When we think of summer movies, we tend to think about blockbusters. We think about massive CGI-laden action fests, packed with explosions and gunfire and quips. We think about IP franchise machines churning out spectacle. And that’s great – people love those movies. I love those movies.

But there’s another flavor of summer film. We don’t get a lot of them – not as many as we used to, at any rate – but they’re still there. These are the smaller movies, the ones that are more about story than spectacle. These are films that focus on people and the connections between them, driven by the desire to put interesting narratives on film.

“Mack & Rita,” the latest directorial effort from Maine’s own Katie Aselton from a script by Madeline Walter and Paul Welsh, is a prime example of that latter flavor. It is a thoughtful film about the ties that bind us, about what it means to be our authentic selves no matter what the world tells us. It is about how our connections can transcend the everyday and how we can (and should) strive to be who we want to be.

(All of this, by the way, packaged in a body-swap rom-com package, which, let’s be real, is a Venn diagram bullseye for yours truly.)

Published in Style

There are some movies that are compulsively watchable. These are the films from which you simply cannot tear your eyes. Often, this magnetism springs from the exquisite quality of what has been made, a combination of narrative and aesthetic excellence that demands to be experienced. Sometimes, however – not frequently, but every once in a while – that watchability is born of the exact opposite. In these moments, we get a movie that, despite being an abject and utter mess, nevertheless holds your attention.

“Love, Weddings & Other Disasters” is one of those rare watchable shambles, an aptly-titled car-crash of a movie experience that practically demands to be rubbernecked.

Written and directed by Dennis Dugan – best known as a longtime collaborator with Adam Sandler – “Love, Weddings & Other Disasters” is a misguided effort to walk the well-worn path of the intersecting storyline rom-com. The best of those films connect the dots with grace and subtlety, but as you might have already surmised, that’s not what this film does. Instead, we get a series of barely-connected narratives that each play out in their own rambling fashion before a hurried and not-particularly-inspired finale that leaves the viewer wondering what the hell just happened.

Published in Movies
Tuesday, 22 May 2018 14:58

‘Book Club’ fails to leave a mark

It isn’t easy getting old in Hollywood. Too often, stars flail against the notion of age, desperately trying to stave off the inevitability of time. Aging gracefully isn’t something that most actors have the luxury of doing.

It’s particularly bad for women; there just isn’t a lot of space carved out of the cinematic firmament for actresses of a certain age. So when an opportunity arises – an opportunity for a collection of exceptionally talented women to shine - all you can do is cross your fingers and hope for the best.

At the very least, hope for better than “Book Club.”

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 11:23

The Big Wedding' should be annulled

Romantic comedy neither loving nor funny

On paper, an all-star cast makes a lot of sense. It would stand to reason that when you bring a lot of diverse talents together in the same place, something good would happen. Unfortunately, it rarely works out that way.

Whether it's a matter of too many cooks in the kitchen, conflicting egos or a simple lack of real commitment from some (or all) of the cast, these collections of well-known film stars almost always fall a bit flat.

Published in Movies


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