Movie Review: Evan Almighty (2007)

Evan Almighty ____________ 6/10
Engaging satirical flick for the whole family

Evan_AlmightyNo, Evan Almighty is not a contender for the Oscars, much less a serious threat to unseat political satire-comedy classics such as Wag the Dog, American Dreamz, or Man of the Year.  But it’s a reasonably intelligent family-friendly spoof of power politics and an extremely funny deflation of the socially ambitious political personality.

Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) is one such ambitious, though well-meaning, poli-person. The film begins with Evan leveraging his TV news persona to win a race for the United States Congress.  It’s always been his dream to reach this pinnacle of public service, and he’s also firmly attached to the frills of the job: a monster trophy home in the hills of Virginia, first-class office and staff, chauffeur and special parking privileges.

His first day on the job, neighboring Congressman Chuck Long (John Goodman), who has been in office for a long time, approaches Baxter to pre-endorse Long’s self-serving land-use bill.  Long feels Baxter’s notoriety and his cultivated anchor-man good looks—we see Baxter spending 10 minutes over the sink shaving and removing his nose hairs—will give Long the credibility he needs to push the bill through. Continue reading

Movie Review: The Bucket List (2007)

Jack and Morgan hugely entertaining in terminal vehicle (8/10)

BucketEdward Cole: I envy people who have faith, I just can’t get my head around it.
Carter Chambers: Maybe because your head’s in the way.

The Bucket List looked like one of several old-guy buddy movies in the vein of Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau in The Odd Couple II, Grumpy/ier Old Men, or Out to Sea or, more fittingly, Jack Lemon and James Garner in My Fellow Americans.  But this one is more than just a frolic of buddy repartee and various sexual wannado’s; it’s actually a serious movie that strikes close to home (for Boomers and their aging parents) with a naturally humorous undertone.

From the special features we learn screenplay writer, Justin Zackham, came up with this idea of writing down a list of things one would want to accomplish should one learn one’s time on earth was short. Oddly enough, Zackham made “making a movie about a ‘bucket list'” one of the items on his own personal bucket list—though, so far as we know, Zackham doesn’t have a terminal affliction—and The Bucket List became his Hollywood breakout story.  In the movie the Morgan Freeman character, Carter Chambers, comes up with the list idea: he remembers it from a philosophy class in college. Continue reading

Movie Review: Invictus (2009)

Eastwood hits another cinematic homerun __ 10/10

InvictusFrancois Pienaar: I was thinking how a man could spend thirty years in prison, and come out and forgive the men who did it to him…

… and just in time for the Oscars. [I’m wondering whether the Academy Awards or the other various award ceremonies have some rules regarding release of movies by a particular director or studio at end of year. For example, “For Oscar consideration a given director/studio is limited to two November/December releases in a five-year period.” I don’t think Eastwood or Malpaso calculate that sort of thing, but I’ll bet a lot of others do. Heck, an Academy Award nomination, let alone a victory, is major ducats in the bank for everyone associated with a film. …random thoughts there.] Continue reading