’21 Jump Street’ is funny sh*t

[rating=3]Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson, Dave Franco
Director(s): Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Writer(s): Michael Bacall (screenplay), Bacall and Jonah Hill (story) based on the TV series by Patrick Hasburgh and Stephen J. Cannell

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum co-star in '21 Jump Street'
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum co-star in ’21 Jump Street’

If the formula for 21 Jump Street, from directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (they previously directed Cloudy With Chance of Meatballs together) seems familiar, that’s because it should.  25 years ago, Fox Television wanted to show they had an edge and they found it with 21 Jump Street, a gritty drama about cops going undercover at local high schools.  It launched the career of Johnny Depp and managed to last four seasons.  The same year that Jump Street debuted, another gritty television cop show was being reimagined on the big screen.

Read more’21 Jump Street’ is funny sh*t

‘A Thousand Words’ is Eddie Murphy’s worst

[rating=1]Starring: Eddie Murphy, Kerry Washington, Cliff Curtis, Clark Duke, Allison Janney
Director(s): Brian Robbins
Writer(s): Steve Koren

Eddie Murphy bombs in 'A Thousand Words'
Eddie Murphy bombs in ‘A Thousand Words’

Director Brian Robbins (Norbit), working from a script by Steve Koren (Jack and JillBruce Almighty) gives us an unfunny comedy that fails to showcase the comedic and acting talents of Eddie Murphy, a guy who has serious chops in those areas.  Sadly, we haven’t seen a lot of his comedy genius of late, although we did get to see him doing some great acting in Dreamgirls.  But that was almost six years ago and what we’ve seen him in since is nothing to write home about.  His latest effort, Tower Heist was a serious disappointment.

Read more‘A Thousand Words’ is Eddie Murphy’s worst

Lena Dunham is excellent in ‘Tiny Furniture’

Lena Dunham wrote, directed and starred in 'Tiny Furniture'
Lena Dunham wrote, directed and starred in ‘Tiny Furniture’

In what I had thought was a wholly unique experience, I spent my initial post-graduation days at home in limbo, unsure of where I was heading or if I’d even get started on that journey. But now it appears that it wasn’t just me, as Jill of all trades Lena Dunham draws on that precise situation and feeling in her breakthrough film, Tiny Furniture. This 2010 film, which won best narrative feature at South by Southwest and best first screenplay at the Independent Spirit Awards, has finally found its way to DVD and Blu ray thanks to the Criterion Collection.

After graduating from college in Ohio, Aura Freeman (Dunham) returns to her New York City home to live with her mother Siri (actual mother Laurie Simmons) and younger sister Nadine (actual sister Grace Dunham). Neither particularly care that she’s come back, and the more into the film we get, it becomes clear that they treat Aura’s presence as more of a burden. In a strange — and fitting for the purposes of this story — coincidence, Siri and Nadine look like each other and don’t resemble Aura physically all that much. It’s almost like Aura was adopted. One has to wonder if Lena herself ever feels that way.

Read moreLena Dunham is excellent in ‘Tiny Furniture’

Paul Dano shines with Robert DeNiro in ‘Being Flynn’

Robert DeNiro in 'Being Flynn'
Robert DeNiro in ‘Being Flynn’

Nick Flynn is the central character in director Paul Weitz’s (About a BoyAmerican Pie) latest film, entitled Being Flynn.  He’s also the real-life author of the memoir that was adapted by Weitz for the screen, and in the film he is portrayed by Paul Dano (Cowboys and AliensThere Will Be Blood).  Nick is a young adult who finds himself looking for a new place to live and for a new job.  The former because of his own behavior, the latter because he hasn’t quite figured out what he wants to be when he finally decides he is a grown-up.

Read morePaul Dano shines with Robert DeNiro in ‘Being Flynn’

The Ladies of Oscar on Network Television

Kathy Bates, Angelica Huston and Linda Hunt are all Oscar-winning actresses who’ve made a career of being on TV
Kathy Bates, Angelica Huston and Linda Hunt are all Oscar-winning actresses who’ve made a career of being on TV

Kathy Bates, Angelica Huston and Linda Hunt are three very talented actresses.  All three are Academy Award winners.  And, when Harry’s Law returns to network television on Sunday, March 11th, all three will be appearing in key roles in TV drama programs, perhaps the first time that such a confluence of talent has taken place.

Harry’s Law began life last season as a mid-season replacement program on NBC.  Created by David E. Kelley, it stars Bates as Harriet (“Harry”) Korn, a successful patent attorney who lives and works in Cincinatti who just got fired from her job as well as going through another life-changing event.  She is talked into setting up shop in a seedy neighborhood in what was once a ladies shoe store.

Read moreThe Ladies of Oscar on Network Television

Tyler Perry’s ‘Good Deeds’ is too predictable

[rating=3]Starring: Tyler Perry, Thandie Newton, Gabrielle Union, Brian White, Phylicia Rashad, Eddie Cibrian
Director(s): Tyler Perry
Writer(s): Tyler Perry

Tyler Perry in 'Good Deeds'
Tyler Perry in ‘Good Deeds’

Good Deeds is the 11th film from the prolific Tyler Perry who directed, wrote, produced and stars in it.  This is the 10th time he’s starred in one of his films and this time he let the women wear the dresses.

Perry is “Wesley Deeds”, who is the scion of a family where he represents the fifth consecutive generation of highly educated, highly successful men.  He is currently the CEO of the business his father founded, engaged to be married to the woman of his dreams, “Natalie” (Gabrielle Union), dealing with a brother who has enough problems for the entire family himself, Walter (Brian White), a mother who has had his whole life planned for him (Phylicia Rashad) and a major business headache on the horizon.

Read moreTyler Perry’s ‘Good Deeds’ is too predictable

‘Thin Ice’ (original called ‘The Convincer’) is a bit disjointed

[rating=2]Starring: Greg Kinnear, Billy Crudup, Alan Arkin, David Harbour, Lea Thompson
Director(s): Jill Sprecher
Writer(s): Jill Sprecher and Karen Sprecher

Greg Kinnear and Billy Crudup co-star in 'Thin Ice'
Greg Kinnear and Billy Crudup co-star in ‘Thin Ice’

One of the many reasons Mel Brooks (who is not associated in any way, shape or form with this film) is a genius is because of something he was smart enough to ask for and get.  Remember that and we’ll revisit that fact and where the original title came from, after we look at Thin Ice.

The title could very well be a metaphor for the life of Mickey Prohaska (Greg Kinnear), a Kenosha based insurance salesman, who we find at a convention of insurance agents where he’s leading a seminar on how to strike up conversations with potential clients.  That his best line is apparently the time-tested “Do you happen to have the time” speaks volumes about his abilities.  Hoping to sell enough policies to win a trip to his company’s anniversary retreat in Aruba, he decides to hire a go-getter who was at his seminar by the name of Bob (David Harbour) who was about to accept a job with one of Mickey’s competitors who happens to out-do Mickey by a wide margin.

Read more‘Thin Ice’ (original called ‘The Convincer’) is a bit disjointed