Review of “The Lincoln Lawyer”

Review of “The Lincoln Lawyer”

Synopsis:  A defense attorney finds himself in a moral dilemma when he discovers his client may not be so innocent.

I have a confession to make:  I really love courtroom dramas.  They’re so exciting.  The fights in court, the legal process, watching the whole case unfold on screen.  It never gets boring.  “The Lincoln Lawyer” is no exception.  It’s a fun, thrilling ride that will twist your brain, draw you in, and won’t let go until after the end credits roll.

Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey) is known as The Lincoln Lawyer, because he mainly works out of the back of his Lincoln sedan. He’s smooth, slick and super charismatic. He defends dirtbag clients. And he is very, very expensive. He gets the case of a lifetime when bondsman Val (John Leguizamo) tells him about a client named Louis Roulet (Ryan Philippe) who is accused of rape and attempted murder. Roulet and his mother (Frances Fisher) have boatloads of cash to spend, so they hire Mick to represent him. As new evidence rolls in and new discoveries are made and old clients return, he realizes that Roulet isn’t the man he incessantly claims to be. We see that beneath all that sleaziness, Mick still very much has a conscience. And he desperately wants to lose this case. He turns to friend/investigator Frank Levin (William H. Macy) and ex-wife/prosecutor Maggie McPherson (Marisa Tomei) for advice. He is a man full of contradictions and wants justice to be done. But what is he going to do?

All the performances in “The Lincoln Lawyer” seem to range from good to amazing. But this is McConaughey’s show. He is so convincing as the sleazebag lawyer with a conscience that it doesn’t feel like he’s playing a character.  It feels like he really is this man.  It was such a treat watching him on screen.  I hope there really is a sequel in the near future.  Marisa Tomei’s performance was incredible.  She was tough, but also sensitive and friendly.  I liked her on-screen relationship with McConaughey.  Will their characters get back together?  Maybe, maybe not.  Frances Fisher was creepy but good as the mother of the client.  I wish I could’ve seen a little more of John Leguizamo and William H. Macy because they were great.  I expected a bit more from Ryan Philippe though.  He was scary, but could’ve been scarier.

The movie itself is one of the best mysteries I’ve seen.   You never really knew what would happen.  Director Brad Forman did an excellent job.  I liked the darkened tones, especially in the flashback scenes.  It was so much fun to watch, and I want there to be a sequel.  I highly recommend “The Lincoln Lawyer”.  Rent it today.

Review for “The single Moms’ Club”

Review for “The single Moms’ Club”

Synopsis: Five single moms form a support group and become friends.

Do you know that movie that everyone seems to love except you?  That “feel-good” movie that supposedly tugs at the heart strings?  And you’re left cold?  Well, the latest Tyler Perry film does exactly that.  I should’ve liked it, but I didn’t.

The story is about 5 completely different women with only one thing in common–they’re all single moms. Jan (Wendi McLendon-Covey) is a career woman who is trying to juggle her publishing career with motherhood. May (Nia Long) is a newspaper writer who is trying to get her book published. Esperanza (Zulay Henao) is still financially dependent on her ex-husband. She’s forced to keep her relationship with Manny (William Levy) a secret. Hillary (Amy Smart) is going through a tough divorce, and has just had her alimony and child support reduced, forcing her to fire the help. Lytia (Cocoa Brown) is a fast food worker trying to keep her son from becoming like her jailed ex and two older sons. The women are brought together when their children are threatened with expulsion. They have to organize a fundraiser party together, and they bond over time.

The best performance easily belongs to Nia Long. I think she did a good job. The others aren’t as good, or even interesting. Sometimes, they come across as cold, but the performances just aren’t that good. Okay, maybe. But the script is as good as it should be, so maybe that’s the problem.

