THE SITTER (2011)

Directed By: David Gordon Green 
Written By: Brain Gatewood & Alessandro Tanaka 
Cinematography By: Tim Orr 
Editor: Craig Alpert

Cast: Jonah Hill, Ari Graynor, J.B. Smoove, Sam Rockwell, Method Man, Bruce Altman, Erin Daniels, Max Records, Samira Wiley

A comedy about a college student on suspension who is coaxed into babysitting the kids next door, though he is fully unprepared for the wild night ahead of him. 

This film is a Rated R ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING remake almost. Though this is definitely dirtier and less heartwarming but still just as fun. 

The film is a major showcase for Jonah Hill. This is one of those films that your enjoyment depends upon. It’s comedic center and performance and luckily here you have a solid comedic lead with Jonah. The only problem is that he hasn’t defined his type yet. It works out in him giving more of an acting performance than a comedian’s performance where it just would feel like an extension of the comedian’s comic personality. 

He is still a bit shaky and unsteady but definitely finding his way and feeling himself. There is one thing i truly admire about Jonah hill is that with each project he takes on, he is hands-on throughout the production as far as writing and creativity. 

This was his last film before he lost a massive amount of weight. To me so far in his career, Jonah Hill has barely made a misstep. He even managed to make a dramatic turn in MONEYBALL. I didn’t think much of going in and ended up surprisingly loved it. Not only does he hit it out of the ballpark but he got an Oscar nomination. 
 
If you don’t like films that rely on stereotypes to a degree and children being exposed to bad language and inappropriate situations But also using it. This is not the film for you. Which might be why the film bombed. Its advertisement is full of kids. Which you would think would make it a movie that you could bring your kids to. Unfortunately, you can’t.

Which really makes you question is the film only funny because it’s pushing the limit and squeezing laughs out of it or is it just funny. In other words, is it success only shock value. 
The film barely got a good advertisement like they were just throwing it out, Made it just seem like it is only about a Male babysitter isn’t that funny. It has Jonah Hill looking shocked on a flyer for a babysitter asking “Would you trust this guy with your kids” 

I enjoyed the film more then I expected to because despite all of it’s nastiness, shocks, and familiarity. It also managed to have sensitivity and heart without selling out it’s cynicism. It’s a shame it bombed as it seems to be juvenile an off-kilter crowd pleaser. 
 
J.B. Smoove Plays his usual type of role but it works for the film and is hilarious and adds to his menacing character to a point considering the drug dealers He and Sam Rockwell play in the film are more comedic then threatening which makes them that much scarier as they are continually off-kilter. Sam Rockwell’s drug dealer and his harem of well-muscled men are inspired and definitely off-putting. As always Rockwell is an engaging performer who is good dramatically but kills in comedic roles. 

The film tries to play it both ways Between Cynical and heartwarming. Towards the end even though the film has mostly been playing by its own rules, it turns a bit sappy out of nowhere when all of a sudden the main character played by Jonah hill gaining Noble wisdom having all the answers and finally figuring out responsibility and when he should be taught a lesson and deal with his mistakes. 

He is let off and saved so that only for the grace of the script he would never truly learn his lesson as he gets away with almost everything without punishment. It’s a movie that is not meant to be a lesson know. I’m just saying. This film is a good rental. I only wish the running time was long to keep the film going. Yet it ends before it wears out it’s welcome.  


GRADE: B-

CELEBRITY (1998)

Written & Directed by: Woody Allen 
Cinematography: Sven Nykvist
Editor: Susan E. Morse 

Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Winona Ryder, Famke Janssen, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gretchen Mol, Greg Mottola, Charlize Theron, Judy Davis, Douglas McGrath, Joe Mantegna, Andre Gregory, Sam Rockwell, Adrian Grenier, Michael Lerner, Melanie Griffith, J.K. Simmons, Famke Janssen, Becky Ann Baker, Issac Mizrahi, Anthony Mason, Kate Burton, Debra Messing, David Marguiles, Tony Sirico, Bebe Neuwirth, Patti D’Arbanville, Ingrid Rogers, Jeffrey Wright, Hank Azaria, Karen Duffy, Aida Turturro, Allison Janney, Donna Hanover, Celia Weston, Wood Harris, Donald Trump 

Lee Simon, unsuccessful journalist and wanna-be novelist, tries to get his foot in the door with celebrities. After divorcing his wife Robin, Lee gets to meet a lot folks of the rich and/or beautiful, partly through journalism, and partly because he has a script to offer. But life amongst those from out-of-this-world is hard, and his putative success always results in defeat. Meanwhile, Robin meets a very desirable television producer and takes the first steps in the world of celebrities.


This seems to be more of a moralistic take more than a character piece. filming in black and white the film does come off looking beautiful and Classic but just like the characters, it’s empty.

