‘Playing for Keeps’ was best kept unproduced

Gerard Butler and Noah Lomax in 'Playing for Keeps'
Gerard Butler and Noah Lomax in ‘Playing for Keeps’

[rating=2]Starring:  Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Uma Thurman, Dennis Quaid, Judy Greer and Noah Lomax
Director(s):  Gabrielle Muccino
Writer(s):  Robbie Fox

Pop psychology writer Dan Kiley was the first to describe the “Peter Pan Syndrome”, and Playing for Keeps gives us a perfect example of this malady in its central character, “George” (Butler).

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‘Lay the Favorite’ is the worst bet in the movie house

Rebecca Hall stars opposite Bruce Willis in 'Lay the Favorite'
Rebecca Hall stars opposite Bruce Willis in ‘Lay the Favorite’

[rating=2]Starring:  Rebecca Hall, Bruce Willis, Vince Vaughn, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Joshua Jackson, Laura Prepon, Frank Grillo, Joel Murray, John Carroll Lynch, and Corbin Bernsen
Director(s):  Stephen Frears
Writer(s):  D.V. DeVincentis

Lay the Favorite is a gambling term.  It is also the title of a memoir by a real-life woman named Beth Raymer that is now a film from director Stephen Frears and screenwriter D.V. DeVincentis.  If that sounds like a familiar pairing, it should.  They combined to bring Nick Hornsby’s excellent novel “High Fidelity” to the big screen.  That was an excellent collaboration.

Sadly, this was not.

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‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ is a fine first feature film

Quvenzhane Wallis stars in 'Beasts of the Southern Wilds'
Quvenzhane Wallis stars in ‘Beasts of the Southern Wilds’

[rating=3]Starring: Quvenzhane Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly, Gina Montana, Lowell Landes and Jonshel Alexander
Director(s): Behn Zeitlin
Writer(s): Lucy Alibar and Behn Zeitlin

The “Bathtub” is a geographic area physically separated from the ‘mainland’ of Louisiana by a levee. But the real separation is the type of lives the residents of the Bathtub actually live. This is the setting for Beasts of the Southern Wild, a film that has mythical creatures, tragedy, triumph and wonder. The residents don’t live luxuriously, but they manage to live large in spite of their humble abodes and lifestyles.

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Roger Ebert reviews ‘Killing Them Softly’… and gets major plot points wrong!

I want to start by saying Roger Ebert is one of the reasons I learned to love film and became a film critic.

After I’ve finished a review my usual next step is to read his review of the same film. Sometimes I find a nuance that I overlooked. My review may or may not agree with his, and neither of us are right or wrong, criticism of film is opinion-based. But I was so shocked by his review of the recent Killing Them Softly that I felt compelled to point out that he really blew this one.

Read moreRoger Ebert reviews ‘Killing Them Softly’… and gets major plot points wrong!