‘Side Effects’ will leave you feeling just fine

Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones talk about the treament of Rooney Mara in 'Side Effects'
Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones talk about the treament of Rooney Mara in ‘Side Effects’


Side Effects is the latest film from director Steven Soderbergh.  Jude Law plays a psychiatrist who works shifts at a hospital doing consults, in addition seeing patients in his private practice.  He is a partner with two other psychiatrists in a thriving New York City practice.  He’s married to a beautiful woman named “Dierdre” (Vinessa Shaw), who has a son.  He has a great life until he encounters a patient in the emergency room.

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It isn’t NYC that needs repair in ‘Broken City’ – it’s the script

Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg and Jeffrey Wright in the mayor's office in a scene from 'Broken City'
Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg and Jeffrey Wright in the mayor’s office in a scene from ‘Broken City’

[rating=2]Starring:  Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffrey Wright, Barry Pepper, Alona Tal, Natalie Martinez, Kyle Chandler and Michael Beach
Director(s):  Allen Hughes
Writer(s):  Brian Tucker

For nearly ten years now there is a “black list” published annually in Hollywood.  It supposedly contains the best “unproduced” scripts out there.  Broken City was on this list for several years until it finally escaped from “development hell” … but perhaps it should have been left there.

Read moreIt isn’t NYC that needs repair in ‘Broken City’ – it’s the script

‘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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‘Rock of Ages’ is a bit off key

Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta in 'Rock of Ages'
Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta in ‘Rock of Ages’

[rating=2]Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Malin Ackerman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Paul Giamatti, Bryan Cranston
Director(s): Adam Shankman
Writer(s): Justin Theroux, Chris D’Arienzo and Allan Loeb – screeplay, Chris D’arienzo – musical book

Eighties era rock music.  An iconic Sunset Strip club that is struggling to survive.  A rock “god” who got his start there who is willing to help.  A young girl who followed the seemingly nonsensical advice of others to pursue her dream of being a singer and left small-town USA for Hollywood.  A young barback who works at this club, but is pursuing his own dreams of music stardom with his own band.  The wife of the newly elected mayor of the city who is focused on shutting that club down once and for all.

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