Name: mutuel

Most Recent Reviews by mutuel

Lymelife

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Reviewed by mutuel


At the Movies

Lymelife (14A) * * * *



Slow Burn!

By ROBERT WALDMAN

Dreams die hard. No holds barred dialogue, rough around the edges characters and an I’m all right Jack attitude make Lymelife a film perfect for these rather hardened times.
Most of us have a dream to succeed. Past films flirted with the American dream come undone. To this list should be added Lymelife, a searing look at some messed up families from Cinemavault Pictures sure to ruffle some feathers. Co-writer and first time director Derick Martini leaves no stone unturned and goes for the jugular to initiate onlookers into the messed up world of two decidedly different families. Ripe to be sampled at the Fifth Avenue Cinemas, Lymelife comes up as having some unconventional characters with interesting traits but a few common threads many of us ought to be able to relate to.

Two families provide plenty of angst in this 95 minute drama. One is successful, the other not. Age differences also come into play big time here as we have young people willing to experiment and older people also willing to try new things. Loved ones get caught up in the cross fire as things begin to unravel in a hurry.

Maybe too many issues are being tackled in this movie. On the one hand, we have the super successful Bartlett clan with two sons vying for attention. Contrast this upscale family with the times being faced by the down on their luck Braggs. People will be able to identify with the plight of both families and many may be enamoured by the material riches of the Bartletts. Money, as the classic Beatles song goes, can’t buy me love. Also, I thought we had been done with all the Iraq war business, but apparently not; one of our fair-haired boys is with the military, only here it’s not played out as good as in many other films that came out last year.

Solid performances make us care about the people in Lymelife – or despise them. Two actors, however, stand out above the others who all take their parts to heart and do good jobs with them. Smug as ever Alec Baldwin (Malice) will doubtlessly ruffle some feathers as pa Bartlett, a man who mainly thinks of himself. Both sons, members of the Culkin clan, rise to the fore with Kieran Culkin (Igby Goes Down) using a hot temper to good advantage with younger brother Rory (Chasing 3000) particularly sympathetic as a youngster looking for love. You get a sense that the writers here know a thing or two about upheaval in relationships as the verbal exchanges between many of the characters ring true and are full of force.

Many issues are tackled head on in Lymelife that sociologists could well use as a teaching device. Very strong in her take as a beyond her age teen is Emma Roberts (Hotel for Dogs) who goes from hot to cold in a very enticing way. Pot shots taken at some of society’s most inner protected values further up the ante on this tumultuous story of family decay and disintegration. Love, American Style this film just ain’t.

Lymelife scores well as a film that takes on a number of social issues without preaching. Though many of these same subjects have been dealt with cinematically many times before somehow the cast here clicks and the performances are engaging, emotion-laden and make one ponder one’s own actions in the real world.

Bottom line, Alec Baldwin (Brooklyn Rules) smokes as a creep and Emma Roberts sizzles as a hot to trot tart sure to raise teen temperatures. Also, some of the staged encounters seem a bit too far fetched to be believed. Timothy Hutton’s self-imposed paranoia may shock some though I felt that character as a screw up was a bit too hard to fathom and just a touch unbelievable. No father of the year awards for our Mr. Hutton here.

Read more reviews by Alan at www.moviereviewssite.com

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Star Trek

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Reviewed by mutuel


At The Movies

Star Trek (G) * * * * *

Warp Speed!

By ROBERT WALDMAN

Summer has already begun. At least at the cinemas it has. First off the blocks came X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Hot on its heels is an even better popcorn flick: Star Trek. Similarities between these two blockbusters don’t end there. Both movies chart the origins of the famed characters that have built-in global audiences. Under the tutelage of director J.J. Abrams the new Star Trek movie clearly breathes life into the fabled Paramount franchise. Beam yourself over to the Oakridge Cinemas, Fifth Avenue Cinemas, Esplanade 6, Empire Studio 12, Colossus and Famous Players Silver City cites around the universe to partake in this festive offering.

You want action – you got action – big time. Fun is the order of the day as we begin our journey with the introduction of a young Spock and James T. Kirk. Scenes showing the two lads growing up really set things in motion. From the plains of Iowa we see a cocky James T. Kirk getting into loads of trouble and having fun with the ladies – something he carries with him to, shall we say, very young adulthood. Spock, on the other hand, is the exact opposite: aloof, intellectual and a force to be reckoned with.

