Jerusha Hess

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Austenland Review


Weak

Fans of romantic fiction may enjoy this gimmicky comedy, which cleverly plays around with Jane Austen's fiction but kind of misses its own joke. The screenwriters seem to think they're combining sudsy fantasy with darker realism. But actually everything on screen is plainly ridiculous, only livened up by a couple of the actors.

The story starts in America, where Jane (Russell) is so obsessed with Austen's novels that she's sure Mr Darcy is coming for her any day now. So she spends her savings on a holiday at Austenland in England, where Mrs Wattlesbrook (Seymour) lets her clients live as if they're in a 19th century novel. Jane's only fellow guests are Elizabeth and Amelia (Coolidge and King), both of whom flirt shamelessly with Nobley, Andrews and East (Feild, Callis and Whittle), the actors on hand to play dashing bachelors. But Jane is more interested in sexy stable boy Martin (McKenzie).

As the script strains to layer romance and fantasy into this goofy set-up, there are a few snappy one-liners that get us laughing, thanks mainly to the expert improvisation skills of Coolidge, who can make anything funny. By contrast, Russell is annoyingly naive and sulky, while King tips the opposite way into broad farce. The men are more interesting because we occasionally get to see them as the actors they really are, but none of them are very complex, and we can guess where the story is going from the start.

Continue reading: Austenland Review

Keri Russell, Jerusha Hess and Stephenie Meyer - Cast of "Austenland" at Apple Soho Store - New York, NY, United States - Wednesday 14th August 2013

Keri Russell, Jerusha Hess and Stephenie Meyer
Keri Russell
Keri Russell
Keri Russell
Keri Russell
Keri Russell

Jerusha Hess - The Cinema Society and Alice + Olivia present the New York screening of 'Austenland' at Landmark Sunshine Cinema - NYC, NY, United States - Monday 12th August 2013

Jerusha Hess

Jerusha Hess and Shannon Hale - Celebrities attend "Austenland" Los Angeles Premiere at ArcLight Hollywood. - Los Angeles, CA, United States - Friday 9th August 2013

Jerusha Hess and Shannon Hale
Jerusha Hess
Stephenie Meyer, Jerusha Hess and Shannon Hale
Jerusha Hess
Jerusha Hess
Ricky Whittle, Jerusha Hess and Shannon Hale

Austenland Trailer


Jane Hayes has, what some might say, an unhealthy obsession with Jane Austen's novels and all things from the Regency era. She's infatuated with Mr. Darcy from 'Pride and Prejudice' - of whom she has a cardboard cut-out portrayed by Colin Firth from the 1995 Emmy winning BBC series - and has filled her bedroom with all manner of Austen-themed memorabilia. After discovering an ultimate Austen experience in England, she puts all her life savings into making the trip there, immersing herself completely in the Regency style excursion and finding her Mr. Darcy. However, it soon becomes clear that living without modern amenities is almost unthinkable and the paradise she imagined is far from bliss. Although she starts to contemplate that she may have wasted all her life savings, she does meet a potential love interest, though he may not be what she was looking for.

Continue: Austenland Trailer

Napoleon Dynamite Review


Excellent
If one had to find a problem with teenage underdog movies, one of the most prominent ones would have to be that they always seem to want audiences to feel sympathy for the plight of their sad protagonists. In Napoleon Dynamite, even though the hero of the title (Jon Heder) is a four-eyed teenage misfit with no social skills and a truly frightening haircut - and he couldn't care less. Napoleon Dynamite is confident about his ability to draw fantasy characters in the pages of his Trapper Keeper ("I'm pretty much the best at it") and isn't afraid to voice his approval when something goes his way ("Sweet!") or get pissy when somebody asks him what he's doing that day ("Whatever I feel like doing, gosh!"). He's a hero for the ages; it's just not entirely clear what age.

