Friday, December 27, 2013

Movie Reviews: Saving Mr. Banks & Thor: The Dark World

Seasons Greetings everyone!  I managed to pack in two recent movies over my long holiday break.  Things are pretty hectic on my stay-cation so i'll make these short and sweet.

Saving Mr. Banks tells the story of Walt Disney and his plight to get the film rights to Mary Poppins.  Disney (Tom Hanks) must get the approval of P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), an Australian author who wrote the classic novel.

The story of brining Poppins to the big screen is very interesting and engaging and Director dadd dasdas does a solid job of mixing flashback footage (featuring Colin Farrell as Travers' alcoholic father) with the events of the 1960's that include a trip to Disneyland and several planning/production meetings.  This movie would be pretty bland if it wasn't for Hanks' and Thompson's performances.  Thompson plays Travers as sort of an eccentric and grumpy Debbie Downer and should be up for an Oscar once again.  Hanks delivers his second quality performance of the year as Disney.  He personifies the legendary character and really is the only person who could have been properly cast in the role.  The back story of getting a Disney classic to the big screen proves to be one of the more interesting movies of the year and I recommend it to everyone.

Thor: The Dark World is the sequel to the 2011 Thor film by Kenneth Branagh in which all the main characters are back for an entertaining mix of action and humor.  Chris Hemsworth once again wields the hammer well as Thor and comes across as an actor who feels very comfortable in this role (his third performance if you count The Avengers).  Natalie Portman (returning with an Oscar statue in her possession) reprises her role as scientist Jane Foster, the love interest for Thor.  Loki (the always excellent Tom Hiddleston) is back as well and weasels his way into action towards the end of the film despite being imprisoned at the start (he did pretty much blow up NYC last summer).

The sequel is able to get off the ground quicker than the first film as we don't need the character origin stories any longer.  There's a lot of action throughout and the visual effects are far superior than the first film.  Hemsworth's chemistry with both Portman and Hiddleston shines and makes the audience more engaged.  The lack of a real threatening villain is the only downfall here.  The Dark Elves and their magical weapon (the Aether) seem to be menacing enough but just didn't feel like a true adversary for Thor and Asgard.  The twist ending is a solid and unexpected one and sets up an interesting setting for the third Thor film.  Worth a watch in the theater for sure (although it's almost vanished from them).

Both of these movies were very good but not amongst the upper echelon of movies I've seen this year.  4 JR's each for Saving Mr. Banks and Thor 2.  I'm hoping to get in a cluster of movies next weekend with American Hustle and Wolf of Wall Street..  I've heard bad things about Anchorman 2 so I think I'll wait for video on that one.  Hope everyone had a good Christmas and Best Wishes for a Happy 2014!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Review: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

In the second of three films that compose the re-telling of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit, Peter Jackson returns to the epic action sequences he perfected in 2003's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a lengthy but entertaining addition to the chronicles of Middle Earth and is a must-see in the theater for any LOTR fans.  Bolstered by the excellent performances of Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins and Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of Smaug the Dragon, this second film exceeds the excitement of the first in several key areas.

I won't get into the plot too much as the only people who are going to see this movie are either fans of Tolkien or Peter Jackson Middle Earth converts who saw the first four films he made.  Basically Bilbo has banded together with Thorin Oakenshield and a group of dwarves to reclaim their homeland (Erebor) that had been destroyed and inhabited by Smaug.  The first three quarters of the film show the dwarves' plight to make it to a hidden door in the mountains of Erebor in an attempt to have Bilbo the burglar infiltrate the throne room in search for a precious stone known as the Arkenstone.  We see some inter splicing of elvish involvement as well as the always excellent Ian Mckellen as Gandalf the Grey throughout the journey.

The real meat of the movie occurs during the final quarter as Bilbo faces off with Smaug in the throne room.  The geniuses at Weta Digital have done it again in creating Smaug, a clever, brash and ferocious fire-breathing behemoth with a sly perfect voice from Cumberbatch.  The dragon looks immense on screen and seeing the fire build in his belly before he shoots flames is an added authentic touch.  Freeman is awesome in these scenes, portraying the quirky banter between dragon and hobbit perfectly.  His physical nuances are well thought out and add to the overall reluctance of Bilbo to carry out this task for his dwarf friends.

