Archive for Mia Wasikowska

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Posted in Action/Adventure, Family, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In this trippy sequel to the 2010 blockbuster “Alice in Wonderland,” young Alice returns from several years at sea and again passes through to the magical landscape, where she ends up journeying into the past to try to save the Mad Hatter.

What people are saying:

“A solid kids’ movie in the old style. One with something to say about something real – family and time- and a willingness to admit consequences, even as it serves up goofy humor, mild thrills, and slippy-slidey accents from slumming stars.” 2 stars

“It deviated from the actual book, but that doesn’t mean it was not entertaining. It had good messages about positive attitudes for women not to be victims of circumstance. A much needed improvement from much of the stuff many kids are watching now. ” 5 stars

“The charm found in the first Alice in Wonderland is definitely missing in the sequel. The story is a mix match of going in the past future time etc. The plot that is way too confusing for most children even some adults. The acting isn’t anything great most of the actors you can tell look like they’re in front of a green screen. Some of the special effects were nice and there’s some creativity to be found in this movie but in the end it just didn’t come together very well.” 2 stars

“I never read the Alice in Wonderland books, but I doubt this is one of them. Yes, it has that zany twisted quality you expect in Wonderland, but there is a theme running through the movie that gives it a scifi depth, “Why can’t I go back in time and change the past?” Most of the characters from the first movie are back and Cohen’s Time fits in Wonderfully. ” 5 stars

“the most offensive kind of film…one that spends an enormous amount of money yet seems to have nothing on its mind but money. You give it, they take it. And you get nothing in return but assurances that you’re seeing magic and wonder. The movie keeps repeating it in your ear, and flashing it onscreen in big block letters: MAGIC AND WONDER. MAGIC AND WONDER. But there is no magic, no wonder, just junk rehashed from a movie that was itself a rehash of Lewis Carroll, tricked out with physically unpersuasive characters and landscapes and ‘action scenes’, with blockbuster ‘journey movie’ tropes affixed to every set-piece as blatantly as Post-It Notes” 1 star

Stoker

Posted in Drama, Independent, Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , on July 27, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

During her 18th birthday, India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) – a girl with a strong acuteness of the senses – has her life turned upside down after her loving father Richard (Dermot Mulroney) dies in a horrific car accident. India is then left with her estranged unstable mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman). At Richard’s funeral, Evelyn and India are introduced to Richard’s charming and charismatic brother Charlie (Matthew Goode), who has spent his life traveling the world. He then announces that he is staying indefinitely to help support India and Evelyn, much to Evelyn’s delight and India’s chagrin.

Shortly after Charlie moves in, India witnesses him argue with Mrs. McGarrick (Phyllis Somerville), the head caretaker of the house. Mrs. McGarrick then disappears and is never seen again. Charlie and Evelyn grow closer and intimate while India continues to rebuff Charlie’s attempts to befriend her. Later, India’s great aunt Gwendolyn (Jacki Weaver) arrives to visit the family, much to Evelyn and Charlie’s dismay. At dinner, Gwendolyn grows suspicious of Charlie’s claims of traveling the world and tells Evelyn that she needs to talk to her about Charlie.

Later that night, Gwendolyn changes hotels due to an unexplained fear and suspicion of Charlie. However, she loses her cell phone and tries to call the Stoker home from her hotel payphone. While making her call, Charlie tracks her down and corners her in the phone booth, seeming to be upset. He hands Gwendolyn her phone and then strangles her to death with his belt after explaining that he found her through the cab company. Meanwhile, India goes into the basement to eat ice cream and discovers Mrs. McGarrick’s body in the freezer, realizing that Charlie murdered her, as well.

