Showing posts with label Rene Russo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rene Russo. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Review: "Nightcrawler" an L.A. Crime Classic

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 14 (of 2016) by Leroy Douresseaux

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

Nightcrawler (2014)
Running time:  118 minutes (1 hour, 58 minutes)
MPAA – R for violence including graphic images, and for language
PRODUCERS:  Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Lancaster, and Michel Litvak
EDITOR:  John Gilroy
COMPOSER:  James Newton Howard
Academy Award nominee


Starring:  Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, Bill Paxton, Kevin Rahm, Ann Cusack, Michael Hyatt, and Price Carson

Nightcrawler is a 2014 neo-Noir drama and crime-thriller from writer-director Dan Gilroy.  Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, the film focuses on a Los Angeles man who enters the world of freelance video journalism and then begins to manipulate events in order to create more lurid stories.

Nightcrawler opens in Los Angeles.  It introduces Louis “Lou” Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), a thief always looking to convert his stolen merchandise into quick cash.  One night, Bloom is driving back to his apartment when he comes across the scene of a car crash.  He pulls over to witness the chaos, but most of his attention is taken by the “Stringers,” freelance cameramen who are filming live footage of the crash scene with the intent of selling that video footage to local television news stations.

Fascinated and inspired, Bloom buys his first camcorder and a police radio scanner and begins driving the streets of L.A. at night.  He looks for accidents, emergencies, and crime scenes that he can film.  He makes his first sale to KWLA, a bottom-rung television station, where he catches the notice of the station's morning news director, Nina Romina (Rene Russo).  As he muscles his way into the world of L.A. crime journalism, however, Bloom's dark side quickly emerges.

On the surface, Nightcrawler might seem like it is only a slick crime film, especially because of Robert Elswit's gorgeous cinematography.  What writer-director Dan Gilroy also offers, however, is a mean, edgy film that is classic L.A. crime story.  This film is high-quality neo-Noir that recaptures the classic, black and white L.A. Film-Noir, without being a prisoner to style and expectations.

Nightcrawler might not be the excellent film it is without Jake Gyllenhaal's marvelous performance as the sociopathic and murderously ambitious Lou Bloom.  It is now official; doubting that Gyllenhaal is a supremely talented and skilled actor is no longer okay.  I must also throw some cheer Rene Russo's way.  Hell, yeah, she's good, but Hollywood industry ageism now keeps her away from audiences.  She takes a throwaway character like Nina and makes her crucial to the execution of the narrative.  Also, I must not forget Riz Ahmed.  As Rick, Bloom's desperate-for-money assistant, Ahmed delivers a star-turn that just comes out of nowhere.

It might be easy to focus on Louis Bloom's sociopathic tendencies; one might call him an outright sociopath.  However, I think Nightcrawler speaks to the world that creates the Lou Blooms.  The world of L.A. local television news is little better than rogue capitalism.  The movie is rife with characters that are me-first and win-at-all-costs, to say nothing of the anal obsession with acknowledging achievement that comes from literally walking over dead bodies.

Nightcrawler is not perfect; some of it seems a bit far-fetched.  Louis Bloom gets away with things that stretch credulity, although I won't be specific in order to avoid spoilers.  Still, I was destined to like Nightcrawler because I like neo-Noir set in Los Angeles.  I think that what makes Nightcrawler so fascinating to watch are the things that sometimes make it hard to watch.  Dan Gilroy's gem is blunt about a morally bankrupt society in which class status is everything and in which society treats actual people as nothing more than commodities.

8 of 10

Saturday, February 6, 2016

2015 Academy Awards, USA:  1 nomination: “Best Writing, Original Screenplay” (Dan Gilroy)

2015 BAFTA Awards:  4 nominations: “Best Leading Actor” (Jake Gyllenhaal), “Best Supporting Actress” (Rene Russo), “Best Editing” (John Gilroy), and “Best Original Screenplay” (Dan Gilroy)

2015 Golden Globes, USA:  1 nomination: “Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama” (Jake Gyllenhaal)

The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

San Diego Film Critics Pick "Nightcrawler" as Best Film of 2014

The members of the San Diego Film Critics Society write and/or broadcast for a San Diego County based outlet.  The society’s mission statement is “to provide diverse critical opinion about movies, advance film education and awareness, and recognize excellence in cinema.”

