Flickerings: INDEX OF MOVIE REVIEWSmovie camera

Jump to movies beginning with  

Across the Universe

If you like conceptual art and far-out eye candy you might like the film, but if you seek substance you’d do better to stay home and listen to the original tracks.

reviewed by Mark Burns

Jude (Jim Sturgess) is a Liverpudlian youth who ditches the dockworker’s life for a ship headed to the States. Once ashore, he finds his way to Princeton, where he quickly befriends rebellious Ivy-Leaguer Max (Joe Anderson). Over Thanksgiving, he develops a crush on his new pal’s sister, Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood). Eventually the trio ends up in New York City, where they stumble into the thick of counterculture. Their bohemian apartment proves a crossroads for wandering souls, and their new circle of friends gets swept up by the chaos of the time even as Jude and Lucy fall through kaleidoscope-eyed love.

As history swirls, each character is meant to serve as a window on one facet of the era. While Jude’s romance with Lucy holds anchor, a lesbian copes with embracing her sexuality; a draftee contends with enlistment and war; and musicians wrestle with the intrusion of fame and money. The lovers serve as separate windows as well, as Jude awakens to artistic expression and Lucy finds purpose in political activism.

Virtually all is told through song, evolving with the Beatles’ style from innocent dance-hall pop to political activism and woozy psychadelia. The catalog swims in MTV-drunk reels, across some 30-plus songs and fragments performed by the actors and complemented by a motley cast of musicians including Bono and Martin Luther. Joe Cocker’s powerful rendition of “Come Together” is the brightest cover in this medley, but others’ turns, such as Dana Fuchs’ very Melissa-Ethridge-sounding take on “Helter Skelter,” prove overreaching.

Singing actors, on the other hand, prove fairly flat. Given a grounded setting and more earnest focus, the actors might have done well enough to invoke the indie charm of Once. Unfortunately, they aren’t so musically deep. Director Julie Taymor’s attempt to place all song in the context of a grand musical number or overproduced montage trumps the voices in many scenes.

Taymor (Frida) seems hungry to visualize the Beatles’ music and makes a zealous go of it, effectively making her film a vibrant string of videos. “Strawberry Fields” proves one of her better achievements as a dramatic crux, and “I Want You” is interpreted well to make a particularly bold statement.

Moulin Rouge seems an inspiration for the best of this film’s flighty, musically thick fun, but Universe doesn’t deliver the same consistent energy. It’s not quite as visually dense and lacks the characters to drive the fun. The hallucinogenic trip of Eddie Izzard’s animated “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” segment, for instance, is flat-out addling. An early “Helter Skelter” foreshadowing sequence overlaid on waves reeks of cheese. When not experimenting with dance choreography or trippy effects, Taymor opts for image overlays that hark to PBS telecasts of Broadway musicals. That, and she suspends naked people in water a little more often than she needs to.

It’s an appropriate image, though, as this is essentially what the writers have done to their actors. Dialogue is barely enough to bridge songs together, and character development is dinky, yielding little spark in the central romance and easy apathy for the fates of the two-dimensional characters. The story is sold short by a director clinging too tightly to letting interpreted Beatles’ lyric tell all, resulting not only in an un-enthralling love story, but also a pointless California tangent and a civil rights struggle angle that lasts only the length of “Let it Be.” Such breezy summation has more holes than a hippie’s memory. In that sense, maybe they’re on to something.

Across the Universe is conceptually brave despite questionable execution: it’s more Yoko Ono than John Lennon. If you like conceptual art and far-out eye candy you might like the film, but if you seek substance you’d do better to stay home and listen to the original tracks.

Fair musical • PG-13 • 131 mins.


© Miramax Films

Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart star in Adventureland.

A gem. Check it out.

reviewed by Mark Burns

A naïve romantic discovers love and life amid carnie stalls in this sharp coming-of-age film.

It’s 1987 and James (Jesse Eisenberg: The Education of Charlie Banks) dreams. College is just behind him, and the glimmering world beckons with Shakespearean romance, a European summer and further enlightenment amid the hallowed halls of Columbia U. Instead, his college squeeze dumps the virgin, and his parental gravy train goes dry. He winds up back home in Pittsburg, working to fund his trip with a summer gig at Adventureland. And it is there that he shall serve mole to the mallet of reality — even as he falls into an imperfect romance with fellow carnie Em (Kristen Stewart: Twilight).

