Tag Archives: Anna Kendrick

DRINKING BUDDIES is brewed with care

20 Jan

DRINKING-BUDDIES

Sometimes love is all about timing, Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) are co-workers at Chicago brewery. They are best friends that like to drink and flirt with one another, but struggle with romantic feelings because they are dating other people. Writer and director by Joe Swanberg gives a different, but realistic look at relationships that go on in the restaurant industry. Their connection resonated with me, even though I spend my time on the other side of the bar. The actors’ portrayal becomes dynamic when alcohol becomes part of the equation. It looses the characters up and blurs the emotional reactions in the process.  Actions speak louder than words, and this film’s best scenes are those moments of silence. Like most bar relationships, I am left with wishing there was more to it.  Drinking Buddies is brewed with care, but I did not want to order another round.

WORD COUNT: 150

Adam’s Grade: B

Chuck’s Grade: N/A

End of Watch throws the book at you

8 Mar

end-of-watch

End of Watch is an unflinching cop drama that adds a little more to the mix. Writer/Director David Ayers is not a rookie when it comes to this genre. Six of his seven titles are crime thrillers with characters with badges playing a major role in his films.

Officers Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Pena) are LAPD officers working in South Central Los Angeles that end up uncovering a large drug cartel operation. As a result, the partners become a pair of targets for the drug dealer known as Big Evil.

There are times when some of the scenes seem unrealistic, but despite the clichés, Gyllenhaal and Pena create believable characters that take you along for a ride in the backseat of the squad car. Ayers uses “found footage” and hand-held camerawork to create an ultra realistic feel, which adds to the suspense and energy to the script. End of Watch throws the book at you.

WORD COUNT: 159

Adam’s Grade: B+

Chuck’s Grade: A

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World scores a lot of points

8 Feb

Scott-pilgrim-vs-the-world

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a unique film that will surprise most audiences because it is unlike most films. Director Edgar Wright brings this graphic novel series to life, literally with straight-faced humor and some old school video game graphics to capture the comic book’s fun and imaginative story line.

Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), is a 22 year-old slacker, who falls in love with Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). After spending the night with her, he discovers he must defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends if he wants to continue dating her.

The first time I watched the film I enjoyed all the bells and whistles, but the second time I viewed it I discovered all the different layers operating beneath the surface. The dialogue is brilliant and it really captures the voice of many young people today trying to figure out relationships and love. Scott Pilgrim scores a lot points in this film.

WORD COUNT: 153

Adam’s Grade: A-

Chuck’s Grad: A

50/50 is a risky endeavor

19 Dec

50-50-the-movie

This may sound strange, but screenwriter Will Reiser writes a funny script about cancer. Based on experiences from his own struggle with the disease, Reiser puts together a heartfelt comedy about one of the scariest subjects that has touched almost every person in someway, whether it be a family member, friend, or past acquaintance.

Adam Lerner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a 27-year-old radio journalist that finds out he has a rare form of cancer. His chances of survival are 50/50, which he intends to beat, but his condition affects his relationship with his girlfriend and his piece of mind. He begins seeing a therapist (Anna Kendrick) while his mother (Angelica Huston) becomes more overbearing than normal and his best friend (Seth Rogan) keeps Adam on his toes.

50/50 is a risky endeavor, but the comedy does not distract from the drama at hand. This film works on many levels, but its strength comes from the inspired writing and solid performances from the cast.

WORD COUNT: 160

Adam’s Grade: A-

Chuck’s Grade: N/A

Up in the Air

14 Sep

Up in the Air is relevant to our culture’s current economic condition because the audience follows a character who fires people for a living. Is the subject matter difficult to stomach? Yes, but it serves as vehicle for a great character study that sheds light on the corporate world. Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) flies to various companies around the U.S. and fires people for managers that prefer not to terminate their own employees. His profession becomes threatened with changes to his employer’s current practices, which makes Bingham uncomfortable.

Writer/Director Jason Reitman directs a sharp film that boasts Hollywood’s favorite leading man and two wonderful actresses, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick. All of them create rich characters that audiences identify with on multiple levels. My area of contention lies in the final act. I feel it struggles to accomplish its ultimate outcome.

WORD COUNT: 141

Adam’s Grade: B+

Chuck’s Grade: N/A