‘Silver Linings Playbook’ falls short of the goal

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper co-star in David O. Russell's weak adaptation of 'Silver Linings Playbook'
Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper co-star in David O. Russell’s weak adaptation of ‘Silver Linings Playbook’

In Matthew Quick’s sensitive novel Silver Linings Playbook, the Solitano family – moody paterfamilias Pat Sr., peacekeeping mother Dolores, and son Pat Jr., recently released from a mental institution for reasons yet to be discovered – live in an Eagles-obsessed Philly suburb in South Jersey. David O. Russell has both adapted and directed the movie version of Quick’s book, which results in a scattershot translation lacking in many of the details that grounded the original story. That the Solitano household now exists in an unspecified Pennsylvania town is just the tip of the iceberg in how Silver, a piercing look into the mind of the mentally ill, has morphed into a neutered, loosy-goosey comedy without claws.

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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.

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‘Hide & Seek’ predictable but well done otherwise

[rating=3]Starring: Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Famke Janssen, Elisabeth Shue, Amy Irving, Dylan Baker
Director(s): John Polson
Writer(s): Ari Schlossberg

Dakota Fanning in 'Hide & Seek'
Dakota Fanning in ‘Hide & Seek’

Hollywood, and filmmakers in general I think, have become obsessed with the concept of “the flip”. That’s what I call it when a movie has a twist within the last five minutes that is supposed to shock and surprise the audience.

Hide & Seek sort of has two such “flips”, the main one being pretty darn obvious. Well, to me anyway. Either I’m getting to smart for these kinds of “flip” movies or their just not being done that well. Either way, I’m tired of “the flip”. It’s nearly impossible to pull off effectively, and almost always gets ruined because ultimately “the flip” is what everyone who’s seen the movie will talk about. And once it’s known that a movie has a “flip”, well, the “flip” is pretty much ruined.

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‘Casino’ is a gritty, if overly long, look at the mafia and Las Vegas

[rating=3]Starring: Robert DeNiro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, Don Rickles, Alan King, Kevin Pollack, James Woods
Director(s): Martin Scorsese
Writer(s): Screenplay by Nicholas Pileggi and Martin Scorsese; Based upon the novel by Nicholas Pileggi

Joe Pesci is a cold-hearted mobster in 'Casino'
Joe Pesci is a cold-hearted mobster in ‘Casino’

Let me start off the bat by saying that I’m not a fan of gangster movies. They can be entertaining, but I don’t particularly care for them. I can appreciate the beauty of The Godfather, but the story itself isn’t particularly appealing.

Goodfellas is a little different, in my mind, because it is a far more interesting film and is a grittier, more realistic view of the mafia. Where The Godfatheridolizes, Goodfellas demoralizes. Martin Scorsese created a style and tone that has been ripped off and copied time and time again since then. Part of this is why I think he made Casino, the film which I’m here to discuss.

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‘Meet the Parents’ is still funny the second time around

[rating=3]Starring: Robert DeNiro, Ben Stiller, Blythe Danner, Teri Polo, James Rebhorn, Jon Abrahams, Owen Wilson
Director(s): Jay Roach
Writer(s): Screenplay by Jim Herzfeld, John Hamburg; Story by Greg Glienna and Mary Ruth Clarke

Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller in 'Meet the Parents'
Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller in ‘Meet the Parents’

Meet the Parents comedy is memorable largely for the brilliant casting of Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro. I think had you been told that DeNiro was going to do a movie like this back in the 80s, or even the earlier 90s, then no one would have believed you.

But DeNiro pulls off the role of Jack Byrnes, the father of the woman Ben Stiller’s Greg Focker, is looking to marry. When Greg and his girlfriend go to her parents’ house for the wedding of her sister, Greg struggles to make nice with the people he hopes will be his future in-laws. However, Jack isn’t too receptive to this new guy in his little girl’s life. And Greg has his own problems as he makes one mistake after another.

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