Name: TheCinemaSource

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The Best Movie No One is Watching!

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Reviewed by TheCinemaSource

Some will say that the reason I loved this movie so much is because I am in fact White, Irish and occasionally known to be a Drinker - but the truth is even if I wasn’t all of those glorious things, I’d still be singing this films’ praises. I loved this movie!

This film, like many other amazing independent films with little to no budget behind them, will probably go unnoticed amidst the deafening sound of typical Hollywood crap polluting the airwaves with their ‘paint by numbers’ style fare that rarely takes risks, challenges the audience or dares to explore complex relationships with no clear villain to attack. Now, don’t get me wrong I like a lot of big budget films but I truly love smaller films like this.

The experience of watching a movie like this harkens back to the days before DVD’s and Blu-ray’s; an experience that you feel only happens in the theater and only for a select few people who come to that theater to see it. And once it’s gone, it’s gone. (Of course this will be on DVD in a few months but when you’re watching it you almost forget that that’s true.)

White Irish Drinkers is a fantastic film that is part Good Will Hunting and part Black Irish. It tells the story of an Irish Catholic family in Brooklyn in 1975. Newcomer Nick Thurston plays Brian Leary the youngest boy and well known as the sensitive ‘good son,’ Geoff Wigdor is his older ‘troubled’ brother Danny, the incredibly intimidating and downright scary at times Stephen Lang is their drunken abusive father and rounding out the cast is the wonderful Karen Allen as the mom trying desperately to hold everything together.

Does it sound like a movie you’ve seen already, sure – but it really isn’t. The character development is so rich and the performances are so outstanding that I felt as though I knew this family. The Irish Family archetypes are all very familiar but never become stereotypical or predictable.

Filmed entirely on location in Brooklyn it was amazing to see how easy it was to avoid any signs of change or progress from the mid 1970’s until today. I mean the camera would pan down streets, shoot from rooftops or in the fronts and backs of buildings and never once did I feel like this was any other decade. (Note to Brooklyn though, while it’s great for movies ya might wanna consider updating a little… just sayin’)

I can’t say enough good things about Nick Thurston; I mean talk about an up and coming actor that seems to have appeared out of nowhere. The complexity that he brings to Brian with so many levels of anger, sadness, fear, loneliness, depression and most amazingly, love, were phenomenal to experience. A lot of people don’t understand how we Irish get along. Fights that in other families or cultures which would mean the complete severing of familial ties forever, for us could just mean a rough next day, a veiled understood non vocal apology and that’s all. Nick seems to get this and plays his role accordingly.

He’s also absolutely adorable until his ‘Superman shirt peel off’ reveal of a sick body that pushes him from ‘adorable guy you wanna hug’ to ‘super-hot guy you wanna…’ well, you get the idea.

Co-star Geoff Wigdor has the harder task of playing the tormented and often times tormenting older brother who stills loves his little brother but has so many issues of his own that makes it nearly impossible for him to show it. I loved watching this relationship on screen because it is so rare that we see something like this. Rarely is a bond between brothers that isn’t simple love or hate truly explored on film. And it’s even more of a rarity to find it done to such wonderful affect.

The performances turned in by both Stephen Lang and Karen Allen are without a doubt award worthy. For anyone who grew up with parents in a similar circumstance you will see it reflected here. I was very fortunate to have grown up with an amazing dad but Stephen’s portrayal of Paddy reminded me of a lot of different people I knew growing up and I saw a lot of my mom in Karen’s Margaret as well.

There is of course also a charming love story with Leslie Murphy and some really funny scenes with Brian’s friends as they face the future barreling down on them; so in that sense it is also very much a coming-of-age film that everyone can relate to.

The time warp sensation of no cell phones, internet or even computers is a trippy element to the movie as well because it’s not so long ago that it’s what we would think of as a ‘period piece’ but it is a completely different world from what we are now accustomed to. I seriously had the urge to bust out the old ColecoVision, drink some Tang and listen to a few 45’s when the movie was over.