2014 San Diego Film Critics Award winners were announced Monday, December 15, 2014.

San Diego Film Critics Society Top Films of 2014:



Jake Gyllenhaal, NIGHTCRAWLER

Marion Cotillard, TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT

Mark Ruffalo, FOXCATCHER



Gillian Flynn, GONE GIRL





James Herbert, Laura Jennings, EDGE OF TOMORROW

Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pincock, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

James Newton Howard, NIGHTCRAWLER




Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"The Intern" Begins Filming in New York with De Niro and Hathaway

It’s the First Day of Work for “The Intern”

Oscar winners Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway Star Under the Direction of Nancy Meyers

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Academy Award winners Robert De Niro (“Raging Bull,” “Silver Linings Playbook”) and Anne Hathaway (“Les Misérables,” “The Devil Wears Prada”) star together in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “The Intern,” which began filming today in New York. Oscar-nominated and award-winning filmmaker Nancy Meyers (“It’s Complicated,” “Something’s Gotta Give,” “Private Benjamin”) is directing the comedy from her own screenplay.

Meyers is also producing the film, together with Scott Rudin and Suzanne Farwell. Celia Costas is serving as executive producer.

The film’s multi-generational cast also features Rene Russo (“Thor”), Andrew Rannells (“Girls”), Adam DeVine (“Pitch Perfect”), Nat Wolff (“The Fault in Our Stars”), Anders Holm (“Workaholics”), Linda Lavin (“Wanderlust”), Zack Pearlman (“The Inbetweeners”), Reid Scott (“Veep”), newcomer Jason Orley, and Christina Scherer (“Living with Uncle Charlie”).

In “The Intern,” De Niro stars as Ben Whittaker, a 70-year-old widower who has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin (Hathaway).

Meyers’ behind-the-scenes creative team is headed by Oscar-nominated director of photography Stephen Goldblatt (“The Prince of Tides,” “The Help”), Oscar-nominated production designer Kristi Zea (“Revolutionary Road,” “GoodFellas,” “Tower Heist”), Oscar-nominated editor Bob Leighton (“A Few Good Men,” “Now You See Me”) and costume designer Jacqueline Demeterio (“The Other Woman,” “The Big C”).

“The Intern” is being filmed entirely in and around New York City.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Review: "Thor: The Dark World" Improves on First Movie

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 80 (of 2013) by Leroy Douresseaux

Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Running time:  112 minutes (1 hour, 52 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content
DIRECTOR:  Alan Taylor
WRITERS: Christopher L. Yost, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely; from a story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat (based on the comic book and characters created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby)
PRODUCERS:  Kevin Feige p.g.a
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Kramer Morgenthau (D.o.P.)
EDITORS:  Dan Lebental and Wyatt Smith
COMPOSER:  Brian Tyler


Starring:  Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jaimie Alexander, Zachary Levi, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Jonathan Howard, Chris O’Dowd, Clive Russell, Alice Krige, Stan Lee, and Rene Russo with (no screen credit) Chris Evans and Benecio Del Toro

Thor: The Dark World is a 2013 superhero movie from Marvel Studios.  It is a sequel to the 2011 film, Thor, and follows the 2012 film, Marvel’s The Avengers.  Thor is a Marvel Comics character that first appeared in the comic book, Journey into Mystery #83 (cover dated August 1962).  Created by artist Jack Kirby and writers (and siblings) Stan Lee and Larry Leiber, Thor is based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name.

In Thor: The Dark World, Thor finds himself facing a powerful enemy and is forced to embark on a perilous journey to the enemy’s ruined home world.  After The Avengers, I consider Thor: The Dark World to be the best film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (which currently includes eight films).  Like The Avengers, The Dark World is filled with the kind of big action scenes and battles between super-powered beings that are true to the spirit of superhero comic books.

