Read quick reviews and get links to the full TSR reviews below.
Directed by: Garry Marshall Cast: Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Ashton Kutcher, Jennifer Garner, Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway, Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Patrick Dempsey, Eric Dane, Shirley MacClaine, Hector Elizondo, Emma Roberts, Taylor Lautner, Taylor Swift, Carter Jenkins, Bryce Robinson, George Lopez Running Time: 2 hrs 2 mins Rating: PG-13
It’s been one day since I have seen Valentine’s Day, and I can already feel it slipping away. It will be forgotten. It’s impossible not to think of Love Actually when watching this film. After all, I think it was inspired by that film. If that’s the case, they should have paid more attention. Love Actually has a little kid who can act, characters you care about, and endings that leave you with an emotional impact. Valentine’s Day operates by the theory “more famous people, less story”. With Marshall directing, he seems stuck in 70s sitcom land. Everything gets foreshadowed to death. Plus, can we officially decide that watching people read text messages in movies is something that needs to die a quick death?
Love Actually is sugar. Valentine’s Day is corn syrup. Unfortunately, there are many people who can’t tell the difference.
FINAL SCORE: 5/10
Directed by: Tom Vaughan Cast: Brendan Fraser, Harrison Ford, Keri Russell, Meredith Droeger Running Time: 1 hr 50 mins Rating: PG Release Date: January 22, 2010
This is a made for TV movie. This is also the best made for TV movie I have seen in recent memory. I probably wouldn’t have given it the time of day if Extraordinary Measures would have premiered on Lifetime or was the Hallmark Movie of the Week. So, I’m glad it was in the theater. I had certain expectations heading in. One was that it would be good to see Ford doing something slightly different. That ended up being wrong, and I’m as shocked as you that I liked Fraser’s performance as much as I did. The middle of the film does drag a little with us getting stuck watching Dr. Stonehill complain and throw little tantrums. Look, your film is “inspired by true events,” you’re allowed make Stonehill more interesting. The other expectation was, I was expecting to cry and that was correct. On three different occasions it got a little misty for me. Heck, one even happened during the opening credits. I just wish we could have seen a little more family dynamic, and the heart tugging could have been increased to one every 20 minutes. But as far as TV movies go, this one is a winner. It’s just weird we’re seeing it on the big screen.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10
Directed by: Oren Moverman Cast: Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton Running Time: 1 hr 45 min Rating: R Release Date: December 4, 2009
I get teased a lot by the other scorecard reviewers (mostly Bayer) for either hating a movie with an unhealthy intensity, or loving it so much, I can’t see the forest through the trees. That being said, I’m not backing down from this one. Is it possible that I’ll talk it up too much and then someone will feel let down by a movie that is, at its heart, a subtly brilliant slice of life? Surely, but I don’t really care. I thought this about No Country for Old Men, but I have yet to say it out loud. So here goes: if you don’t like this movie, you’re an idiot. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just means you’re not a functional or useful member of our society. I hope that doesn’t come off as too judgmental.
FINAL SCORE: 10/10
Directed by: Clint Eastwood Cast: Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon Running Time: 2 hrs 13 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: December 11, 2009
I feel like a dick. Eastwood is a legend. Who doesn’t love Morgan Freeman? Pound for pound, Matt Damon is my favorite, most consistent actor out there today. And this is the real life story about Nelson Mandela dealing with the awful aftermath of apartheid-torn land South Africa. I’d love to say this movie caught me on a bad week. But I saw 15 movies during this week, and never felt burned out on being entertained or inspired. And I’m a sucker for sports flicks.
Even though it seems like everything should be at stake, it feels like we are watching Mr. Rogers run a country. Freeman’s Mandela smiles politely and wants everyone to be his neighbor. While that may be real, Eastwood never makes it seem interesting. “One Team One Country” inspired the people of South Africa, and brought them together quicker than probably anyone thought possible. For those that say this is more than a sports movie, I would counter with it’s a bad sports movie, so it better be more. They spend so much time with the team, but we never really know them, know why they improve, or how they possibly compete against the best of the best.
FINAL SCORE: 5/10