REVIEW: AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY

CAST

Meryl Streep (Into The Woods)
Julia Roberts (Mirror Mirror)
Chris Cooper (The Bourne Identity)
Ewan McGregor (Big Fish)
Margo Martindale (Orphan)
Sam Shepard (Swordfish)
Dermot Mulroney (The Grey)
Julianne Nicholson (Kinsey)
Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers)
Abigail Breslin (Scream Queens)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange)
Newell Alexander (Sordid Lives)

17xp-anderson1-articleLargeThe title designates time and location: an unusually hot August in a rural area outside Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Beverly Weston (Sam Shepard), an alcoholic, once-noted poet, interviews and hires a young native American woman Johnna (Misty Upham) as a live-in cook and caregiver for his strong-willed and contentious wife Violet (Meryl Streep), who is suffering from oral cancer and addiction to narcotics. Shortly after this, he disappears from the house, and Violet calls her sister and daughters for support. Her sister Mattie Fae (Margo Martindale) arrives with husband Charles Aiken (Chris Cooper). Violet’s middle daughter Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) is single and the only one living locally; Barbara (Julia Roberts), her oldest, who has inherited her mother’s mean streak, arrives from Colorado with her husband Bill (Ewan McGregor) and 14-year-old daughter Jean (Abigail Breslin). Barbara and Bill are separated, but they put up a united front for Violet.After five days, the sheriff arrives with the news that Beverly took his boat out on the lake and has drowned. Youngest daughter Karen (Juliette Lewis) arrives with the latest in a string of boyfriends, Steve Huberbrecht (Dermot Mulroney), a sleazy Florida businessman whom she introduces as her fiancé. Mattie Fae and Charles’s shy, awkward son “Little Charles” (Benedict Cumberbatch) misses the funeral because he overslept and is met at the bus station by his father. Charles loves his son, whereas Mattie constantly belittles him. Ivy confides to Barbara that she is in love with her cousin, “Little Charles”, who plans to move to New York, and she cannot have children because she had a hysterectomy. She feels this is her only chance to finally marry.The family sits down to dinner after the funeral, fueled by Violet’s brutal “truth telling”, which results in Barbara pouncing on her mother. She decides she has had enough of her mother’s drug addiction and confiscates all her several kinds of pills. Later, after Violet has had a chance to sober up, she has a tender moment with her daughters and shares a story that demonstrates how cruel her own mother was when she longed for a new pair of cowgirl boots when she was in her early teens.As “Little Charles” sings Ivy a song he has written for her, Mattie Fae walks in and berates him. This exhausts Charles’s patience with his wife’s lack of love and compassion for her son, and he threatens to leave her if she keeps it up. Mattie subsequently reveals to Barbara, who unintentionally listened in, that she had a long-ago affair with Beverly, and Charles is in fact their younger half-brother and that is the true reason why Ivy and “Little Charles” cannot be together. That evening, Steve and Jean are playfully sharing a joint of marijuana. Johnna sees this and, sensing that he intends on molesting her, goes after him with a shovel. Barbara confronts Jean and slaps her. This impels Bill to take Jean back to Colorado, leaving Barbara. Karen also leaves with Steve.Later, Ivy tries to tell her mother about her love for “Little Charles”. Barbara tries to deflect the admission. Violet tells Ivy Charles is actually her brother, something she knew all along. Ivy leaves and promises to never come back. In the last confrontation between Violet and Barbara, Violet admits she was contacted by Beverly from his motel the week after he had left home, but did nothing to help him until after she removed money from the couple’s joint safe deposit box. By this time he had already drowned. This revelation leads Barbara to depart, realizing that her mother has slipped beyond help. Violet is left with only Johnna. Barbara is driving through the plains, stops, gets out of the car, cries then gets back in the car and follows signage showing highways and number of miles to Wichita, Salina and Denver.Fantastic film – see it if you enjoy witty, clever writing, a strong storyline and a first rate cast.

