Archive for Jean Smart

The Accountant

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), starting to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as Christian uncooks the books and gets closer to the truth, it is the body count that starts to rise.

What people are saying:

“It’s transparent in its attempt both to pimp a future franchise and give autistic kids their own superhero. There’s a genuine sweetness to the latter that converts me on the former. Headshots, math problems, and pained social interactions? Sign me up. Of the two movies Ben Affleck has been in so far this year, The Accountant and Batman V Superman, The Accountant has by far the most franchise potential” 4 stars

“The Accountant should be a straight-ahead thriller, but the film keeps tripping over its own incompetent feet. Maybe it was made for adults, but it sure doesn’t feel like it was made by them.” 3 stars

“It’s not that often a great story gets translated into a classy script and then benefits from top level acting. Thankfully this film manages to do all that and more. The unique story line combined with some excellent acting and action scenes is a triumph and is not just for those who crave some realistic looking action. Ben Affleck does a great job and makes the unusually talented and afflicted ‘Accountant’ believable. After this performance Ben Affleck must surely be at the top of the list to play ‘007’.” 5 stars

“This movie was sooooooo predictable and terrible. It rips off elements from “Jack Reacher”, “Rain Man” and “Grosse Point Blank”. All three of those movies are way better than this piece of turd. I think the PC crowd want to portray this movie as “inspiring” and about “family” or some other B.S. The movie has a message that autistic people have can live a productive life in a manner of a “normal” person. Meaning, we (the non-autistic people) just mis-understand the very special autistic folks. It’s the same formula as you have seen a hundred times. The Accountant is killing the bad folks for the greater good, but he is not an official law enforcement agent. He has to do things secretly, but with the covert help of a couple of legitimate treasury agents. Sound familiar? Kind of like Batman and Commissioner Gordon. (I did that on purpose btw.) Believe me, I “get” this movie. Wooden acting, (exception: J.K. Simmons) stupid, predictable story, and very slow pace. It’s pure garbage. I just read they are going to make “The Accountant 2″ as well. I guess it’s true, you can’t fix stupid” 1 star

“I thought the film did an excellent job of developing and explaining Ben Afflecks character. I also enjoyed the duplicity of his autism and the fighting skills that his father imbued in him and later how he learned to cope with these abilities / disabilities in adult life (quite the paradox). From personal experience: I know that autistic people have a skill sets, its finding it and making it useful too themselves and society that’s difficult. Too many times these people are written off because they are different than normal expectations and thats kinda of the bottom line of this movie. The previous reviewer is a good example of the herd mentality of people that just don’t get it and never will. (Small people with even smaller minds). I also enjoyed his marksmanship skills with a 50BMG Barret rifle, the one mile shots at cantaloupes and how he took out a pickup truck with it by shooting a hole in the engine block, no doubt also inspired by his Army father. In summary this movie is imperfect by design so that only enlightened people will appreciate and get it.” 5 stars

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The Kid

Posted in Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

If you could talk to the child that you used to be, what advice would you give him? That question forms the basis of this comic fantasy. Forty-year-old Russ Duritz (Bruce Willis) is a wealthy and powerful “image consultant” who has made a career out of telling people how to present themselves. But while he’s a success in business, he’s a failure in life; he’s vain, mean-spirited, and hasn’t been able to hold onto a marriage (or even a pet dog). One day, Russ is startled to meet Rusty (Spencer Breslin), a stocky kid whom he soon realizes is himself at the age of eight, having passed through a wrinkle in time. Young Rusty doesn’t seem much happier than the grown-up Russ, so the older man takes his younger self under his wing and tries to teach him how to avoid the mistakes he’s made, while Rusty encourages Russ to be a more caring human being. Along the way, Russ and Rusty become friends, and realize how much they can learn from each other.

What people are saying:

“Disney’s The Kid is warm-hearted and effective, a sweet little parable that involves a man and a boy who help each other become a better boy, and a better man. It’s a sweet film, unexpectedly involving, and shows again that Willis, so easily identified with action movies, is gifted in the areas of comedy and pathos: This is a cornball plot, and he lends it credibility just by being in it” 3 stars

“Now I’m a sucker for Bruce Willis movies but, this really was fabulous! Spencer did a great job, after watching this movie I will be sure to keep an eye open for his future films. This movie was very nostalgic and you finish feeling like this actually could have happened it was so well written! I would recommend this movie to sit down with your family, all in all clean and very funny!” 5 stars

“Bruce Willis’s emphasis on making his character satirize everybody around him for their personal flaws, especially his younger self, is a strong component of the film, but the dizzying and unacceptable science fiction and aimless script writing makes the film weak.” 2 stars

“When I went to see this movie in the theater there was only 4 adults there (all to see Bruce Willis). This movie was amazing. The story was powerful. Bruce Willis and Spencer Breslin’s screen chemistry was wonderful, fun and exciting. You’ll fall in love with Breslin’s performance his laughs, his tears and his triumphs. Disney and Willis hit a home run.” 5 stars