I hope this movie manages to make its way into the homes and hearts of not only those of us with whom this setting, story and characters resonate but also to those for whom it may appear foreign. I’m not ashamed to say this movie made me laugh, it made me cheer and it literally made me cry twice (and that especially hasn’t happened in a long time), so I’m not exaggerating when I say that this truly is an amazing film that deserves to be seen.

If you do see it and you like it even half as much as I did, please do your part and tell your friends! Small wonderful films like this only survive and continue to get made if we the audience show our support for them. So get out there people - DON’T just wait for DVD!!! See this one in a theater; preferably an Art House one if possible!

Please visit www.TheCinemaSource.com for more on this review with photos and INTERVIEWS with the Cast and Filmmakers!!!"

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Fun for Kids and Parents Won't Hate It!

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Reviewed by TheCinemaSource

I’ve sadly been out of the target demo for this newly burgeoning franchise for quite some time now and haven’t yet been fortunate enough to have kids of my own to bring me back into the fold on this genre. So needless to say I missed the first film adaptation of the hugely popular and successful book series, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid written by scribe Jeff Kinney.

Luckily for me the second film, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules stands completely on its own as a film apart from the first movie and also from the books. You may be a little more in on the jokes and the situations if you are familiar with all that came before, but having no clue about it happily won’t ruin your experience with this one.

For those similar to myself, (the not-in-the-know crowd), these movies tell the story of young Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) a slightly awkward middle child trying his best to survive adolescence reasonably intact. Bullies, girls, school, big and little brothers, parents’ expectations and general ‘tripping over his own feet’ syndrome are but a few of the challenges young Greg encounters.

In this latest installment his main obstacle in life is his older brother Roderick played by Devon Bostick who despite loving him doesn’t seem to like him all that much. The two are forced to bond through various tricks and plans of their not so subtle or sly mom (Rachael Harris) and of course by the end realize that the bond they have as brothers is unbreakable (albeit tenuous at times)

I’ve personally always wished I had had brothers and this movie really drove that feeling home. Don’t get me wrong, I love my sisters, but it would have been nice to have had a couple other boys running around too.

That feeling of family and love is probably what I liked most about this film. Yes it’s cheesy and unrealistically wholesome but it’s that type of movie – If it had been dark or depressing it would have completely missed the point.

Having Steve Zahn, formerly a star of more adult type movies like the sexy action / murder film A Perfect Getaway, the terrifying horror movie Joy Ride and the ruggedly macho and fun adventure film Sahara helps to bring in a slight crossover appeal to anyone not dying to sit through a family film. There are moments where his reactions to situations seem to be the exact ones I was having. When his wife creates ‘mom bucks’ to incentivize bonding between the boys or when she stresses out over a missing lock on a bathroom door were all moments where I too was rolling my eyes and thinking, ‘Seriously? Seriously? This is what we’re doing now?’

But again, everything is done in such a warm heartfelt way that you just can’t be mad at it. My one complaint that I will bring up is that mom’s acting was a little over the top and eventually annoying for me. Rachael Harris was the weakest link in this otherwise delightful ensemble cast.

You can tell that Zachary Gordon has a long and bright future ahead of him in similar style family fun type of fair as does best friend Robert Capron who’ll play the lovable chubby friend until he finally sheds all the baby fat. Devon Bostick, on the other hand, seems to be the type to make his money here and then move on to more gritty independent films which I think will ultimately fit him better and be more fulfilling for him as an actor.

If you don’t have kids you’re not going to see this movie, but if you do you can bring them to it and rest assured that you won’t want to poke your own eyes out midway through. Everything about this movie is sweet and fun and you could do far worse when trying to find that elusive “wholesome family entertainment” at your local multiplex.

