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Movie Review: Bridesmaids (2011)

Movie Review: Bridesmaids (2011)

Bridesmaids is not the feel-good teen sex farce it initially passes itself off to be. Instead, it’s bizarrely reminiscent of Alien, in that the entire cast is older, seasoned and no longer the wild party-going folk we’d expect of them. While there are laugh-out-loud moments, the more substantial themes of life-altering change, staying true to oneself, and recognizing the power of friendship, are dark and serious. Once the dilemmas hit and the lead character begins her downward spiral, the joke-a-minute pacing from the introduction is lost – reflection, problem solving, reparation and forgiveness replace the humor, along with lengthy scenes of drunkenness or bad decisions that simply aren’t that humorous.

Annie (Kristen Wiig) has just lost her bakery “Cake Baby,” is forced to move in with an incredibly weird brother and sister team, is barely able to pay her bills, and drives a car clearly on its last legs. She thinks she’s reached rock bottom when her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) announces her engagement. Annie is to be the Maid of Honor, and must put aside her personal quagmires to deal with the responsibilities of organizing a wedding shower and bachelorette party. She’s in for a shock when she meets the other bridesmaids, a colorful mix of dysfunctional women: Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey), a loud-mouthed mother of filthy-mouthed children; Becca (Ellie Kemper), a simple girl with far too few worldly experiences; Megan (Melissa McCarthy), an overly obnoxious manhunter; and Helen (Rose Byrne), a ludicrously wealthy socialite.

Helen poses the biggest problem – unbeknown to Annie, Lillian has become very close to the prettier, richer, skinnier woman, and immediately a feud is formed. Annie wants to prove to her best friend that she’s every bit as good as Helen, but Helen’s massive assets allow for better partying, bigger gifts and superior treatment, especially when it comes to a wedding dress, a trip to Paris and a luxurious manor location for the shower. Despite the helpful distraction of bonhomous Wisconsin state trooper Rhodes (Chris O’Dowd), who is incontestably the perfect match for Annie, she can’t seem to top her rival, please her longtime confidant, or get out of the rut that is her completely depressing life.

Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph are decent actresses, but far from leading lady material. Since the film was written by Wiig, it’s likely the story and script are heavily influenced by her point of view, attributing to giving her the blame when the dialogue tries to be representational of candid girlfriend conversations, a la Sex and the City’s routine meal-oriented get-togethers, yet lacks funniness or naturalness. The supporting cast frequently takes away the spotlight, being comprised of character actors scrounged up from The Office, Reno 911!, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Mike & Molly, Mad Men, Damages, Come Fly with Me and more, but can’t hide the saddening aspect of roles competing to be more pathetic and engage in more embarrassing activities (the best of which involves a food poisoning ordeal) while being filled by B-list actresses.…

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Pratt and Lambert Helps Painters Do the Job

Pratt and Lambert Helps Painters Do the Job

Pratt and Lambert offers a wide variety of paints in several finishes and types. Choosing the right one for your painting projects can be a difficult decision, but Pratt and Lambert has a guide to help.

The interior of your home deserves special care. Family, Living, and Bed rooms can benefit from being painted with flat, velvet, eggshell, and satin finishes, providing the right protection and light reflection for these areas. Dining rooms receive the most benefit from velvet, eggshell, and satin finishes. The toughest room to paint is the bathroom, and should be finished with eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, or high gloss paints to combat the high humidity levels found in that area of the home, along with doors, windows, and furniture. Kitchens, foyers, and hallways should be painted with velvet, eggshell, satin, or semi-gloss finishes, but ceilings should be painted in matte flat paints.

No less worthy of special consideration, the exterior of your home has its own paint lines. Aluminum siding should not be painted, but many other surfaces are able to be spruced up with a fresh coat. Wood and vinyl siding should be covered with flat, eggshell, or semi-gloss finishes. Doors, garage doors, and shutters should be protected with eggshell, semi-gloss, or gloss paints for the best results.

There are times, when no matter how carefully you executed the painting project, things go wrong. To help keep professional and do it yourselfer painters happy, Pratt and Lambert has an online reference for painting problems, their causes, and the solutions so that the finished products looks great for many years to come. This library covers problems from blistering paint to sagging for interior projects and alkali resistance to wrinkling for exterior projects, and gives realistic solutions step by step.

