Tag Archives: Leslie Mann

Review: The Bling Ring

The_Bling_Ring_Poster“The Bling Ring” isn’t as slick as “Spring Breakers,” but it benefits from a boost in credibility courtesy of its outrageous factual source material.

Being the new kid at school isn’t much fun for Marc (Israel Broussard) until he crosses paths with Rebecca (Katie Chang). She immediately takes him under her wing, introducing him to her friends, bringing him to parties, and giving him something he’s always craved, a true best friend, so when Rebecca suggests they sneak into Paris Hilton’s house while she’s away, Marc follows right behind. What starts out as innocent albeit very illegal fun turns into a risky habit, Marc, Rebecca, and their friends Nicki, Sam, and Chloe (Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga, Claire Julien) returning to Hilton’s home and “shopping” at Orlando Bloom, Rachel Bilson, Lindsay Lohan, Megan Fox, and Audrina Patridge’s places, too, ultimately accumulating over $3 million in stolen high-end goods.

Just like the Bling Ring’s obsession with celebrity culture, and the world’s for that matter, the concept of a group of kids breaking into A-listers’ homes, enjoying a grand tour, sorting through their personal property and taking what they want has a reprehensible charm to it. Trouble is, if you walk into “The Bling Ring” blind, the introductory material might not be engaging enough to carry you through to the action.

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Review: This Is 40

This-Is-40-PosterApparently dull jokes, a bloated running time and a lack of proper pacing can be somewhat remedied by a charmingly honest representation of a dysfunctional family.

Debbie (Leslie Mann) is turning 40 and she isn’t happy about it. The easy fix? Have your husband top your birthday cake with a 3 and an 8 candle, give your doctor a later birth year and call it a day. However, even with her age issue out of the way, Debbie is still plagued by a number of other predicaments. She’s afraid her relationship with her husband, Pete (Paul Rudd), is losing steam, her children are consumed by their iEverythings, Pete’s record label hit a rough patch, someone is stealing from her clothing store and, despite their situation, Pete’s father is still mooching off their finances. It ain’t easy being 40.

That synopsis reveals one of “This Is 40’s” biggest problems – it doesn’t really have a through line. Rather than have a clear problem to solve or a finish line to reach, Debbie and Pete encounter dozens of little issues that are sloppily stitched together by the fact that they’re both turning 40. Some of these subsections are quite amusing, but overall, at a running time of 134 minutes, the lack of a build makes patience fade fast.

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Review: ParaNorman

As a sucker for animated movies and horror films, hopes were high for “ParaNorman.” While the experience was primarily satisfying, those with a pension for horror suspecting this might bear a creep factor similar to “Coraline” beware; “ParaNorman” does boast downright incredible visuals, an engaging plot, charming characters and more, but it’s also quite juvenile.

Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) isn’t the most popular kid at school. It isn’t because he’s a nerd, isn’t a jock or even because he’s in a lame school club; Norman’s an outcast because he talks to the dead. While many folks pass away and make a B-line to the other side, those with unfinished business, like Norman’s grandmother (Elaine Stritch), hang around.

When Norman starts to have even stranger otherworldly visions, he comes to learn that it’s because the anniversary of the witch’s death is on the horizon. His uncle Prenderghast (John Goodman) tells him that if someone doesn’t go to her grave and read from a particular book, the curse will come true. With the help of his sister Courtney (Anna Kendrick), buddy Neil (Tucker Albrizzi), Neil’s big brother Mitch (Casey Affleck), and Norman’s schoolyard nemesis Alvin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Norman sets out to send a group of zombies back to their graves and put an end to this 300 year old curse for good.

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