Tag Archives: Ewan McGregor

Weekend Film Recommendation: I Love You Phillip Morris

19 Aug
I know I’ve talked about this film from time to time on this blog, but it is a new arrival to Netflix and if you haven’t seen it yet, now is the time.  I Love You Phillip Morris is the story of Steven Russell, a happily married man and a member of his local police.  When an accident forces him to reevaluate his life, Steven becomes openly homosexual and decides to live his life without regard for other peoples’ opinion and, more importantly, the law.  Once his extravagant lifestyle of conning and fraud catches up with him, he lands in prison where he meets Phillip Morris.  After falling in love with Phillip, he devotes himself to freeing Phillip from jail and pulling off a series of ridiculous and impossible cons so they can live the perfect life together.

I Love You Phillip Morris marked the return of Jim Carrey to the style of R rated humor that hadn’t been seen since Me, Myself, and Irene (though not as hammy), a refreshing change of pace from the comedies he chose for the nine years in between. 

This is exactly how we felt too Mr. Carrey

The story is excellently written and well paced, and really keeps the watcher engaged in the two characters and their relationship throughout the movie.  The subject matter is a little grotesque at times, but the aforementioned delivery of Jim Carrey throughout really softens the shock.  There is a lot of social commentary within the movie (did I mention it takes place in Texas), but it is not so in your face that it feels like sermon rather than an entertaining comedy.  The performance of Ewan McGregor as the titular Phillip Morris is worth noting as well.  While he plays more of the straight man in this comedy (no pun intended), it really works to humanize the two individual’s relationship and solidify the chemistry of the two leads.

Click here to add I Love You Phillip Morris to your Netflix queue.


Opening This Week (June 3, 2011)

1 Jun

As predicted last week, Hangover Part II took the top prize at this past weekend’s box office, bringing in an impressive $85.9 million over the 3 day weekend, and if you include Thursday, reached $115 million dollars in its first 4 days. Kung Fu Panda 2 may or may not have underperformed, it depends on one’s point of view.  It reached just about what I expected, $40 million, which is pretty good considering the other blockbusters that came out close to its release. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides took a 60% loss at the box office, bringing in $39 million. I am pretty sure there will be a new #1 after this weekend and Pirates will have all but disappeared in its 3rd week in release. Here are this week’s releases:

X-Men: First Class

Rated: PG-13

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Synopsis from IMDB: In 1963, Charles Xavier starts up a school and later a team, for humans with superhuman abilities. Among them is Erik Lensherr, his best friend… and future archenemy.


Chris’ Take: X-Men was my favorite comic when I was younger, and I feel like the first two movies validated that love. As soon as the third one came out, I grew sad thinking that the series ended like that. Then, there was a new hope, a film devoted entirely to Wolverine, and yet again my soul was crushed by a film that didn’t do his character justice. I was hesitant to get excited about the reboot of the series, but with Bryan Singer producing and Matthew Vaughn directing, I gave it a chance. Then, the trailer came out and there was no looking back. I will definitely be lining up for a midnight showing this week, and if the early reviews are any indication (98% on RT), I might not be disappointed this time.

Limited Releases


Rated: R

Starring: Noah Taylor, Craig Roberts, Sally Hawkins, Paddy Considine

Director: Richard Ayoade

Synopsis from IMDB: 15-year-old Oliver Tate has two objectives: To lose his virginity before his next birthday, and to extinguish the flame between his mother and an ex-lover who has resurfaced in her life.


Chris’ Take: Based on the reviews (92 % on RT) and the buzz around the internet, this is sure to be an indie hit. It certainly has a very Noah Baumbach feel about it, especially akin to The Squid and the Whale. While it may not be a “theater” movie, it will probably be on my Netflix Queue.


Rated: R

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent

Director: Mike Mills

Synopsis from IMDB: A young man is rocked by two announcements from his elderly father: that he has terminal cancer, and that he has a young male lover.


Chris’ Take: While I am sure this is an interesting film, and Focus Features is usually a good gauge of quality (86% on RT), I kind of feel like I have watched this movie before somewhere, and that it seems dull. Maybe one day I’ll be in the mood for it, but not today.


Rated: R

Starring: Cassidy Freeman, Laura Heisler, Clark Freeman, Anessa Ramsey

Director: Jesse Holland & Andy Mitton

Synopsis from IMDB: One Morning in New England, 1940, the entire population of Friar New Hampshire – 572 people – walked together up a winding mountain trail and into the wilderness. They left behind their clothes, their money, all of their essentials. Even their dogs were abandoned, tied to posts and left to starve. No One knows why. A search party dispatched by the U.S. Army eventually discovered the remains of nearly 300 of Friar’s evacuees. Many had frozen to death. Others were cruelly and mysteriously slaughtered. The bodies of the remaining citizens are still unaccounted for. Over the years, a quiet cover-up operation managed to weave the story of Friar into the stuff of legends and backwoods fairy tales. The town has slowly repopulated, but the vast wilderness is mostly untracked, with the northern-most stretches off limits to local hunters and loggers. In 2008, the coordinates for the “YELLOWBRICKROAD” trail head were declassified. The first official expedition into a dark and twisted wilderness will attempt to solve the mystery of the lost citizens of Friar…and reach the end of the trail.