Adventureland is a mellower film than you might expect from Superbad auteur Greg Motolla, who writes and directs this one. As in Superbad, Motolla dabbles in the transition between phases of growing up. But he abandons the comic extremes of McLovin for more introspective territory, exploring James’ transition out of naïvete with a more considered tale and a minimum of slapstick.

It’s a predictable trip. Even so, the tale is engaging and smart, finding its tone in the contrast between the lit major’s sheltered introversion and the surreal context of his first forage out of Eden. Em, jaded by unwholesome experience, makes the perfect offset to James; their yin-yang dynamic moves story along as they try to meet each other in the middle. This plays out against a scene of displaced humanities majors and eccentric souls finding camaraderie by serving idiots out of necessity.

Humor comes easily. James’ conflict with the real world meets regularly with a recurring — and crudely brilliant — metaphoric punchline, while the weirdness of a theme park in the 1980s makes its own fun. Idiocy, ruckus, stoner daze and amusingly tragic styles crop up regularly, but Motolla seems careful about keeping them contextual and relatable so as not to overwhelm the earnest story. Saturday Night Live’s Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig are especial treats in choice moments as the theme park’s dorky/cool owners.

Acting is top notch. Eisenberg excels at making his character both alien and sympathetic. Stewart delivers much depth in the role of Em. Even the bit characters are fleshed with interest.

In short, Adventureland is a gem. Check it out.

Great comedy drama • R • 107 mins.

Akeelah and the Bee

A fun ride with competitive spelling, winning with energy, personality and intelligence.

reviewed by Mark Burns

Akeelah (Keke Palmer) is an introverted middle school savant living in southern Los Angeles. She tries to fit in by hiding her mental acuity, but her knack for spelling gets noticed in spite of herself. Said knack nabs the interest of the school principal, and soon he’s prodding the reluctant speller into the bee circuit to win precious attention for their cash-strapped school. Gradually, Akeelah learns what it is to strive and realizes her potential as she’s guided by bookish father figure and word coach Dr. Larabee (Laurence Fishburn) toward the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

A story that may seem a trifle turns out meaty. Akeelah is detached, stoking memories of her late father in solitary games of Scrabble. It’s her escape from the world around her: sirens, bullies, a shoddy school, a distracted mom (Angela Bassett) and a wayward teen brother. Board games only take her so far, and as she steps into a strange new arena, she is forced to come out of her shell and meet a worthy challenge. As she journeys, a transformative mentorship dredges up emotion while the strategies and philosophy (who knew?) of good spelling ply the willing brain.

Critical, of course, is the spelling action itself, and writer/director Doug Atchison captures it well. Anyone who’s fainted through the spelling of chief at the county bee during the first round (that’s C-H-E-I-F, for the record) can appreciate the intensity of a mindsport where the most reclusive of children at the most awkward time of their lives are dragged before a full auditorium (full for this? you ask), labeled with numbers and rendered letter-linking exhibitionists whose greatest goal is to avoid the pitying awww of 500 people in unison.

To see the confidence of children wither and die under spotlight carries unique tension. This makes for effective cinematic flashbacks and climax — though the film fails to capitalize on the specter of full nervous collapse, with no allusion to the nationally televised fainting spell of 2004 (now permanently enshrined in web videos).

Despite its attention to the game, Akeelah and the Bee does veer to the saccharine with innocent romance and simple portrayals. Optimism flies in the face of reality, giving all characters big, squishy hearts at their centers. The film often lapses into the gawky vibe of Nickelodeon or Disney Channel ‘drama.’ Atchison compensates with more maturity in exploring the deeper material, especially in scenes with Laurence Fishburne’s mentor. Angela Bassett brings much-needed edge, and her tough but devoted mother is about the realest role in the film. Somehow the hybridization of saccharine and mature works, striking a tweener tone for the movie’s tweener subject matter.

Cinematically, the film offers nothing more creative than straightforward storytelling set to a standard soundtrack of mild beats and anonymous scoring. The story, though interesting, is easily predictable. Jumps in the timeline can be a bit disorienting, but otherwise there are few holes in the plot.

Akeelah and the Bee is a fun ride through competitive spelling, winning over with energy, personality and intelligence. Check it out. Besides, it might just improve your form.

Good drama • PG • 112 mins.