REVIEW: DUE DATE

CAST

Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man)
Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover)
Michelle Monaghan (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained)
Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers)
Danny McBride (Land of The Lost)
RZA (Gang Related)
Mimi Kennedy (Mom)
Jon Cryer (Superman 4)
Charlie Sheen (Hot Shots)
Matt Walsh (Veep)
Keegan-Michael Key (The Predator)

Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis in Due Date (2010)Peter Highman (Robert Downey, Jr.) is on a plane, flying home to be with his wife Sarah (Michelle Monaghan), who is due to give birth. Sitting behind Peter is a man named Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis), who is going to LA to be an actor and is planning to scatter his recently deceased father’s ashes at the Grand Canyon. When Ethan misuses the words “terrorist” and “bomb” while talking to Peter, they are both escorted off the plane. This is only the first of a series of misadventures caused by the drastically dysfunctional Ethan. Peter, now on the No Fly List and missing his wallet, agrees to drive with Ethan to Los Angeles.
Robert Downey Jr., Jamie Foxx, and Zach Galifianakis in Due Date (2010)Ethan stops to buy marijuana, and Peter discovers that he is nearly out of money. Since Peter has no I.D., he gets his wife to wire the money to Ethan, but discovers Ethan had the money wired to his stage name instead of his legal name. When the Western Union employee (Danny McBride) refuses to accept Ethan’s “Stage name I.D.” it leads to a violent altercation. After a night at a rest stop, Peter decides to drive off and leave Ethan there, but realizes that he still has Ethan’s father’s ashes, having forgotten to unload them with the rest of Ethan’s stuff when he left. This causes him to wrestle with his conscience, and he decides to return. Peter gets Ethan to drive so Peter can get some rest, but Ethan falls asleep at the wheel and crashes the car. After Peter and Ethan are picked up by Peter’s friend Darryl (Jamie Foxx), Peter again decides to part company with Ethan. Darryl initially persuades him otherwise, but then throws Ethan out after mistakenly drinking Ethan’s father’s ashes.Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis in Due Date (2010)When Darryl lets them use his Range Rover to make the rest of the trip, Ethan mistakenly drives to the Mexico–United States border. Despite assuring Peter that he’ll handle the situation, Ethan flees, and Peter is arrested for possession of marijuana. The Mexican Federal Police lock Peter up, but Ethan steals a truck and breaks him out, causing several car crashes in the process. When they stop at the Grand Canyon, Peter confesses that he tried to leave Ethan at the rest area. Ethan makes a confession of his own: he has Peter’s wallet. Peter and Ethan leave for California. When Ethan finds a gun in the truck, he accidentally shoots Peter. Arriving at the hospital where Sarah is in labor, Peter passes out from loss of blood.
Zach Galifianakis in Due Date (2010)Sarah delivers the baby safely, and Peter expresses his discomfort at his new daughter being named Rosie Highman. Ethan leaves while telling Peter to call him. At the end, Ethan guest stars on an episode of his favorite television program, Two and a Half Men with Peter and Sarah watching it in bed with their daughter.Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis in Due Date (2010)A solid film that isn’t all that original, a bit thin on character development but it’s one funny ride from beginning to end. Recommended!!

REVIEW: THE SWITCH

CAST

Jennifer Aniston (Rumor Has It..)
Jason Bateman (Identity Thief)
Patrick Wilson (Watchmen)
Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers)
Jeff Goldblum (The Fly)
Caroline Dhavernas (Hannibal)
Scott Elrod (Argo)
Thomas Robinson (Tomorrowland)
Kelli Barrett (The Punisher)

 