Please visit www.TheCinemaSource.com for more on this review with photos and INTERVIEWS with the Cast and Filmmakers!!!

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A Career Making Turn for Bradley Cooper!

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Reviewed by TheCinemaSource

So far 2011 has been a fantastic year for movies; it’s barely mid-March and I’ve already seen half a dozen films that I really enjoyed - Limitless definitely being among them.

The ‘movie-by-number’ approach is of course still prevalent in Hollywood but films like this and the forth coming Source Code, Insidious and last month’s The Adjustment Bureau all prove that there are fresh new ideas out there and slowly they are coming to the fore. So when you sit down to watch Limitless don’t be surprised if you aren’t immediately certain of what is coming next. Revel in the uncertainty because in modern cinema it’s increasingly rare.

Limitless tells the story of Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) a mediocre writer who is the absolute personification of the phrase ‘down-on-his-luck.’ He’s crippled by a severe case of writers’ block that is preventing him from fulfilling his commitment to his publisher for a new book, his girlfriend has left him because of his habitual laziness and lack of focus and his landlord is about ready to throw him out on the street if he doesn’t start paying his rent again soon. A chance meeting with his x-brother-in-law (Johnny Witworth) gives Eddie the chance to change all of that by simply taking a pill called NZT.

The pill promises to allow the user to access the full potential of his or hers own brainpower; and it delivers on that promise. After taking the pill Eddie realizes he can remember everything he’s ever been exposed to in life and suddenly has the ability to learn new skills at an incredibly accelerated rate. Of course, as with most drugs, there are side effects that Eddie isn’t counting on. In addition, he has a loan shark on his tail and as he achieves more and more success thanks to this pill more and more people become interested in learning his ‘secret’ which puts him and his loved ones in imminent danger.

The major question surrounding the release of this movie is, ‘can Bradley Cooper carry a movie on his own?’ This film was his chance to prove that he is in fact the leading man / movie star type and not just a fantastic supporting player. And honestly, he succeeds. This is his movie. He’s in basically every frame of it and there isn’t a single moment where he doesn’t own it. He vacillates between down on his luck artist who can’t make the rent to super powerful man about town who has the world by the balls and he is consistently engaging throughout all of it. Where he leads, the audience follows without question. If I had any question at all it was why his shirt didn’t come off more often, but I guess that’s a sign of his rising success. (Seriously though, give the people what they want Mr. Cooper – you’re not too good for that quite yet.)

The supporting cast members all do an adequate job but with the exception of Robert DeNiro they all fade away next to Cooper. Abbie Cornish seems like a lovely girl but she’s honestly interchangeable with a host of other young actresses in Hollywood today. She doesn’t detract from the movie at all but she also doesn’t really add anything special to it either.

Andrew Howard, our mafia king pin / loan shark, is less than terrifying as the heavy and Johnny Whitworth while slightly more convincing and engaging as Cooper’s sleazy drug dealing x-brother-in-law still doesn’t rise to the level of performance set by the films lead.

Robert DeNiro, while not flexing any new acting muscles in the part of financial mogul Carl Van Loon, is still a joy to watch on screen and serves as a great counter to Cooper’s young sudden upstart Eddie Morra. Cooper manages to hold his own in intense scenes with DeNiro that most young actors would have been eaten alive in.

Limitless isn’t a conventional blockbuster movie. It asks questions of its audience, requires their attention and has a wonderful pay off for those who allow themselves to be fully engaged by it. See this movie with friends because I guarantee when it’s all over you’ll have plenty to talk about.

This could signal the beginning of a new career for Mr. Cooper; I sincerely hope he doesn’t allow it to go to his head, however. If he suddenly becomes ‘too cool for school’ thanks to this success his time in the spotlight will be severely ‘limited’ if you’ll pardon the pun. The last thing we need is another spoiled ‘too-good-for-everyone’ actor in Hollywood.

Please visit www.TheCinemaSource.com for more on this review with photos and INTERVIEWS with the Cast and Filmmakers!!!