I agree with the moral of the story–that women should stick together. Things would be simpler for us girls if we DID stick together. But you don’t have to beat people over the head with it. The situations are realistic. There are women–and men for that matter–that goes through situations like these women do. Even the perils of dating. But for some reason, I was left kinda cold…

Speaking of dating, I expected to see some of it in a movie about single moms. Spoilers, I actually hated the fact that they ALL wind up with boyfriends at the end of the movie. It would’ve been better if some of them wound up alone, and some of them didn’t. You can be alone and happy.

This is a movie I should’ve liked, but I didn’t. Oh well….

Review of “Carrie”

Review of “Carrie”

Synopsis: In a remake of the 1976 classic, a shy girl is pushed too far and uses her telekinetic powers on her bullying classmates and mother.

Have you ever seen the original “Carrie”?  What do people think of it?  A lot of them say that it’s a classic.  They think “Why do a remake on an already brilliant movie.  Remakes suck!”  Well a lot of remakes do suck, but I don’t think this one did.  The issues of abuse, bullying, misogyny and self-hatred are still rampant today.  The movie portrayed such issues vividly and honestly.  It wasn’t perfect, but I’m glad they remade the movie.

Chloe Grace Moretz plays Carrie and does it well. I liked both the original version and this one. Moretz’s version of Carrie seems more emotional than Sissy Spacek’s version. We feel more empathy for her. That’s what made the character so fascinating. Plus, the relationship between Carrie and her mother was a bit more tender in this version. Carrie seemed to have a tiny bit more freedom this time. Julianne Moore plays Margaret, Carrie’s religious fanatic mother. She was very creepy, but also a little more motherly. You almost believe that she wants to do the right thing by Carrie and wants to protect her. You also sense her self-hatred. Julianne Moore is an amazing actress. Gabriella Wilde did a decent job playing Sue Snell. The rest of the cast was OK.

You can’t make a modern movie without technology. So it’s only natural they use cell phone videos and YouTube. In the big scene–the prom scene–the use of the humiliating YouTube video makes the havoc Carrie reaks more terrifying. But I prefer the original prom scene. I just felt this one didn’t pack enough of a punch, despite the YouTube video. But I do think that Kimberly Peirce did a good job with Carrie. But it still felt like something was missing. I don’t really know what. But it was scary, and the mother-daughter scenes were excellent.

Overall, I enjoyed this version of “Carrie”.

Review of “The Craft”

Synopsis:  Four high school girls experiment with witchcraft.

“The Craft” is a visually stunning, wild ride of a movie.  It takes place in San Francisco and stars Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, Faizura Balk and Rachel True.

Sarah (Robin Tunney) is new to Los Angeles, but not new to witchcraft.  In fact, she is a natural witch who was born with her powers.  One day, at her new high school, she meets 3 other students Nancy (Faizura Balk), Rochelle (Rachel True) and Bonnie (Neve Campbell).  They’re witches too and are looking for a 4th girl to complete their circle.  Sarah is the perfect fit.  Let the journey begin.

The performances were incredible, especially Faizura Balk’s.  She was convincingly twisted as the leader Nancy.  Robin Tunney was excellent as the voice of reason Sarah.  Her struggles and emotions seemed very real.  Neve Campbell and Rachel True were good and scary too.  They were all very convincing as witches, and a lot of fun to watch.

“The Craft” was a great visual feast as well.  The crew of the movie, including the director of course, all did an amazing job putting everything together.  The scene in the field, where they first speak to “Manon” was incredible.  I loved the butterflies and the bright, vibrant colors used in the scene.  It was beautiful.  The beach scene was also well-done.  I wonder how long it took them to do that scene.  The cinematography was incredible.

It’s not a super-serious movie, but it is a fun ride.  It may even tempt you to learn a bit more about witchcraft and Wicca.  Overall, good movie.