MV5BMTYxNDM4OTc0M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjk0MTI3Mw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1505,1000_AL_30-something Kassie Larson (Jennifer Aniston) is single, hasn’t found love yet, and decides she wants to have a baby. Despite the objections of her neurotic long-time best friend Wally Mars (Jason Bateman), she chooses to do so alone because she can’t wait any longer. She also wants a face-to-face sperm donor, disdaining using a sperm bank. Wally suggests he be the donor, but Kassie sees him as a bit too neurotic, pessimistic, and self-absorbed, and besides, as best friends, “that would be weird.” Wally has always had feelings for Kassie, and they dated six years ago, but his friend Leonard (Jeff Goldblum) points out he missed his chance when she put him in the “friend zone”.MV5BNTE2MjI5NjU4OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNDA4ODE0._V1_Kassie selects as sperm donor a handsome and charming (and married) assistant professor, Roland (Patrick Wilson). Kassie organizes an “insemination party”, where Wally meets Roland and takes an instant dislike to him. Roland is then called upon and produces his sperm in the bathroom, leaving it in a sample cup. Wally uses the bathroom and sees the sample. Drunk and doped up after taking a pill provided him at the party by Kassie’s friend, Debbie (Juliette Lewis), and not liking the idea of Kassie being inseminated with this sperm, Wally plays with the cup and accidentally spills it into the sink. Panicking, he replaces the sperm with his own. The next day at work, still hungover, he remembers nothing. The insemination is successful. Wally is then upset when Kassie tells him she is returning to her family home in Minnesota, as she thinks that would be a better environment to raise a child in, instead of New York City. She leaves, and Wally maintains a non-fulfilling, dreary existence.MV5BMTgwMjg1MDE1NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTk0MTI3Mw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1505,1000_AL_Seven years later, Kassie returns to New York along with precocious-but-neurotic son Sebastian (Bryce Robinson). She wants to reconnect with Wally, and is eager to introduce her son to him. After an awkward first meeting, Wally eventually forms a bond with this loveable and seemingly mini-version of himself, and Sebastian starts to become close to Wally, but the bad news is that Roland is in the picture too: Kassie has started dating him because he is now divorced and, as she thinks he is Sebastian’s father, and a nice guy, maybe it would work.MV5BMTg3NTE5MTU0OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODA1MTI3Mw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1505,1000_AL_After Wally notices the similarities between himself and Sebastian, and after talking to his friend Leonard, Wally realizes what happened seven years earlier. Just before Roland proposes to Kassie, Wally reveals to Kassie that Sebastian is his son, along with his true feelings for her. She is shocked and angry and does not want to see him again. Some time passes, and one day, as he is leaving work, Wally finds Kassie waiting for him on the street outside his office building. She tells him Sebastian really misses him and needs him. Wally admits he misses and needs Sebastian too. Kassie then discloses she isn’t with Roland any longer, and that she loves him, even with all of his idiosyncrasies. Wally proposes to her, Kassie accepts, and they kiss. The final scene shows a happily married Wally and Kassie throwing Sebastian’s eighth birthday party.MV5BMjEzMzY4NzQ0MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzk0MTI3Mw@@._V1_SX1701_CR0,0,1701,999_AL_This film is a bog standard romantic comedy it is mildly humorous and it follows the same rom-com story arch that most films in this genre do, but is lifted slightly above the others because of the cast, You may be surprised at your enjoyment of this film.