Chris’ Take: This looks like The Blair Witch Project, except not done in mockumentary format. However, I am on the lookout for good horror films, and this one is getting decent buzz, so I will probably check it out.


Opening This Week (Nov 29 – Dec 5, 2010)

29 Nov

After a week long of stuffing my face full of delectable food and trying to drown out the incessant racket of the excessive playing of “Frost the Snowman” and “Jingle Bells”, I have returned to bring you the weekly movie report. I am going to avoid the long intro and just roll right into it:

Warrior’s Way

Rated: R

Starring: Dong-gun Jang, Kate Bosworth, Geoffrey Rush, Danny Huston

Director: Sngmoo Lee

Synopsis from IMDB:  A warrior-assassin is forced to hide in a small town in the American Badlands after refusing a mission.


Chris’ Take: Ninjas falling from the sky!!! A story that will make absolutely no sense!!! Ninjas jumping up from the ground!!! Look shiny-flashy sword!!! You probably noticed three out of four of those statements, which is what the trailer was intending. While this will be an incredibly visual film, the plot will probably be too dumb to ignore and not be worth trudging through to see all the great visuals that you already saw in the previews.

I Love You, Phillip Morris

Rated: R

Starring: Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann

Director: Glen Ficarra, John Requa

Synopsis from IMDB: Steven Russell is happily married to Debbie, and a member of the local police force when a car accident provokes a dramatic reassessment of his life. Steven becomes open about his homosexuality and decides to live life to the fullest – even if it means breaking the law. Steven’s new, extravagant lifestyle involves cons and fraud and, eventually, a stay in the State Penitentiary where he meets sensitive, soft-spoken Phillip Morris. His devotion to freeing Phillip from jail and building the perfect life together prompts Steven to attempt and often succeed at one impossible con after another.


Chris’ Take: After being shelved for a while, this film finally comes to light and it doesn’t look as funny as it was touted to be. I am trying to avoid using some puns here to describe the humor. Anyway, it looks to be mildly entertaining and very topical.

Black Swan

Rated: R

Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, Vincent Cassel

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Synopsis from IMDB: A thriller that zeros in on the relationship between a veteran ballet dancer and a rival.


Chris’ Take: Darren Aronofsky delves into the rarely used psychological ballet thriller with his latest endeavor. At the beginning of the fall season I said that this film was one of my five most anticipated films of the season and from the early reviews, it looks like it won’t disappoint. With Aronofsky it will no doubt be simultaneously visceral and beautiful (Natalie Portman will also contribute to the latter of those two attributes) and will feature the return of an actress that I couldn’t care less about since she tried to ruin Hoosiers, Barbara Hershey. From the looks of it, this film will garner a lot of buzz for Oscar season.


All Good Things

Rated: R

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst, Frank Langella, Phillip Baker Hall

Director: Andrew Jarecki

Synopsis from IMDB: All Good Things is a love story and murder mystery based on the most notorious unsolved murder case in New York history. The original screenplay uses newly discovered facts, court records and speculation as the foundation for an imaginative spellbinding story of family, obsession, love and loss.


Chris’ Take: The trailer for this film looks solid and I like both Gosling and Langella, but the early reviews have been mixed. Rottentomatoes has it at 17% with only 6 reviews in, but IMDB has it with an average rating of 7.1 out of 10. So, I don’t know if I can say that this will be worth a look yet. I think I will probably add this to my Netflix queue early next year when it will be out on DVD.


Rated: R

Starring: Paprika Steen, Michael Falch

Director: Martin Zandvliet

Synopsis from IMDB: When the critically acclaimed, tough and coming of age actress Thea Barfoed ends her rehab, she confronts a hard choice. During her heavy drinking period she divorced and lost custody of her two boys. Now she wants them to be a part of her life again. Christian, her ex husband is quickly softened by her tough manipulative but charming figure and agrees. She has to prove to her self and to him, that she is worth the try. But the hard life on stage, and the ghosts of the past slowly comes knocking on her door. Thea is forced to face her inner voices. She is bound to give in to her faith, and make the choice.


Chris’ Take: Looks to be a simple, but powerful look at the consequences that stem from personal mistakes and accepting responsibility. While this will probably be hard to find at a theater, this looks like it could be a very interesting film.

Weekend Film Recommendation: “The Ghost Writer” (2010)

4 Sep

It has been a while since I have done one of these, but my recommendation for this weekend is “The Ghost Writer“. It is a political thriller starring Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, and Olivia Williams and is directed by Roman Polanski. The film revolves around a ghostwriter (McGregor), who is hired to shadow former Adam Lang (Brosnan), the former British Prime Minister, and assist in writing his memoirs. While he is reasearching, he starts uncovering secrets that put his life in jeopardy.

This is a very taut thriller that takes a little while to pick up, but once it does, it keeps you guessing until the end.