Hey folks! I’m back!
Hope everyone had fun with Aaron last week, as I thought he did a good job with this column. I loved seeing him and Agent Nate taking this column on, and for me it’s always cool to see a different perspective on films, and both Aaron and Nate were great at taking the format of this column and making it their own.
Maybe I could trick the rest of the Agents to give this column a shot, would love to see their spin/opinions.
This week is a surprisingly light week (and I do want apologize to Aaron that his first week trying this column out there were 11 movies he had to do a write up on! Yeesh, right into the deep end sir, sorry.)
No huge, big budgeted blockbusters, but plenty of character driven stories.
And the first film is ready to start celebrating the holiday season…..
What’s it about? After nearly 15 years apart, Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Morris Chestnut, Harold Perrineau, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Monica Calhoun, Melissa De Sousa and Regina Hall reprise their career-launching roles in ‘The Best Man Holiday,’ the long-awaited next chapter to the film that ushered in a new era of comedy. When the college friends finally reunite over the Christmas holidays, they will discover just how easy it is for long-forgotten rivalries and romances to be ignited.
My thoughts? The first film, simply titled The Best Man, was a solid sized success when it came out in 1999. I never saw it, but the reviews were decent, and the film was a hit, but not one that made a huge impact. This is clear since it’s been 15 years since the first one came out, so one would think that if it was a massive hit a second one would have been released much earlier. So why make a sequel now? Either the studio felt that the audience for the first film has grown, and for business proposes, see the potential for a follow up, and thus making a film to capitalize on a known title. That’s the crass, cynical explanation, but a sign of something potentially interesting with this film is that the first films writer/director, Malcolm D. Lee, has returned to this sequel. The Best Man was Malcolm D. Lee’s first film as a writer/director, and he’s got an interesting filmography. The only movie I’ve seen of his was the extremely broad/comic booky spy comedy Undercover Brother….a movie I kinda adore. He’s kinda been stuck as a Studio Director for the last few years, which sadly includes directing the fifth Scary Movie movie. Maybe the studio ask Malcolm if he would interested in making a follow up on The Best Man, and feeling like he needed go back to his roots, took the gig, and hopefully turned it into something personal. For me, I have very little interest in seeing this one as I haven’t seen the first one. It does have a hell of a cast, a cast that is so good, it’s a bit frustrating that these folks don’t work as much as they used to. Hopefully for the fans of the first film, they would have a great time with this one and like the direction that Malcolm takes the characters.
What’s it about? Set in the underbelly of usually sunny Florida, Melissa Winters (two-time Academy Award nominee Naomi Watts) works as a cashier at the local convenience store, SUNLIGHT JR. She lives in a seedy motel with her boyfriend Richie (Academy Award nominee Matt Dillon), a former TV repairman who lives month-to-month on his government disability check, spending most of it at a neighborhood tavern. When an unexpected pregnancy takes their lives in a new direction, they are forced to examine the realities of both of their lives, and to face tough choices about what lies on the horizon.
My thoughts? Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon are fine performers, but this film seems to be hinging on indy film cliches that I find boring and uninspired. Even the way the film looks, and it looks very nice by the way, seems to fit the current aesthetic on how “indy” dramas look now a days. But but this does look to be a nice and meaty role of Naomi Watts to sink her teeth in, and writer/director Laurie Collver reviews from her previous film, Sherrybaby, shows she can handle strong female lead dramas like this one.
What’s it about? 16-year old Russell is going on dates with girls while nurturing a secret relationship with star quarterback Kevin, who will do anything to prevent his teammates from finding out. Min and Terese tell everyone that they’re just best friends. And then there’s Ike, who can’t figure out who he is or who he wants to be. Finding the truth too hard to hide, they decide to form a Geography Club, thinking nobody else would want to join. However, their secrets may soon be discovered and they could have to face the choice of revealing who they really are.
My thoughts? Based on the first book of the YA novel series The Russel Middlebrook series, I do appreciate the John Hughes teen comedy vibe on this thing. Being gay has slowly been accepted into modern media, and it’s pretty great to see that. A movie using the tone that is found in MOST teen comedies, but having the main characters still struggle with their sexual orientation (but not in a overtly dark and dramatic way) is actually refreshing. While I’m not sure if this movie is funny, I do applaud it’s efforts. It’s a shame it wasn’t a much wider release movie….but hopefully that means more on the quality of the film itself (i.e. It’s not a good movie.) and NOT on the subject manner.