“Even if you’re a die-hard Willis fan (no pun intended, seriously), do know that this film is strictly for kids 10 and under – and is great at being just that. There is simply not enough content for adults. It’s cute and plays like an after-school special, but you’ll feel robbed of your time if you watch it by yourself. Perfect for boys aged 5-10,” 3 stars

Youth in Revolt

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

16-year-old Nick Twisp (Michael Cera) is an outcast of his generation; his interests include Frank Sinatra and the films of Federico Fellini. Nick lives with his erratic mom, Estelle (Jean Smart) and her oafish boyfriend, Jerry (Zach Galifinakis), in Oakland, California. When Jerry owes a group of sailors money for a car, Jerry takes Estelle and Nick on vacation to a trailer park in Clearlake, where Nick meets Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday), an intellectual and beautiful girl. Nick spends time with Sheeni, learning that she’s just as neurotic as he is. She takes a liking to Nick and they begin to see each other, regardless of the fact that she already has a boyfriend, Trent Preston (Jonathan Bradford Wright). Nick purchases a dog for Sheeni named Albert (pronounced al-bear), who becomes their “love child”. However, the dog rips up Sheeni’s family’s Bible. Sheeni’s parents decide that the pet is no longer allowed within her house. Upon leaving town to return to Oakland, Nick is encouraged by Sheeni to not only take Albert with him but to also move to Ukiah to live with his temperamental father, George (Steve Buscemi), a move that would allow Sheeni and Nick to be together but would not be allowed by Nick’s mother, who is in desperate need for the child support money Nick makes for her from his father, unless, as Sheeni puts it, Nick is “very, very bad.”

Back at home, Nick coaxes his best friend, Lefty (Erik Knudsen), to keep Albert for him since Nick hates dogs. Due to Sheeni’s request to be bad, Nick creates an alter-ego to help him with his misdeeds, a French boy by the name of François Dillinger (Sheeni dreams of her French husband to be named François), who has a deeper voice, a mustache, blue eyes, and a bad boy attitude. Around this time, Jerry dies and his death reveals that he was, in fact, already married to someone else. Estelle is appalled to also find out that Jerry’s prized Lincoln now belongs to Jerry’s wife, not Estelle.

With François’ help, Nick begins to mouth off to his mom and her new boyfriend, police officer Lance Wescott (Ray Liotta) Nick soon causes the most trouble when, as François, he takes Jerry’s Lincoln and trailer to Berkeley and allows the car and trailer to crash into a local restaraunt, causing a huge fire and traffic jam, allotting damages over $1,000,000.

Nick returns home to find his mother and Lance already knowing that Nick had indeed caused the accident. Lance agrees to cover for Nick and say that Nick had reported the car missing before the accident happened, only with the guarantee that Nick be moved to Ukiah to live his father. Estelle agrees and allows Lance to give Nick, as François, a sever whipping.

Now in Ukiah, Nick makes a phone to Sheeni and explains that, in order to be moved to Ukiah he had to blow up “half of Berkeley”. However, Sheeni’s overzealous, religious parents (M. Emmet Walsh and Mary Kay Place) overhear the conversation and immediately ship their daughter off to a Santa Cruz French boarding school 200 miles from Ukiah. In his new high school, Nick befriends Vijay Joshi (Adhir Kalyan), an intelligent student fluent in French and an acquaintance of Sheeni’s. With Vijay’s help, Nick travels to Santa Cruz in Vijay’s grandmother’s car to visit Sheeni at her boarding school. Vijay is eager to meet Sheeni’s promiscuous roommate, Taggarty (Rooney Mara), whom has slept with 17 boys and plans to rack 50 by college.

After being allowed into Sheeni and Taggarty’s room, Nick, frustrated at his non-ability to make an actual move on Sheeni, goes to the restroom where he meets Bernice Lynch (Jade Fusco), a nearby neighbor of Sheeni and Taggarty, who just came out of a stall after vomiting. Nick uses the opportunity to smear Trent through Bernice, claiming Trent had said terrible and, in reality and his opinion, false things about her. With François’ unconventional help, Nick finally gets a chance to have sex with Sheeni. In a turn of events, Bernice brings the matron (Lise Lacasse) into the room where Nick, Sheeni, Vijay, and Taggaarty are all engaging in intercourse. The matron’s prescence causes Nick and Vijay to run away immediately, leaving all their clothes, except undergarments, in the room behind them.

On the way home, Vijay’s car dies, leading Nick to recruit the help of his liberal neighbor, Mr. Ferguson (Fred Willard), to come pick them up, saying that Vijay is an illegal immigrant whom Nick is trying to “free for persecution” in a made-up safehouse in Ukiah.

When he returns home, he meets Sheeni’s hallucinogen-dealing, tranquil older brother, Paul (Justin Long) who explains that Sheeni will be returning home on Thanksgiving and that Nick should come over for dinner on that night. Later, Nick begins to send Bernice love letters, in which he says that Sheeni was just a childhood fling and that he and Bernice were meant to be. He asks her to “retaliate against Trent” by slipping sedatives into Sheeni’s drinks to make her fall asleep in class, thus causing Sheeni to be expelled from the boarding school. At some point, Nick comes home to find Lacey (Ari Graynor), George’s 25-year-old live-in girlfriend, Paul, and Mr. Ferguson, lounging in the living room, high on mushrooms, which Nick also ingests. Upon George’s arrival, Mr. Ferguson is punched in the face by Nick’s father who is, in turn, punched by Paul. Through this series of events, Lacey leaves the house to live with Paul.

