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Rating History

Man Up
Man Up (2015)
11 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The casual nature of this film mixes romantic and comedy genres well. The chemistry between Lake Bell and Simon Pegg is spot on and they make an impressive pair. The premise is fun and indicative of the audience this film is trying to attract. The fact that the film makes these people complicated, obtuse, and difficult only adds to their realism as people with baggage and experience. Lake Bell does some great accent work, remains a relatable mess in the best of ways and plays off Pegg well. Both feel like lovable jerks and entertain throughout. Highly recommend for fans of both.

Stardust
Stardust (2007)
11 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Whimsical, fantastic, and mythical only in the way Neil Gaiman can write it. This adaptation from his book of the same name is perfectly fun and romantic. It's a mix between "The Princess Bride" and "Ella Enchanted," a film that evokes childhood fairytales as well as the adult nature of the original Grimm's Fairytales. There's every number of characters, including witches, sky pirates, warring princes, and a fallen star turned beautiful young woman. With stunning visuals, catty humor, and a lovable romantic pair this is a must-see film for all ages. The main problems I had with the film was the strange, slightly homophobic humor of Robert De Niro cross-dressing and putting on a "sissy" voice, and the complexity of the plot, which could have been better condensed for the film adaptation. Otherwise this was a fun, magical journey.

Room
Room (2015)
11 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

For those who aren't aware of Brie Larson's previous work, you should know that she is truly an amazing talent. Her 2013 film "Short Term 12," is a prime example of a past Oscar snub, and a harrowing and heartfelt film that deserves so much more attention than it got. Luckily Larson was aptly awarded for her work in this indie jewel, based on the Emma Donohue novel of the same name. Mostly set in a single room, the story follows a young mother and her son (who only knows the inside of a room). His mother teaches him about the outside world and the horrifying circumstances that have led to the pair's current fate

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Our Brand is Crisis
11 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

This film was such a mixed bag I didn't even notice that it was clearly a white savior narrative. Between the shoddy humor, the weird performance from Billy Bob Thornton, and the strange ethical and moral implications of Jane's (Bullock) involvement, this is a strange mélange of weird. The story follows a disgraced prior campaign advisor who starts working against a former opponent on a campaign in Bolivia. The film's plot follows her involvement in a former president's bid for re-election. From the premise you would think this was a film about a political candidate changing his mind on big issues, and becoming a true leader. Instead the film isn't exactly sure what tone, or message, it wants to leave audiences with. It doesn't know if it wants to be a comedy, drama, or biopic. I'm sure the 2005 documentary this is based off of is much better and less concerned with being preachy. The ending is where the white savior narrative comes into play, and the film is very unsure how she even is one. A white outsider coming in, especially into Bolivia which is anti-American and has been controlled by foreign interests for decades, would not experience a huge amount of success. Overall this is a mixed film that doesn't entertain except when Bullock is being inflammatory and angry in the best way.

The Intern
The Intern (2015)
11 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

At its surface there isn't anything new about this Nancy Meyers helmed film. There's the figurehead of the strong, difficult, woman in charge, and the comparative, mature, father figure. There's fashion, sexual politics, and the beauty of Brooklyn brownstones but not a lot else. Robert De Niro is the eponymous intern who has nothing better to do than work in a senior program after being a company man much of his life. Widowed and without much to do, he becomes indispensable to a harried woman trying to run her own company in the midst of chaos both professionally and domestically. I buy that Ben (De Niro) is a professional, and someone with a bit of class, but it never becomes clear how he is so affable and sensitive to the trappings of Hathaway's character. The plot occasionally suffers because Ben isn't a fully thought out character. He tells people to be truthful, but then breaks into a house rather than have Jules (Hathaway) talk to her mother. He tells his co-workers to be polite and treat women with respect and then watches one of them use an emotional moment for leverage in woo-ing a female co-worker. The plot ricochets around without truly understanding its characters and the ending feels a little anticlimactic because of it. The central conflict doesn't come until near the end, and there's so central villain or antagonist to the film. Most of the conflict comes from Jules' marriage, and that just shouldn't be the central premise of a film in this day and age, especially when it's tacked on at the end. If there was a better conflict this could have been a more heartfelt film.