To help the inexperienced painter from over purchasing paint, Pratt and Lambert offers a gallon calculator. By entering in specific information such as the texture of the surface, size of the room (height, length, and width), and number of doors and windows (in standard sizes), Pratt and Lambert can predict how many gallons that room will take to completely cover, without a lot of excess to dispose of or store.…

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Evan Almighty – An Epic Sequel

Evan Almighty – An Epic Sequel

Steve Carell plays Evan in Evan Almighty who is a congressman with a family. His body begins going through some weird changes. He does his usual morning routine and shaves. He looks back in the mirror and the beard is back. He knows that he cannot go to work like this so he puts on a disguise, which everyone notices.

Later that evening he gets a huge shipment of wood and is visited by God. God tells him to build an ark just like Noah. There is just one problem, Evan doesn’t want to and it is in the middle of a drought. With some persistence, Evan gives in and begins making the Ark. He gets some help from some early arriving animals. His family is concerned since Evan begins building a boat. At first, they think that he is having a midlife crisis which has developed into a larger than life hobby. Even all the neighbors begin thinking that he is nuts. He is even seen on the news by fellow congressmen. They soon decide that he in not in his right mind and is told not to come back to work.

The city soon finds out about it and since he did not get a permit to build it, he must take it down. Instead of taking it down, he pleads for everyone laughing at him to join him on the boat. A big wrecking ball is brought in. He is given one hour to get off the boat so the city can destroy it. At this point he has convinced his family to get on board with his plan. He continues to refuse. Find out if building this boat is destroyed and all for nothing or if there really was a method to the madness.…

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Fifty Shades E.L. James Has Movie Producers in Cuffs

Fifty Shades E.L. James Has Movie Producers in Cuffs

The writer of the bestselling erotica trilogy E.L. James may be a shy and reclusive housewife, but when it comes to adapting her book onto screen she’s the one wielding the riding crop. The Fifty Shades of Grey books have hit the world like a hurricane, with eight consecutive weeks of increased sales the erotic series has outsold the Harry Potter and Twilight series in a record amount of time – so a movie version of the book has “hit” written all over it before it’s even been cast. Universal Pictures and Focus Features have acquired the rights for Fifty Shades of Grey the movie, but it has come with a string of demands that would have made Christian Grey proud. The author’s demands have been so specific and numerous that other studios have declined working with the trilogy.

Not unlike her hero, the complex Mr. Grey, E.L. James has drawn up a complex and elaborate contract stating the level of her involvement in the adaptations. These terms include her approval of the director, screenwriter and screenplay, location, trailers, cast and many more. She is also specific in the way the love story is to be handled. E.J. James wants a complex exploration of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey’s relationship through a sexual-political viewpoint that is aimed at a demographic of women aged 25-65. So this laundry list of requests and demands will not just affect who’ll direct and be cast in the production, but it’ll also affect the individual scenes. Another concern about E.L. James’s dominatrix involvement is the rating of the film.

The author wants to keep it as authentic as possible, but there is a fine line to be tread, since Fifty Shades could just become a high-budget porn movie. An R-rating would allow the source material to be faithfully adapted, but a PG-13 rating would bring in more ticket sales, although this would require heavy dumbing down of the sex scenes – quite problematic when you’re adapting an erotic novel. So it’ll be up to E.L. James to assure the movie’s success. One thing about E.L. James’s involvement is that Fifty Shades of Grey will be loyal to the novels. The author herself is guaranteeing that her book will meet her vision. Right now we just have to sit and wait and see what will happen. Who’ll be cast and who’ll direct it? These are answer’s we’ll just have to wait for patiently.…

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Movie Review: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

Movie Review: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

Amidst the tension-filled era of the Cold War, Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) is sent to Budapest to resolve a delicate issue. He is to meet with a Hungarian general who possesses the name of a mole the Russians have planted in the secret British Intelligence Service (code name “The Circus” – the SIS became commonly referred to as Military Intelligence 6, or MI6, during WWII), believed to be in a top position for years. The operation ends in disaster, with Prideaux shot and chief agents Control (John Hurt) and George Smiley (Gary Oldman) forced into retirement over the blunder.

