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Now Playing: License to Wed, Transformers …

By |2018-01-15T22:15:40-05:00July 12th, 2007|Uncategorized|

July 16, 2007

NEW THIS WEEK:

License to Wed

Sadie (Mandy Moore) loves Ben (John Krasinski), and they want to get married. So they enroll in a pre-nuptial course at their church with Reverend Frank (Robin Williams). Reverend Frank spends the next three weeks destroying their lives in that wacky, patented Robin Williams way audiences have come to know and love (or loathe, depending on your tolerance for the comic actor’s manic antics). And even audiences who like this sort of thing might find their patience tested by Williams’ refusal to update his material. It’s a slog through unfunny material of the most trying kind, all for a plot resolution anyone can see coming and the continued stroking of a lazy actor’s ego. But if nothing else, it’s proof that Hollywood should issue licenses to make films – and hand them out a lot more stingily. D-

Kinsey Scale: 1 (There’s a passing reference to a child in Williams’ church having “two mommies.” Williams has played gay in “The Birdcage” and “The Night Listener.” Moore appeared in gay director Adam Shankman’s “A Walk to Remember,” while Krasinski appeared in “Dreamgirls.”)

Transformers

The first glimmer that Earth is about to become a battleground for warring, shape-shifting, metallic extraterrestrials comes when U.S. soldiers in Qatar find themselves under robot attack. At the same time, teenage Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) has a more benign encounter that draws him into the brewing war, when he catches his rusting classic Camaro transforming into a ‘bot. Based on a cartoon series, which itself was based on a toy, this action adventure is occasionally tasteless and too long, with a seemingly endless climax, but it is also surprisingly entertaining. The CGI effects are superb, and the “good” robots possess actual personalities, giving the conflict some rooting interest. At the same time, LaBeouf’s sympathetic performance adds a welcome human element to over-the-top scenario. B

Kinsey Scale: 1 (Among the supporting cast, Jon Voight was hustler Joe Buck in “Midnight Cowboy”; John Turturro wrote and directed “Illuminata” and appeared in two Spike Lee movies with gay themes, “She Hate Me” and “Summer of Sam”; and Julie White just won a Tony for her role in the queer comedy “The Little Dog Laughed.”)

ALSO IN THEATERS:

A Mighty Heart

The film’s strength is in its documentary-like style as it follows the investigation, but John Orloff’s screenplay offers nothing new to anyone who is already familiar with the tragedy. More fatally, the story never connects in any emotionally resonant way, and neither does the miscast Angelina Jolie, who is too self-conscious to sink into this woman’s skin. B-

Evan Almighty

Though clearly aimed at Christian moviegoers, the inane, simplistic story – a follow-up to 2003’s “Bruce Almighty” – and the portrayal of the Almighty as jovial, but mean-spirited are insults to that target audience. What humor there is mostly falls flat; even the usually hilarious Steve Carell is not funny. D

Evening

This adaptation based on Susan Minot’s novel delivers too many characters and not enough restraint, substituting visual shorthand and easy emotional cues for real depth. It’s a valiant effort from a gifted writer and an A-list cast that includes Meryl Streep and Glenn Close, but in the end it suffers from a too-heavy touch. C+

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

It’s a fairly unimaginative adventure, a semi-slog that would benefit from much more action than it delivers, especially since real suspense about the fate of the Earth is beside the point when the Fantastic Four are in the mix. But children – the target audience of this PG-rated live-action cartoon – will enjoy themselves quite a bit, and parents won’t be too put out by the experience. Here’s hoping the inevitable third film delivers the goods. C+

1408

Assisted by some truly creepy atmosphere and freaked-out jolts, he turns what could have been a by-the-numbers disposable haunted-house film (adapted from a Stephen King story) into a really fun ride into the dark. B+

Knocked Up

The movie refuses to take the easy road, ignoring done-to-death slapstick, instead getting almost all of its laughs from delving deeply into the lives and personalities of its characters. Best of all, it’s a no-holds-barred adult comedy that maintains a sense of genuine sweetness amidst the R-rated humor, making it the best American comedy of the year so far. A

Live Free or Die Hard

As always, Bruce Willis excels in a role that perfectly fits his sardonic, “regular Joe” persona. John McClane is less action hero than blue-collar, stand-up guy determined to set aside personal safety and fear to get the job done. A

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Clearly meant to wrap up threads left by the first two chapters, it crams in too much story – often indecipherable – at the expense of action and suspense. Supporting actors still charm, but Depp’s mannerisms have become so grating that one longs to see Sparrow walk the plank once and for all. C-

Ratatouille

Because the movie’s from Disney/Pixar, a happy ending is an absolute guarantee, and the trip to that ending is not only hilarious but a visually impeccable new standard-bearer in digital animation. Sophisticated enough for adults and full of cute comic animals children will love, it’s that rarest of dishes: an animated feature any age will happily eat with a spoon. A

Sicko

It’s Michael Moore’s most mature film to date and makes an impassioned, reasoned – and, oddly enough, funny – plea for the richest country in the world to finally use its resources to take care of its own. A

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.