REVIEW: NATURAL BORN KILLERS

CAST
Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games)
Juliette Lewis (Some Girl)
Tom Sizemore (Black Hawk Down)
Rodney Dangerfield (Casper)
Jared Harris (Sherlock Holmes 2)
Pruitt Taylor Vince (Heroes Reborn)
Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man)
Balthazar Getty (Alias)
Tommy Lee Jones (Batman Forever)
Kirk Baltz (Face/Off)
Saemi Nakamura (Heroes)
Carl Ciarfalio (Casino)
Mark Harmon (Chasing Liberty)
Mickey Knox and his wife Mallory stop at a roadside café in the New Mexico desert. A group of rednecks arrive and one begins sexually harassing Mallory. She briefly encourages him before beating him to a pulp. Mickey and Mallory then murder all but one of the diner’s patrons, culminating in a morbid game of Eeny, meeny, miny, moe to decide who lives and dies. After executing the waitress Mabel, the couple ensures that the only survivor remembers their names before they embrace and declare their undying love.
Mickey and Mallory camp out in the desert, and Mallory reminisces about when they first met. A flashback (done in the style of a TV sitcom, including a laughtrack) shows Mickey as a deliveryman who came to the house where Mallory lived with her sexually abusive father, her neglectful mother, and her younger brother, Kevin. Mickey and Mallory fall in love instantly and leave together, as Mickey steals a car that belongs to Mallory’s father. Soon Mickey is arrested and imprisoned for grand theft auto, but he subsequently escapes from a prison work farm during a tornado and returns to Mallory’s house. The two kill Mallory’s parents, but spare Kevin, and go on the road together and get “married” on the side of a bridge, celebrating by taking a hostage. Furious with Mickey’s notion that they have a threesome, Mallory drives to a nearby gas station, where she flirts with the mechanic. They begin to have sex on the hood of a car, but Mallory kills him when he recognizes her as a wanted killer. During this time, Mickey rapes the hostage.
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The pair continue their killing spree, ultimately claiming fifty-two victims in New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada. Pursuing them is Detective Jack Scagnetti, who became obsessed with mass murderers after witnessing his mother being shot and killed by Charles Whitman when he was eight. Beneath his heroic facade, he is a violent psychopath, once strangling a prostitute to death. The killers are also followed by self-serving tabloid journalist Wayne Gale. Gale profiles Mickey and Mallory on his show, American Maniacs, soon elevating them to cult hero status.
Mickey and Mallory become lost in the desert and encounter Warren Red Cloud, a Navajo Indian, and his young grandson. After the two fall asleep, the Navajo, hoping to expel the demon he perceives in Mickey, begins chanting beside the fire, invoking nightmares in Mickey about his abusive parents. Mickey wakes up in a rage and fatally shoots Red Cloud before he realizes what he is doing. It is the first time Mallory and Mickey feel guilty for a murder. Fleeing from the scene through the desert, they stray onto a field of rattlesnakes and are both bitten. They drive to a drugstore to find snakebite antidote, but the pharmacist sets off the silent alarm before Mickey kills him. Soon police cars arrive and Mallory is captured and subsequently beaten by the police. A gunfight breaks out between Mickey and the others. Scagnetti arrives and tells Mickey that unless he surrenders, he will cut off Mallory’s breasts. Mickey gives up his guns, but attacks Scagnetti with a knife. The police taser him and the scene ends with Mickey and Mallory being beaten by a group of vengeful policemen as a Japanese news crew fronted by a female reporter films the action.