After India discovers that Charlie is a killer, she unleashes her inner aggression at school and stabs a bully, Chris Pitts (Lucas Till), in the hand with a pencil after he makes sexually derogatory remarks at her about Evelyn. This draws the attention of another classmate, Whip Taylor (Alden Ehrenreich). India goes home and later witnesses Evelyn and Charlie growing intimate and wanders off to a local diner where she runs into Whip. She and Whip go into the woods where they proceed to make out until India aggressively bites Whip. Whip then attempts to rape India until Charlie intervenes, and breaks Whip’s neck with his belt. India then aids Charlie in burying the body in her garden. She then attempts to call Gwendolyn, but hears her phone ring deep in the garden, realizing Charlie killed her, too. India takes a shower and experiences a sexual awakening, masturbating to the memory of the murder, climaxing as she remembers Charlie breaking Whip’s neck.

Later, India goes through Richard’s office to gather things of his she wants to keep. She discovers that a key she received as a birthday present belongs to a locked drawer to Richard’s desk. Inside, she finds several letters from Charlie, which detail his travels. However, India discovers that the letters are all lies after finding the sending address on the back of the envelopes are from a mental institution. India then confronts Charlie who explains the truth: Charlie murdered his and Richard’s younger brother Jonathan as a child because he was jealous that Richard paid more attention to him over Charlie. Charlie was then locked in a mental institution for several years. When released on India’s 18th birthday, Richard gave Charlie a car, a generous amount of money, and an apartment in New York to cut off ties with him and prevent him from meeting India. Feeling hurt and betrayed, Charlie beat Richard to death with a rock and staged the car accident.

At first, India is in shock and angered. However, she seemingly forgives Charlie and grows closer after he provides an alibi for India when Sheriff Howard (Ralph Brown) questions her about Whip’s disappearance. They grow close to intimate before Evelyn witnesses them. Later that evening, Evelyn coldly expresses her desires to watch India suffer before confronting Charlie about how she knows the truth about him. Charlie seduces Evelyn and then attempts to strangle her before India appears and fatally shoots Charlie in the neck with a rifle. She then buries Charlie’s body in the backyard and proceeds to leave for New York in his car.

She is shortly pulled over for speeding by Sheriff Howard, who then asks her why she’s in a hurry. India replies that she wanted to catch his attention, then plunges a pair of garden shears into his neck. India pursues the wounded sheriff into a field to dispatch him with her rifle.

REVIEW:

If you are not familiar with Stoker, you aren’t the only one. The only reason I know anything about it is because of a dvd/Blu-ray review site that I frequent. Please be aware that this has nothing to do with the author of Dracula, Bram Stoker, contrary to everyone’s belief. The name is the only thing that they have in common.

What is this about?

An impressionable teenager grieving for her late father lives with her unstable mother and is bewitched by her enigmatic uncle, who has mysterious motives for his sudden appearance in her life.

What did I like?

Goode. I was really impressed with Matthew Goode’s performance. Some of you may recall him as Ozymandius from The Watchmen. Judging by this performance, I think this is a guy we should keep an eye on. He has a way to pull off these characters that don’t seem to be evil, but are the creepy kind that you know aren’t exactly the good guy. He also was reserved enough, as a character, to fit into this film.

Length. Films like this tend to drag on forever and a day, so I was glad that this was a fairly short picture. Not only that, but it also didn’t seem like it was cut down just to fit into a certain allotted time frame. One can’t really complain about that, now, can they?

What didn’t I like?

Assumption. I know this is a small thing, but with a name like Stoker, you can’t help but think Bram Stoker and because of that, there is an idea that this would have been a kind of supernatural flick, but that is not the case. Is that a bad thing? I can’t really say yes or no, but it is a little disappointing. Maybe they should have thought of changing the name.

Nicole. I have to wonder what kind of favor Nicole Kidman owed these filmmakers, because she seems so out of place. I would imagine it has something to do with using her name to sell the film and all that jazz, but surely they could have done more with her. She has one scene that allows her to flex her acting chops, but the rest of the time, she’s just a typical movie mother who is trying to mend fences with her daughter after the death of her husband.

