Straight A’s (2013)

Straight A’s
Director: James Cox
Writer: Dave Cole
Cast: Ryan Phillippe, Anna Paquin, Luke Wilson, Riley Thomas Stewart, Ursula Parker, Amparo Garcia-Crow, Augustin Solis, Tess Harper, Powers Boothe, Christa Campbell
Seen on: 30.4.2020

Plot:
Scott (Ryan Phillippe) is the family screw-up and he hasn’t shown his face at home in a while. But after he has a vision of his dead mother (Tess Harper) telling him to make amends with his brother William (Luke Wilson), his sister-in-law and first love Katherine (Anna Paquin) and his father (Powers Boothe), Scott just shows up at Katherine’s home while William is on a business trip. As he waits for William to return, Scott causes an uproar for Katherine and her kids (Riley Thomas Stewart, Ursula Parker) who take a shine to their newly discovered uncle. Scott himself is uneasy with his own plan, drunk all the time and really not all that well.

Straight A’s is so firmly rooting for Scott without really acknowledging his many flaws or interested in him making up for past (and current) transgressions, that it is just annoying. I didn’t care for redeeming Scott, I wanted to strangle him instead. The film can’t work that way.

On a sidenote: in a film that is obviously trying to be smart and deep and that is so firmly rooted in its own privilege, that incorrect apostrophe in the title is annoying as fuck.

The film poster showing Katherine (Anna Paquin), Scott (Ryan Philippe) and William (Luke Wilson). An arrow points from Scott to Katherine with "He loves her", another arrow from Katherine to William with "She's married to his brother".

[SPOILERS]

Continue reading

The Lucky One (2012)

The Lucky One
Director: Scott Hicks
Writer: Will Fetters
Based on: Nicholas Sparksnovel
Cast: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner, Riley Thomas Stewart, Jay R. Ferguson, Adam LeFevre, Robert Hayes
Seen on: 22.2.2020

Plot:
Logan (Zac Efron) was a Marine in Iraq. One day he found a picture of a woman in the sand there, keeping him away from a blast site and saving his life. And he was lucky enough to return home, proof enough for him that that photo is a talisman that kept him safe. Once he returns to the USA, he becomes restless and starts walking – always looking for the woman on the photo. As luck would have it, he actually finds her, Beth (Taylor Schilling). Before he can tell her the real reason he came to her, Logan finds himself working in Beth’s family business – a dog grooming/training/lodging place.

I was in the mood for a sappy romantic film and I thought I could barely go wrong with a Sparks adaptation to scratch that itch. But The Lucky One is rather lukewarm, I have to admit – it feels a little too much like a color by number thing.

The film poster showing Logan (Zac Efron) and Beth (Taylor Schilling) almost kissing.
Continue reading

The Beaver (2011)

The Beaver
Director: Jodie Foster
Writer: Kyle Killen
Cast: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence, Riley Thomas Stewart, Cherry Jones

Plot:
Walter Black (Mel Gibson) suffers from depression. It’s gotten so bad that his two sons Porter (Anton Yelchin) and Henry (Riley Thomas Stewart) have completely turned away from him and also his wife Meredith (Jodie Foster) doesn’t know anymore what to do and kicks him out. Having reached rock bottom, Walter gets drunk and tries to kill himself. But before he can go through with it, a beaver hand puppet that he found in the trash takes over his life.

I’m not exactly sure what I expected of The Beaver (apart from not much), but it certainly wasn’t the movie I got – which was a lot better. Mel Gibson didn’t blow me away, but the entire film pays off for Anton Yelchin and Jennifer Lawrence.

Continue reading