What’s it about? Dear Mr. Watterson is a documentary film about the greatest comic strip in the history of the universe: Calvin & Hobbes.
Calvin & Hobbes dominated the Sunday comics in thousands of newspapers for over 10 years, having a profound effect on millions of readers across the globe. When the strip’s creator, Bill Watterson, retired the strip on New Year’s Eve in 1995, devoted readers everywhere felt the void left by the departure of Calvin, Hobbes, and Watterson’s other cast of characters, and many fans would never find a satisfactory replacement.
It has now been more than a decade since the end of the Calvin & Hobbes era. Bill Watterson has kept an extremely low profile during this time, living a very private life outside of Cleveland, Ohio. Despite his quiet lifestyle, Mr. Watterson is remembered and appreciated daily by fans who still enjoy his amazing collection of work.
Mr. Watterson has inspired and influenced millions of people through Calvin & Hobbes. Newspaper readership and book sales can be tracked and recorded, but the human impact he has had and the value of his art are perhaps impossible to measure.
This film is not a quest to find Bill Watterson, or to invade his privacy. It is an exploration to discover why his ‘simple’ comic strip made such an impact on so many readers in the 80s and 90s, and why it still means so much to us today
My thoughts? Funded from Kickstarter, this documentary definitely appeals to me for obvious reasons. One, I love the Calvin and Hobbs strip as much as anyone else, two, it looks like it be a nice history lesson on Watterson comic influences and three I love retrospectives on pop culture. I don’t know if this will have a ton of depth, but any chance I get to celebrate Calvin and Hobbs is a chance I’ll take.
What’s it about? When his late mother appears in a vision and tells him to go to Bucharest, Charlie immediately boards a plane across the Atlantic. But when he meets a fellow passenger, Charlie finds himself with another promise to fulfill. Charlie does so – and falls head over heels in love with Gabi, a beautiful musician. However, a vicious gangster has already laid claim to Gabi, and has no intention of letting her go. Determined to protect her, Charlie enters into the hallucinatory, Romanian underworld filled with violence and, strangely enough, love.
My thoughts? I don’t hate Shia LaBeouf, and I genuinely like him in movies. He’s got a really interesting bit of charisma on screen, but I think he’s been miscast a lot in the last few years. His role in this film seems to be a nice fit for him, and his charm, humor and range is seemingly put to good use. This movie looks a bit crazy and it seems like this is director Fredrik Bond’s first film, so first-film-itis is all over this movie. Lots and lots of style and genre mixing could cut an enticing trailer, but making it work as a whole is always the tricky part.
What’s it about? After receiving a sweepstakes letter in the mail, a cantankerous father (Bruce Dern) thinks he’s struck it rich, and wrangles his son (Will Forte) into taking a road trip to claim the fortune. Shot in black and white across four states, ‘Nebraska’ tells the stories of family life in the heartland of America.
My thoughts? This looks to be classic Alexander Payne in terms of style and humor. This weeks film selection is very much mostly character based films, but Alexander Payne makes some of my personal favorite character based film. His steady, but quietly stylish directing is always a great combination to the deadpan humor and unique characters that inhabit his film. Knowing that Payne was born in Nebraska, it’s actually surprisingly to find out that this film wasn’t his concept, but a script given to him during production on another film. Even thought he didn’t come up with the movie, his personal stamp is all over this. The cast is quiet good, and it looks like a great role for character actor Bruce Dern to do, and help remind film goers how fantastic he can be. I love the casting of Will Forte, and I think he’s fitting in to the Alexander Payne world very nicely. Did I mention how gorgeous the black and white photography looks in this film? I didn’t?! Well it looks beautiful.
What films got your attention this week? Sure, I know you want to see Thor: The Dark World again (I can’t blame you, it was a blast!) But I’d say do check out one of these films, because who knows, you might surprise yourself with one of these. Comment below and tell us which film you most likely will see this week!