The story picks up one year later: the homicidal couple have been imprisoned, and are due to be moved to a mental hospital after being declared insane. Scagnetti arrives at the prison and encounters Warden Dwight McClusky, with whom he plans to murder the two criminals. McClusky will arrange for Scagnetti to be the driver for the Knoxes’ transfer. Alone with the pair, Scagnetti will murder them, then claim that they tried to escape.
Meanwhile, Gale has persuaded Mickey to agree to a live interview that will air immediately after the Super Bowl. Mallory is held in solitary confinement elsewhere in the prison, awaiting her transport to the mental hospital. During the interview, Mickey gives a speech about how murder provides enlightenment and declares himself a “natural born killer”. His words inspire the other inmates (who are watching the interview on TV in the recreation room) and incite them to riot. McClusky, upon learning of the riot, orders the interview terminated despite Gale’s vehement protests. Mickey is left alone with Gale, the film crew and several guards. Using a lengthy joke as a diversion, Mickey overpowers a guard and grabs his shotgun. He kills most of the guards with it and takes the survivors hostage, leading them through the prison riot. Gale follows, giving a live television report as people are beaten and killed around him.
Scagnetti enters Mallory’s cell and attempts to seduce her. Mallory, feigning to reciprocate at first, rebuffs his efforts, smashing his face against the wall and breaking his nose, before two guards subdue her, and Scagnetti sprays her face with tear gas in revenge. Still live on national television, Mickey arrives at Mallory’s cell, where he kills all the guards and engages in a Mexican standoff with Scagnetti, eventually feigning a concession. Mallory then approaches Scagnetti from behind and slashes his throat with a shank. To Scagnetti’s horror, Mickey tells him that he was out of shotgun shells during the standoff. Mallory then picks up Scagnetti’s gun and kills him.
Mickey and Mallory continue to escape through the riot torn prison, with Gale’s entire TV crew getting killed. Gale himself snaps, succumbing to Stockholm syndrome as well as indulging in his own longtime fascination for murder, and begins to shoot at the guards with a pistol that he has taken from one of the dead guards, but gets so frenzied that Mickey prefers to disarm him. After being rescued by a mysterious prisoner named Owen Traft, the trio of Mickey, Mallory, and Gale run into McClusky and a heavily armed posse of guards. The trio takes cover in a blood-splattered shower room. McClusky threatens to storm the shower room; Mickey, in turn, threatens to kill both Gale and a guard on live TV, and the prisoners walk out the front door, to McClusky’s utter dismay, as he helplessly threatens to hunt them down. McClusky and his guards are then quickly massacred by hordes of inmates.
Mickey and Mallory steal a van and kill the last guard; Owen’s fate is unknown. Escaping to a rural location, they give a final interview to Gale, whose ear they have seemingly removed (implied, but as a camera track reveals), before they tell him he must die also. He attempts various arguments to change their minds, finally appealing to their trademark practice of leaving one survivor; Mickey informs him they are leaving a witness to tell the tale, his camera. Gale accepts his fate and extends his arms as if on a cross as they shoot him dead while his unattended camera continues to roll. The couple is shown several years later, in an RV, with Mickey driving and a pregnant Mallory watching their two children play.
Natural Born Killers is Oliver Stone’s “take-no-prisoners” assault on the media that is cinematic eye-candy to the teeth. It’s an uneasy satire to watch, but it is an extremely effective film that is both thrilling and funny.