For me, Stoker just wasn’t a film that I could follow. Up until the shower masturbation scene, I found myself lost and confused. The fact that it took a shot of Mia Wasikowska masturbating to catch my attention is a damn shame and a almost want to say it was a classless move by this film to grab viewers’ attention while changing the persona of her character. Do I recommend it? Eh, I can’t say that, but as a whole, this isn’t a bad film, just not really one that you would rush to watch.

3 out of 5 stars

Jane Eyre

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on March 16, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film begins with Jane Eyre running away from Thornfield Hall in the middle of the night and finding herself alone on the moors, in the pouring rain. She manages to reach the doorstep of Moor House, the home of Mr. St. John Rivers, a clergyman, and his two sisters. They take Jane in, saving her life.

There follows a flashback, to the ten-year-old Jane Eyre, an orphan, living with her maternal uncle’s family, the Reeds, at Gateshead. Jane’s aunt, Sarah Reed, doesn’t like Jane and is very cruel to her; Mrs. Reed’s three children are also abusive towards her. One day, Jane is locked in the Red Room, where her uncle died, and which Jane believes is haunted. She knocks herself unconscious on the door, after a huge puff of smoke comes down the chimney. Jane’s aunt sends her to Lowood School for Girls, which is run by a cruel clergyman, Mr. Brocklehurst. Mrs Reed tells him that Jane is a deceitful child and is not to be trusted. Jane tells her aunt how much she hates her and that she is a hard-hearted woman.

Jane arrives at Lowood. While another pupil, Helen Burns, is being beaten, Jane accidentally drops her tray. Mr. Brocklehurst brands her a liar and makes her stand on a chair all day. Jane and Helen become close friends, but Helen later dies of typhus.

Eight years later, Jane leaves Lowood and takes up a post with Alice Fairfax of Thornfield Hall. She will be a governess to Adele Varens, a young French orphan girl. When she first arrives at Thornfield, a gloomy, isolated mansion, Jane mistakes Mrs. Fairfax for her employer, but she finds out that she is only the housekeeper for her absent master. While Jane is walking into town to post a letter, a horse passes her and throws its rider. Jane helps the gentleman to his horse. Later, back at the mansion, she learns that the horse rider is Edward Rochester, master of the house. He jokingly tells her that she must have bewitched his horse to make him fall. They gradually fall in love with one another.

One night, Jane is awoken by a strange noise at her door, only to find that Mr. Rochester’s room is on fire, which the two of them manage to extinguish. He thanks her for saving his life and holds her hand affectionately. The next day, Rochester leaves Thornfield to visit Lady Blanche Ingram, his future wife; he brings her back to Thornfield with him a few weeks later. When a man named Richard Mason of Spanish Town, Jamaica, shows up, Jane can see that Rochester is disturbed. That night, a scream awakens everyone. Rochester assures his guests it is just a servant’s reaction to a nightmare, but after they go back to their rooms, he secretly has Jane tend to a bleeding Mason while he fetches a doctor. Rochester has the doctor take Mason away.

Jane receives a letter from her old nurse, Bessie. Jane’s cousin, John Reed, has committed suicide, the news of which has so shocked his mother, Sarah Reed, that it has brought on a stroke. Apparently, Mrs. Reed has been asking to see Jane. Jane returns to Gateshead, where her dying aunt shows her a letter from Jane’s paternal uncle, John Eyre, asking for her to go to live with him in Madeira. He wants to adopt Jane and bequeath her at his death. Jane notices that the letter was dated three years ago. Mrs. Reed admits to telling her uncle that Jane had died of typhus at Lowood School. She tells Jane that she (Mrs. Reed) has been cursed by her. Jane forgives her aunt and returns to Thornfield, having begun a correspondence with John Eyre.

