Duplicity (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: B
This movie starts off with a fight scene between Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkenson that is all shot in slow motion.Â I don't think I've seen anything as beautifully shot and funny in a long time.Â What this fight sets up is how much their two corporate CEO characters hate each other.Â They are competing with each other to such a level, that they both employee ex-intelligence workers to spy on the others companies.Â That's where Julia Roberts and Clive Owen come in.Â They're ex-CIA and ex-MI6 members and they want to use their skills to steal millions of dollars from these companies.Â "Duplicity" is from director Tony Gilroy, who gave us the fantastic "Michael Clayton" last year.Â It's done in the exactly same "screw the corporate giant over" manner but this time it's with a little bit of humor and romance.Â The only difference is that he adds a pinch of "Oceans 11-13" coolness in for good measure.Â There are two problems with this movie, and ONLY two problems with it.Â First is that it's too confusing.Â I honestly, didn't have trouble figuring it out at the end, but I did have a hard time following it at times.Â My girlfriend however couldn't follow it at all, and she's in Mensa!Â The plot gets a little too intricate with exotic locations, code dialogue and time jumping.Â If you told the story in a linear fashion, it still would be a hard pill to swallow, but the fact that it jumps locations and time so much makes it so much harder.Â The other problem I had is with Julia Roberts and Clive Owen.Â I know I'm alone on this, but I find the two of them to be so dull.Â I think both are lousy actors, since their body of work consists of them playing only themselves.Â This is no exception.Â But the problem is that it makes it hard to care about their relationship and how it relates to the romance of the story.Â But maybe it's just because I think a cactus and a toothbrush could act better.Â Actually I take that back.Â They couldn't act better, but they could act just as well.Â However, besides those two flaws, the movie is very good.Â It's fun, sexy, and hip.Â The supporting parts, played by Giamatti and Wilkinson, are fantastically funny.Â It's good to see them together again since HBO'sÂ "John Adams" series.Â As long as you don't mind giving a film your full attention for two hours and follow it's plot very closely, you won't be let down with this spy/thriller/romance/comedy.
I Love You, Man (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: A
Hey guys, remember the first time you saw the movie "Swingers?"Â If you were anything like me, that movie struck a chord in you the first time you saw it.Â There was a character you identified with and a character you wanted to be like.Â This movie is like "Swingers" but for adults.Â Paul Rudd, who has been playing the EXACT same role in the movies for the past 3 years (thank God he's great at it), is a guy about to get married and realizes that he doesn't have any male friends.Â After searching for a best friend and giving up, he then finds Jason Segal, who is a fun-loving, easy-going, totally honest slacker.Â Now it might just be that this movie is not as good as I thought it was, even though the theater erupted into laughter and applause several times.Â It could be that I just happened to have seen this at the perfect time of my life.Â See, just like Paul Rudd's character, I too feel like I don't have any real male friends since moving to Sacramento from the east coast.Â So watching this character not only made me laugh but it also kind of touched me and let me know that I'm not as alone as I thought I was.Â I don't know, maybe I'm totally alone in this but I thought the movie had a powerful message about the bonds of male friendship as well as being one of the funniest movies I've seen this year.Â I think one reason it was so funny was that it's something that men and women can enjoy together, which seems to be a rare situation in the onslaught of Judd Apatow movies in the past few years.Â Don't get me wrong, this movie is still edgy, but it doesn't revel in the "d*ck & fart" joke arena more than it has too.Â It also managed to pull together one of the best comedy ensemble casts in years; ie: John Favreau, Rashida Jones, Jamie Pressley, J.K. Simmons, Andy Samburg, half the cast of The State and Lou Ferrigno as himself.Â I would highly suggest you checking out this movie this weekend on a date...or better yet, bring your best bud and heat up the flames of your bromance!
Last House on the Left (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: C
Prior to seeing this movie, I saw the reviews of some other critics. Â Wow, did they hate it! Â The #1 reason for most of their hate was the fact that it was "unflinching" or "savage" or "disgustingly brutal." Â Does it make me a horrible person when I say that it wasn't savage or brutal enough for me? Â I wouldn't call myself a fan of the original 1972 movie, but I do like it and think it's a good example of horror. Â The original, although it was extremely low budget, was ten times worse! Â The slug line on the poster was "To avoid fainting, keep telling yourself that it's only a movie." Â Don't worry, you're in no danger of fainting with this version. Â Yes, there is a terrible rape scene. Â Yes, there is heaps of violence. Â But it's almost like the watered-down version of what the story was. Â In the original there wasÂ disemboweling, carving of names into the skin and even the biting off of male genitals. Â All of that was taken out of this newer,Â sleeker, and more expensive version. So again, does it make me sick to be disappointed that they took that out? Â This remake was even Produced by the original writer and director, Wes Craven. Â You'd think he'd veto some of the changes. Â He also oversaw the remake of another old movie of his "The Hills Have Eyes." Â That was a huge improvement over the original and it made me excited for this. Â I was sadly letdown. Â But that's not to say that there weren't some improvements. Â For one, the acting is much better in this than it was in 1972. Â The casting of Monica Potter (Saw, Patch Adams) and Tony Goldwin (Ghost, voice of Tarzan) was great. Â I thought they did a great job of making you feel their hurt and pain when finding out what happened to their daughter. Â The director is a guy named Dennis Iliadis, and to my knowledge he hasn't done much of anything else before. Â Not bad for a first attempt, but that might have been the problem. Â You give the reigns of a movie like this to a fledgling director and you're gonna get exactly what it was; high on production value but low on intensity.
Watchmen (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: B
This is a tough one to write. Â I read the graphic novel, for which this movie is adapted (almost shot for shot), when I was in college 9 years ago. Â I remember loving this book! Â I ripped through it in two days, which is rare for me. Â But the frenzied pace that I read it was lost on a movie that almost enjoys testing the audience's patience. Â At a running time of two and a half hours, it moves more like it's four. Â There wereÂ definitelyÂ scenes that could've been cut...and that's coming from a fan! Â That is not the book that I remember reading. Â But that's the unfortunate part of giving the narration to someone else, which in this case isÂ directorÂ Zack Snyder. Â The original story is practically drenched in symbolism; from Dr. Manhatten representing God to Ozymandias taking his name from a famous poem about the destruction of a kingdom. Â But I feel like those are things that need to be taught as you enjoy the story. Â Instead it just comes across like a splatter of blood, sex and swearing. Â Oh yeah, there's lots of that. Â LEAVE YOUR KIDS AT HOME! Â That's why the damn thing is rated R, you dumb parents. Â But besides the pace of the film, a fewÂ disappointingÂ moments and loads of blue penis; it still stands up as a good film...just not great. Â The big question everyone has is, "If I never read the book and know nothing about this, will I still enjoy it?" Â I'd say that you will, butÂ don't miss the amazing opening credit sequence!Â Â Even still, this movie isn't for everyone.Â Â If you're looking for the fun of "Iron Man," this isn't for you. Â If you're looking for the all-star cast of "The Dark Knight," you need to keep moving. Â But if you're looking for a superhero movie that delivers great action, lots of gore, steamy sex and a story that goes above and beyond anything like it before...then this is for you (just make sure you go to the bathroom and get something to eat first).