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The Scariest Movie I've Ever Seen!

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Reviewed by TheCinemaSource

The mark of an amazing movie is sometimes that you never, ever want to experience it again; and that’s exactly how I felt as I left a screening of the new psychological thriller, Insidious.

This film, from the creators of the Saw film phenomenon (ya know, back when it was both groundbreaking and brilliantly original), is one of the most aptly titled films I’ve seen in years. For those not familiar with the term it basically means to subvert from within in a malicious or malevolent way and that is precisely what this film does. It gets inside of you, grabs hold and relishes in every jump, every unnerving flash and every last moment of terror you have willingly invited yourself to experience.

The story seems at first familiar, a family moves into a stereotypically creepy house with far too many loose floor boards and unoiled door hinges. After a brief time in their new home they discover that something is very, very wrong. Their eldest son falls into an unexplained coma and their stay at home mom begins seeing and hearing many unexplained and unexplainable things. From here on things get even stranger as the comparisons to past iconic horror films like Amityville Horror or Poltergeist end. I’m by no means an expert in the field but what I saw unfold before my eyes was something I hadn’t experienced before.

Ignorance of what is to come is essential in truly experiencing this film so I won’t go into any details of the plot other than to say I was incredibly impressed with the originality of where they took this tale.

In order to really appreciate this movie you have to be all in. If you watch this film passively or with preconceived notions or even with that, ‘go ahead and try to impress me’ attitude that so many people (particularly movie critics) have, you might as well just skip it because you won’t get it. This is a terrifying journey into a malevolent unknown that you must fully give yourself over to. I myself was sitting with my hands clutched to my clip board sinking deeper and deeper into my seat as the movie progressed.

James Wan and Leigh Whannell are master filmmakers. There, I said it. They ushered in a new era in horror filmmaking with the original Saw and I believe they’ve done something similar for psychological thrillers with Insidious. They know precisely when to cut away, when to use jump cuts, when to ramp up sound effects, what the right music is at the right times and especially when to flash to a terrifyingly eerie smile. So many films lose their punch because they allow their shots to linger on what is scary for too long. Once something is brought into the light its power to frighten is significantly diminished. If you keep that shadowy figure hidden for the majority of the film you build a terrifying anticipation that stays with your viewer and these guys know exactly how to do that.

The cast does a wonderful job of breathing life into these characters but don’t go so far as to pull focus away from the events surrounding them. In this instance I felt like these people were stand-ins for me, the audience member. Yes, they had their issues and their own character development but it wasn’t anything that made me feel detached from what I was watching. It was happening to me just as much as it was to them.

The ever gorgeous, always desirable Patrick Wilson plays an ideal husband and dad without over doing the Superman aspects of his personality. He allows his character to be imperfect and fearful but through that creates a very believable protector that we’d all feel safe with. Rose Byrne does a great job of playing a modern mom who’s set aside her own goals for the good of her family but who doesn’t allow her sadness to ever touch her children’s lives. All-in-all they are the parents we all wish we had or could become.

Wan and Whannell couldn’t let the movie go by without some kind of homage to the film that gave them their careers so watch for an impromptu drawing of jigsaw somewhere that will give you a smile.

For me, any movie that can truly make me feel something has achieved a feat that is both unique and inspiring. My heart was still racing as I left the theater and I was in such a daze that I walked right past a colleague who called my name several times to no avail. I was completely invested in this viewing experience and I’m certain that that played a huge part in how affected by it I was. But going back to my original statement, as was the case with the Darren Aronofsky film Requiem for a Dream which messed with me in a completely different way, I won’t be rushing to see Insidious again anytime soon. BUT I will be recommending it to anyone who hasn’t seen it as perhaps The Scariest Film I’ve Ever Seen!!!

Please visit www.TheCinemaSource.com for more on this review with photos and INTERVIEWS with the Cast and Filmmakers!!!