Jane informs Rochester that she must leave Thornfield due to his impending marriage to Blanche Ingram. However, Rochester suddenly proclaims his love for Jane and proposes to her; they kiss passionately. However, during the wedding ceremony, Mr. Mason appears, along with a lawyer, declaring that Mr. Rochester cannot marry Jane, because he is still married to Mr. Mason’s sister, Bertha; he adds that his sister is still living at Thornfield Hall. Mr. Rochester admits this is true and takes Jane to meet his wife, calling her his own demon; they find her locked away in a room at Thornfield. Rochester tells Jane that his father wanted him to marry Bertha for her money. Once they were married, he discovered that she was rapidly descending into madness and was forced to lock her away in Thornfield; she was the one responsible for the strange happenings in the house. Refusing to go against her principles, and despite her love for Rochester, Jane leaves Thornfield in the middle of the night.

After Jane regains her health, St. John finds her a teaching position at a nearby charity school. One night, St. John appears, informing her that her uncle, John Eyre, has died, leaving her all his property and that she is rich, to the tune of 20,000 pounds. Jane offers to share the money with St. John and his sisters, suggesting that they live together at Moor house; they agree to the offer. St. John asks Jane to marry him and go with him to India. Jane agrees to go to India with him, but rejects the marriage proposal, suggesting that they travel as brother and sister, as that’s how she sees their relationship. On the moor, Jane suddenly hears Rochester’s voice calling her name.

Jane returns to Thornfield, only to find the house a blackened ruin. She learns from Mrs. Fairfax that Rochester’s wife set the house on fire and died, jumping from the roof. Jane finds Rochester, but in the rescue attempt he has lost his eyesight. Jane reunites with him and they embrace.

REVIEW:

I am known to criticize films that are heavy drama and artsy-fartsy, and yet here I am watching Jane Eyre, a film that fits both those categories to a ‘T’. By the times the credits roll, will I be bored to tears, surprised with how good it is, or just plain disappointed?

What is this about?

Driven from her post at Thornfield House by her love for her brooding employer and his secret past, young governess Jane Eyre reflects on her youth and the events that led her to the misty moors in this artful adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s novel.

What did I like?

Cast. Fassbender and Wasikowska shine in these roles. Wasikowska’s work I’m not too familiar with, other than the few films she’s done over here in the states, mainly Alice in Wonderland, but Fassbender has more than proven that he is capable of pulling off roles of substance on both sides of the pond. Leave us not forget Judi Dench, who seems to be the comic relief (if you can call her that).

Source material. I vaguely remember reading this novel once, I belive it was in British Literature, but I could be mistaken. From my recollection, everything seems to be in order. Sure, there are some changes, but those are mainly due to time constraints and/or things that would not work so well on the big screen. Still, I give kudos to whomever decided it was best to keep this as close as possible to the source material and not try to make some weird “hip” updating so that audiences will “relate”.

What didn’t work?

Time. Speaking of time constraints, maybe it is just me, but I felt as if this could have been a slightly longer film, like most flicks like this tend to be. I’m not saying it needed to be some 3 hr long snoozefest, but parts of it felt like they rushed through some parts and others felt like they hovered in the scene too long.

French. The little French girl was a great asset to the cast, but after about the halfway point of the film, she sort of disappeared. I seem to remember her being in the later parts of the book, so why did she just vanish from the film? Maybe I’m wrong about the novel, though.

Jane Eyre isn’t my cup of tea, admittedly, and as such, I don’t feel as if I can give this film the review it deserves. Having said that, I do think that there is an audience out there that is all about this period dramas. If this is the kind of film you tend to go for, then by all means, check this out. You will love it. If you’re like me, then chances are you’re more likely to be bored. That is ok, different stroked for different folks.

4 out of 5 stars

Lawless

Posted in Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2012 by Mystery Man

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/a/a0/Lawless_film_poster.jpg/220px-Lawless_film_poster.jpg

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1931, the Bondurant brothers—Forrest, Howard and Jack—are running a successful moonshine business in Franklin County, Virginia, with the help of their friend, Cricket Pate, using their bar as a front for their illegal activities. One day, Jack witnesses mobster Floyd Banner shooting a competitor and they exchange looks before Jack returns to the bar, where Forrest hires Maggie Beauford, a dancer from Chicago, to be their new waitress. Shortly afterwards, the bar is visited by newly-arrived Special Deputy Charley Rakes, on behalf of the Virginia Commonwealth Attorney Mason Wardell, who informs Forrest that he wants a cut of all profit made by the county’s bootleggers. Forrest refuses and threatens to kill Rakes if he returns. Forrest later meets with the other bootleggers and convinces them to stand up to Rakes as well, though they eventually give in to Rakes’ intimidation tactics.