My biggest gripes with this movie are the shear number of dwarves involved and the inclusion of Legolas the elf.  I can never remember the names of the dwarves and several of them look alike.  Legolas himself seems a bit out of place in this story (Jackson wrote him in as he wasn't in the book) and while Evangeline Lilly (Tauriel, another made-up character) is a nice bit of eye candy who gives a Liv-Tyler-esque performance of delivering beautiful lines of elvish dialogue, the whole elf involvement as a whole seems forced.  If you cut out all of the elf scenes in general you get a more manageable runtime and what I would argue to be a more compelling film.  That being said, Jackson does a great job with the story overall and delivers more than enough action and jaw dropping visuals to keep you engaged throughout.

For my review score here I am torn between 4 and 4.5 JRs.  This movie is very good and the action scenes are more intense and epic in scope than in the first Hobbit film, however I think the involvement of Gollum in the first movie just bumps it up a slight notch.  Therefore I will give this movie 4 JRs.  Smaug makes this film worthwhile and it'll be good to see him again in the third installment next year which will mark Peter Jackson's final farewell to Middle Earth.

Note:  I only saw this movie in 2D and not 3D or HFR 3D (which kinda sucked last year).  I may see it again in 3D, but there are a lot more pressing movies I need to see first for that to happen.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Review: The Hunger Games - Catching Fire

Despite earning an Academy Award nomination for 2010's Winter's Bone, Jennifer Lawrence was just your average run-of-the-mill young actress before taking on the role of Katniss Everdeen in the 2012 blockbuster The Hunger Games.  Since her powerhouse turn as the IT action star for young adults, Lawrence has shot to super-stardom, winning an Oscar last year for Silver Linings Playbook.  In her follow-up to that film, Lawrence finds herself back in Panem playing Katniss in the David Lawrence (no relation) helmed sequel Catching Fire.  The second of a three-part series, Catching Fire doesn't quite live up to the novelty of the first film but manages to entertain nonetheless despite a rather bloated runtime.

In Catching Fire we see the same set of familiar characters headlined by Katniss and Peeta (the forgetable Josh Hutcherson) who are forced to go cross-country in a victors tour following the duo's win in the 74th Hunger Games.  Advisor Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), stylist Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) and publicist Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) help prep the supposed lovers to fake that they're into each other and impress the capital in the process.  Through a twist in the 75th Hunger Games rules, previous winners are thrown back into the fray for the "Quarter Quell" and Katniss and Peeta must once again try to outlast 22 other competitors in a free-for-all kill-fest.  Throughout the buildup to the event, we see a sense of rebellion and uprising during the stops on the Victory Tour.  It seems as if the people of Panem are finally fed up with the way the Capital is controlling the citizens of their world.

Lawrence the director takes over for Gary Ross (who directed the first film) and provides a sense of continuity in the visual theme of this film.  The Capital is once again emblazoned in bright loud colors and filled with obnoxious personalities.  The action throughout is well crafted and tense at times.  Lawrence the actress is right at home with her fierce portrayal of Katniss.  She shows a determination and commitment to her role that is hard to find in an actress of her age.  A cast of new characters are introduced as Career Tributes and fellow participants in the Games.  Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin and a feisty Jena Malone play some of these tributes and are welcome additions to the overall cast.  Philip Seymour Hoffman is introduced as new GameMaster Plutarch Heavensbee and seems a bit out of place in a film of this genre.  He plays along well though and does an adequate job with the few lines he's given.

I enjoyed this movie and thought Jennifer Lawrence once again stole the show as Katniss.  I just felt the movie was a bit too long and ended too abruptly (more of a fault of the book in general).  The effects were so-so (as in the first one) and once again Josh Hutcherson is completely wooden as Peeta.  Great performances by Harrelson, Donald Sutherland (President Snow)  and especially Stanley Tucci as the over-the-top-hilarious Caesar Flickerman help buoy this film to a 4 out of 5 JR rating.  It's definitely worth a watch on the big screen (apparently the arena footage was shot in IMAX although I didn't see it in that format).  I just don't see this making my Top 10 list at the end of the year giving all the other high-quality films we've seen in 2013.