A year later in 1973, Control dies. Permanent Undersecretary Oliver Lacon (Simon McBurney), a civil servant in charge of intelligence, recruits dismissed Deputy Chief Smiley to continue the hunt for the traitor. His initial suspicions are with Director of Operations Percy Alleline (Toby Jones) and Circus Officer Toby Esterhase (David Dencik), who gain political favor with the U.S. through Operation Witchcraft, which trades Soviet intelligence for American materials. As Smiley begins to investigate, aided by young prot?�g?� and head of the Scalphunters (field agents) division Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch), he comes across a bevy of cagey characters, including possible defector Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy), with clues about the double agent supplied by a female informant, Irina (Svetlana Khodchenkova), researcher Connie Sachs, who accused high-ranking officials of conspiring with Polyakov, a suspected Soviet agent, and finally a duty clerk with information exposing the lies of Bill Haydon (Colin Firth), a well-liked, upper-circle officer of the Circus.

“Trust no one,” states Control. There is a palpable paranoia presiding over everyone. Shifty eyes try to feel out the surroundings, each agent exhibits cautiousness, and all parties appear overly concerned with what might turn up in investigations. This is compounded as the members of the Circus are scrutinized more than the “real” enemies from outside England. Fakeness permeates them all as they try to cover their tracks and conceal intel, or leak it for protection or power. The search for weaknesses, realizing the lack of moral worth and identifying unscrupulousness on every side of intelligence gathering, however, is a slow, complicated, confusing process (narrated by melancholy trumpets and woeful clarinets). Things happen, but their significance is not immediately revealed. Although most pieces are eventually explained, watching it all unfold is baffling – this film certainly does not demonstrate a direct method of coming to a conclusion. Those unfamiliar with the novel by John le Carre will likely be lost throughout much of the covert dealings.

The cast is astounding, amassing a record assortment of popular British actors. But the large cast brings a lot of roles that makes sorting out personnel and code names even more bedeviling. On top of that is a complex mishmash of spy speak, governmental terms, monikers that are never associated with a face, and spoken foreign languages that require subtitles. There are also constant flashbacks – and not the lengthy, explanatory kind, but the short, choppy ones that reveal brief clues, end abruptly and begin again with little warning. Since the time frame is within a year, there isn’t even aging, location changes or differences in cinematographic colors to aid the viewer in deciphering the switches. Blink and it might be missed. Reaching the final climactic disclosure is tricky and cryptic at best, but the resolution has a certain satisfactory note to it, primarily thanks to a cheery song called “La Mer” that plays in the background as each remaining character drifts back to an undeniably copacetic place of contentment.

– The Massie Twins ()…

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Mohan Lal’s Best Movies Ever

Mohan Lal’s Best Movies Ever

Mohan Lal is a super star in Malayalam film industry that is based out of Kerala in South India. He’s popular throughout India and abroad as a talented and highly versatile actor. His fans in Kerala treats him as an elder brother and calls him ‘Lalettan’. Here are some of his latest and upcoming movies that have got rave reviews from critics and media alike.

Shikkar – The Hunt

Released on September 9, 2010, this Mohanlal film went on to become one of the biggest blockbuster of Kerala film industry. The film that portrays Lal as a lorry driver has received positive reviews from all quarters. After few films that failed to make it big at the box office, Shikkar can be considered as his re-entry into the industry.

As the title goes, the film revolves around Balaraman, a lorry driver who decides to take revenge after being helpless for long. At any point, one wouldn’t know what would happen next – that’s the way in which the film has been made. The second half of the movies is packed with stunts ending in a superb climax. The film is still running in packed cinemas through out Kerala and is a must watch for any Keralite, let alone a Mohan Lal fan.

Casanova

In this mega budget Malayalam movie, Mohan Lal plays the role of a successful businessman nicknamed Casanova, who runs an international chain of flower boutiques called Casanovva’s Eternal Spring. He believes in the simple philosophy that love cures everyone. Beautiful women accompany him at all times and this sprouts envy in all men. Roma, Lakshmi Rai, Sanjana and Shriya Saran are among the lead female actors at their helm in Malayalam industry who are cast against Mohan Lal in the film. The film also has four villains who bring in the factor of suspense and twist.

When we say that Casanova is the most awaited Malayalam movie ever, it literally is true – fans have been waiting for the release of this big budget movie for over three years now. Casanova had slipped schedules may a time and some of the original cast is no more there in the movie. The release is planned around Christmas 2010 and may get delayed till early next year. This is the first time that such a film is produced in Malayalam and this would be our pick for the New Year.…

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Movie Review: The Illusionist (2011) – Directed by Sylvain Chomet

Movie Review: The Illusionist (2011) – Directed by Sylvain Chomet

The Illusionist perfectly combines the unique, detailed visual style of Oscar-nominated animator/writer/director Sylvain Chomet with the melancholy, simple and poignant storytelling approach of celebrated writer/director/actor Jacques Tati. Although traditionally animated, the film could easily have been a live action work, especially with the lead character so closely mimicking Tati’s own Monsieur Hulot (a single clip from Mon Oncle pays appropriate homage), and the use of a dramatic, tragic, romantic plot that never strays from reality. It’s occasionally sad, oftentimes humorous, and always touching.