Whether Vulcan and Earthling will come together forms part of the fun in this dynamic movie that takes off at warp speed and never falters. Full of great jokes, menacing music, and an evil villain not to be taken lightly this 126 minute movie simply rocks. Non-believers and non-Trekkies will feel right at home here as the filmmakers have come up with a brilliant introduction to the beloved characters and filled the movie with a great futuristic atmosphere.

Casting here is the underpinning to this movie’s chances of success, as it is with most films, only considering the pedigree of this series and franchise this task is all the more daunting. Luck was on the side of Abrams and moviegoers when he nailed Chris Pine (Bottle Shock) to play Kirk. Pine is brilliant as the rough around the edges smart aleck teen who must assume manly tasks in a hurry. Equally compelling pointed ears and all is Zachary Quino who shines as the misunderstood Spock.

Great sets and superior designs make this film look truly futuristic. Down earth fun on a host of souped up vehicles makes the story feel all the more genuine. Fine support work from Bruce Greenwood (Double Jeopardy), John Cho (Harold & Maude Escape from Guantanamo Bay) and Eric Bana (Munich) as tattoo-faced madman Nero spell trouble and total enjoyment for audiences.

Fresh, funny and enticingly cleverly written Star Trek boldly reaches for new heights and succeeds beyond belief.

Read more reviews by Robert at www.moviereviewssite.com

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Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

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Reviewed by mutuel

At The Movies

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (G) * * * *


Wedding Bell Blues!


By ROBERT WALDMAN



Playboys of the world unite. Smart director Mark Walters (Mean Girls) dishes the dirt on relationships gone astray in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, a delightful lark from Alliance Films now showing off at Tinseltown (On Pender, free parking), Esplanade 6, Empire Studio 12, Colossus and Famous Players Silver City cites around B.C. Laughs mix with romance big time as we settle in to watch the winning (?) ways of a modern day Lothario.

Romeos in training need all the help they can get and who better to fit the bill than Connor Mead? Tried and true this ladies man extraordinaire seems to have all manner of women lusting after him. Hot and cold Connor uses his talents as a photographer to woo and seduce any woman that crosses his path. Females seem irresistible to his talented charms.

True to form, this cad has a habit of loving and leaving. Bad vibes are obviously experienced by some of his dalliance objects. News of his brother’s wedding, however, means this grown up jerk may be in for somewhat of a rude awakening.

Not the marrying kind, Connor attends brother Paul’s nuptials where he comes face to face with his demons. Out to derail his motives are former sweetheart Jenny Perotti. Childhood friendships die hard as do relatives. There to guide Connor on his wretched ways are former uncle Wayne, a master of seduction who offers some suggestions to our boy.

Wildly flambouyant and full of non-stop fun, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is a smart romantic tale exposing the warts some of us are too blind to notice. Matthew McConaughey (The Newton Boys) is at his charming best as the ultimate “player” who must come to terms with just what kind of life he enjoys. Veteran Casanova Michael Douglas (Wall Street) puts his talents as a leading ladies’ man to great advantage as the swinging sage of all things sexual. Hugh Hefner would be proud of both these guys.

Sweetness and smarts comes courtesy of Jennifer Garner (Juno) who shines as one of Connor’s ex girl pals with Breckin Meyer (Garfield) well suited as a loving brother with marriage jitters.

Great back up support from the likes of Robert Forster (Lucky Number Slevin) and a general upbeat vibe that makes great use of old classy soundtracks further enlivens this non-stop joyride that should go down as one of the best date movies in years. Romance mingles with comedy and even a touch of sentimentality in this joyous event that promises happiness long after the flames of a honeymoon die down.

Read more reviews by Robert at www.moviereviewssite.com

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X-Men Origins: Wolverine

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Reviewed by mutuel


At The Movies

X- Men Origins: Wolverine (PG) * * * *


Born to Rule!

