Friday, January 16, 2009


You Ain't Nothing to Me if You Got Nothing To Say
Last Chance Harvey

The title alone is a semantic minefield: Last Chance Harvey. It’s gratingly clear from the outset that the thrust is that this is Harvey’s last chance to do something good for himself, or his relationships,
or his career, but the ambiguous phrasing and distressing lack of punctuation are apparently trying to make the title into something more, as if Harvey’s a guy who thrives on last chances, or can be counted on when his back’s against the wall, or whatever. Basically the title is something that should be clearer, and could be, but willfully chooses to stop halfway, and that’s the problem with the film overall. Writer-director Joel Hopkins absolutely wastes a talented pair of leads in a story that could have played out in an hour on television, as is abundantly clear by the fifth montage of the main actors just walking around town and killing time and purportedly getting to know each other in a friendly way that could lead to something more. Granted, Hopkins’ work would be considerably easier if he weren’t competing against Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise, to say nothing of a century of generally competent and engaging filmmaking that has driven home the lesson that not all stories must be heavy affairs, but they do need to be honest, and genuine, and possessed of a momentum that makes them worth watching. Last Chance Harvey is none of those things. >>MORE

Pixar pathos and box-office gold


I probably shouldn't admit that I'm kind of neutral on WALL*E, Pixar's latest animated feature about a couple of robots that rescue humanity. It scores 98 percent on my favorite film site,, and even jaded critics are deploying phrases like "entertaining and inspiring," "flat-out thrilling" and "almost heart-breakingly tender." Only a small-hearted, small-minded man would conclude his Netflix screening with the phrase, "Well, I've seen worse."

I loved Toy Story, Pixar's first computer-animated film about a lovable loser who eventually wins. But that's been 14 years ago, and every holiday season since we've seen a replicating mob of computer-animated films -- all about lovable losers who eventually win. For me, the cynical regularity of the plots and release dates of these things has become tiresome.

WALL*E isn't a bad movie. In many ways, it's pretty good -- as long as you accept that robots might experience physical attraction for each other, and that they might also possess an affinity for plants. Right. I did like the vision of a distinctly American mankind evolving into fat blobs on hovering lounge chairs, whose only interest is mindless chatter and empty calories. Take away the hovering chairs, throw in an iPhone and a Ford Explorer, and you have a portrait of America in 2009.

That's the best part about WALL*E: Under the bland syrup, a bit of bitter social commentary. But as an Oscar contender? I don't think so.

T. Jakes Vs. T. Perry; 6 Of One, Half A Dozen Of The Other


Which means to say, what's the difference?

There are way more similarities then differences, for sure, but there are some distinct separations that make me prefer one (albeit only very slightly!) over the other...more on that in a bit...

Received this from Kim over at the Punkin Patch in my email:

Hey IW:

A friend of mine just sent me a link to the trailer of Tyler Perry's next movie "Madea Goes to Jail" ( I don't know if you've seen or not but it looks like standard TP fare. I am beginning to wonder if Tyler Perry likes women. In all his movies some distressed, abused, down on her luck woman always has to be saved by a "good man". Usually the good man is 'light-skinded'. But this time he chose a chocolate brother Derek Luke to be the savior. And why do all these women have to either be a drug-addict, single momma with babies by different men, and now a prostitute??? Between him and the good Bishop TD Jakes (his new movie looks like its putting down professional black women who choose career over poppin out babies for their poor, long-suffering good man), I don't think these men have much love for the sistas. I'd love to hear your opinion. Thanks!

From IW:

Hmmm. Let me begin by saying this...I have to admit, Perry playing Madea usually doesn't bother me (tho it seems to infuriate a lot of men), but for some reason these pix were positively creepy to me. For the first time I got a flash of repulsion that the most vocal men on the subject must be seemed...downgrading in some way. >>MORE

Notorious Review

Drama. Directed by George Tillman Jr. Starring Jamal Woolard, Derek Luke, Angela Bassett

It must have been an act of great restraint for Sean Combs to resist titling this film, about Chris Wallace, his close friend turned rapper and cultural icon, "The Notorious B.I.G. - The Sean Combs Story."

If there is one take-away from this fawning bio-pic, which Combs executive produced, it's that Sean "Puffy/Puff Daddy/P.Diddy/Diddy" Combs is a visionary who played a critical role at every point in Wallace's brief career. >>MORE

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