Friday, February 19, 2010

Bobby Cassidy, Counterpuncher

(USA, 2009, 72 minutes)

Former professional boxer Bobby Cassidy tells the story of his career. Amiable documentary that captures wonderfully its colorful subject and its equally colorful storytelling about a lost New York of the past, but never really goes beyond that.

An Arco Films presentation/production. 
Directed, produced, photographed (in colour) and edited by Bruno de Almeida; interview by Nick Sandow; sound by Zetna Fuentes. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Precious - Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

(USA, 2008, 109 minutes)

In 1987 Harlem, an illiterate, obese black teenager pregnant for the second time by her own father struggles with her life as a near slave to an abusive mother until she finds a teacher who believes in her. On paper an old-fashioned problem picture, on the screen a reckless, surprisingly sincere melodrama that hits all the genre beats in entirely unexpected (and not always successful) ways while avoiding its most predictable pitfalls.

An Elephant Eye Films release. A Lee Daniels Entertainment production in association with Smokewood Entertainment, presented by Lionsgate, Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry.
Starring Mo'nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz; and introducing Gabourey Sidibe as Precious.
Directed by Lee Daniels; produced by Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness, Gary Magness; screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher, based on the novel Push by Sapphire; music by Mario Grigorov; director of photography (Technicolor), Andrew Dunn; production designer, Roshelle Berliner; costume designer, Marina Draghici; film editor, Lee Klotz. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's Day

(USA, 2010, 120 minutes)

A number of Los Angeles couples lose and find love over the course of one Valentine's Day. Aimless, turgid attempt at an all-star romantic comedy that ends up looking more like a marketing pitch in search of a non-existent plot. A waste of talent and time.

New Line Cinema presents a Wayne Rice/Karz Entertainment production.
Starring Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Eric Dane, Patrick Dempsey, Hector Elizondo, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway, Carter Jenkins, Ashton Kutcher, Queen Latifah, Taylor Lautner, George Lopez, Shirley MacLaine, Emma Roberts, Julia Roberts, Bryce Robinson, Taylor Swift.
Directed by Garry Marshall; produced by Mike Karz, Wayne Rice; screenplay by Katherine Fugate, based on a story by Katherine Fugate, Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein; music by John Debney; director of photography (color), Charles Minsky; production designer, Albert Brenner; costume designer, Gary Jones; film editor, Bruce Green.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Whatever Works

(USA/France, 2009, 90 minutes)

A misanthropic, neurotic, hypochondriac curmudgeon reluctantly takes in a Southern runaway girl and they find themselves unexpectedly in love. Lively yet overly theatrical comedy that looks like a throwback to its author's earlier classics and, in fact, is based on an earlier, unfilmed script intended for Zero Mostel; it works because the writing has been cleverly revised without destroying the original intentions and the casting is pitch-perfect.

A Wild Bunch (int'l) release. Wild Bunch and Gravier Productions present a Perdido production.
Starring Ed Begley Jr., Patricia Clarkson, Larry David, Conleth Hill, Michael McKean, Evan Rachel Wood.
Directed and written by Woody Allen; produced by Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum; director of photography (Technicolor), Harris Savides; production designer, Santo Loquasto; costume designer, Suzy Benzinger; film editor, Alisa Lepselter. 

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Men who Stare at Goats

(USA/Great Britain, 2009, 93 minutes)

In Iraq in 2003, an American journalist stumbles onto a operative from a secret paranormal unit of the US Army. Amiably quirky, lightweight all-star comedy surprisingly based on fact; the handling gets the tone of serious whimsy just right and the actors have a ball, but it doesn't go much farther than that.

Overture Films presents, in association with Winchester Capital Management and BBC Films, a Smokehouse Pictures/Paul Lister production; in association with Ruby Films. 
Starring George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey, Robert Patrick, Stephen Lang.
Directed by Grant Heslov; produced by Paul Lister, George Clooney, Grant Heslov; screenplay by Peter Straughan, based on the book by Jon Ronson, The Men who Stare at Goats; music by Rolfe Kent; director of photography (DeLuxe, Panavision), Robert Elswit; production designer, Sharon Seymour; costume designer, Louise Frogley; film editor, Tatiana S. Riegel.