bernice Crudstaff
CJ Adams: 9-year-old Timothy
Emmet Walsh: Cindy’s Uncle Bub
Lois Smith: Cindy’s Aunt Mel
David Morse: Jim’s father James
Rosemarie DeWitt: Cindy’s sister Brenda
Odeya Rush: a young girl
Ron Livingstone: Jim’s boss, Bernice’s oldest son Franklin 

Promoted as a Disney film, one movie-goer was heard to say “Walt Disney would turn over in his grave if he saw this one”. Unlike the great classic movies such as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, this one straddles the line between fantasy and reality. That’s a poor mix: it’s got to be either/or to make for a story we can buy into. So this one leaves me detached, just an observer thinking “why did they spend all that money to wind up with this?”

Another thing: three quarters of the people we get to see are either odd (the young girl Timmy meets once in a while) or nasty unpleasant folk (Bernice, grandpa James, Brenda, Franklin to name but a few) so it’s a pleasure to see them disappear from the screen with every scene change.

I should have walked out but I thought “maybe it will get better?” It never did.

 for mild thematic elements and brief language.

Thursday, August 16, 2012



Meryl Streep: Kay Soames, a retail shop employee
Tommy Lee Jones: her husband Arnold, Senior Partner in an Accounting firm
Steve Carell: Marriage Councillor Dr. Bernie Feld

Brilliant. No other term comes close to describing Meryl Streep’s portrayal of a woman who is unhappy with her marriage of some thirty-odd years. Not that the other two principals are slouches, it’s just that she is so much better than they are.

The story will resonate with anyone who has been (or still is) in a long term relationship. There is a ring of truth about it and it does not feel fake. Perhaps one of the writer’s went through this or knows someone who did?

Clearly geared to the more discerning viewer, one moviegoer so succinctly put it this way: “an interesting movie that caters to a more senior demographic although parts of it made me cringe” because of the explicit and graphic nature of some scenes. Most people will feel the same, being uncomfortable hearing others talk about their intimate personal sex life. However, like me, you can always look away if it becomes too much. But more often than not there is some comic relief, either a titter or a chuckle from someone.

 for mature thematic content involving sexuality.

By splitting the screen during the showing of the end credits I feel I got gypped having to focus on the continuation of the movie with no opportunity to read the credits as they roll by. I hope this does not become a trend in the movie industry because some of us enjoy staying to the end reading these things.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


 Animated action\adventure

Ray Romano: Manny, a mammoth
Queen Latifah: his mate Ellie
Keke Palmer: their teenage daughter Peaches
Aubrey Graham: Ethan
Josh Gad: Louis
John Leguzamo: Sid the sloth
Wanda Sykes: Sid’s Granny
Denis Leary: Diego, a saber-toothed tiger
Josh Peck: Eddie
Peter Dinklage: Captain Gutt, a primate
Jeffifer Lopez: First Mate Shira, a saber-toothed tiger

The fourth in a series (and hopefully the last) overstays its welcome by at least 90 minutes, with only Scrat the saber-tooth squirrel providing any original and/or funny material. The rest of the film comprises recyled themes and images seen at least once in the preceeding three installments amidst lame jokes (groaners at best) and slapstick frantic action.

This mayhem will no doubt please the kids but the rest of us will find it trite. As for the splitting apart of the earth it is too frightening for the young ones (under 5 I’d say) but that does not seem to be of any concern of the producers. And the thrashing dealt upon poor Granny shouldn’t be witnessed by anyone, much less by the target audience.

 for mild rude humour and action/peril.

Saturday, August 4, 2012



Alison Pill: Hayley, an American tourist
Flavio Parenti: Michelangelo, an architect
Lynn Swanson: his mother Ellen
Fabio Armiliato: his father Giancarlo
Woody Allen: retired music producer Jerry
Judy Davis: his wife Phyllis
Alessandro Tiberi: newly married Antonio
Alessandra Mastronardi: his school teacher wife Milly
Penélope Cruz: Anna, a prostitute
Roberto Benigni: Leopoldo, an office clerk
Alec Baldwin: John, a retired architect
Carol Alt: his wife Carol
Jesse Eisenberg: Jack, an architectural student
Greta Gerwig: his girlfriend Sally
Ellen Page: her friend Monica

What a disappointment: after his wonderful Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen comes out with a stinker. Supposedly a comedy, the first inkling of hilarity is Jerry’s reaction to shaking the hand of a mortician, and that after a half hour has transpired. The next hilarious bit is Jerry’s mispronunciation of Michelangelo’s name, not just once but three times. It doesn’t get any better than that so set your laugh expectations low, real low.

But unfortunately that’s not the worst of it: the story is about four couples who have no connection with each other and these interlaced vignettes are supposed to be of some interest. Well they aren’t, in large measure because the dialogue is infantile. For example Leopoldo is interviewed on television and asked what he had for breakfast that morning to which said “toast and coffee” then this is followed up with “and what did you put on your toast?” to which he replied “jam”.

No longer able to contain myself from laughing so much (and not wanting to waste any more time) I walked out.

 for sexual content and profanity.

Anna slips off her shoes and tosses them on the bed, each one landing on a different pillow. When she retrieves them they are both together conveniently on the side of the bed so she doesn’t have to reach for them.

Leopoldo tries several times to hurriedly unlock the front door but in his haste never gets the key in the lock yet the door magically opens when he pushes on it.

Once more Ralph’s Rule of Redundancy applies:
“Any film where one person takes on more than 2 key positions (Woody Allen is Writer, Director and Star) has a major shortcoming: the absence of independent critical judgement that results in something less than it might have been.”