Meanwhile, Jack meets Bertha Minnix, daughter of the local Mennonite preacher. He attends their church drunk and makes a fool of himself, causing Bertha’s father to forbid her from seeing him, which only makes her more interested in Jack. Jack later finds Rakes raiding Cricket’s house in search of his distillation equipment, and Rakes brutally beats Jack to send a message to his brothers. Forrest learns of this and tells Jack that he needs to learn how to fight for himself. Forrest and Howard arrange to meet with potential clients from Chicago, but Howard gets drunk with a friend and misses the appointment. Forrest ends up beating the two men with Cricket’s help when they harrass Maggie. Later, after Cricket leaves, the men return, slash Forrest’s throat, and rape Maggie.

While Forrest recovers at a hospital, Jack decides to travel to Chicago with Cricket to sell their remaining liquor. Arriving there, they are doublecrossed by their clients but are rescued by Banner, who recognizes Jack. Banner already knows of the attack on Forrest, as well as the identities of the two assailants; he provides Jack with their address and advises Jack that they are working for Rakes. Forrest and Howard later find, torture, and kill the men to send a message to Rakes. Banner becomes a regular client of the brothers, who move their distillation equipment to the woods and have great profit. The money allows Jack to continue courting Bertha, while Forrest begins a relationship with Maggie after she moves into the bar for her safety, though she does not tell him she was raped. Jack eventually decides to show Bertha the distillation center, but they are ambushed by Rakes and his men, who had followed them. Howard and Jack are forced to flee from Rakes’s men with Bertha and Cricket, however Cricket is later recaptured and murdered by Rakes.

Wanting revenge for Cricket’s death, Jack goes to confront Rakes and his men at a roadblock at a local bridge. Howard follows after him, rallying the bootleggers to come to their aid. Forrest joins them, though Maggie tries to dissuade him, telling him that it was she who had found him with his throat slashed and took him to the hospital. Forrest realizes then that she was also attacked that night, though Maggie does not say so. The bootleggers engage Rakes’ men in a firefight, during which Rakes shoots Forrest multiple times before being shot in the leg and attempting to escape. Jack and Howard confront Rakes, shooting him in the chest with a gun, and stabbing him in the back with a knife to his death. With Rakes and his men dead, the Bondurants decide to save their money and retire after Prohibition ends. By November 1940, Jack has married Bertha, Forrest has married Maggie, and Howard has married a local woman, all having children. During a reunion at Jack’s house, Forrest walks to a frozen lake and falls into the freezing water, dying from pneumonia

REVIEW:

I love gangster movies, especially the ones that are set in the 20s and 30s and use tommy guns. When I saw the trailer for Lawless, I was excited, but reticent about seeing it in the theaters, for fear it may have been a total waste of my money. Not to mention, when this was released, I didn’t exactly have the time to rush out and see it upon its release. Well, you know what they say, “good things come to those who wait”.

What is this about?

This true-to-life action saga profiles Virginia’s bootlegging Bondurant gang, whose exploits during the Prohibition era made them outlaw heroes. The three Bondurant brothers tussle with the law and each other as they try to survive changing times.

What did I like?

Familiar. Brothers running moonshine, avoiding the cops, and also running their own bar. This sounds a bit familiar doesn’t it? A bit like The Dukes of Hazzard? The thing is, though, that this is apparently based on a true story…and there’s, unfortunately, no Daisy Duke. I was able to keep up with the goings on because of its familiarity, though, so this was a huge plus.