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A Time to Kill, It Is Not

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Reviewed by TheCinemaSource


A Time to Kill is arguably one of the best modern day courtroom dramas that's ever been put on screen. With an unparalleled cast led by the gorgeous and ever charming Matthew McConaughey it told a fiery story that begged the question, 'could a black man on trial for the murder of two white men who had rapped his 12 year old daughter receive a fair trial in the deep south in the early 1990's?' If you are one of the very few people left out there who hasn't seen this epic film, put it on your Netflix queue immediately!

Those of you who have seen it know that The Lincoln Lawyer has a lot to live up to. Just by virtue of the fact that this is the first time since A Time to Kill that McConaughey has returned to playing a present day lawyer (Amistad doesn't count) means that this latest film will be mercilessly compared to its predecessor; and sadly I'll also be doing the same.

The Lincoln Lawyer tells the story of a hot shot defense attorney Mick Haller, (Matthew McConaughey) who practices law out of his Lincoln Town Car as a career making case falls in his lap. A super wealthy and somewhat cocky young man (Ryan Phillippe) is accused of brutally beating a prostitute whom he had met casually at a bar one evening. While he swears his innocence she screams his guilt and Mick as per usual doesn't seem to care much who is telling the truth. He's made a career out of defending people who were probably all guilty of one thing or another so he's stopped asking which is which.

His beautiful x-wife (Marisa Tomei) is the prosecutor initially assigned to the case and she, unlike the father of her child, still believes in the justice system and genuinely cares about the small things like guilt or innocence.

Unlike A Time to Kill which had very clearly defined characters and situations that fell perfectly in either the 'good' or 'evil' column, The Lincoln Lawyer wisely avoids that to make a more compelling, less predictable story. While that is definitely the right move for any movie being made today it has the unfortunate side effect of having a far less powerful emotional punch than A Time to Kill had as a result. While we do spend a good amount of the film wondering who is telling the truth and who isn't, the power behind those answers just isn't there. A man wrongly convicted or a guilty man going free in life has a great deal of weight but in this movie it seems far less urgent.

The pacing of the film is also intentionally different than most big budget court room films, which, again is the right move but sadly also has a negative effect on the flow of the movie as a whole as it leaves the audience wondering why it seems to continue on for as long as it does.

McConaughey plays Haller with a far darker edge to him than Jake Brigance had back in 1996. He's not the young idealistic save-the-world lawyer we remember; he's colder, more seasoned and a far more complicated man than I think audiences are expecting. Don't get me wrong he's still the man everyone wants to marry when he's up on that screen, but it makes total sense to us that he's divorced and surrounded by people that can only loosely be referred to as 'friends' in this film.

Marisa Tomei can do no wrong at this point, even in a role that doesn't offer her a ton of screen time to fully develop her character; she does a lot with what she's given. The comparison to Sandra Bullock in ATK is harder to make because the differences in the two characters are so overwhelming that it's not even worth going there.

The weak link here performance wise unfortunately is Ryan Phillippe. I won't give away the ending of course but I believe he was going for an Ed Norton Primal Fear type of thing where the audience really has no idea what's happening inside of his mind until the very end. Sadly, Phillippe isn't able to create and live in that grey area the way that Norton did and the movie definitely suffers as a result. I knew almost immediately what I thought about his character and was eventually proven right. (But again, I won't say what that was).

I feel like the creative team behind this movie made almost all of the right choices going into production on this movie. Everything from the script to the casting and even down to the editing were all correctly made, but for one reason or another most of those 'right' decisions left the movie just feeling wrong. It was certainly different from past movies with similar themes but it wasn't better than those films; in fact it pales in comparison.

It's not a bad movie by any means, but I wouldn't be rushing out to see it in the theaters. This can wait for Netflix folks.

Please visit: TheCinemaSource.com for more details and photos associated with this review.

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