Thor: The Dark World begins with a story.  Once upon a time (eons ago, in fact), Bor, the father of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), clashed with and defeated the Dark Elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), who sought to destroy the universe by using a weapon known as the Aether.  Now, Malekith is back.  He plans to use Aether during an upcoming event called the Convergence, a rare alignment of the Nine Realms, to destroy this universe.

Malekith and his Dark Elves prove to be quite successful at attacking Asgard, home of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Norse gods.  Thor is forced to seek the help of his imprisoned brother and enemy, Loki (Tom Hiddleston).  Meanwhile, astrophysicist Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), Thor’s love interest, accidentally makes herself the object of Malekith’s attention.  With time running out, Thor and his allies are forced to make their last stand against Malekith in London, England.

Some 30 years ago, Stephen King, in an interview he gave to Time Magazine or Newsweek, compared his novels to either the “Big Mac” or McDonald’s menu items in general.  Marvel Studio’s films are meant to be pleasing like popular fast foot items, such as the “Big Mac,” but they are not necessarily some fast food product meant for quick consumption.  Marvel certainly wants to entertain, but high-stakes movie production means that you have to do more than create disposable entertainment.

Marvel uses modern movie technology, especially computer-generated imagery, to create worlds, creatures, and battles that, once upon a time, could only have been visualized in superhero comic books.  Thor’s battles with Malekith are a fanboy delight of ballet and destruction, but not in that overdone, desperate way that The Man of Steel did super-powered battles.  Thor: The Dark World left me wanting more battles.

Another thing that Thor: The Dark World does well is personal conflict.  There is not a moment when Thor and Loki’s rivalry and abhorrence for one another do not feel real.  Loki’s lust for revenge, his dishonesty, and the fact that it is hard to tell if he has any good feelings for anyone are the things that make the discord in the House of Odin as riveting as hot soap opera melodrama.  Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Tom Hiddleston as Loki give good, convincing performances that help the Thor-Loki feud and union carry this movie to its meat-and-potatoes final act – the big battle between Thor and Malekith.

Kudos to Natalie Portman and the filmmakers for making Jane Foster a real character in this film, that is necessary to the resolution, instead of being another action movie female appendage.  Of course, Anthony Hopkins throws it down for real, being a great actor, and giving this pop movie concoction the same effort he would to a “serious art movie” or stage drama.  Thor: The Dark World is successful in ways that the Marvel Studios movies, which focus on a single character, have not quite been since the first Iron Man movie back in 2008.  I hope the next Thor or Marvel movie is like Thor: The Dark World.

7 of 10

Monday, December 02, 2013

The text is copyright © 2013 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review: "Get Shorty" Still Stands Tall (Happy B'day, John Travolta)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 48 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux

Get Shorty (1995)
Running time: 105 minutes (1 hour, 45 minutes)
MPAA – R for language and some violence
DIRECTOR: Barry Sonnenfeld
WRITER: Scott Frank (based upon the novel by Elmore Leonard)
PRODUCERS: Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg, and Stacey Sher
EDITOR: Jim Miller
Golden Globe winner

CRIME/COMEDY with elements of drama

Starring: John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, Danny DeVito, Dennis Farina, Delroy Lindo, James Gandolfini, Jon Gries, David Paymer, Renee Props, Martin Ferrero, Miguel Sandoval, and Jacob Vargas with (uncredited) Bette Midler, Harvey Keitel, and Penny Marshall

Get Shorty is a 1995 crime comedy starring John Travolta. The film is based upon the 1990 novel, Get Shorty, by Elmore Leonard.

Ten years later, Get Shorty, is still as slick and as cool as it was the day it debuted. Although it’s 2005 sequel, Be Cool, is filled with hilarious characters and situations, Get Shorty emphasized polished filmmaking, laid back acting, and subtle comedy to make it more of a humorous comedy than the riotous laugh fest its sequel is. Get Shorty fits right in with several other adult crime films from the mid to late 90’s because it doesn’t pretend to be for everyone, so it didn’t pander to juveniles and those with juvenile mindsets. With an emphasis on sharp writing, adult situations, engaging characters, snappy dialogue, and non-gratuitous violence, these films, which included The Negotiator, Jackie Brown, and Out of Sight, were a welcomed treat for adult viewers.