Brutal. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting this film to be as bloody, brutal, and violent as it turned out to be. I’m not a big violence fan, but there are times when I do enjoy a good beatdown, or shootout, especially im westerns and films based in this era. Needless to say, this violence that we see is also filmed in such a way, that it feel natural and nor thrown in there just because it can be. For that, I give all the props in the world to the vision of the director.

Acting. The acting is mostly top-notch here, headlined by Tom Hardy. I’ve seen about 3 or 4 movies with this guy this year, most notably The Dark Knight Returns, and he has impressed me with each role. Jessica Chastain seems to be at home in these period pieces. I think I preferred her more in The Help, but she’s no less the bombshell here. Guy Pearce looks like Alfalfa from The Little Rascals grew up and became some slimy law officer, I forgot what his official title is. He lays it on thick and I loved every minute of it!

What didn’t I like?

Shia. So, he is trying to grow as an actor. That’s fine and dandy, but I just didn’t buy him as this character. Well, let me take that back. When he was just the so-called “runt” of the family who was trying to get into the business, that was working, but when it came down to the final act and he all of a sudden flipped out into some sort of vengeance driven madman, not so much. I’m not sure if it is because of his past work, the fact that he doesn’t have the look for such things, or just that he wasn’t able to convince me he was this character, it just wasn’t working.

Accent. Where in the bloody blue hell did these people get the idea for these accents? I haven’t talked to anyone from Virginia, but  I”m pretty sure they don’t talk like they’re from the back woods of Alabama. The accents used were very distracting, especially for those of us that here these kind of accents every day.

Immortal. Tom Hardy’s character survives the sickness that kills his parents, getting his neck sliced open, and getting shout about 5-10 times, but the thing that finally kills him just dumfounded me. Something so small, in comparison to the other things that have happened to him, offs him? It makes sense, but at the same time, it makes you go, “really?”

Lawless is a vastly entertaining gangster drama flick that I believe is one of the underrated gems that has been released this year. While I don’t believe it could have been a summer blockbuster, had this been released a couple of months later, it might have been a possible Oscar nominee. I highly recommend this. It is definitely something you should check out ASAP!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Kids Are All Right

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on February 5, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) are a married lesbian couple living in California. They have each given birth to a child using the same anonymous sperm donor. Nic, an obstetrician, is the primary breadwinner and the stricter parent, while Jules is more laid back and lives as a housewife who is starting up a landscape design business. While the couple is happy, and the family functioning well, it is also clear that their relationship has begun to go stale.

The younger child Laser (Josh Hutcherson) is eager to find his biological father, but has to be 18 to find the identity of the sperm donor. He begs his 18-year-old sister Joni (Mia Wasikowska) to contact the sperm bank in order to meet their biological father, Paul (Mark Ruffalo). The first meeting goes well. Joni is impressed by his bohemian lifestyle and Paul is enthusiastic about being in their lives. Joni swears Laser to secrecy as she does not want to upset their two mothers. However, Jules and Nic find out and invite Paul over to dinner. The atmosphere is awkward but amiable. When Jules reveals that she has a landscape business, Paul asks her to landscape his back garden. Jules agrees, although Nic does not like the idea.

While working for Paul, Jules likes that he appreciates her work in contrast to Nic who, Jules feels, never supported her career. Jules impulsively kisses him one afternoon. They end up in bed together and begin an affair.

Jules and the kids start spending more time with Paul. Nic believes that Paul undermines her authority over the children, for example by giving Joni a ride on his motorcycle when she has forbidden it and suggesting that she give Joni more freedom. After a heated argument with Jules, Nic suggests that they all have dinner at Paul’s house to ease the situation. Things begin to improve, as Nic relaxes and makes a connection with Paul over their mutual love for Joni Mitchell. During the dinner, however, Nic is shocked to discover traces of Jules’ hair in Paul’s bathroom and bedroom. When they return home, Nic confronts Jules. At first, Jules denies it but then admits to the affair. Nic is devastated, but Jules insists she is not in love with Paul and has not turned straight; she just wanted to be appreciated. The household becomes very tense, with Jules sleeping on the couch. The children are angry at Jules and Paul. Paul thinks he has fallen for Jules, and since the relationship between Nic and Jules has deteriorated anyway, he suggests that she leave Nic, bring the kids, and come live with him. Jules passionately declines.