An aging magician (voiced by Jean-Claude Donda) in 1960s Paris somberly realizes that his amusing craft is no longer an exciting art form for the crowds of youngsters that cheer for opening acts like Billy Boy and the Britoons, a stereotypical rock group with springy hair, colorful suits and giddy demeanors. When his venue tumbles from a classy music hall to a crowded park, he journeys to Scotland for work. He’s greeted by friendly people and finds small success at a little pub, where he also meets Alice (Eilidh Rankin), a young woman working as a maid and innkeeper.

The elderly man takes a liking to the girl, and treats her to a new pair of shoes. When he gathers together enough money to return to Paris and try his tricks anew, he takes Alice with him; the two share a small apartment (joined by his feisty white rabbit) and are content with their new father/daughter relationship. While their happiness never really dwindles, the poverty surrounding them, and the magician’s slow but steady inability to hold a job (let alone a magic-oriented act) in the trying times, weigh heavy on their livelihood.

Chomet’s animation and character designs are curiously sightly in the way the characters have too much detail (signified by excessive lines) in odd places, such as the wrinkles in the face or the folds in clothing or the creases in hands. Most of them are quite ugly due to the extreme exaggeration in physical distortions, from plump noses placed high on the head, to thinly stretched lips pulled across large teeth, to the incredibly obese, short and stocky, gangly or off-balance. Facial features are always elongated, misplaced, shrunken, or mutilated in hilariously stylized fashions. With the watercolored backgrounds and equally exaggerated body movements, Chomet’s animations are instantly recognizable.

The near nonexistence of dialogue allows the movie to be universally appealing and understandable, with the simplicity of the plot aiding in bringing the character designs to the forefront (so too are the background characters carefully stylized). Some may scoff at the intentional pacing, woeful mood, or the lack of action, but the heartfelt acts of kindness and saddening emotional stresses are beautifully realized. The Illusionist joins The Triplets of Belleville as a stunning masterpiece of illustration, animation, character design and story.…

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Shoah Movie Review

Shoah Movie Review

I am hard pressed to say what Shoah (Hebrew for ‘catastrophe’) is. It is certainly not a movie, nor is it a documentary in the ordinary sense of the word. It is a 900-minute manifesto and testimony. It brings back landscapes of an anti-world, a place that hates life and is mindlessly yet systematically determined to destroy all traces of it. It is a huge monument to the Holocaust, and the footage is a world treasure. We will never meet these people again; they all will soon be or have already died of old age.

The only thing that happens in the ten hours of Shoah are the interviews- words and faces, slow, detached pans of Polish landscapes, trains (lots of trains), towns as they are today, and the extermination camps where the many millions were murdered. But Shoah is not yet another sensational documentary of the Nazi holocaust. It gives us no grim footage of liberated camps or demonizing portraits and footage of brutal Nazi SS leaders. Through intimate interviews with survivors, bystanders, and perpetrators, Shoah first stuns numbs us with its minute detail of everything seen and heard at the time of the transports and as we gradually come to our senses forces us to examine what it means to be human.

Shoah does not let the viewer escape without a new and profound sense of not only an evil that has gone beyond human control, but also of the hope that we must carry in our hearts as an eternal torch that we are capable of stopping such things from happening. Shoah is the most heartbreaking accounting of human events that I have ever seen, but seeing it also gives one an imperative passion and duty to seek joy in life, or else there is no point in living. Shoah does not demonize or victimize intentionally; it is like a runaway train out of control. All the faces in Shoah are human, and all demand our compassion, even the SS officers.

Shoah is a mammoth and monumental contribution to the Holocaust Museum, and its interviews are priceless. To say that it goes beyond our conception of human life and behavior just scratches the surface of this profound masterpiece. Shoah is many things at the same time, and if it is dazing it is also reaffirming. If it is bleak and merciless it is also hopeful and kind. It is never apologetic nor is it propagandistic. In the final analysis, to see this film is tough, but it forces a metamorphosis of the mind, and in the end one is left with a strong sense of dignity. This film is one of those very rare pieces that can change one’s life for the better.…