In Las Vegas to collect a debt for his boss, Ray “Bones” Barboni, Chili Palmer (John Travolta), a cool Miami loan shark/shylock, agrees to collect another bad debt, this one from trash movie producer Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman) in Los Angeles. Zimm gets lucky because Chili is a movie buff and pitches a movie idea to Zimm. They become partners and Chili easily slips into the life of a film producer. He schmoozes stars, gets reservations to all the best restaurants, and romances B-movie scream queen, Karen Flores (Rene Russo). Chili however isn’t the only mobster who wants in on the movie business. Harry Zimm owes another shady lender, Bo Catlett (Delroy Lindo), money, and Catlett wants to force his way in on a deal for a hot script Zimm has. Add Catlett to a mix of angry drug dealers, relentless DEA agents, vain movie star Martin Weir (Danny DeVito), double and triple crossing, and Ray Bones showing up in town looking for him, and Chili will need to use all his wiles to get his way.

In Get Shorty, the cast members use their star power and screen personas to add zest to these characters that were born in the mind of Elmore Leonard, a novelist who creates memorable characters for his numerous novels. Director Barry Sonnenfeld gives the film an easy mood, and allows his cast to give performances that crackle. John Travolta embodies that don’t-give-a-shit attitude of confident thug. Gene Hackman is funny, sly, and adds subtle touches that make Harry Zimm zing.

In the final analysis, the film does come across as too glossy. It rushes to a tacked-on happy ending, and the characters beg to be better known or more developed. It’s because the cast make these stock characters as flavorful as they are in Leonard’s novels (although in smaller servings) that Get Shorty is still such fun to watch.

8 of 10

1996 Golden Globes: 1 win: “Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical” (John Travolta); 2 nominations: “Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical” and “Best Screenplay - Motion Picture” (Scott Frank)

April 3, 2005


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Review: Chris Hemsworth Brings Thunder to "Thor"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 39 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

Thor (2011)
Running time: 114 minutes (1 hour, 54 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence
DIRECTOR: Kenneth Branagh
WRITERS: Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz and Don Payne; from a story by J. Michael Straczynski and Mark Protosevich (based on the comic book and characters created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby)
PRODUCER: Kevin Feige
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Haris Zambarloukos (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Paul Rubell
COMPOSER: Patrick Doyle


Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Colm Feore, Ray Stevenson, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Jaimie Alexander, Josh Dallas, Tadanobu Asano, and Clark Gregg with Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins

Thor is a new superhero movie from Marvel Studios. Thor is an unusual character because, while he has many of the characteristics of a superhero (super powers, a costume, an occasional secret identity), he is also based on a mythological deity once worshipped as a god in the real world. This makes for a superhero movie that doesn’t look or really act like other superhero movies, but that does not stop Thor from turning out to be as fun to watch as the best superhero flicks.

Thor the movie stars the Marvel Comics character, Thor, who first appeared in the comic book, Journey into Mystery #83 (cover dated August 1962). Created by artist Jack Kirby and writers, Stan Lee and Larry Leiber (who are also siblings), Thor is based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name.

Thor begins in the mystical realm of Asgard, where Odin (Anthony Hopkins), the King of Asgard, is choosing which of his two sons, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston), will become the next king. Thor seems destined to be the next king, but his arrogant, hot-tempered ways get him into trouble. The source of his powers is the mighty hammer, Mjolnir.

As Thor prepares to ascend to the throne, Asgard’s ancient enemies, the Frost Giants, sneak into Asgard to steal an ancient Frost Giants relic taken ages ago by Odin. Enraged by this attack, Thor leads an attack on Jotunheim, the Frost Giants realm, which destroys the fragile truce between Asgard and the Frost Giants. As punishment, Odin strips Thor of his title and powers and banishes him to Earth. Odin also sends Mjolnir to Earth, but he puts a spell on the hammer that will only allow the worthy to wield it.

