Summary: Steve Carell plays the titular “Dan” a man who write a family advice problem who (get this!) doesn’t always follow his own advice! And when he goes away for a family reunion he (get this!) falls for his brother’s girl!
Thoughts: Admittedly, the plot has been done before (The Family Stone to name a recent example of the second example), but Steve Carell brings a genuineness to his father role that honestly surprised me. He proved to me that he has the ability to dial himself down far enough to be taken seriously. All of the acting was solid, even down to Dane Cook, who I actually didn’t want to kill in this movie.
Overall: Solid movie, if not done before.
Summary: Jack Black and Mos Def play two friends who after all of the VHS tapes in the rental store go blank (don’t ask) are forced to recreate the movies starring themselves as cheaply as they can. Eventually the whole community catches on and helps out. The FBI and the city planning commission get involved in things, and whether or not legendary jazz musician Fats Waller was born in the video store plays a large part in the plot.
Thoughts: If that Summary seems disjointed to you, welcome to the club. Parts of this movie play completely differently than the rest of it. The city wanting to tear down the old video store, the owner wanting to modernize it, the crazy success of these crappy remakes, the FBI cracking down on copyright infringement, and the entire story of Fats Waller’s life all play a part in this movie. The bad thing is that Jack Black and Mos Def remaking the movies is the only really good part. The rest is pointless, in my opinion. Maybe the moral of the story was that they united the neighborhood behind these remakes, but I had to read that into the movie, as nothing was explained adequately and the film just kind of fades out without a conclusion.
Overall: Confusing, with some cute.
Summary: This film tells the best guess as to Jane Austen’s early life based on letters and biographies of her life. She grows up poor and looked down upon for wanting to be a writer, but still all of the men want her (causing her to exclaim the excellent line “ARE THERE NO OTHER WOMEN IN HAMPSHIRE?!”)
Thoughts: What is with all the classic UK playwrights and authors being played by Americans in the recent semi-biographical movies? Anne Hathaway brings a decent British accent to this film, but sometimes it comes off like a school play, especially at the beginning but I may have just gotten used to it. Most of the other actors were at least from the UK (James McAvoy from Scotland playing an Irishman was interesting). If I can tell how off these accents are, I can’t imagine what actual British people think! This was even produced by the BBC!
I kind of went off on a tangent there, but I’m back now. The film is beautiful, though it would be very hard to make an ugly movie based in this time period. The plot wasn’t too predicable, as biographies aught to be. Overall, it was nice.
Overall: Nice, but not memorable.