The Private Lives of Pippa Lee- 4 stars- I had heard a lot of good things about this movie. As written and directed by professional sad face Rebecca Miller (and I don't mean that in any disrespect), it follows the life of Pippa Lee- 40 something wife of a book editor at least 25 years older than her (the plucky Alan Arkin). In flashbacks we see how Pippa, a previous free spirit, became the suffocated and slightly "noosed" homemaker. Her interactions with a man slightly younger, and himself a wounded soul (wonderfully played by Keanu Reeves- yes you heard that right), spur her to take stock of the woman she's become and the woman she wishes she were. This movie is definitely depressing, but I didn't feel sad watching it. If anything, I identified with Pippa's youthful longing to be loved and accepted, her foray's into dangerous behaviour, and her realization that the life she always wanted may not be the one that's best for her. I recommend to all ladies reading this and to any man who can't seem to figure his lady out (or simply wants to look sympathetic and get some action).
2012- 3 stars- Roland Emmerich has built a career out of making the same disaster movie over and over again (see Stargate, Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, Godzilla). What no one seems to mention is that he convinces some amazing actor's to be in them. So, it stands to reason that something interesting is going on there even if it doesn't make it to the screen. "2012" is a bad amalgam of "Independence Day" meets "The Day After Tomorrow". It has all the floods, earthquakes, and falling buildings of the later; while substituting aliens for earths own pissy cycle. This movie had me for the first 2 hours or so, but there was no reason for it to be 159 minutes long. Emmerich's films always seem to have a few too many characters. Sure, they're developed and kinda interesting, but you could do with out them and not even notice. It's just another movie about capitalist greed and evil government masked as a call to arms "green" movie. I love John Cusack, so was forced to watch this film eventually. Woody Harrelson shows up for the best extended cameo ever as a possibly crazy conspiracy theorist. In the end, "2012" is fun but you know you've seen it all before.
Women in Trouble- 4 stars- Wish I'd read some of these reviews before sending my copy back- I totally missed Joseph Gordon-Levitt! I liked this movie a lot. It reminded me not just of Almodovar but of one of my favorite filmmakers, Greg Araki. The film follows and weaves together multiple women in various stages of "trouble"- the porn star who suffers a life changing event, the therapist who's marriage is in trouble, the prostitutes who moon light as porn stars, frisky flight attendants... If you don't like films about sex and its consequences, this is not for you. If you don't like movies about female relationships that would NEVER be on Lifetime, this is not for you. If you are a fan of foreign (especially Spanish and French films) or mid to late 90's independent cinema; you just might get it! Some of the reviews I read about this movie pointed out how disjointed and oddly written it was, as if that were a bad thing. I think they missed the point- it's a movie that doesn't worry that you know you're watching a film. You know the ones- dialog that's too cleaver or witty, acting that seems static, situations that blend fantasy with reality. Why is that a bad thing?