American Gangster

Super-powered by the acting and charisma of two A-list stars, this is an exemplary take on a story line we can’t get enough of.

reviewed by Jonathan Parker

Denzel Washington plays a powerful drug lord, and Russell Crowe is the cop out to get him in the thrilling drama American Gangster. Super-powered by the acting and charisma of the two leads, director Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Thelma & Louise, Alien) presents a true story with soaring results.

Frank Lucas (Washington), a serious-minded hood in late 1960s’ Harlem, climbs to the upper heights of New York’s mobster-dominated drug business, indeed even higher than the mafia. His key to success: cutting out the middleman and getting his heroin directly from Thailand on military planes returning from Vietnam. Richie Roberts (Crowe) is a straight-laced cop, who, after graduating law school, heads a federal crime squad aimed at taking down New York’s illegal drug trade. Frank climbs a ladder of mobbed-up success with all its fortune and secrecy, while Richie mucks around through family and workplace problems while trying to break the city’s heroin epidemic.

Eventually, these two must meet, the characters and the actors. Therein, comes the double whammy of an otherwise routine plot. We know these two characters are on a collision course. Even more exciting is our knowledge that these two actors — arguably the two biggest and best dramatic actors in Hollywood today — must eventually end up on the screen together. The climactic meeting is certainly powerful enough to leave satisfied smiles on our faces. Plus, the tension and drama on the way there is more than worth the ride.

Few moviegoers can watch this type of New York mob story without thinking of The Sopranos, which has now surpassed Coppola’s The Godfather trilogy and Scorsese’s Goodfellas as the book on modern mob screen storytelling. Indeed, we know this plotline on both sides: the successful mobster, the struggling cop. Will good win out?

Despite the standard storyline, success stories — and that is really what these are — that give us an inside look at the mob world and a peak at big city police corruption always manage to suck us in. Better still when they are well told, as this one is. Exemplary, when they are motored by such powerful performances by such A-list actors in their prime.

Great drama • R • 157 mins.

Angels & Demons

© Columbia Pictures

Tom Hanks, Ayelet Zurer, Thure Lindhart and Ewan McGregor in the DaVinci Code prequel Angels & Demons.

The premise is flimsy but the fun is good

reviewed by Jonathan Parker

Tom Hanks returns as super-sleuthing symbologist Robert Langdon, this time recruited by the Vatican to solve a kidnapping case, in the ludicrous but entertaining action thriller Angels & Demons. As wildly unbelievable as its predecessor The Da Vinci Code, this one is more fun thanks to a less unwieldy story and more action.

Catholic cardinals from around the globe are meeting at the Vatican City to elect a new pope. Meanwhile, scientific experiments to discover antimatter have successfully taken place in Switzerland. The antimatter is stolen, the four leading cardinals to become pope are kidnapped and they all turn up together hidden somewhere in the Vatican on a live-video feed. Enter Harvard professor Langdon to solve what appears to be a mystery involving an ancient band of Catholic scientists known as the Illuminati. Langdon sets off to uncover the mystery, rescue the cardinals and save the world from the antimatter’s exploding and turning all of Rome inside out. There are only hours to spare.

Director Ron Howard (The Da Vinci Code; Apollo 13) brings together a host of ideas borrowed from other films and TV shows. The opening plays out like a James Bond film, with technological mumbo-jumbo and beeps and lights generated to dramatic effect. Professor Langdon is an updated Indiana Jones, casually throwing himself into harm’s way even if his real gift is symbology. The plot is set to a 24 Hours timetable, where many things can happen simultaneously and in such short time. 

It’s hard to believe that Rome traffic alone wouldn’t ruin the entire plot in real life. Ahh, but to use one’s brain beyond the following of what Dr. Langdon is telling us is to use it far too much. The opening scene where antimatter is not only created but stolen, then transported across Europe without incident is itself an indication that if you are going to try to keep it real, you’ve walked into the wrong theater.

Langdon jumps to correct conclusions by getting from point A to point Z in less than 30 seconds; with the believable Hanks making the leap, it seems semi-plausible. Fortunately, after the opening, the story stays in Rome, so we can worry less about ponderous plot connections and kick back and enjoy the scenery, the fast-paced action — even laughing with pleasure at the over-the-top outcome. 

Good action thriller • PG-13 • 138 mins.

Astro Boy

© Summit Entertainment

Astro Boy, voiced by Freddie Highmore, meets his father, voiced by Nicolas Cage.

