Posted by Joan Alperin-Schwartz (video by Joan and John Schwartz)
Paul Rudd is Ned Rochlin, an organic farmer, who sees the good in everyone. So when a policeman comes up to him at a local Farmers Market and begs Ned to sell him some weed, he’s only to happy to oblige. Afterall, Ned felt sorry for the cop, who said he was suffering from job-related stress. Now what does Ned get for this act of compassion? He gets busted and sent to prison, of course. Afterall, this is a comedy…
After a few months in jail, Ned is released for good behavior. When Ned returns home to his farm, where he lived with his girlfriend, Janet (Kathryn Hahn) and his beloved dog…Willie Nelson, he finds out, that not only does Janet have a a new boyfriend, but she’s keeping, Willie Nelson. This hurts Ned even more than the break-up.
So now that Ned is homeless and dogless, he has no choice but to move back to his childhood home in Long Island, where his sweet mother, Irene (Shirley Knight) welcomes him with open arms.
At the weekly family dinner, we get to meet Ned’s three sisters: First, there’s uber mom, Liz (Emily Mortimer) who is married to the pompous, Dylan (Steve Coogan) a documentary filmmaker with an ostentatiously humanitarian ethos and a tidy trust fund, along with their seven year old son, River (Matthew Mindler) and baby daughter, Echo. This family is so dysfunctional, that it doesn’t even know it.
The middle sister is, Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) an ambitious staff writer for Vanity Fair who’s constant companion is her Blackberry.
Finally, there’s baby sister, Natalie (Zooey Deschanel) who’s joined at the hip to her girlfriend Cindy, a down to earth, say it like it is, lawyer.
The sisters and Cindy offer Ned support and invite him to come visit anytime. And it isn’t very long, before Ned takes all three sisters up on their offer, starting with…
Sister Liz, who resides in a very lovely, brownstone in Brooklyn. Ned moves in and all goes well for awhile and then…it doesn’t…
From there, Ned…moves onto Miranda’s and finally, Natalie’s. As Ned is passed from sister to sister, they each find their life thrown into chaos and they all blame Ned for their problems.
Ned always seems to be in the middle of each misunderstanding, oblivious to the way things work in the real world and forever saying or doing, the exact wrong thing at the exact wrong time.
And that’s where all the great humor in ‘Our Idiot Brother’ comes from…These wonderful sibling relationships.
The film is like a delicious dessert…The characters are rich, complex with interesting layers…and you wind up caring about each and every one of them…Except maybe for Dylan…who’s a total jerk…but he’s a super, funny jerk, thanks to the excellent performance of Steve Coogan. I absolutely loved this film. The cast is excellent and I gave ‘Our Idiot Brother’ four bagels out of five. Of course, John, the other half of ‘Two Jews On Film’ had a different experience…(for a change)...
Check out our video to see what he thought. Or just go see this really funny, endearing comedy, which opens in theaters, Friday August 26, 2011.
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August 17, 2011 | 12:40 pm
Posted by Joan Schwartz (video by Joan and John Schwartz)
Twenty years. Two people…
‘One Day’ is directed by Lone Scherfig (An Education) and adapted for the screen by David Nicholls from his bestselling novel of the same name.
After spending one day together - July 15, 1988, their college graduation and St. Swithin’s Day. (It’s an English holiday that happens to fall every year on July 15th) - Emma Morley (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter Mayhew (Jim Sturgess) begin a friendship that will last a lifetime.
Emma is a working class girl who wants to be a writer. The press notes say that…she wants to change the world. Unfortunately the film never shows Emma doing anything that suggests this. I did see her work as a waitress in a Taco Restaurant and then later on, she becomes a teacher/children’s author. But save the world…Nope…not even close.
Dexter on the other hand, is a rich, charming, womanizing dude who thinks that the world is his own personal playground. He likes coke, alcohol and sleeping around. This was very present in the film…over and over and over again. Dexter winds up hosting a super cheesy television show. And even though he acts like an ass, we know that deep down; he is one of the good guys.