The night before Joni leaves home to go to college, Paul turns up at the house. Nic angrily confronts him, calling him an interloper, and tells him that if he wants a family then he should make one of his own. Following this, Jules addresses her family. She states that “marriage is hard” and tearfully admits her errors and begs for forgiveness. The next morning, the family, pointedly missing Paul, takes Joni to her new university. While Nic and Jules together hug Joni to say goodbye, they also affectionately touch each other. During the ride home, Laser tells his two moms, “you guys shouldn’t break up” because they are both too “old”.

Jules and Nic both giggle at Laser’s comment, and the film ends with them smiling emotionally at each other and clasping hands

REVIEW:

 There is quite the buzz about this film headed into awards season. Some are saying it is a legitimate contender, but not winner, for Best Picture. I won’t go into all that, since most of the films nominated I haven’t seen yet, but I can see how The Kids Are All Right earned its nomination.

I’ll be honest with you, when I decided to check this out this weekend, my expectation were nill. I wasn’t expecting anything good or bad. Films like this usually leave me apathetic towards them.

I can say, though, that I did enjoy the mix of comedy and drama that permeated through the picture.

The story revolves around a lesbian couple and their children. The oldest has turned 18, and hasn’t even thought about meeting her “dad”, but the youngest wants her to use this time to contact him, and then we get all sorts of problems that make the rest of the film.

Let me get to the bad parts of this picture first. As I mentioned earlier, I liked the mix of comedy and drama. A film like this cold very easily have gone into the serious realm and bored folks to death, but they inserted a bit of comedy into the script. However, I think there could have been more, especially in the second half of the film.

I also was not a fan of the way that Joni overreacted to Paul and Jules’ fling. Sure she had reason to be upset, but there was no reason to just fly off the handle and all but shun everyone. I don’t know, I just didn’t get her reaction.

Also, Mark Ruffalo’s performance was not his finest hour. To me, he seemed as if he was just trying too hard. I think part of it was how his character was written, and that’s fine, but part of it was also how he chose to interpret said character, which made him come off as slightly full of himself, which I didn’t care for.

The good parts of the film have to do with the genuine emotions that seem to be shown between Julianne Moore and Annette Benning’s characters. Of course, do you honestly expect less from these two outstanding actresses?

The whole sperm donor thing, as well as the lesbian family angle was something new on the big screen…at least in terms of being the central focal point of an entire film. I really like that they went that route and didn’t make it some “normal” couple who just wasn’t able to have children.

I’ve already mentioned my distaste for Mark Ruffalo’s acting in this film, as well as my respect for Julianne Moore and Annette Bening, but what about the children? Well, together they seem like a natural brother and sister. They have great chemistry, but separately neither was impressive.

Mia Wasikowska, fresh off her time in Alice in Wonderland, still seems to be as wooden and uncaring as ever. However, her little outburst and affection towards her mother shows that she can act a bit. Now, if only she keeps improving… and can we please get this girl some sun?!?

Josh Hutcherson is desperately trying to go from child actor to leading man material. The problem is, he just isn’t that great, or at least he keeps getting cast in these annoying roles that aren’t doing anything for him. The guy has talent, I don’t doubt that, but this wasn’t his best role.

So, what do I ultimately think of The Kids Are All Right? Well, it was a very nice surprise…then again, I didn’t have any kind of expectations for this film. I will be cheering this picture on to win some awards in a couple of weeks, but it isn’t going to be added to my collection. Does that mean you shouldn’t watch it? Goodness no! You should definitely check it out. It is a must-see!

4 out of 5 stars