Evan Almighty ____________ 6/10
Engaging satirical flick for the whole family
No, 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 →
Jack and Morgan hugely entertaining in terminal vehicle (8/10)
Edward 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 →
Eastwood hits another cinematic homerun __ 10/10
Francois 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 →