Send the kids, preferably alone.

reviewed by Mark Burns ~ November 12, 2009

A turbocharged Care Bear socks evil in the nose with this wishy-washy adaptation of the classic manga and cartoons.

Toby, boy genius, has been lost to tragedy — specifically, he’s been vaporized in the blast of a rampaging warrior drone powered by pure negative energy. Ouch! Dr. Tenma (Nicolas Cage), grieving over the baseball hat that remains, copes with the loss of his son by constructing a robo-clone imbued with the child’s memories. He takes the opportunity to make his kid way cooler, too, loading butt-mounted machine guns, rocket feet and laser cannon arms onto a nigh indestructible frame. Somehow, though, the substitute feels oddly artificial. So doc shuns bot, casting Astro Boy (Freddie Highmore) into the world to discover his destiny.

So plays this latest update of Astro Boy, the comic and cartoon classic launched in Japan in 1951. Elements have changed — for instance, Astro’s atomic heart is now a ball of mysterious free energy fallen from space — but the movie stays pretty loyal to creator Osamu Tezuka’s original tale.

Story is carried by a theme of alienation and acceptance as Astro Boy seeks out his place in the world. It’s a simple tale as Astro reveals his strength and compassion through a string of feats. There’s gentle consideration in the tale of Astro’s selfless search for home and purpose. But it’s oddly complicated by the wrinkle of a warmongering president (Donald Sutherland), in love with red negative energy, who wants an excuse to wage war on the world below to win reelection. The guy runs on a platform of no change and calls his challenger — a charismatic, young upstart who channels positive blue energy to bring peace, love and justice back to the world — a hippie.

Politics aside, the wrinkle works well enough as a motivator for action while helping the story bumble along. Even so, story tends toward summary with little character development as it ambles from moment to moment. The filmmakers alight on touchstones of past comic and cartoon while adding new twists, but they fail at developing empathy for Astro. Nor do they harness the inherent goofiness or build suspense for his plight.

Flat scripting and delivery further saps spirit from the tale. Animation, while smooth, clean and bright, is somewhat stuffy and inexpressive. Lame scoring is a lullaby; Bob the Builder is better scored.

Astro is friendly enough for younger moviegoers. Adult fans of the series might even appreciate little nods, like a mountain-tunneling snippet taken from the opening sequence of the 1960s’ cartoon. That said, this one’s aimed more at the new generation than the last.

Boring cartoon revival • PG • 94 mins.

August Rush

There’s nothing wrong with a little magic. Unfortunately, August Rush has none.

reviewed by Jonathan Parker

A young orphan looks for his parents by using the power of music in the pretentious and boring melodrama August Rush. Director Kirsten Sheridan (Patterns) gives us an amazingly contrived love story that asks us to achieve some sort of new limits on our suspension of disbelief.

Evan Taylor (Freddie Highmore) is an 11-year-old music prodigy who escapes his upstate orphanage for the boisterous streets of New York City. It seems Evan’s coming to being was the result of a magical one-night-stand between virtuoso cellist Lyla Novacek (Keri Russell) and Irish rocker Louis Connelly (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Since then, both Lyla and Louis have given up their music, only to be mysteriously drawn back into playing and back to New York, as Evan — now using the pseudonym August Rush — develops his musical gifts. Son searches for parents, mother searches for child and lover searches for lover — all sickeningly pulled together by the power of music.

From the get go, we know this movie is going to take itself too seriously. In the opening scene, we hear a voice-over from our protagonist, who talks about how music is all around us; all we have to do is listen. Not unlike “the force” in Star Wars, I suppose. But even Luke Skywalker has a better sense of humor than little August; and this is modern day New York, not a galaxy far, far away. August is a musical prodigy who, through some of the most amazing coincidences this side of — well, Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace — manages to fulfill all of his most unrealistic goals and dreams just by playing his music.

It’s not just the fairy-tale ridiculous writing that makes this film so unbearable. It’s the execution. Every performer — save for perhaps Terrance Howard as a helpful child services case worker — seems blankly mesmerized by the mystical powers of the goings on. Russell and Meyers are downright wooden, Highmore is odd and Robin Williams is inappropriately creepy as a modern day Fagin to a young gang of street musicians, with August as an Oliver Twist.

But to reference Charles Dickens and George Lucas is to give this film too much credit. Suspension of disbelief is required for any fairy tale, and even the most contrived of situations can be magically explored given the right presentation. There’s nothing wrong with a little magic. Unfortunately, August Rush has no honest magic, and it’s an all-around bad show.