Thor lands in New Mexico, where he meets scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), her mentor, Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård), and Jane’s assistant, Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings). They befriend Thor, and although she is initially wary of him, Jane begins to be fascinated by the strapping young mystery man. Meanwhile, Thor and Mjolnir have captured the attention of the shadowy government organization, S.H.I.E.L.D., and a plot inside the House of Odin threatens the entire realm of Asgard and the lives of Odin and Thor. As the darkest forces of Asgard invade Earth, Thor must learn to be a true hero.

Most of Thor seems like some kind of mash-up of such fantasy action movies as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Excalibur, and the original Clash of the Titans, especially the parts of the story that take place in Asgard and Jotunheim. Director Kenneth Branagh, who is known for making film adaptations of the plays of William Shakespeare, gives the Asgardian royal melodrama at the heart of this movie’s story, a Shakespearean accent. Like Lord of the Rings, Thor is about action and epic battles. Branagh may have a knack for getting character drama from his actors, but he also knows how to make a superhero movie that screams, howls, and breaks things just like the Iron Man and Hulk movies.

Ultimately, I think what Thor has best going for it is actor Chris Hemsworth. Sculpted like an NFL athlete with the muscle definition of a male model, Hemsworth has the body to be an action movie star. With a twinkle in his eyes, Hemsworth has the style to be a charming rogue in many romantic films. It is the charisma and self-assuredness that make Hemsworth a rising star. Several times while watching Thor, I thought that much of this movie was preposterous, that too much of it was contrived, and that just enough of it was dull, slow, and/or clunky to ruin the movie.

Then, Hemsworth pops up on the screen, and he makes everything seem right. My mind says, “Yeah, this all makes sense. This is certainly one slam-bang superhero movie.” The special effects in Thor are excellent and are certainly worthy of an Oscar nomination. The production values are high, from costumes to sets. There are some good performances, especially in the supporting roles: Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Tom Hiddleston bringing textures and layers to Loki, and Idris Elba, sparkling and witty in the now-you-see him, now-you-don’t role of Heimdall. But Thor is Hemsworth, and Hemsworth is Thor, and Hemsworth’s broad back and shoulders carry this movie to victory.

7 of 10

Sunday, May 08, 2011


Thursday, May 5, 2011

About This Movie: THOR

Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment Present
A Marvel Studios Production
A Kenneth Branagh Film


Co‐Producers: Craig Kyle Victoria Alonso
Executive Producers: Alan Fine Stan Lee David Maisel Patricia Whitcher Louis D’Esposito
Produced by Kevin Feige
Story by J. Michael Straczynski and Mark Protosevich
Screenplay by Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz and Don Payne
Directed by Kenneth Branagh

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Colm Feore, Ray Stevenson, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Jaimie Alexander, Josh Dallas, Tadanobu Asano, Clark Gregg, with Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins as Odin

The epic adventure THOR spans the Marvel Universe from present day Earth to the mystical realm of Asgard. At the center of the story is The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. As a result, Thor is banished to Earth where he is forced to live among humans. When the most dangerous villain of his world sends its darkest forces to invade Earth, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero.

Release: May 6, 2011

THOR has been rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence

Thor by Walter Simonson Omnibus

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Review: "Yours, Mine & Ours" is a Fun Family Film

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 183 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux

Yours, Mine & Ours (2005)
Opening date: Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Running time: 88 minutes (1 hour, 28 minutes)
MPAA – PG for some material may not be suitable for children
DIRECTOR: Raja Gosnell
WRITERS: Ron Burch & David Kidd (based upon the 1968 motion picture screenplay by Melville Shaveson and Mort Lachlan from a story by Madelyn Davis and Bob Carroll Jr.)
PRODUCERS: Robert Simons and Michael Nathanson
EDITORS: Stephen A. Rotter and Bruce Green, A.C.E.