This isn’t a typical woody Allen film. This feels more aggressive and verbose than usual a bit more hardcore. Where you can’t tell if he is angry or trying to fit in with the cinematic trends and language of the time. As this film and DECONSTRUCTING HARRY have that in common. 

While we have the typical Woody Allen type surrogate lead character played here by Kenneth Branagh. Here he feels disposable and never quite makes a mark. As he is just one of the many unlikeable characters throughout the film.

The characters are all physically beautiful but seem to be grotesque internally. As it seems only the lead character seems to know better. As he constantly cheats on his wife as his profile seems to rise, but as he slowly gets his comeuppance his suffering wife seems to become famous herself and finds love and good fortunes. 

The film seems more like a commentary on modern life at that time. The nature of celebrity web tabloids. A kind of acid commentary on it all. While feeling like a tabloid itself how it jumps around from character to character and tale to tale. Though it also feels like with this film though not surreal Allen seems to try to emulate Fredrico Fellini’s LA DOLCE VITA to a degree. While it tries to feel like that movie it never quite rises to that level. 

Using the nature of having a lot of big names in his cast. They are here for a reason. While this little is a commentary the film seems scattershot and ultimately lost because it never seems to come to a point. Just cruelty  As the Lead and the movie goes on many misadventures on his way to trying to achieve being a great writer and screenwriter. He finds the romantic entanglements prove to be as artificial as the proper and the world he is trying to enter. Even if all are around him are supposed to be artists and of such depth and passion. Showing all to be more in the moment and inauthentic with a love of self More than anything. 

Falling in love with the image in which others see them and list after them. Loving their own image More than anything else. 

The most noteworthy thing about this movie is that it has Leonardo DiCaprio in it. Mirroring his TITANIC fame of popularity but this was filmed before that film’s release. So it seems like life imitating art. Though some of the films revolve around him, he isn’t actually in it much. 

While not a classic the film is admirable in it’s own ways. It is beautifully shot and tries to say something overall it just has a funny way of showing it. 

Grade: C

LAGGIES (2014)

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Directed By: Lynn Shelton
Written By: Andrea Seigel
Cinematography By: Benjamin Kasulke
Editor: Nat Sanders 


Cast: Keira Knightly, Chloe Grace Moretz, Sam Rockwell, Ellie Kemper, Jeff Garlin, Mark Webber, Gretchen Mol, Daniel Zovatto, Sara Coates, Kaitlyn Dever

Megan’s approaching 30 with a good degree and a boyfriend in hand, but when he proposes at her friend’s wedding and everyone seems to think that the best way to advance in her career is to take a seminar where you find out what animal you are, Megan’s understandably feeling lost. After meeting teenagers who want her to buy them beer, Megan is drawn into 16-year-old Annika’s simpler life. She ends up moving in with Annika and her single father, juggling the life of a teen and that of an adult, two romantic interests, and the feeling of lagging behind.

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SNOW ANGELS (2007)

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Written & Directed By: David Gordon Green
Based On The Novel By: Stewart O’Nan
Cinematography By: Tim Orr

Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Thirlby, Amy Sedaris, Tom Noonan, Nicky Katt

On a cold afternoon, with snow on the ground, the high school band is practicing for the last football game. They hear shots. Flashback a few weeks before. Arthur is a high school student, bussing at a restaurant. Annie and Barb are waitresses there – Annie was Arthur’s babysitter when he was little. She’s now separated from her husband Glenn, who’s on the wagon, starting a new job, praying to Jesus, and trying to prove he has his balance back so he can see more of their small daughter, Tara. Annie’s seeing someone else, Arthur’s parents have just separated, and Arthur is attracted to Lila, a new student at the high school. It’s a small town, people’s lives cross.

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CHOKE (2008)

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Directed By: Clark Gregg
Written By: Clark Gregg
Based On The Original Novel By: Chuck Palahniuk
Cinematography By: Tim Orr
Editor: Joe Klotz

Cast: Sam Rockwell, Bijou Phillips, Anjelica Huston, Kelly McDonald, Paz De La Huerta, Clark Gregg, Joel Grey, Heather Burns, Brad William Henke, Gillian Jacobs, Matt Malloy

Sex addict and colonial theme park worker, Victor Mancini, has devised a complicated scam to pay for his mom’s hospital bills while she suffers from an Alzheimer’s disease that hides the truth about his childhood. He pretends to choke on food in a restaurant and the person who “saves” him will feel responsible for Victor for the rest of their lives.

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VICE (2018)

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Written & Directed By: Adam McKay
Cinematography: Greig Fraser
Editor: Hank Corwin 


Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Jesse Plemmons, Alison Pill, Tyler Perry, Eddie Marsan, Justin Kirk, LisaGay Hamilton, Bill Camp, Lilly Rabe, Stephen Aldy Gurgis, Shea Whigham 

The story of Dick Cheney, an unassuming bureaucratic Washington insider, who quietly wielded immense power as Vice President to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today.

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