Napoleon Dynamite isn't much of a film, when you break it down outside the theater, when the cheers have died away and you're left with the nagging question: But what was it about? Napoleon attends high school in a small Idaho town, living with his much older but just as dweeby brother, Kip (Aaron Ruell) and his grandmother who, at the start of the film, has just landed herself in the hospital after a four-wheeler accident. This precipitates sleazoid Uncle Rico (Jon Gries), with his dreams of lost football glory and ideas about door-to-door sales, moving into the house to watch the boys and generally make them feel crappy about themselves. There's the barest hint of a storyline about Napoleon getting a crush on a girl from his class, Deb (Tina Majorino), but that's really only there to give him somebody to dance with at the prom. Slightly better is Napoleon's friendship with the nearly-mute Pedro (Efren Ramierez), the new kid in school, and the battle they wage against the cool clique in order to win Pedro the school presidency. Oh, and there's a big joke about tater tots - Election it ain't.

Continue reading: Napoleon Dynamite Review

Nacho Libre Review


Good

Husband-and-wife filmmakers Jared and Jerusha Hess share a bizarre sense of humor, one that's difficult to categorize but apparently pretty popular. They know what amuses them, be it an eccentric sight gag or a particular turn of phrase, and they stand by their decisions whether they fit the context of their chosen story or not. They co-write scripts for Jared to direct and pay specific attention to individual words that might score bigger laughs. Rarely would a character in their movie say "pants," for example, because "slacks" or "trousers" sounds more unique.

Is there an audience for the Hess' brand of comedy? You better believe it. Their initial collaboration, Napoleon Dynamite, was a win-win for Fox Searchlight that catapulted beyond its expected cult status and became a surprise mainstream hit. The duo's anticipated follow-up film, Nacho Libre, maintains the same odd cadence and strange plotting as Dynamite (though there's more of a story, which in a roundabout way is a compliment), but banks its fortunes on the go-for-broke antics of comedian Jack Black.

Continue reading: Nacho Libre Review

Napoleon Dynamite Review


Excellent
If one had to find a problem with teenage underdog movies, one of the most prominent ones would have to be that they always seem to want audiences to feel sympathy for the plight of their sad protagonists. In Napoleon Dynamite, even though the hero of the title (Jon Heder) is a four-eyed teenage misfit with no social skills and a truly frightening haircut - and he couldn't care less. Napoleon Dynamite is confident about his ability to draw fantasy characters in the pages of his Trapper Keeper ("I'm pretty much the best at it") and isn't afraid to voice his approval when something goes his way ("Sweet!") or get pissy when somebody asks him what he's doing that day ("Whatever I feel like doing, gosh!"). He's a hero for the ages; it's just not entirely clear what age.

Napoleon Dynamite isn't much of a film, when you break it down outside the theater, when the cheers have died away and you're left with the nagging question: But what was it about? Napoleon attends high school in a small Idaho town, living with his much older but just as dweeby brother, Kip (Aaron Ruell) and his grandmother who, at the start of the film, has just landed herself in the hospital after a four-wheeler accident. This precipitates sleazoid Uncle Rico (Jon Gries), with his dreams of lost football glory and ideas about door-to-door sales, moving into the house to watch the boys and generally make them feel crappy about themselves. There's the barest hint of a storyline about Napoleon getting a crush on a girl from his class, Deb (Tina Majorino), but that's really only there to give him somebody to dance with at the prom. Slightly better is Napoleon's friendship with the nearly-mute Pedro (Efren Ramierez), the new kid in school, and the battle they wage against the cool clique in order to win Pedro the school presidency. Oh, and there's a big joke about tater tots - Election it ain't.

Continue reading: Napoleon Dynamite Review

Jerusha Hess

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Jerusha Hess Movies

Austenland Movie Review

Austenland Movie Review

Fans of romantic fiction may enjoy this gimmicky comedy, which cleverly plays around with Jane...

Austenland Trailer

Austenland Trailer

Jane Hayes has, what some might say, an unhealthy obsession with Jane Austen's novels and...

Advertisement
Napoleon Dynamite Movie Review

Napoleon Dynamite Movie Review

If one had to find a problem with teenage underdog movies, one of the most...

Nacho Libre Movie Review

Nacho Libre Movie Review

Husband-and-wife filmmakers Jared and Jerusha Hess share a bizarre sense of humor, one that's difficult...

Napoleon Dynamite Movie Review

Napoleon Dynamite Movie Review

If one had to find a problem with teenage underdog movies, one of the most...

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