FSR's Weekly Report Card

KNOWING

Studio: Summit Entertainment

Rated: PG-13 for disaster sequences, disturbing images and brief strong language.

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Chandler Canterbury, Rose Byrne, D.G. Maloney, Lara Robinson and Nadia Townsend

Directed by: Alex Proyas

What it’s about: John Koestler (Nicolas Cage) is an MIT professor who finds a series of numbers in a time capsule from 1959 that accurately predicts the date, location and death toll of every global disaster for the past 50 years. He tries to use the numbers to predict further disasters while his son seems to be exhibiting some of the mysterious symptoms that the child who wrote the list experienced five decades ago.

What I liked: In spite of Nicolas Cage doing his darndest to give us another crappy mid-year film, I really enjoyed this movie. I credit director Alex Proyas for this as I have pretty much enjoyed all of his other films. (And yes, that does include I, Robot… I blame Will Smith for the crappy parts of that movie.) The atmosphere of dread and creepy elements that Proyas evoked in this film was quite effective.

Don’t get me wrong. This movie is out there. It’s waaaaay out there. However, I appreciated the places the plot took me, including some deft uses of various Biblical sources like the book of Ezekiel and the book of Revelations. Oh, and the disaster footage was amazing, if not quite a bit disturbing.

What I didn’t: There’s really only one sticking point I had with this movie… and that’s Nicolas Cage. This guy won an Oscar 14 years ago, and it doesn’t look like he’s trying for another any time soon. His acting in this film is so mind-numbingly bad that it often takes you out of the scenes. In fact, there are three or four moments that I laughed at… not with.

Well, all that and the fact that the “Whisper People” looked like a German rock band. What was that all about?

Who is gonna like this movie: People looking for a grim sci-fi thriller.

Grade: B+

I LOVE YOU, MAN

Studio: DreamWorks

Rated: R for pervasive language, including crude and sexual reference.

Starring: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg and J.K. Simmons

Directed by: John Hamburg

What it’s about: Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) is about to get married, but he really doesn’t have a guy friend that he can ask to be his best man. So, with the blessings of his fiancée (Rashida Jones), he looks for a bromance and finds Sydney Fife (Jason Segel). After discovering a new friend, this relationship puts a strain on his pending marriage.

What I liked: I’ll admit that I laughed at several points during I Love You, Man, but unfortunately a lot of those parts I already saw in the trailer. It’s really Paul Rudd that carries this movie as the uncomfortable character of Peter. It’s nice to see him finally get a movie of his own that isn’t something so dreadful as Over Her Dead Body.

What I didn’t: The script is where this movie failed. The entire show seemed half-baked, as if director John Hamburg got Jason Segel committed to the film and rushed through production so no one would forget his star power from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. So many jokes could have been so much better, and tons of them should have been left out for lack of funny.

While Rudd is pretty good as the uncomfortable girlfriend guy, both he and Segel slip into really annoying habits of calling each other nick-names and making up words. I’m sure some would find this funny, but it was irritating… and it just kept happening… all through the movie.

This film ultimately reminded me of Anger Management because the first hour was already summarized in the trailer, so there are no real surprises and things fit together better in the two-minute format.

Who is gonna like this movie: Someone looking for a nice bromantic comedy.

Grade: C-

DUPLICITY

Studio: Universal

Rated: PG-13 for language and some sexual content.

Starring: Clive Owen, Julia Roberts, Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti

Directed by: Tony Gilroy

What it’s about: Clive Owen and Julia Roberts play ex-spies who work in the world of corporate espionage. They work together for a long con out to make $40 million from a toiletries manufacturer, but there’s a lot of complications along the way.

What I liked: While not as punchy as Soderbergh might have done it, Duplicity comes across like an Oceans Two. There’s a lot of pop sequences and film techniques that make it fun to watch. Overall, I like a good heist movie, and this one had its moments of action and suspense.

Although the stars are Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, the secondary cast of Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti as rival CEOs are the best of the bunch. It’s a pretty complex movie, so don’t zone out in the theater or you’ll likely miss something.

What I didn’t: Is it me, or is Julia Roberts getting really old? She hasn’t headlined a movie for more than five years, and it shows. In fact, as a fully committed heterosexual male, I have to say that Clive Owen was way more sexier than she was in this film.

The biggest road block this movie had for me was the characters that Roberts and Owen play. Oh, they way more likable than their counterparts in their last pairing of Closer, but they really aren’t terrible warm and friendly in this film. I just found Owen’s character to be a bit of a douche and Roberts’ character to be a bit of an ice queen.

Finally, while I appreciate the non-linear format of the film, jumping around more times than an episode of Lost, it did get confusing. Ultimately, it was like David Fincher’s The Game… things just had to work out too perfectly to believe the whole story.

Who is gonna like this movie: Dates and fans of the stars.

Grade: C+


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