By ROBERT WALDMAN



Summer gets off to a rousing start at theatres with the arrival on our doorsteps of X -Men Origins: Wolverine. Brace yourselves for a sheer fun ride as we get up close and personal with one of comicdom’s all time great creations. From the pen of Stan Lee to the screens of British Columbia and beyond comes this tale of tragedy and triumph from 20th Century Fox and Marvel Entertainment now making people believe at Oakridge Centre Cinemas, Empire Studio 12, Colossus and Famous Players Silver City sites around B.C.

You don’t need to know much about the X-Men saga to get thoroughly engrossed in this story. Expect the unexpected here as we go back and time to see a young Logan grow through the ages alongside brother Victor Creed. Director Gavin Hood (Rendition) lights up the screen and turns up the volume as we witness the emotional strain young Logan encounters before he obtains superpowers including those 7 inch long fingernails that would do Freddy Krueger proud.

Love among the boys is rather short lived as both Victor and Logan part ways despite what was supposed to be some sort of blood bond. Instead they each end up helping the military until things get a bit side-tracked. What follows is a quick jaunt into Canada and then a whirlwind trip as good guy/thing Wolverine locks horns with older brother Victor and a group of enemies that makes one second guess all things good and right in America.

Thrills never stop in X-Men Origins: Wolverine that is chalk full of so much action and so many surprises it’s hard to keep track of all the zany characters and all that’s going on. Australian hunk Hugh Jackman (Australia) sizzles as the creature like human with a heart of gold and caring manner while brother Victor is just as engaging, albeit from a rather negative standpoint and made menacingly evil by Liev Schreiber (Defiance). Fights galore dominate this 107 minute tale that has extremely clever dialogue and a great take also on history and mutants alongside mad scientists and evil geniuses. You know the drill.

Even Vancouver born Ryan Reynolds (Adventureland) gets into the act in this grand globe trotting tale of adventure, mistaken identities and dubious government policies sure to be a monster hit this springtime - and worth every penny of your admission dollar. Also, make sure you stay until the final end credits are done as there is a special closing scene further keeping you wanting for more of these great creations!

Read more reviews by Robert at www.moviereviewssite.com


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Obsessed

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Reviewed by mutuel

At The Movies

Obsessed (14A) * * *

Wicked Woman!

By ROBERT WALDMAN



Allegations of sexual harassment can cut both ways. Indiscretion also knows no bounds when it comes to gender or race. Efforts of an employee to get close and personal with an executive set off alarm bells in Obsessed, a tantalizing tasty thriller from Columbia Pictures now setting off sparks at Empire Studio 12, Colossus and Famous Players Silver City sites around B.C.

Television director Steve Shill tries his hand at the big screen in this rather standard story of a new worker with the hots for a good looking executive. By day Derek works hard at an upscale Los Angeles investment firm. Now off the market Derek makes time with loving wife Sharon and their new born Kevin, a cute as a button baby boy. Passions at work, however, threaten to drive a wedge to this peaceful family.

Happily ever after words of hope and pledges get tested to the limit thanks to the arrival of Lisa, a hot to trot good looking blonde who has her sites set on bagging Derek. As could be expected, one thing leads to another and we’re led down that typical path of female affection gone haywire. Just like in other similar themes films like Fatal Attraction, Swimfan and Disclosure we all can see what’s coming a mile away. Still, despite the worn out fashion of this story audiences will get some mild charge out of Obsessed thanks to good overall performances.

Under lots of constraint you can truly sense the tension in Derek’s demeanour as Idris Elba (The Unborn) stands tall as the maligned guy out to save a marriage and fend off a demon woman. Stand by your man Sharon may have come a bit undone but singer turned actress Beyonce Knowles (Cadillac Records) attempts to do the right thing at all times. Odd girl out Lisa is a fox in Channel clothing and absolutely smoulders under the sexy guise of Ali Larter (Resident Evil: Extinction).

Behind the scenes machinations at a big firm are played out well with the dialogue here being particularly realistic. Tension-packed exchanges between this ill-fated ménage a trios ring true though the relentless pursuit of a man by this nut case seem a bit too far fetched even for the most jaded onlookers.

Obsessed manages to cross racial barriers proving that unwanted attention can affect any ethnicity and may be more prevalent than authorities would care to admit. And yes, you do get that squeamish feeling at times through this movie making one ponder just how one would handle a similar situation with apparently no hope for a peaceful resolution. Better watch out!

Read more reviews by Robert at www.moviereviews.com

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