And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

Currently browsing the "Richard Jenkins" tag.

Review: Nightmare Alley

I’ve been a big fan of Oscar winner Guillermo Del Toro (The Shape of Water) since he first made his mark with Pan’s Labyrinth back in 2006. He’s a master at creating fantasy-filled narratives in visually striking settings. Nightmare Alley is lacking the fantasy that propelled his previous work. It tries to make up for that with one of the most gorgeous production designs in ages. And Bradley Cooper turns in an awards worth performance as conman Stanton Carlisle who rises from carnival side show mindreader to high society psychic, alongside an all-star cast that also includes Cate Blanchett, Toni Colette, Rooney Mara, and Willem Dafoe. But for all that, it ends up being a whole lot of flash that never pays off.

Quickie Review: Kajillionaire

Kajillionaire is flush with quirk. It’s an odd dramedy about a family of con artists comprised of Theresa (Debra Winger), Robert (Richard Jenkins), and their 26-year-old daughter Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood). All her life, Old Dolio has been taught to swindle, steal and scam at every opportunity. It’s all she knows, because it’s all her parents know. But then, during a hastily-conceived heist, a stranger named Melanie (Gina Rodriguez) enters their midst and turns Old Dolio’s world upside down. Melanie gives Old Dolio a chance to experience normal human interaction and childhood pleasures (pancakes!) for the first time, leaving Old Dolio to question whether her parents truly love her or simply view her as a pawn in their endless game of chicanery.

Review: The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water is shaping up to be an awards-season contender, though it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea – or water. It’s a mesmerizing adult fairy tale co-written and directed by Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim, Pan’s Labyrinth). In a nutshell: the film is about a lonely mute named Elisa (Sally Hawkins) who falls in love with a fantastical sea creature (Doug Jones in a gilled wetsuit) being held prisoner in the high-security lab where she works as a cleaning lady. Sure, it all sounds kinds of weird, and it is – but it’s also a stunning film with some stellar acting.

White House Down

White House Down is, quite simply, a guilty pleasure that transcends critical analysis. The plot is preposterous. The dialogue is cheesy. And if you saw Olympus Has Fallen, then you’ll surely find yourself in a constant state of déjà vu. No matter. It is what it is… a mindless opportunity to put a little Channing in your Tatum (you can blame Jimmy Kimmel’s viral video for that reference!). White House Down won’t win any awards outside the MTV variety, but it can satisfy a craving for a fun, chick-flicky action movie with guy and gal appeal. It’ll stick with you about as long as a bag of popcorn. But once in a while, that’s okay. Here’s the gist:

Friends with Benefits

Friends with Benefits is basically a beach-read romance novel come to life on the big screen. Not that there’s anything wrong with a little summer heat. If the premise sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because it is. Just seven months ago, Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher brought us No Strings Attached– a movie about a couple of old friends who agree to engage in a purely physical relationship. Friends with Benefits stars Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake as two new friends who try to convince each other that their physical relationship is merely a fleeting bonus to their comfortable, otherwise platonic friendship. See the difference?

EAT PRAY LOVE

Okay, full disclosure. I didn’t read the best-selling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert. So perhaps if I had, I might have enjoyed EAT PRAY LOVE more than I did. Unfortunately, despite some excellent performances, exotic locales, and inspirational messages, I found this movie to be quite boring.