And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

Currently browsing the "Reese Witherspoon" tag.

Review: A Wrinkle in Time

I sooo wanted to like this movie. Really, I did. But despite its star power both in front of the camera (Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, etc.) and behind it (director Ava DuVernay), A Wrinkle in Time is a bit of a hot mess. It’s colorful, visually stunning in parts, and spreads a heartfelt message about familial bonds, embracing your faults, finding strength in your individuality and all that good stuff. But in the end, the narrative gets lost in the spectacle – and Oprah’s larger-than-life, eye-glittered presence is more of a distraction than a serviceable plot device. The story just doesn’t add up. I don’t recall that being the case with Madeline L’Engle’s classic novel, first published in 1962. I read it in the 1970s (when I actually devoured more books than movies – probably because I couldn’t drive) and have fond recollections of protagonist Meg Murry’s travels through time and space in search of her scientist father who went missing while studying the universe.

Review: Home Again

No harm, no foul. Sweet Home Alabama – um, I mean, Home Again, is light and fluffy, formulaic, predictable, enjoyable and forgettable. And it serves as a pleasant alternative at the box office for those who might prefer a mindless modern romantic comedy to a horror story about a creepy clown that terrorizes and kills kids (IT).

Sing

I’m a big fan of The Voice. I watched American Idol. I love musicals. The trailer for Sing looked awesome. And then I saw the movie. And I was bummed. The elements were all there for greatness (or at least very goodness), but it doesn’t come close to reaching its potential. In fact, I was bored for a big chunk of Sing, especially when the menagerie of animated pop-star wannabes weren’t singing. That’s not to say it won’t do (extremely) well at the box office. It will. It’s like The Secret Life of Pets (from the same studio, Universal Pictures/Illumination Entertainment). Pets wasn’t very good, but I’m convinced that kids and adults had psyched themselves up to like it – no matter what — based on the cute trailer and premise. The same will be true with Sing. Enough people will see it – and sing its praises – to put me in the minority. So go ahead. See it, and weigh in! I’m listening!

Hot Pursuit

Hot Pursuit is a lukewarm comedy that tries to be funny – but isn’t – despite the star power of Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon and Modern Family sexpot, Sofia Vergara. The acting isn’t nearly as bad as the script, but it’s a moot point. The movie is simply lame – and couldn’t come at a worse time for the nation’s men and women in blue.

Inherent Vice

I have liked Paul Thomas Anderson’s films a lot in the past (Magnolia, Boogie Nights, There Will be Blood), and Inherent Vice has a lot of the elements he is known for — a great ensemble cast, intertwining story lines, a sense of the world being off kilter. But in this case, it just never seems to come together. By the end of two and a half hours, you are as befuddled as the pothead protagonist, all the while thinking that it has to ultimately make sense. My suspicion is that adapting this (or any other) Thomas Pynchon novel seemed like a great challenge, since no one has done it before. But I think this film should serve as a cautionary tale for future screenwriters who think they’ll be the one who gets it right.

Wild (and Tracks)

I wasn’t particularly wild about Wild. And I didn’t read the best-selling book, so I can’t really compare the two. But friends tell me the book is much stronger in terms of developing the peripheral characters who crossed the path of the real-life Cheryl Strayed. Reese Witherspoon portrays Strayed, a hiking novice who decides that a solo, thousand-mile trek across the Pacific Crest Trail could make her a better person. She’s been dealing with a lot – the dissolution of her marriage (to a good guy) after years of reckless, destructive behavior, and the death of her mother (played in flashbacks by a superb Laura Dern). It’s an ambitious and cathartic adventure that I can admire in theory, but certainly don’t envy or care to emulate. So more power to her! And to her ginormous backpack and bloodied toenails!

Mud

Mud is a fairly straightforward adventure/coming-of-age story about a 14-year-old boy’s struggle to understand love and romance, while aiding and abetting a lovelorn criminal. Matthew McConaughey plays a fugitive named Mud, who happens to be hiding out on an island that teenagers Ellis (Tye Sheridan, Tree of Life) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland)) have an interest in. When they meet up, they enter into an arrangement.

This Means War

This Means War could ignite a battle among critics – and debates among friends- because it’s not a great movie by any stretch, but it doesn’t suck either. It’s fine February fluff that’s part ‘buddy movie’ and part ‘chick flick’… part action-adventure-spy-drama  and part romantic comedy. If the combination doesn’t appeal, then skip it. But if you’re looking for a good date movie or compromise among friends, then consider putting this one on the table.

Chris Pine (Star Trek, Unstoppable) and Tom Hardy (Inception,Warrior) play CIA agents whose brotherly bond is tested when they fall for the same girl, played by chick-flick veteran Reese Witherspoon (Water for Elephants, Legally Blonde, Sweet Home Alabama). She, in turn, falls for both of them – unaware that they know each other and are using the tools of their trade to surveil and sabotage her romantic encounters.

How Do You Know?

How Do You Know a movie just doesn’t work? You look at the people around you as the credits roll and nobody’s saying much of anything – good or bad. The movie is so-so at best. It’s a shame, ‘cause I really wanted to like it. We’re so overdue for a good romantic comedy this holiday season!!! So what happened?