movie reviews

Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

larsrealgirl

A weird young man has a sex doll for a girlfriend –  at a glance it seems like a crazy gross-out comedy, but it’s not.

Lars( Ryan Gosling) is an award introvert living in a a  small town. He stays alone in a cottage on the property where his brother and sister-in-law ( Emily Mortimer) reside.  After several several inquiries about his romantic life from townspeople, he orders a realistic looking sex doll online and introduces her to his family as Bianca, his girlfriend.Concerned they take him to a doctor/psychologist, Dagmar  (Patricia Clarkson), who recommends that they all go along with his delusion, until he is able to work things out for himself. The whole town plays along and accepts Bianca as his girlfriend.and as part of their town.

Lars and the Real Girl is a beautiful and quirky portrait of love, family, friendship and community. This movie is so well crafted and is brilliantly scripted. It is boasts an amazing cast, with  stellar performances from Gosling and Mortimer.
 
Rnning time: 106 min
Rated: PG-13
Writer: Nancy Oliver
Director; Craig Gillespie 
©lowercase v 2017
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movie reviews

School of Rock (2003)

Running Time: 108 min    Rated: PG-13

school of rock

Director: Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise,  Waking Life, Fast Food Nation,  Boyhood)
Writer: Mike White (Orange County, Nacho Libre.  Episodes of: Dawson’s Creek, Freaks and Geeks)

 

“Dude, I service society by rocking, OK? I’m out there on the front lines liberating people with my music!” – Dewey Finn

Dewey Finn (Jack Black)  is a unemployed wannabe rock star.  His best friend,  Ned’s (Mike White)  girlfriend, Patti (Sarah Silverman), wants to kick him out of their shared apartment, unless he can pay his part of the rent. His band mates has replaced him with another guitarist and kicked him out of the band.  Things look pretty grim.  Ms Mullins (Joan Cusack), the principal of a fancy prep school, calls regarding a substitute teacher job for Ned. When Dewey hears what the job pays, he decides to take “the gig”. At first Dewey sees his new job as paid nap time and has little interest in the bunch of 4th graders. After hearing the kids play in orchestra class, Dewey has a brilliant idea. He announces a new class project called “Project Rock Band”,  with the plan of entering them in the “Battle of the Bands”.   Of course, this has to be a “secret class project”. The kids are very excited about their new project and everyone is assigned a special role.  As he spend more time with the kids he forms a special bond with them.


School of Rock
 is a hilarious, feel-good movie (unless you end up feeling old and untalented).  It is well directed, shot and edited.  This is probably director Richard Linklater’s  most mainstream film.

Jack Black plays yet another wacky  goofball. If you enjoy his other movies you will enjoy this one. Jack Black and Mike White often act together in movies written by White.  This is probably my favourite Jack Black movie (I loved Orange County a lot, though he plays a minor role in it).

The child actors in this movie are both adorable and very talented. The young cast include (among many other talented performers): Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly, Dispicable Me),  Aleisha Allen (Are We There Yet?,  Are We Done Yet?), Cole Hawkins (Bid Daddy, Changing Lanes, Meet the Parents),  Angelo Massagli (Cosby, The Sopranos, Stuart Little 2)  and Zachary Infante (acted  in and produced a short film called The Black Experience) . 

The soundtrack features several classic rock anthem. Some of the artist featured on the soundtrack include: AC/DC,  Led Zeplin,  The Who, Cream, T.Rex, The Doors, etc.

The Special Collector’s Edition DVD includes commentary by Richard Linklater & Jack Black,  kid’s commentary, a music video, the theatrical trailer and several other bonus materials.

 

©lowercase v   2017

 

movie reviews

A Life Less Ordinary (1997)

Running time: 103 min       Rated: R

A Life Less Ordinary was released 20 years ago…

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Robert (Ewan McGregor), a cleaner and aspiring romance novelist, loses his job.  He confronts the company president and in the process takes the boss’s daughter, Celine (Cameron Diaz) as a hostage. He now finds himself as a kidnapper on the run with Celine. There are sparks between them and as they spend more time together, the possibility of romance. In the mean time, two angels, Jackson (Delroy Lindo) and O’Reilly (Holly Hunter) are stuck on earth with the mission to romantically united a man and a woman.

A Life Less Ordinary was directed by acclaimed British director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) and written by frequent collaborator John Hodge (Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, The Beach).

The subplot of the top angels adds a fantasy element to the otherwise gritty movie.  The subplot makes the movie more quirky, but it could probably stand without it. The dialogue is witty and the cast is on point.  The film is technically well made and edited. I like the score and the soundtrack . I would not say this is a case of Stockholm Syndrome, because the kidnapping is accidental. Overall, I enjoyed this movie and it is one of my favourites.

Also starring: Dan Hedaya, Stanley Tucci, Tony Shaloub, Ian Holm, Timothy Olyphant.

 

*A film with a similar premise, Excess Baggage was released also released in 1997. Look out for my review and my comparison of the two films.

©lowercase v   2017

 

 

movie reviews

The Doberman Gang (1972)

dobe gang72

Rating: PG

This film received the first “No Animals Were Harmed” end credit ever issued to a movie by American Humane Society (the oversight organization responsible for monitoring animal actors during productions).

Story:
After a botched bank robbery, Eddie (Byron Mabe), a frustrated crook, realizes that human error was the cause of his gang’s failure. One night he happens to see some Dobermans chasing intruders off a property. He starts thinking of how he could use people’s fear of these dogs to rob banks. Along with his ex-waitress girlfriend (Julie Parrish) he gets his old gang back together. They hire a dog-trainer Barney (Hal Reed) to train six Dobermans to rob a bank for them.

These dobermans were extremely well-trained animals. It made me sad that such brilliant dogs were being exploited by a A-hole like Eddie. Never mind the money, the Dobies stole my heart. There is also a sweet bulldog named J Edgar Hoover.

My thoughts:
Nothing extraordinary in editing or cinematography, but nothing I could absolutely fault either. (Though I wasn’t watching this from a critics point of view).
The soundtrack/score is a bit cheesy, although the theme song is kinda catchy. The exposition felt a bit slow, since the dobermans only arrive after about 26 minutes. There are a feel holes in Eddie’s plan.

This is a fun movie.  Dobie-lovers might also get annoyed by some of the breed stereotypes. The doberman is a beautiful and extremely intelligent dog, that can also be an agent of destruction in the wrong hands.

 

 

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