COMEDY/FAMILY with elements of romance

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Rene Russo, Rip Torn, Jerry O’Connell, David Koechner, and Linda Hunt

One evening, while he is in the middle of an unpleasant date, Frank Beardsley (Dennis Quaid), a widow, runs into his old high school sweetheart, Helen North (Rene Russo), and it’s as if the thirty years since they last saw each other never passed. Helen, a widow, also feels the attraction and can’t wait to meet Frank again, which they do at a high school reunion cruise. They rush into marriage, but they don’t tell their kids…

Frank has eight children: four-year old Ethan (Ty Panitz), six-year old twin boys Otter (Briger Palmer) and Ely (Brecken Palmer), eight-year old Kelly (Haley Ramm), 10-year old Harry (Dean Collins), 12-year old Michael (Tyler Patrick Jones), 16-year old Christina (Katija Pevec), and 17-year old William (Sean Faris).

Helen has 10 children – four she had with her late husband and six they adopted: four-year old Aldo (Nicholas Roget-King), eight-year old twins Marisa (Jessica Habib) and Bina (Jennifer Habib), nine-year old Lau (Andrew Vo), 10-year old Joni (Miranda Cosgrove), 11-year old Jimi (Lil’ JJ), 12-year old Mick (Slade Pearce), 14-year old Naoko (Miki Iskikawa), 16-year old Dylan (Drake Bell), and 17-year old Phoebe (Danielle Panabaker).

But maybe love can’t conquer all. The two families don’t mesh quite as easily as Frank and Helen had hoped. Frank, a Coast Guard Admiral, is a by-the-book disciplinarian, but the free-spirited Helen has no “book” and believes that the home is a place for free expression, not military style discipline. The children are always at odds. Helen’s brood aren’t pleased about moving or sharing rooms with a bunch of uptight strangers, and Frank’s offspring have nothing in common with the unruly and strange pack of kids their father’s new wife brings into their lives.

On the other hand, both sets of children realize that they have a common goal – breaking up their parents’ marriage, so they band together to create the kind of chaos that causes confusion between a couple with different parenting styles. As the kids succeed in their plot, they also realize that they really like each other in spite of their differences. Now, they have repair the bond between Helen and Frank that they broke, but are Helen and Frank still interested in being a couple.

The box office success of 2003’s Cheaper by the Dozen, the remake of a 1950’s film about a father managing a large pack of children, probably encouraged Paramount Pictures and MGM to remake another film about parents struggling to manage a large number of offspring. Thus, we have Yours, Mine & Ours, the remake of a 1968 film. This 2005 version of Yours, Mine & Ours isn’t as good as the Cheaper by the Dozen remake. For one thing, the acting by the leads playing the parents, Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo, two talented actors with a deft touch at comedy, waffles between listless and over done. Quaid has his moments when his talent shines through this murky material, but Russo delivers a surprisingly mediocre turn in a role she should sleepwalk through, or may be she did sleepwalk through it.

Also, 18 child and teen actors can’t get the screen time that even 12 can get, so none of young cast gets a chance to give his or her character personality. The script for the 2003 Cheaper by the Dozen gave the actors playing two of the older children (Tom Welling and Hilary Duff) a chance to bond with the parents (played by Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt), which gave the comedy some emotional resonance. Here, the script lumps the older kids in completely with the younger ones. The film would have more dramatic resonance if the older ones could be seen as a bridge between what the parents want and what the kids want. This doesn’t happen until the very end, and it comes across as a tacked on happy ending.

Still, Yours, Mine & Ours has some truly funny moments. It’s a silly and fun family flick for parents with ‘tweens and younger. The adult actors give the film some credibility, and director Raja Gosnell (Big Momma’s House and the Scooby Doo movies) keeps the pace fast, only slowing down for some romantic scenes between Quaid and Russo. It’s all too fast for us to stop and examine the numerous cracks in this picture and just fast enough to keep the easy laughs coming. Yours, Mine & Ours is chock full of predictable moments, and the audience can see the punch line the moment any particular joke or gag begins, but it’s all still funny.

5 of 10

Wednesday, December 21, 2005