REVIEW: OLD SCHOOL

CAST
Luke Wilson (My Super Ex-Girlfriend)
Will Ferrell (Elf)
Vince Vaughn (Wedding Crashers)
Jeremy Piven (The Kingdom)
Ellen Pompeo (Catch Me If You Can)
Juliette Lewis (Some Girl)
Leah Remini (The King of Queens)
Perrey Reeves (Childs Play 3)
Craig Kilborn (Cursed)
Elisha Cuthbert (The Girl Next Door)
Seann William Scott (American Pie)
Sarah Shahi (Alias)
Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory)
Terry O’Quinn (Lost
Matt Walsh (Ted)
Artie Lange (Elf)
Patrick Fischler (Happy!)
Harve Presnell (Lois & Clark)
Bryan Callen (The Hangover)
Snoop Dogg (Training Day)
Rob Corddry (Warm Bodies)
Patrick J. Adams (Suits)
Andy Dick (Road Trip)
Attorney Mitch Martin (Luke Wilson) breaks up with his girlfriend when he accidentally discovers that she takes part in orgies. Mitch encounters his high school crush, Nicole (Ellen Pompeo), at the wedding of his friend Frank (Will Ferrell) and makes an awkward impression. Later, he finds a house located near the campus of the fictional Harrison University in New York.
Mitch’s other friend Bernard (Vince Vaughn) throws a party at Mitch’s house, dubbed Mitch-A-Palooza, which is a huge success. Frank gets drunk at the party and is seen streaking by his wife, putting a strain on their new marriage. The trio run into an old acquaintance whom they used to ridicule at school: Gordon Pritchard (Jeremy Piven), who is now the College “Dean”. He informs them that they must vacate because Mitch’s house has been designated exclusively for campus housing. Bernard proposes starting a fraternity that is open to anyone to meet the Dean’s criteria of campus housing. The new fraternity carries out several hazing events throughout campus, attracting the attention of the Dean and other members of the faculty.
Nicole brings her boyfriend Mark to the party for one of Bernard’s children and Mitch walks in on him in the bathroom while he was hooking up with a girl from the catering firm. While initially discreet, Mitch is forced to recount the entire incident to Nicole when Mark tries to lie that the girl was with Mitch instead of himself. The oldest fraternity member, Blue, has a heart attack, collapses, and dies during a “KY lube wrestling” match with two good-looking college girls at his birthday celebration. At Blue’s funeral, Frank’s wife says she wants a divorce, forcing Frank to live with Mitch. Plotting revenge against the group, Dean Pritchard bribes the Student Council President, Megan Huang, until she agrees to revoke the fraternity’s charter. Megan, who lost her virginity at one of their parties to her new boyfriend, initially remains loyal to the Fraternity until the Dean bribes her with promises to help her get into Columbia Law School. By video, he claims that the group is violating university policies subjecting the students in the non-sanctioned fraternity to expulsion. Mitch finds out that the group has the right to bypass the Dean’s ruling if all of their members complete activities that include academic tests, public debates and athletics to prove their legitimacy.
Frank is able to defeat James Carville in a debate over the government’s role in biotechnology. Next, the fraternity successfully navigates their way through a difficult academic exam largely due to the assistance of two of Mitch’s co-workers, who help the guys cheat. In the school spirit evaluation, the Fraternity loses points when Frank unsuccessfully attempts to jump through a ring of fire while dressed as the school mascot. Badly burned and humiliated, Frank rallies to give a strong performance in the floor exercise routine of the gymnastics competition. Bernard manages to complete the rings routine, leaving only the vault exercise remaining. Pritchard chooses Weensie, an obese member of the fraternity, to perform the vault. Amazingly, Weensie executes a perfect landing, allowing the Fraternity to pass gymnastics.
Luke Wilson and Elisha Cuthbert in Old School (2003)
The men are able to complete all of the activities successfully with an 84% average. However, Pritchard tells them that their average has dropped to a failing 58% after accounting for the absence of the deceased member Blue. While the students are in despair, Megan arrives with tape recorded evidence of the Dean’s bribery. After a chase, Frank obtains the tape and uses it to get the Dean fired. The fraternity’s charter is reinstated and the fraternity moves into Dean Pritchard’s old house.
Nicole visits Mitch, intent on moving their relationship forward. Despite Bernard and Mitch withdrawing from the fraternity, Frank maintains his ties as leader. In the closing credits, Mark’s car falls on top of Pritchard and explodes, killing both, and Frank hooks up with Mitch’s ex-girlfriend.
Fun from beginning to end, Old School will not win any awards for dramatic scenes or cinematography. But it will win a lot of points as an outright hilarious comedy.  Old School is a classic cult comedy fulfilling the dreams of countless former college fraternity members who ache to relive the greatest party days of their lives. Because it’s so funny, Old School is a definite must-see film.

REVIEW: SOME GIRL

CAST
Marissa Ribisi (100 Girls)
Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers)
Michael Rapaport (The 6th Day)
Giovanni Ribisi (Ted)
Glenn Quinn (Angel)
Kristin Dattilo (Intolerable Cruelty)
Jeremy Sisto (Wrong Turn)
Kris Iyer (Buffy)
Mariah O’Brien (Halloween 6)
Adam Goldberg (God Friended Me)
Mike O’Malley (My Name Is Earl)
Mark Valley (Human Target)
A group of emotionally driven twenty somethings in LA in the 90’s. Claire (Marissa Ribisi) is trying to find a decent man anwhere she can after having her heart broken several times. Her best friend April(Juliette Lewis) having sex with any man she can find while stringing Neil(M.Rapaport) along who is completely in love with her.
Giovanni Ribisi who plays Jason Claire’s eccentric brother due to his awkward bluntness has a hard time finding girls but is totally in love with the jaded older Jenn. His dialogue is cleverly genuis. Claire finally thinks she found the man of her dreams falling for an aspiring actor Chad (Jeremy Sisto) but finds out he really is an actor with the ladies & is a liar. The ending is outragously funny. A unique script and amazing acting by pretty much the whole cast. Entertaining movie about people in their 20’s dealing with the hardships of relationships & love.