Otherwise why would a sweet, innocent girl like Emma, love him? Beats me…
In the next two decades, key moments of their relationship are experienced over several July 15ths. Together and apart, we see Dexter and Emma through their friendship and fights, hopes, missed opportunities and their relationships with other people.
And that pin-points the film’s major problem for me…I just didn’t care about these two characters…Together or apart, I didn’t find Emma or Dexter all that interesting. And when you are expecting this great love story, that’s a big problem.
Story continues after the jump.
I knew Emma was changing by her different haircuts. Dexter as well had different ‘dos’ but for most of the film (except the last forty minutes) he stayed basically the same…a boring, selfish jerk.
On another note, I think they should have cast an English actress for the part of Emma. She is after all, a very well known English character created by a British novelist. Guess there weren’t any English actresses available.
This is another rare occasion where the ‘Two Jews On Film’ actually agree. Check out our video and see how many bagels we gave this film.
‘One Day’ opens in theaters Friday, August 19, 2011. Love to know what you think.
August 4, 2011 | 11:04 am
Posted Joan Schwartz (Video by Joan and John Schwartz)
What makes ‘Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes’ so unique is that it’s the first live-action film to be told from the point of view of a sentient animal—A chimpanzee—named Caesar…brilliantly portrayed by Andy Serkis, the world’s foremost performance capture actor. Andy infuses Caesar with nuance, wisdom and most importantly… heart.
‘Rise Of The Planets Of The Apes’ is an origin story, in the truest sense of the word. It shows us what happens, when experiments in genetic engineering, leads scientists to produce an intelligent ape. The film is a cautionary tale that blends scifi with science.
And thanks to the Rupert Wyatt’s excellent direction along with the great story telling of Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffee, this movie scores on all levels.
At its heart, ‘Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes’ is a character driven piece. It’s about humanity’s hubris - our arrogance in thinking that we can twist, push, cheat or circumvent the laws of nature without consequence.
In the original ‘Planet Of The Apes’, Col. Taylor (the late Charleton Heston) stands on the beach, facing the Statue Of Liberty and discovers that he’s been on Earth the whole time and that the apes…have indeed taken over the planet.
Story continues after the jump.
In ‘Rise Of the Planet Of the Apes’, we find out…how this event came to pass.
Will Rodman (James Franco) is a scientist working within a large pharmacceutical corporation, Gen-Sys, conducting genetic research to develop a benign virus that restores damaged human brain tissue. He is committed to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s, a disease that afflicts his father, Charles (John Lithgow)
Franco nails Will’s character…He’s your typical cold and isolated scientist. All of Will’s energy is directed toward his work. Of course that soon changes, when he secretly rescues an orphaned, newborn chimp, from his lab. The chimp is Caesar, and this one ape…destined for ‘greatness’.
Now we can’t expect, a goodlooking scientist like Will, to live with just his elderly dad and a primate. He has to have a love interest, right? It’s still a movie afterall. Luckily, Will meets Caroline (Freida Pinto) a beautiful, Primatologist who adores apes as much as he does.
Weta Digital (‘Avitar and Lord Of The Rings Trilogy’) using their state of the art technology, not only give Caesar and his fellow primates, subtle human tendencies and emotions…but they manage to create a world, that is so real and recognizable…Modern-day, San Franciso. These guys are amazing.
This is a film for people of all ages. But the animal abuse scenes are hard to take. If you bring kids, you might want to tell them to close their eyes. That’s what I did.
Personally, I’m on the side of the apes. Watching ‘Rise Of the Planet of The Apes’ I couldnt help think that there’s only a few hundred gorillas left on the planet. We are coming very close to wiping out a species…actually more than one…
It was one year ago, that John and I started reviewing films…and I’m so happy that for our anniversary episode…‘Two Jews On Films’ are finally in agreement…‘Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes’ gets our highest bagel score - It opens in theaters, Friday, August 4, 2011. Don’t miss it.