Review for “End of Watch”

Synopsis: This film is about the everyday lives of two young men, who are police officers and best friends. We’ve all seen cop movies, right? Those shoot-’em-up bang bang cop movies that are entertaining, but ultimately forgettable. Well, one could say that “End of Watch” is a shoot-em-up, bang bang cop movie. In some ways, it is. But it’s so much more than that. It focuses more on cop buddy part than the shoot-em-up part. Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala(Michael Pena) have known each other for years. They are best friends first and partners second. They are both police officers working in one of the toughest areas of Los Angeles, South Central. The film shot in documentary style and we really feel like we know them. We’re really riding along with them as they save children, take guns and drugs off the streets and run into burning buildings. We root for them as they deal with shootouts and the Cartel. We like these guys. We relate to them. And we like that they actually have lives apart from work and each other. That’s because of the phenomenal acting of Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena. They have a great rapport, and are very believable as both cops and friends. And they should. Word is they spent 5 months training for their roles and had to rely on each other a lot. It really shows on screen. The supporting performances are also really good. America Ferrera is great as the cop Orozco. I liked the banter between her and the two leads. Natalie Martinez and Anna Kendrick did a good job playing the leads’ ladies. I wish they were on screen more. I liked the director’s style in this movie. David Ayer made a very realistic-looking movie. The music seemed to fit in with the movie’s tone and feel. Some of the scenes bothered me a bit, but disturbing things are expected in a movie like this. Overall, I recommend it. If anything, watch for the performances of Gyllenhaal and Pena.

Review of “The Girl on the Train”

“Girl on the Train” was an interesting, amazing, well-written book. But it’s also a rather bleak tale. It really begs the questions, “Do you really know someone?” “Why do we fantasize about people we will never really know?” “What if my life took a different direction?”

This is a story about 3 different women: Rachel, Megan and Anna. They’re often less-than-likable, each with secrets and their own unique set of issues. Rachel, the 1st main character, ponders these questions every day on the train. Her life is a mess. She is an alcoholic who recently lost her job because of said alcoholism. Her husband, Tom, has left her for another woman, and now her ex, his new wife, Anna and their baby are happily living in the home she used to share with Tom. She sometimes becomes so drunk that she doesn’t remember what she did the night before. She still rides the train same time everyday in order to fool her roommate, Cathy. And she has to see the home every time rides the train. She also sees a couple during her rides she calls Jess and Jason. They’re her version of the perfect couple. They never fight, always affectionate. Rachel smiles and melts when she sees them through her train window. But she’s never met them….

Jess’ real name is Megan. She’s married to Scott (Jason) and they aren’t the happy couple Rachel thinks they are. Megan has quit her job, working as a nanny. She’s previously worked at an art gallery, but lost that job too. She’s a drifter who doesn’t really know herself. She doesn’t seem to like marriage very much. She starts seeing a therapist, and eventually falls for him. And this isn’t the only time she cheats on Scott. And she keeps at least 2 very big secrets from him. And they’re doozies…

Anna is the woman Tom left Rachel for, and she’s not so great. She’s extremely self-centered, unkind and snobbish. She acts as if she did Rachel a favor by stealing her husband. She even loved being a mistress. But now that she’s settled down with Tom and her daughter in a more conventional life, she’s bored. She had more fun being the mistress than she does being the wife. Ugh. And she hates Rachel and her drunken taunting. She hates that Tom still helps her out sometimes. But Anna’s life is about to take a turn for the worst….

This already-intriguing story becomes more so when Megan disappears. We don’t know yet if she was kidnapped, or just ran away. Either way, Rachel takes it upon herself to find out what happened to Megan and why.

You never know what’s going to happen in G.O.T.T. You never know who to trust. Can you trust anyone? Rachel’s blackouts make her an unreliable narrator, but they also make her interesting. And we need her because this is basically her story. She’s the most active narrator out of the three. It was fun watching the pieces fall together and then fall apart. Or both. Wow, what a crazy ride.

But you just can’t help but grab the characters by the shoulders, shake them and say “Stop”! for making such dumb decisions at times. But I guess that just means Paula Hawkins is a great writer. She’s certainly had enough practice. She was a journalist for 15 years before she started writing this book. She does a good job at making us hate and love these characters. She gives the right amount of suspense and drama. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. This book is a must-read. Buy a copy of “Girl on The Train” today.