Tag Archives: golden globes

Charming Leads Enough in ‘Enough Said’

enoughThere are some movies that are made just to serve a purpose. “Enough Said” was made to be a relatable rom-com for adults. The film stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini (his last starring role before his tragic passing in June) as separate divorced parents who begin to date each other until things become complicated. You know, pretty basic rom-com plot. Nicole Holofcener wrote and directs the film.

When Gandolfini first appears on the screen you are taken back for a second. Not only is he not portraying a mobster, but you realize you are seeing a completely new side to an actor who will never be seen on film again. In his first ever romantic comedy role (one of the few movies where he doesn’t kill anybody, in fact), he plays a tender, lovable ex-husband. While some of his comedic deliveries aren’t as fluid or poignant as they could have been (the fault of either the direction or the new territory), Galdolfini’s last main role is possibly one of his best, simply because it showed his range as an actor.

The rest of the cast is solid. Louis-Dreyfus, a TV star most of her career, has wit in the starring role as a single mom about to send her only daughter off to college. She provides the film’s biggest laughs and her chemistry with Gandolfini is what propels the film beyond the normal clichéd rom-com.

The movie is labeled a romantic comedy but it focuses much more on the romantic drama aspect more than the comedy. There are a few funny one-liners, one solid running gag however some jokes just fall flat or miss completely. Some plot points are never fully explained and some characters randomly fizzle out but what rom-com that is perfect?

“Enough Said” is just one of those movies that isn’t necessarily entertaining, but you are never bored. It is made for a very specific audience, one of which I am not part of, however I can recognize and respect the efforts of the filmmakers, while the chemistry between the lovable Gandolfini and the humorous Louis-Dreyfus holds our interest. And I think I’ve said enough.

Critics Rating: 7/10

Take the Gripping Ride with ‘Captain Phillips’


            Wow. That’s the only way I know how to begin this review of “Captain Phillips”. This movie left me speechless and shaking. And I will now attempt to do the film justice and explain why.

In his best performance since 2001’s “Castaway”, Tom Hanks portrays Captain Richard Phillips, the head of a U.S. cargo ship. Based on the true story from 2009, Phillips must survive when his ship is hijacked by Somali pirates off the African coast. Paul Greengrass directs.

Never before have I experienced a film with such relentless intensity. From the moment the pirates are spotted on the horizon to the film’s final seconds, my heart was racing and I did not have a clue what was going to happen next. If you don’t know the true story and how it ends, let me do you an immense favor and tell you to not do any research. It only will make the film that much better.

Hanks is the film’s anchor (boat pun) and is an obvious scene-stealer. When his ship is taken hostage, Phillips tries to keep a calm demeanor, however once he himself is taken prisoner by the pirates he realizes he is in a fight for his life. Hanks is simply on his A-game and when Tom Hanks is on his A-game there are few better.

Not to be outdone is newcomer Barkhad Abdi, who plays the leader of the pirates. While at first we think he is just a greedy criminal driven by money, we learn his motives and we almost sympathize with him and his crew. Abdi keeps a haunting calmness throughout the whole film which makes his role as the antagonist all the more impressive.

Paul Greengrass, known for “The Bourne Ultimatum”, is masterful here. While at first many of his shots are a bit too close to the actors’ faces, once the action picks up the direction becomes nothing short of wonderful. He creates such tension with his cuts and camera angles and when Hanks and the pirates are in a small lifeboat you, too, feel trapped and helpless.

In previous weeks I have ranted about how intense “Prisoners” and “Gravity” are. Those two films had several incredibly tense moments. I kid you not when I say every scene, every shot, of “Captain Phillips” is so intense it is almost too much. I was on the edge of my seat for near the whole movie and the ending to the film put a lump in my throat and sweat in my palms. It is honestly that good.

If you know me, you know I am sometimes an overly harsh critic. I somehow find flaws in every movie. Well aside from a slow start (literally ten minutes, so it’s nothing) “Captain Phillips” is flawless. Incredible direction, great performances by the two leads and an emotionally exhausting climax that will be remembered for years to come, “Captain Phillips” is by and far the best film of this year…and quite possibly the best film of this young decade.

Critics Rating: 10/10

‘Gravity’ Visually Stunning Andrenalin Rush


You know how people complain CGI is overused, replaces story and make films mindless? Well “Gravity” takes that stereotype and throws it out the window. The film stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as two astronauts who are stranded in space when debris hits their station. They then must work together to make their way to another ship on the other side of the globe. Alfonso Cuarón directs.

Do not drink Red Bull before you see this movie; you will die. The film is so intense that your heart may just explode. The amount of tension that Cuarón builds, especially in the film’s climax, is just unreal. Every scene is better than the last as we follow Bullock and Clooney in space, a black abyss where no one can hear you scream. And Tom Hanks thought he had it bad in “Castaway”…

You’ve probably heard it in every review of this movie, but it warrants clarifying: this movie is visually stunning. I can now put “I have been to outer space” on my job application. At no point in the film did I think that what I was looking at was computer generated or green screen. As far as I know the actors actually went on the most expensive location shoot ever and filmed the movie in space. From the aerial shots of different continents to the sea of stars in the background, every shot in “Gravity” is stunning and will leave you breathless.

What is holding the film back from being a masterpiece is the lack of character development. The running time is only 90 minutes and we are thrust into the action, so we learn near nothing about the characters except that Bullock is a rookie and Clooney is on his last ever mission (so of course something bad is going to happen). The only attachment we feel towards the astronauts is that they are fellow human beings and they are in a situation that we can all agree is horrifically terrifying. But maybe that is enough.

“Gravity” is a Hollywood rarity: a blockbuster with intellect. You have to see this in a theater; experiencing it on anything short of a 40 foot screen will not do it justice. Full of amazing visuals, great performances and intense direction, “Gravity” is just unique in all the best ways.

Critics Rating: 8/10