Laws of Attraction

Laws of Attraction, with Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore and Frances Fisher (the uptight mom in Titanic) is a comedy about the attraction of opposities and the worth of working hard to maintain a marriage. Opens April 30th.

It’s not a theological treatise on matrimony but has more of a Tracy-Hepburn thing going with some contemporary accouterments (it is implied that they do sleep together once before their “marriage”) – yet these things offer mature folk issues to talk about with others rather than detract from the film.

It is pretty funny – light fare for Mothers Day. (Note the product placement with junk food – I read this as the filmmakers way fo relating to the audience – wishful thnking women in their 40’s-50’s … It’s so over-the-top though it’s funny.) Too much alcohol, too.

(I got to interview Brosnan, Moore and Fisher for a Faith & Values segment – 5 minutes – on the Hallmark Channel, April 18th. Watch for it just before the Catholic Mass at Notre Dame. They were great interviews – too bad each media outlet only had 5 minutes!!!)

 

 

 

Spartan

Spartan – brilliant political thriller written and directed by David Mamet. A marine (Val Kilmer) who trains the best of the best has to rescue the President’s daughter who has been kidnapped. The premise is familiar – the President has been into hanky panky with disasterous results. There is no comedy in this film.

I could see a sequel for this because Kilmer is mature, controlled and just excellent. The writing is very tight and so the film has you all the way through – though it is a tad long.

This is political commentary, like Three Kings. This movie is worth the money. Can’t say more without giving it away.

Secret Window

Secret Window is Stephen King done right (the film is based on a King novella.)

Johnny Depp plays the role of Mort the author very well, and John Turturro is excellent as the dark one who appears accusing Depp of stealing his story and publishing it as his own.

I cannot say more without giving things away.

The genre is horror/psychological thriller. Look for Hitchcock and Alice in Wonderland references and all the usual suspects and ingredients. I think you get your money’s worth if this is your cup of tea.

No, not an Oscar contender (I don’t think) but Depp is very very good and appropriately funny at times – not quirky. The King-Depp combo is good.

 

Hidalgo

Hidalgo is a long movie about a man (half-Native American, half-Anglo) at the end of the cowboys and Indians era who takes part in a race across 3,000 miles of the Middle East for a prize of $100,000. It is supposed to be based on a true story but if you search the Internet, you will find out it more like “flavored” by a true story.

I liked the film, even though it didn’t blow me away. The hero, Norton (Viggo Mortenen) is rather ordinary but has a certain nobility about him. He has dignity and respects it in others.

If you have the time, sit back and enjoy.

Jersey Girl

Well folks, writer/director of Dogma, Kevin Smith, has grown up. A lot.

Jersey Girl is a classically constructed story of a high-power Manhattan publicist, Ollie (Ben Affleck) who gets married only to have his wife die in childbirth. He gets fired when he loses it at a press event for the Will Smith – and has to move back to Jersey to live with his dad.

Lots of Catholic imagery and some Catholic culture references, (along with the typical bathroom, body parts and porn humor – after all, Kevin Smith is the writer) and a wonderful conversation between Will Smith (playing himself) and Ollie about children, family and what really matters.

I will be very interested to see what Smith’s fan base has to say about this film. Kevin Smith hasn’t sold out – he’s grown up.

 

Twisted

Twisted, a San Francisco cop-thriller, should have been toned down a little and been a made-for-TV movie. I figured out who done it very soon. There wasn’t enough character development to make me care about the people… even though we can always have empathy for someone’s despair.

Wait for the video/DVD if you must.

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights is an embarrassing film when placed side by side with the original 1987 Dirty Dancing. For serious folk, the original had plenty of moral issues that were dealt with in very ambivalent ways, indeed objectively contrary to Catholic moral teaching. But you cannot fault the dancing!

Havana Nights was a disappointment on every level. And the dancing wasn’t good at all. They should have spent a little more money and blown us away with dancing that could delight audiences. This one, with its attempt to create a political backdrop, tried too hard to do too much and in the end didn’t do anything.

Too bad!