Note:  It looks like Mockingjay is planned to be split into two films with the first coming out next year.  The final installment of the series supposedly focuses on the uprising against the capital and does not feature a formal Hunger Games event.  I'm hoping that this will make for a more original set of films and we'll see a fitting conclusion to the Suzanne Collins series of stories.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Review: 12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave is the first Steve McQueen film I have ever seen (not THIS McQueen, or even this one).  The relatively new director is most famous for his Michael Fassbender vehicle Shame that came out in 2011.  From what I witnessed in McQueen's latest effort, a brutally raw and revealing look at American slavery in the mid-1800s, this is a director who in only his third film has full command of the screen and brings out the very best in his cast.  While depressing and truly uncomfortable at times, the super team of McQueen, Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor manages to deliver one of the very best films of 2013.

Ejiofor (a rather unheralded veteran of films such as Children of Men, Salt and 2012) plays Solomon Northup, a free black man living in New York who is tricked into coming to Washington DC and is unwillingly sold into slavery.  Most of the film focuses on his struggle for survival over the 12 years he is held in slavery.  We see a variety of authentic southern plantation locations (filmed beautifully by cinematographer Sean Bobbitt) inhabited by rich men and women who take out their frustrations with society on their hired help.  Moving from slave owner to slave owner, Northup is faced with an increasingly grim vision of his future and the memories of his wife and two sons begin to fade as they are replaced with brutal images of whipping, rape and torture mixed in with day-after-day of cotton picking and other manual labor.

Never before has the ideal and horror that is American slavery been depicted so vividly and authentically on-screen.  McQueen realizes early-on that he has a gem of a young actor in Ejiofor.  He manages to convey a wealth of emotion to the audience just by holding the camera on Northup for long takes at a time.  One particularly wrenching and harrowing scene features Northup narrowly avoiding a hanging and standing on his tiptoes in a southern swamp for what seems like hours while the other help and slave masters walk around him, completely ignoring his struggle to remain breathing.  This shot lasts perhaps 3-5 minutes completely focused on Ejiofor without and music or dialogue.  Yet it is completely gripping and tense and holds the viewers' attention.  Ejiofor dominates this film and is able to emote so much with just a weary stare.  We feel the pain that he has endured and understand his lifeless eyes that symbolize someone who has all but given up hope.  It is particularly trying to see Northup's life before slavery as an accomplished well-educated cello player who associated and dined with the wealthy.  Watching that all get stripped away from him and seeing his own personal struggle to remain humble and try to fit in to his current situation, is the soul of this movie that Ejiofor helps drive home effortlessly.  With all due respect to Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips) and Robert Redford (All is Lost), this year's Best Actor prize will be most deservedly in the hands of Ejiofor who gives a performance of a lifetime in a very tough role.  The Best Actor 2013 Oscar race might well feature the most accomplished group of performances in quite some time.

Fassbender, who is slowly but surely becoming the best actor of his generation, is amazing as slave owner Edwin Epps.  He gives a manic performance that borderlines on crazy but always seems under control.  The rage of Epps builds inside Fassbender during moments of calm comfort between him and his slaves and strikes out during brutal pieces of frustrated anger.  Fassbender becomes a monster on-screen and creates a villain that the audience (and Northrup) are eager to hate.  I can easily see Fassbender bringing home his first Academy Award next year for this effort.  In addition to the two acting stars of this moive, McQueen manages to pack in oustanding supporting talent in Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti (as an extremely racist and heartless slave trader), Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano (who is always excellent at whatever he does) and Brad Pitt.  Newcomer Lupita Nyong'o is able to hold her own against Fassbender and Ejiofor as the doomed slave Patsey.  She stands out during the almost-unwatchable whipping scene towards the end of the film that is beautifully framed and directed by McQueen.  

Right now I see Best Picture as a two horse race between 12 Years a Slave and Gravity.  I have to give a slight edge to Alfonso Cuaron's masterpiece because of just how groundbreaking a technical achievement it was.  That being said, McQueen's film is truly remarkable in it's own right and should be seen by everyone as a reminder of the deep scars that exist in America's past.  A very strong 5 out of 5 JRs for the best acted movie of 2013.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Review: All Is Lost

Robert Redford is a cinematic legend, an Academy Award winning actor, and an ambassador for independent film (the creator of the Sundance Film Festival).  In a long, storied career he has saved his best performance for the 77th year of his life as he runs the entire show from start to finish in J.C. Chandor's All Is Lost, a strange minimalist story of nautical survival.

