Despite a number of exhilarating surfing sequences, the interesting true story of surf legend Jay Moriarty is transformed into another dull Hollywood biopic. Painfully family-friendly, it's all so relentlessly smiley and sun-kissed that we wonder where the real story and characters are amid the sticky schmaltz. Even so, it's so beautifully shot that it holds our attention, especially when the cameras are riding the waves.
By the time he was 9 years old in 1987, Jay (Timberline) was already an expert on the tides in his home town of Santa Cruz, California. Watching the surfers every day, he longs to get out there himself. His mother (Shue) is a sleepy alcoholic and he never knew his father, so he adopts salty old surfer Frosty (Butler) as a mentor, even though he's not sure he wants the job. Especially since he's doing everything to avoid his own wife (Spencer) and baby. But Frosty sees Jay's natural talent, and seven years later Jay (now Weston) has the confidence to ask Frosty to teach him how to ride the mavericks, mythical monster waves that only come along every few months.
With its absent father and drunken mother, the script never feels like more than an after-school special, complete with a bat-wielding bully (Handley) and a surf babe (Rambin) who chastely flirts with Jay whenever they meet. Frosty even sets Karate Kid-style pointless tasks for Jay to teach him the bigger picture. But this set-up is so trite that we never have even the slightest doubt about where it's going. And the characters all feel like cliches rather than real people. The three women are especially wasted, but at least they add spark to their roles.
Continue reading: Chasing Mavericks Review
When surfing legend Frosty Hesson pulled a drowning 8-year-old boy out of the water while he was surfing, he was unaware that their bond would develop and change their lives forever. Seven years later, Jay Moriarty is a teenager and an enthusiastic surfing amateur. Jay is estranged from his father and sees the aloof Frosty as his idol who first inspired him to ride the waves. One day, he discovers that the mythological surf break, Mavericks, is more than just a story; it's real and a matter of miles away from where he lives in Santa Cruz, California. He is determined to ride the massive waves at Half Moon Bay to the extreme worry of Frosty who cannot bear to see Jay at risk again. When Jay's mother tells Frosty that nothing he says will stop Jay riding the wave, he decides that he will instead train him to survive it with a variety of intense exercises. They soon come to release that their journey is no longer about surfing, but about freedom and believing in yourself.
Continue: Chasing Mavericks Trailer
Brad (Black) is a birdwatcher who decides to do a Big Year, seeing as many birds as possible in 12 months, while holding down a full-time job and borrowing against his credit cards. Jetting around the country for rare spottings, he comes up against his record-holding nemesis Kenny (Wilson) as well as Stu (Martin), a corporate big-wig who has taken a year off work to follow his dream. But will their obsession with birding cause problems in their private lives?
Continue reading: The Big Year Review
Curtis Hanson and HBO Monday 16th May 2011 Director, Curtis Hanson HBO presents the premiere of 'Too Big To Fail' based on the book by Andrew Ross Sorkin at the Museum of Modern Art. New York City, USA
Racism has always been a red-hot button obsession of Fuller's ever-present like a festering ooze in his films from Run of the Arrow to The Crimson Kimono to China Gate to the rabid Shock Corridor. But in no other Fuller film has racism been depicted in a such a raw-boned and festering way as in Fuller's final Hollywood film, White Dog, barely released by Paramount in 1982 amid false charges of racism against Fuller by the NAACP.
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Completed in 2005, Lucky legendarily shuffled around Warner Bros.' release schedule (bad sign) before the studio dropped it on the summer's first massive weekend (good sign) where it could compete with Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 for an audience (suicidal sign). Watching it, you easily forget the picture's age and subsequent shelf life until Drew Barrymore's character -- an aw shucks rube from Northern California trying to make it as a lounge singer in Las Vegas -- tosses off a Dr. Laura Schlesinger reference. Hanson even opens with Bruce Springsteen's "Lucky Town," an old-school track off The Boss' similarly titled album that brought me back a few years, but which actually fits the story well.
Continue reading: Lucky You Review
Comparisons to Chinatown are obvious and appropriate. Both films take place in the Los Angeles of yesteryear, feature multi-layered crime riddles, and have stars with questionable morals as ersatz heroes. And both are very good. While Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson's script isn't the tight masterpiece that Chinatown is (the writers meander for a good 45 minutes before his story starts to shape up), and Faye Dunaway wasn't half the cheeseball that Kim Basinger is as the femme fatale, L.A. Confidentialmakes the audience do what few films of the 90s have achieved: think.
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To say your siblings are terrifying is an understatement; they are either young enough to physically torture you and mentally annoy you with the precision of a mime or they are old enough to make you really worried. Rose Feller (Toni Collette) shares my torture in abundance, if not more so. She has been looking after and taking care of her younger sister, Maggie (Cameron Diaz), since their mother died. We meet Maggie while she is getting nailed in a bathroom stall at a high school reunion. Sparks fly when Rose catches Maggie screwing Jim, the man she is seeing, and throws her out of the apartment they've been sharing. Unable to go anywhere else, Maggie goes to her father's house where she uncovers years of hidden birthday cards from a grandmother she thought was dead. So Maggie packs her bags and heads to Miami to bunk up with grandma Ella (Shirley Maclaine), the grandmother who was cast aside by her father. Meanwhile, Rose starts seeing a fellow lawyer, Simon (Mark Feuerstein), starts a dog-walking business and sets out to reconnect with Maggie.
Continue reading: In Her Shoes Review
As it turns out, it doesn't really matter who the Wonder Boys are. The film has enough substance and, especially, ribald and dark, dark humor to carry it despite a few minor flaws like this.
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Continue reading: 8 Mile Review
The BBC drama starring Aidan Turner returns to BBC One on September 4th.
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