Movies

Frost/Nixon

by Rick Grant Grade: A / Rated R / 122 min The circumstances and intrigue behind the David Frost 1977 interview with the disgraced Richard Nixon were grist for playwright Peter Morgan’s stage play. Ron Howard saw the play and decided it would make a great movie. So, with Peter Morgan writing the screenplay adaptation, Howard made it happen. Frank Langella starred in the play and director Ron Howard wanted him for the movie. Warren Beatty lobbied for the job, but Howard held firm on Langella as Nixon. Michael Sheen was tapped to play David Frost. It turned out he …

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Seven Pounds

by Rick Grant Grade: B / Rated PG-13 Although director Gabriel Muccino’s gives away subtle tells throughout the story, the scenario is more than the narrative of an IRS agent who seeks redemption. This leads to a certain amount of viewer confusion as to what motivates IRS Agent Ben Thomas (Will Smith). As the scenario unfolds, viewers begin to put the bits and pieces together. From a screenplay written by Grant Nieporte, Thomas is investigating IRS cases in which the tax payer owes considerable sums of money. He politely meets with the tax dodgers and tries to work out payments …

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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

by Rick Grant Grade: B+ / Rated PG-13 A sad and illuminating parable of our immortality from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1922 novel, this epic life story was directed by David Fincher and written for the screen by Eric Roth in the mold of Forrest Gump, which was coincidently written by Roth. Right after World War I, in New Orleans, a male baby is born as an old man, with all the maladies of advanced aging. His father is horrified and grabs the baby and runs to the river intending to cast the child into the cold water to drown. An …

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Valkyrie

by Rick Grant Grade: B / Rated PG-13 Director Bryan Singer boldly brought this real life Shakespearian-like drama to the screen despite misgivings from just about everyone in Hollywood. The buzz was: Who would want to see a Hitler movie? Tom Cruise’s clout and Singer’s stellar reputation green-lighted the project. Writers Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander stayed close to the facts of this complex plot to kill Hitler. Singer used real airplanes and limited CGI effects to enhance the credibility of the historical reality of the film. Hiring an A-list cast who uttered volumes of well written dialogue elevated this …

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Yes Man

by Rick Grant Grade: B+ / Rated PG-13 / 104 min Credit Zooey Deschanel with providing the romantic balance and kooky charm to Jim Carrey’s outlandish physical comedy in this romantic comedy. Director Peyton Reed created a funny yet poignant comedy that allows Carrey to cut loose with his theater of the absurd, while pacing his scenes with crafty skill. The final cut is a warm hearted satire of new age motivation preached by a guru of “Yes”. Terence Stamp plays the motivational speaker Terrence Bundley, who claims that if one says yes to everything, then one will open up …

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The Day the Earth Stood Still

by Rick Grant Grade: B+ / Rated PG-13 / 103 min The blasting surround sound and IMAX screen were made to exhibit this type of grandiose alien invasion movie. The remake bears little resemblance to the original 1951 nuclear apocalypse-pending black & white film. Scott Derrickson directed this big budget spectacular from David Scarpa’s screenplay-a complete rewrite of the original story. With the in-your-face IMAX crystal clear images and the thunderous sound, the advanced aliens in their spheres seem frighteningly real. Their envoy on earth–an alien/human hybrid Klaatu (Keanu Reeves)-communicates with Dr. Helen Benson, (Jennifer Connelly) a renown PhD bio-physicist. …

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Cadillac Records

by Rick GrantB+ / Rated R / 109 min Given that most all successful musicians think that producers, managers, and record companies are somehow ripping them off, this movie exposes that paranoia. However, writer/director Darnell Martin’s cleverly written scenario chronicles on the rise and fall of Chess Records that put the early blues icons on the radio and into the collective consciousness of the 1950s music scene. It’s up to the viewer to decide whether or not these early blues players were ripped off by Chess Records. Polish entrepreneur, Leonard Chess (Adrien Brody) opened a nightclub in an African American …

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December Movies

NOVEMBER 26 AUSTRALIA Set in northern Australia before World War II, an English aristocrat (Nicole Kidman) who inherits a sprawling ranch reluctantly pacts with a stock-man (Hugh Jackman) in order to protect her new property from a takeover plot. As the pair drive 2,000 head of cattle over unforgiving landscape, they experience the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by Japanese forces firsthand. australiamovie.com TRANSPORTER 3 Jason Statham returns as Frank Martin, the ex-Special Forces operative who specializes in high-risk deliveries. Starring: Jason Statham, Francois Berleand and Robert Knepper. Rated PG13 FOUR CHRISTMASES Kate and Brad (Witherspoon and Vaughn) find themselves socked …

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Four Christmases

by Rick Grant Grade: D / Rated PG-13 / 82 min Every year during the holiday season the major studios feel compelled to release this type of mind rot. Why must we have formulaic Christmas’ themed films? Ah yes, like eggnog and fruitcake, it’s a tradition. This film starts out with snappy dialogue between Brad (Vince Vaughan) and his girlfriend, Kate, (Reese Witherspoon) who are trying to avoid the inevitable stress of visiting any of their in-laws. The two anti-holiday travelers are planning a trip to Fiji to escape the intolerable Christmas hype. However, things get messed up when all …

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Bolt

by Rick Grant B+ / Rated PG / 96 min Bolt (John Travolta) is a special dog that has been kept all of his life on the set of his super-dog show Bolt. His handlers and his actress pal, Penny (Miley Cyrus) have led to him believe that his show is real, not make believe. The funny action starts when, in a scene of his show, Penny is kidnapped. Bolt escapes his confinement in a small trailer to rescue Penny, and finds out about the real world. However, for a short time he still believes he has super-powers until he …

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