Poor drama • PG • 112 mins.

Avatar (3D)

© 20th Century Fox

Sam Worthington plays a paraplegic former Marine, is brought in to “pilot” a biological avatar and infiltrate the alien Na’vi.

This must-see escapist fantasy rejoices in magic, mayhem and story.

reviewed by Mark Burns

Giant, blue, dragon-riding Indians fight to save their bioluminescent planet from mercenary commando space cowboys in this stunning sci-fi fantasy.

Pandora is a lush forest moon — like Endor, only groovier — orbiting a blue gas-giant planet. Its native Na’vi people are riled as an Earth-based corporation craters their home in search of unobtainium, the most precious substance known to man. Crack mercs are trying to bully the Na’vi into submission when Jake, (Sam Worthington: Terminator Salvation), a paraplegic former Marine, is brought in to “pilot” a biological avatar and infiltrate a local clan for intel. The good Marine goes native, however, with help from huntress Neytiri (Zoe Saldana: Star Trek). So when the mercs step up the aggression, he takes up the fight as fated hero to save the Na’vi homeworld.

Avatar is a resurfacing for director James Cameron. The auteur disappeared under the waves with 1997’s Titanic, embarking on a series of deep-sea explorations and documentaries. His return to Hollywood’s big screen is a refreshed attempt at spectacle as he strives to push computer animation and 3D filmmaking to the next level.

The guy weaves a good tale while he’s at it.

The woven pattern is familiar. Cameron might have titled his project The Last Samurai Dances with Wolves. But there’s ample meat on this formula’s bones. Smart tension keeps the film taut as Jake is caught between the camps of biologist/anthropologist Grace (Sigourney Weaver, recapturing her Gorillas in the Mist vibe) and warmongering Col. Quaritch (Stephen Lang: The Men Who Stare at Goats). Naked avarice, aggression and racism power the corporation’s bid for colonial domination, setting good and evil in stark contrast.

Jake’s narration guides much of the film, neatly evolving from hard-boiled bluntness to wiser reflection as he immerses ever deeper into his avatar role. The telling is patiently wrought and evenly paced, helped along by quick action, deep character (including Cameron’s trademark strong women) and rich setting.

It’s the setting that really makes the sell. Pandora is Gaia theory meets neuroscience meets botany, a glowing fantasyland that has almost a video game feel. Fans of the Final Fantasy game series may especially appreciate the verve, particularly as relates to an inspired bestiary populated by dragon-like banshees, elephant-sized hammerhead rhinos with jet-intake nostrils and luminous, helicoptering lizards. The world is realized in crisply realistic computer animation blended with tangible set pieces to believable effect. The creative team at work here — the same guys who brought Gollum to life — deliver intricate realism to the Na’vi without the creep, creating fine virtual performances that sync naturally with live elements.

Action, too, is no slouch as Cameron serves up a buffet of fireballs, jungle chase, winged firepower, archery, beast wrangling and high-altitude acrobatics. Quaritch is a caricature of raw aggression riding in on a gunship bristling with a ridiculous array guns and missiles, setting himself up as a delicious force for mayhem. There’s a knife-fight sequence in a militarized power suit that’s just fun.

The 3D tech at work here is certainly better than the old-school stuff. There’s depth in every shot rather than just the odd gag, and it’s used to swell effect in action sequences. Dimension is sharper and the sunshade-style 3D glasses fit easily over prescription eyewear. That said, the view is a bit disorienting, it takes a while for your eyes to adjust, and the three-hour flick did yield mild eyestrain. A couple of moviegoers commented generally that next time they’d try the 2D experience.

Still, there will be a next time. Avatar is a rich piece of escapist fantasy that rejoices in its magic and mayhem without abandoning the more peaceful nuances of a carefully faceted story. Count this as a must-see.

Great sci-fi • PG-13 • 162 mins.


A soft thriller, perhaps intended for viewers with weak hearts

reviewed by Mark Burns

Medical thriller melds with young romance and mothering in this weird little drama.

Clay (Hayden Christensen) is New York’s investment capital wunderkind, a Bruce Wayne-style righteous billionaire trying to live up to his late father’s memory. He’s engaged to the lovely Sam (Jessica Alba), though the mini-magnate must protect his romance by hiding it from his judging mother. This proves a piddling concern as related to his weak heart: He needs a transplant to live. When a donor finally becomes available, he’s rushed into surgery. But the anesthesiologist botches the dope, paralyzing Clay while leaving him sensitive and aware. There on the table, he lies helpless overhearing conspirators plot his murder.