Chandor, who directs his second feature film following the well-received 2012 financial crisis movie Margin Call, makes the executive decision to cast Redford as the sole actor in All Is Lost.  We meet Redford's character (listed in the credits as "Our Man") at the very start of the film as we see him writing a goodbye letter to his friends and family.  Flash forward 8 days earlier and we are instantly shown the initial impact with Redford's sailboat and a wary cargo container floating in the Indian Ocean.

The entire span of the next hour and a half of film chronicles Redford's efforts to patch his boat and survive without the guide of a radio or navigation system.  With only a few words spoken on-screen, Redford is left with a muted performance in which he must emote how he feels as the days dwindle onward.  Chandor does a great job with his camera work, putting us right there with Redford on the boat as we feel the wrath of nature that is let loose on his character.  The movie ends with an ambiguous situation that would seem more important if we know a little more about "Our Man".  However, Chandor is determined to give no back story for the character and therefore leaves the audience to come up with their own interpretation of how the plot ends up for Redford.  I applaud Chandor in thinking outside the box with this one, but I'm not sure if he's produced an actual movie as much as an experiment.  The much better isolation movie of the year is Gravity.

Overall, All Is Lot is a film that is gripping and grounded in reality with an amazing performance from Redford that should make him a real contender for the Best Actor trophy next year.  I just don't see myself ever seeing it again.  it's a one-trick-pony from start to finish, with minimal dialogue.  Redford keeps you interested though and that in of itself is an achievement.  I would recommend seeing this, but maybe waiting for video is a good idea (although the theater sound adds to the overall effect).  A solid-but-strange 3.5 out of 5 JRs for this movie.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Review: Captain Phillips

Paul Greengrass is the modern-day master of gritty you-are-there cinema.  With his trademark handheld shaky cam style he is able to bring viewers right up close and personal with the action and tension on screen.  United 93 and the second two Bourne movies are examples of his ability to bring real-time action directly to the audience with no filter.  Borrowing from a true story of naval pirating, Greengrass gives us his latest gripping tale in Captain Phillips which features excellent performances from both a trusted veteran and a surprising newcomer.

Tom Hanks plays Captain Richard Phillips, the helmsman of the Maersk Alabama, a freight liner that was seized by Somali pirates in 2010.  Phillips is taken hostage by four pirates and a final confrontation eventually takes place between Phillips, his captors and the US Navy.  A la United 93, Greengrass chronicles the events of the pirating in chronological order from the initial airport drop off (featuring a brief but real performance by Catherine Keener as Phillips' wife) to the final stand-off between the Navy Seals and the Somalis.  Needless to say, Greengrass is on-point again in this film, giving us a no-frills raw and gritty look at what the Somalis try to pull off to survive in their war-torn country.  We get an authentic look at how a large freight vessel operates through the intricate interactions between captain and crew.  The tension builds as the small Somali boat gives chase with a large-yet-helpless crew on board without weapons.  The third act of the film which takes place in a confined lifeboat seems a bit too long and I imagine it could have been cut some to tighten up the 2-hour-plus runtime.

Hanks is the star of the show once again as he embodies the New England bravado and resolve of Phillips quite well.  His final scene after the bloody climactic showdown in which he breaks down while being questioned in front of naval officers might honestly be the best scene he's ever acted in.  The audience is able to totally feel the horror and gravity of the events that Phillips has just gone through.  Expect Tom to be nominated by the Academy once again for a 6th time in an attempt to win his 3rd acting statue.  The revelation in this movie though is rookie actor Barkhad Abdi, a Somalia native and Minneapolis resident who steals just about every scene he's in with his portrayal of Somali pirate leader Muse.  With a gaunt ultra-thin face and piercing eyes, he conveys a sense of desperation and determination at pleasing his Somali bosses by pulling off the heist of the Alabama.  Towards the end of the film we almost feel a small piece of sympathy for Muse as he seems to treat the Captain with more respect than his fellow captors.  I'm not sure if Abdi will remain in the acting profession, but this role was absolutely perfect for him and he somehow manages (in his first performance) to stand toe-to-toe with a two-time Oscar winner.

