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-

SNOW ANGELS (2007)

snow-angels-trailer

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.

Continue reading “SNOW ANGELS (2007)”

SEX DRIVE (2008)

sexdrive

Directed By Sean Anders
Written By Sean Anders & John Morris
Based On The Book “All The Way” By: Andy Behrens
Cinematography By: Tim Orr
Editor: George Folsey Jr

Cast: Josh Zuckeman, Clark Duke, Charlie McDermott, Katrina Bowden, Dave Sheridan, James Marsden, Seth Green, Brian Posehn, David Koechner, Amanda Crew, Alice Greczyn

A high school senior drives cross-country with his best friends to hook up with a babe he met online.

Continue reading “SEX DRIVE (2008)”

PEE-WEE’S BIG HOLIDAY (2016)

peewee1

Directed By: John Lee
Written By: Paul Reubens & Paul Rust
Cinematography By: Tim Orr
Editor: Jeff Buchanan 


Cast: Paul Reubens, Alia Shawkat, Richard Riehle, Leo Fitzpatrick, Brad William Henke, Robert R. Schafer, Stephanie Beatriz, Josh Myers, Diane Salinger, Joe Manganiello, David Arquette, Nicole Sullivan, Paul Rust, Lynne Marie Stewart

A fateful meeting with a mysterious stranger inspires Pee-wee Herman to take his first-ever holiday in this epic story of friendship and destiny.

Continue reading “PEE-WEE’S BIG HOLIDAY (2016)”

CYMBELINE (2014)

cymbeline

Written & Directed By: Michael Almereyda
Based On The Play By: William Shakespeare
Cinematography By: Tim Orr
Editor: John Scott Cook & Barbara Tulliver 


Cast: Ed Harris, Milla Jovovich, Delroy Lindo, Ethan Hawke, Kevin Corrigan, Penn Badgely, Anton Yelchin, Dakota Johnson, Bill Pullman, John Leguizamo, James Ransone, Vondie Curtis-Hall, J.D. Williams, Spenser Treat Clark 


 A gritty story of a take-no-prisoners war between dirty cops and an outlaw biker gang. A drug kingpin is driven to desperate measures. You would need a big name cast to keep the audiences interest. Unless you have Shakespeare purist fans. As there is no real style and feels closed in and claustrophobic


So with this cast other than Ed Harris, Ethan Hawke. you have actors who are more on the mainstream leading roles. Challenging themselves and trying to show they are more than pretty faces by tackling Shakespeare in a more contemporary way and trying to make it more of a crime story.

Though this is one of few times Ed Harris really get to play a leading role. Even if he is barely in the film his presence is always felt. Where as Ethan Hawke is an accomplished stage actor and leading man. So it is not strange to see him In This film. In more of a smaller but pivotal role. Though both heavily featured on the poster. they seem to leave it a showcase for the other actors. As most of the tale revolves around the younger supporting characters. They still revolve more around Harris’s character.

Though it still comes off as slow and claustrophobic. Throughout the performances feel more forced and never quite natural. I understand the language might be out of place, but usually in successful adaptations the actors still find a way to make it convincingly theirs. The material never seems to come alive. Even with such a violent tangled tale.

It’s a shame as the film has a good recognizable cast and strong material that doesn’t feel like it ever comes full circle and maters by their presence. Small scale can be realistic in a kitchen sink drama way. Here that style adds very little, but is definitely a stylistic choice.

The film offers us glimpses of the underworld they operate in but never quite fully explained. Yet we see constant back deals behind closed doors. That every so often becomes a little confusing. Though by the third act it all becomes more clear.

The film feels like an experiment. While also trying to follow the popularity of Shakespeare and the adaptations of it. It tries to stick to it’s more indie roots by choosing a play that is less well known. So that maybe fewer audience members can find fault with it.

This is Director Michael Almereyda’s second attempt at a modern shapespeare tale. He directed an adaptation of Hamlet with Ethan Hawke that similarly had mixed but better results.

Strangely this is one of the few of Shakespeare’s tragedies that has more of a happy ending. Once you get through some deaths and a general massacre.

The film comes off more as a rich fairy tale. That seems inspired by the show SONS OF ANARCHY, with it’s dirty cops and criminal biker gang. Just as that show was inspired by the tale of HAMLET.

Grade: C