Tuesday, September 30, 2014

This Is a Waste of a Great Cast and Our Money: Our Review of "This Is Where I Leave You" (2014)

Directed By: Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Real Steel

Starring: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Corey Stoll, Adam Driver

Rating: R for language, sexual content and some drug use

Run Time: 1 hour, 43 minutes

Synopsis: Already dealing with the discovery that his wife is cheating on him with his boss, Judd Altman (Bateman) returns home for his father's funeral and to sit shiva with his famous author mother (Fonda) and his squabbling siblings (Fey, Stoll, Driver) per his father's last request. Traditional Hollywood family drama ensues.


Andrew: Hello dear readers! We were a little quiet the last week or so because my mother visited us last weekend and we were unable to catch any new releases, but we're back this week after having seen This Is Where I Leave You this past Friday night.

This Is Where I Leave You is a film we've been waiting to see for a while now because of the star-studded cast full of actors and actresses we very much enjoy. The film stars Jason Bateman (Bad Words) as Judd Altman, a radio producer who gets hit with the double-whammy of discovering his wife had been cheating on him with his boss, followed by the death of his father. His father's passing brings the whole Altman clan together, where we meet Judd's sister Wendy, played by Tina Fey (NBC's 30 Rock); his younger brother Philip, played by Adam Driver (HBO's Girls); his older brother Paul, played by Corey Stoll (Netflix's House of Cards); and his mother Hillary, played by Jane Fonda (HBO's The Newsroom), who's famous for writing a parenting book that explicitly detailed her children's lives.

And that's just the immediate family. Philip's older girlfriend is played by the great Connie Britton (ABC's Nashville); Paul's wife, Annie, is played by the hilarious Cathryn Hahn (Bad Words); and a neighbor/former flame of Wendy's that she still holds a torch for is played by Timothy Olyphant (FX's Justified). So this is a pretty great cast on paper.

Sarah, now that we've actually seen This Is Where I Leave You, do you think the movie lived up to the promise the cast gave? Or were these actors wasted?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tom Hardy's Quiet Cool Shines in This New Crime Drama: Our Review of "The Drop" (2014)

Directed By:Michaël R. Roskam 

Starring: Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini, Noomi Rapace

Rating: R for some strong violence and pervasive language

Run Time: 1 hour, 46 minutes

Synopsis: Bob (Hardy) and his cousin Marv (Gandolfini) run a bar for some Chechen mobsters that is occasionally used as a "drop bar" for the mob's money. After the bar is robbed one night, Bob's seemingly quiet life is turned anything but thanks to a decade-long investigation into a missing persons case related to his bar, needing to placate his employers and cousin, plus raising a puppy he finds in the trash one night that may somehow be involved in the investigation.


Andrew: Hello dear readers! We profusely apologize for our lack of activity on the blog. Over the past month we were on the road quite a bit taking some much needed vacation time, plus if we're being honest, there just weren't a lot of movies that we thought were worth our time and/or money.

Sarah: Let's put it this way: we've seen Guardians of the Galaxy three times instead of seeing anything else over the past month. So yeah...not many attractive movies.

A: Very good point. But September is here now, which generally means the end of Hollywood's second dumping season (January/February being the first), as well as the approach of Oscar season. Now that some movies we're actually interested in seeing are coming out again, we're back with a new review!

This past weekend we decided to catch the new crime drama The Drop, starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, and the late James Gandolfini in what is his last film role. Interesting of note to me, The Drop was written by noted crime novelist Dennis Lehane (author of "Mystic River" and "Gone Baby Gone") and is based on his own short story. So even though this is director Michaël R. Roskam's first English-language film, the pedigree was big enough for me to be very interested in this film.

S: Hardy plays a quiet bartender named Bob, who works at his cousin Marv's place, with Gandolfini playing Marv. Marv is a bit bitter in life because he sold his bar to the Chechen mob years ago, and they now use his bar as a front and as a "drop bar" where their money is occasionally dropped off, hence the name of the movie!