Captain Phillips is a wonderful thrill ride and gives us an authentic snapshot of the haves and have-nots of America and Somalia.  Bouyed by a strong performance from a living legend and the care of director who knows his strengths, this film earns a solid 4.5 out of 5 JRs.  It's worth watching in the theater as the intense action scenes will be amplified on the big screen.  The quality of movies this month has been outstanding and I've seen three of my favorite movies of 2013 in the past few weeks.  It looks like what started as a dull year for movies is finishing with a bang.  The next film on my hit list is 12 Years a Slave which looks to be on a collision course with Gravity for Oscar accolades.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Review: Gravity

It has been a long 7 years since Alfonso Cuaron last released a major motion picture.  2006's Children of Men (starring Clive Owen) gave us a dark glimpse of the future and featured an auteur who had become a master of cinematographic excellence.  Midway through that film, Cuaron showcased his knack for presenting true movie tension by filming a 4-minute long uncut sequence in car that featured a large number of extras that had to be executed perfectly to work.  By not cutting at all during that sequence, the audience is able to feel like they are in the car with the characters and the terror of the scene is ramped up substantially.

With Gravity, Cuaron has taken the uncut-raw-realism from Children of Men and amplified it times 20.  The entire film is a thrill ride complete with extremely long takes that span in and out of first-person perspective and present the first true immersive theater-going experience.  The shear spectacle and technical achievement of this film is perfectly paired with the career-best acting performance of Sandra Bullock and a solid supporting effort from George Clooney to assemble what is the best movie I've seen since Christopher Nolan's Inception.

The near entirety of this movie is set in space and tells the story of two NASA astronauts, Ryan Stone (Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (Clooney) who experience a significant chain-reaction of events while repairing the Hubble Space Telescope during a Space Shuttle mission.  Stone and Kowalski become separated and must navigate through space debris and various space stations to attempt to get back to Earth alive.  The setup and the story are pretty basic but Cuaron's execution is absolutely jaw-dropping to witness.  From the get-go, we get up close and personal with the astronauts as they work on the telescope as the camera swings around and swoops in using angles we've never seen in a space film before.  It seems like 15 minutes goes by before the first camera cut is seen which helps add to the immersion of the movie.  Throughout the film Cuaron brings us close to the key characters in order to experience their reactions first-hand but also to make us feel like we are cooped up with them in the tight confines of the various space crafts and space suits they inhabit.  His direction style is so organic and real that he nearly breaks the fourth wall of the screen and at times you really do forget you are in a theater.

Bullock is remarkable in the lead role, running through a gamut of emotions during her experiences that we also get to feel first-hand.  She ends up conveying the exact types of reactions that we would if we were placed in her shoes.  With such a CG-heavy film, it's a testament to her acting ability that her performance seems so real, human and grounded.  She will be nominated for her second Oscar in a performance that I feel was superior than her award-winning turn in The Blind Side.  Clooney is in more of a sidekick-role here but his charm and experience come across well and he manages to provide a few light moments to break up the overall tension.

The sense of gravity itself is wonderfully conveyed in 3D (you MUST see this in IMAX 3D for the 3D effect and the superior sound).  The depth of view is a key element in showcasing how deep and isolated space can be.  The scenes within the space stations are filled with floating elements that pass randomly in front of the audience.  Showers of debris hurtle into view with a frighting level of speed and force.  In an epic scene of master direction, Cuaron deftly lets the tears of Bullock's character float off her face and into the camera during a time of despair.  As in Avatar, Tron and even Pacific Rim, 3D is used the right way in Gravity and I can't imagine having the same experience watching it in 2D at home.

Steven Price's score is perfect in tone complete with placid notes during the marvelous views we get of the earth from high above and ominous thundering sequences during the tensious moments of desperation.  The sound editing is amazing as well, interweaving heartbeat sounds during the quiet moments of despair and showcasing the loud thuds of objects colliding in space.  Cuaron achieves the ultimate combination of mixing audio cues with unique camera angles to complete the sense of "you-are-there" filmmaking.  The audience is able to witness the "horrors" of space without a real antagonist other than isolation and peril.