On Thanksgiving, Nick receives a call from his mother informing him that Lance has left her, and, in turn, is no longer covering for Nick. Regardless, Nick decides to visit Sheeni, who has recently been expelled from school. When he arrives, he finds that Paul has drugged his parents quite severely. Trent unexpectedly arrives at the dinner upon discovering the truth behind his girlfriend’s expelling from school, thus ruining Nick’s plan at having Sheeni all to his own. He begs his father to let him take his father’s car to no avail. He then steals the car.

Desperate to not have the police after him, Nick decides the best course of action is to remove his clothes and drive his father’s car into a very shallow lake in front of police whom François had told to be there. Nick had thought the lake would be much less shallow, thus leading the police to believe that he was, in fact, in the car.

He then goes to a nearby store where he buys a wig and a dress to dress up as “Carlotta”, one of Sheeni’s friends. He fools Mr. and Mrs. Saunders and goes up to Sheeni’s room to tell her that he loves her. They make love. Post-intercourse, Trent barges in, telling Nick that he’s brought the police with him. Nick ask Sheeni to wait for him, but Sheeni notes “You’re 16, you’re going to juvenile detention, and you’ll be out in 3 months”.

During the end credits, we see an animated epilogue that depicts Nick and François’ time spent in juvenile detention. When Nick is released, Sheeni and him ride off in a car, passing George, Mr. Ferguson, Lefty, Vijay, and Taggarty. They also pass Paul and Lacey selling mushrooms on the side of the road; and Estelle who is having Trent mow her lawn. Sheeni pushes a button inside the car which sends them flying away into the sky.

REVIEW:

You know, I’m really starting to think studios are just taking advantage of the fact that Michael Cera still looks like a high school kid and pretty much plays the same character and has the same mumbly mannerism in every film he’s in. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World aside, you could literally switch every character he’s played in and out of each of his films and wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Having said that, strangely enough, it works for him, and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Sure, the guy has just a little bit more talent than Megan Fox, but he’s not delusional about it, so he gets a pass from me on that.

Youth in Revolt is a film where we were supposed to get to see two sides of Michael Cera, the usual nice guy that mumbles everything he says and a more confident, sophisticated alter-ego, referred to as Francois Dillinger. It actually starts out that way, once we get past all the drama of the first 30 minutes of the film, but much the same way many other alter egos go, they seem to disappear when you need them most.

Francois was a true chance for Cera to shine, yet the filmmakers chose to barely use him, except for his initial introduction montage and a key scene later on at the all French-speaking school.

I guess I shouldn’t blame the filmmakers. This is based on a book, but directors seem to like to change everything anyway, so what stopped them from making Francois more of a key character?

This picture isn’t all about Cera, though, there are other cast members that actually make up a pretty decent ensemble. For instance, Zach Galifinakis, in his limited screen time and Cera’s mother’s live-in boyfriend is what you expect from the guy…comic genius.

Jean Smart’s character reminds me of her character from The Oblongs…at least many of her mannerisms do. That is a good thing.

Steve Buscemi seemed uncomfortable and out of place at first, but later on we get some vintage Buscemi.

Speaking of out of place, Ray Liotta. Not to take anything away from his performance, but he seemed like that piece of a jigsaw puzzle that seems like it’ll fit, but doesn’t quite do it unless you force it in, and then it’s just wrong.

Newcomer Portia Doubleday did an excellent job. The chemistry she has with Cera may very lead to further on-screen collaborations.

The plot here is, from what I’ve heard, pretty close to the source material. I would have liked for there to have been more of an emphasis placed on the comedy aspect, though, and not so much the teeage angst that is going on, but I guess that is what made the book a big enough success that they were able to make a film about it, right?

Some of the trippy scenes when Nick is traveling were quite entertaining. I didn’t think anyone knew how to use claymation anymore. You’ll have to see it to belive it.

I do have a major complaint about this picture, though. Well, it has more to do with the marketing. If you’ve seen the trailer, then you know there is a scene where Nick runs his car off a cliff and into, what he believes, is a deep lake or other body of water. It turns out, though, that said water is very shallow. This would have been more effective had they not stuck it in the trailer, because, well, that gives away the joke. There is another scene like that earlier that they gave away. What were they thinking?

My verdict of this picture is that if you’re a Michael Cera fan, you’ll love it. For everyone else, it is ok, but not great. This is one those films that you’ll watch and forget about 5 minutes after it is finished. I’m sorry to say, but there is nothing memorable about this picture, at least not that the filmmakers chose to spotlight. In different hands, this might have been great, but given what the final product ended up as, it is barely average. Still, if you have nothing better to do and are tired of being inundated with dark, serious faire, you could do much worse than Youth in Revolt.

3 out of 5 stars