The tale enters Hitchcock territory with its fine premise of psychological torment. Clay can do nothing to protest the pain as he’s cut open and can only delve into memory to puzzle out the conspiracy as his murder unfolds. The seed of a sharp thriller is here, but it never sprouts.

Story is dominated early on by cute romance, mom issues, dad issues, doctor empathy and generally establishing Clay as a sympathetic character. It’s almost a separate movie, a touching little romantic drama involving a terminal lover that seems neatly wrapped by the time the climax comes around. Rookie auteur Joby Harold, who wrote and directed, spends so much time establishing this context that he almost pockets the surgical crux as an aside. In effect the film becomes back-to-back episodes of a prime-time soap.

Harrowing surgery proves blunt. Clay escapes into cozy internal reminiscences as he tries to block out everything. Jolts that return him to reality are barely that. His agony under the knife is expressed through fairly flat interior monologue and outside commentary that merely echos the process. Delivery is partly to blame, as Christensen is not a deep enough actor to make the sell. The patient’s deductions are dull as well, as they reveal nothing that hasn’t already been solved by the moviegoer, making it an exercise in watching him catch up, which is not particularly riveting.

There is precious little weaving and faking in this storyline. Even when there is, the film’s reveals don’t arrive via sharp Hitchcockian twists but rather through broad, gentle turns, steering the deer of truth into view in time to gently apply the brakes of surprise.

Inevitability absorbs the punch of at least one late revelation, and the overall predictability of the story leaves few unanswered questions to keep a hold on curiosity. Unnecessary aspects of Clay are brought to light to flesh out his character but prove distracting, while quick resolutions oversimplify other dramatic elements that could have better explored the film’s themes.

Little is done visually to heighten the suspense. Surgical scenes are kept detailed but clinical, never veering to gore. This is a merciful choice, yet Harold too frequently abandons the process for fuzzy flashbacks and flat exchanges.

In the end, it isn’t a bad debut for the new director. But it’s a simplified tale, and not nearly as chilling as it should have been. Consider it a soft thriller, perhaps intended for viewers with weak hearts.

Fair soft thriller • R • 84 mins.

© Focus Features
John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph star in Away We Go.

Away We Go

A touching and smart little quiet movie

reviewed by Jonathan Parker

A 30-something slacker couple expecting a child travel North America visiting friends and exploring what the rest of their lives might hold in the gentle comedy Away We Go. Written by novelist couple Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida and directed by Sam Mendes (Revolutionary Road; American Beauty), this movie is heavy on intelligence and heart, even if its laughs and emotions are of the quieter variety.

Lovers Burt and Verona (John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph) aren’t married but are very much a couple. When hit with the enormity of the baby growing inside Verona and the fact that Burt’s parents are no longer a reason for staying where they live, they think it might be a good time to visit friends and family in different locales to see what their lives are like. Given no family or work restraints, they realize they could bring up this child almost anywhere. What they find as they travel is a series of dysfunctional and not-so-dysfunctional — and varyingly funny — family situations. None of which may be for them.

Away We Go is really a romantic coming-of-age story, but with a twist. Often movies such as this are romantic wedding comedies. Someone is getting married, they’re not sure of their decision, they watch others around them, they learn, they grow, and they realize that everything is going to be okay. Away We Go follows much the same story arch, but instead of a couple realizing what it will be like for two people spending the rest of their lives together, it’s about three people spending the rest of their lives together.

Director Mendes and first-time screenwriters Eggers and Vida give the movie a unique feel, if not totally original concepts. Certainly, Eggers and Vida are taking from their own experiences as a 30-something couple (Verona has lost both her parents, as has Eggers, as we know from his book A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), and Mendes handles the material with tone-perfect sensitivity.

Missing are big laughs and big tear-up moments. Mendes opts instead for subtleties. Meanwhile, Krasinski and Rudolph play their roles with mostly cool, unattached emotions. It’s clear our couple loves each other, but that doesn’t mean they have to break down and cry to get there, and they don’t. Away We Go is a touching and smart little quiet movie. Not much more than that, and that’s more than okay.

Good romantic comedy • R • 97 mins.

| A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

 Return to
| Top | Homepage |

© COPYRIGHT 2010 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.