This is a perfect film and Cuaron completely succeeds with bringing his audience right into the story.  With so many first-person shots, you feel like you are right there in peril with Bullock and Clooney.  I felt so tense throughout the film and loved every minute of it.  I had even brought along a few pieces of candy to eat and upon leaving the theater I realized I never touched them.  There was no time to eat or to think about anything other than what was enfolding in space in front of me.  Make sure you GO TO THE THEATER and not wait for video with this film.  It will not be the same if you see it on your couch.   Gravity deserves all of the accolades it is receiving and garners the first 5 JR rating of 2013.  I just hope that Cuaron doesn't wait another 7 years before making his next movie.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Triple Movie Review: The World's End, Rush, Enough Said

Sorry for slacking again on the blogging front.  I've seen three new movies in the theaters in the past month.  Here are my quick-hit reviews on each of them.

The World's End is the third film in the Edgar Wright directed, Simon Pegg / Nick Frost trilogy of British comedies that includes Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.  Having seen both of those earlier films I was looking forward to this one which features five lifelong friends who get back together after 20 years for an epic bar crawl in England.  An interesting and wacky plot twist adds a bit of supernatural and apocalyptic twist to the story but overall this is a hilarious R-rated drunken romp that highlights the comedic talents of Pegg.  Pegg's portrayal of Gary King is quite epic in that he throws all caution to the wind and delivers a bravado, arrogant performance that carries the entire film.  The rest of the cast (including Bilbo Baggins himself Martin Freeman) is good enough to keep the laughs moving.  There are some lulls here and there but overall this is a perfect ode to beer drinking and good times amongst friends.  A solid 4 out of 5 JRs for this one.

Ron Howard returns to respectability with Rush, the Formula One racing film that marks his best movie since Apollo 13.  The movie chronicles the careers of rivals James Hunt (Thor's Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Inglourious Basterds' Daniel Bruhl) in the competitive world of high-speed F1 racing in the 1970's.  The two compete neck-and-neck in a battle for the 1976 Formula One Championship that is highlighted by a gruesome car crash in which Lauda suffers major facial burns forcing him to miss a few races.

Howard has put together one of the best sports movies ever filmed.  He uses authentic 70's clothes, cars and graphics to depict the racing sequences.  Speed is emphasised in the camera movement and roaring sounds.  We get intercut visuals of pistons thrusting, flames burning and tires spinning and essentially we feel that we are with Lauda and Hunt along for the ride.  Howard's perfect vision is coupled with two excellent performances from the two leads.  Bruhl is a total revelation at Lauda and nails his mannerisms and quiet confidence while Hemsworth continues the charm he perfected as Thor in bringing the playboy-persona of Hunt to life.  The chemistry between the two actors/rivals seems natural as well and totally adds to the realism of the film.

This movie took me back to my days in college where I was more into F1 racing (thanks to my F1-obsessed roommate at the time).  Howard has written a love letter to the sport and gives a non-biased look at the dangers and thrills associated with it.  I was so close to giving this movie a perfect 5 JRs (no movie in 2013 has received 5 yet), but due to a few slow parts and a throwaway performance/character from Olivia Wilde (as Hunt's model/wife), this is not quite a perfect film.  That being said, I encourage everyone to go see this movie now on the big screen to experience the amazing sound and vision that Howard brings to the screen.  A VERY STRONG 4.5 out of 5 JRs for the best film of 2013 thus-far.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus co-stars with the late James Gandolfini in Enough Said, a romantic comedy about two divorcees who meet and make an unlikely pairing.  I can't give too much away about the plot of this film as there's a major plot-twist midway through that sets some awkward events in motion.  The chemistry between Dreyfus and Gandolfini feels a bit forced at times but the two are such great comedic actors that they make it work for the most part.  Toni Collette and Catherine Keener round out a solid supporting cast but really this movie does nothing new outside of giving us some witty comedic dialogue and some truly funny moments.  Enough Said is a funny film that is kind-hearted at times and gives a fond send-off to Gandolfini.  I have to say though I was a bit bored at times and could have waited for video on this one.  I would say to catch this on Netflix or a rental.  I think I would have enjoyed this more if I hadn't seen Rush a few hours before it.  3 out of 5 JRs for this one.

There you have it, three quick reviews to make up for lost time.  My next cinematic target is Gravity, the space film by Alfonso Cuaron starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney that's getting a ton of buzz.  I hope to see it next week sometime.