Wednesday, August 16, 2017
”THE UGLY TRUTH” (2009) Review
Romantic comedies – at least those I have personally found entertaining – have become increasingly difficult to come across in the past decade or two. In fact, I can honestly say that I can count at least five or six romantic comedies that I have truly liked during this period. And recently, ”THE UGLY TRUTH” became one of them.
Directed by Robert Luketic, ”THE UGLY TRUTH’ told the story of Abby Ritcher, a romantically challenged producer of a television morning show named with slowly declining rating. In an effort to boost ratings, her manager hires a cynical and slightly crass television personality named Mike Chadway, who gives seemingly chauvinist comments about love and marriage to boost ratings. The two commence upon a rocky relationship. But when Abby falls for her next door neighbor, a handsome doctor named Colin, Mike persuades her to follow his lead. She agrees to his helpful advice and if he can get her the man she wants, proving his theories on relationships she will work happily with him. But if Mike fails, he agrees to quit.
I might as well put my cards on the table. I really did not expect ”THE UGLY TRUTH” to be entertaining. But much to my surprise, it was. And most of the entertainment came from the screen chemistry that generated between Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler. On screen, the pair was a basket of firecrackers, as they traded barbs, looks and kisses between each other. Heigl gave a deliciously funny performance as the uptight Abby, who stubbornly refuses to give up her ideal views on romance and especially in what she construed as the perfect man. And Butler was a hoot as the cynical, crass and yet witty Mike, whose views on romance and both genders came off as refreshingly honest.
Both Heigl and Butler were ably supported by a solid cast. Cheryl Hines and John Michael Higgins were hilarious as Georgia and Larry, the married co-anchors of Abby’s morning show, whose marriage was saved by some blunt advice given by Mike. Bree Turner gave a sly performance a Abby’s assistant, Joy, who lived vicariously through Abby and immediately sensed the chemistry between the latter and Mike. Nick Searcy provided stability to the cast as Abby’s no-nonsense manager, Stuart, whose decision to hire Mike would change Abby’s life. The only bad apple in the bunch came from Eric Winter’s performance as Colin, the object of Abby’s desire. Let me be clear . . . Winter did not give a bad performance. He simply had the bad luck to be saddled with a dull and one-dimensional role created by the screenwriters.
Robert Luketic did an excellent job of not only generating hilarious and first-rate performances from his cast. He also did justice to the screenplay written by Karen McCullah Lutz, Kirsten Smith and Nicole Eastman. And I must commend the screenwriters for creating a hilarious and entertaining romance. But I am also amazed that three female writers managed to avoid indulging in constant male bashing jokes (I said constant, for there were a few) and reveal that both men and women are guilty of bringing their own particular baggage to relationships. As I had stated earlier, their only misstep was the creation of the Colin character. Surely they could have created a more interesting rival for Abby’s heart.
Most critics gave ”THE UGLY TRUTH” mixed reviews. Some claimed that Heigl and Butler had no chemistry. Others claimed that Lutz, Smith and Eastman’s screenplay did not live up to the leads’ talent. They are entitled to their opinions. But I prefer to form opinions of movies on my own. And as far as I am concerned, I found ”THE UGLY TRUTH”- especially Heigl and Butler’s performances – to be very entertaining.
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Below are images from "FAST AND FURIOUS 6", the sixth entry in the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise. Directed by Justin Lin, the movie stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Luke Evans and Michelle Rodriguez:
"FAST AND FURIOUS 6" (2013) Photo Gallery
Thursday, August 3, 2017
Below is a list of my favorite movies set in the decade of the 1950s:
FAVORITE FILMS SET IN THE 1950s
1. L.A. Confidential (1997) - Curtis Hanson directed this outstanding adaptation of James Ellroy's 1990 novel about three Los Angeles police detectives drawn into a case involving a diner massacre. Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pierce and Oscar winner Kim Basinger starred.
2. "Grease" (1978) - John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John starred in this entertaining adaptation of the 1971 Broadway musical about a pair of teenage star-crossed lovers in the 1950s. Randal Kleiser directed.
3. "The Godfather, Part II" (1974) - Francis Ford Coppola directed his Oscar winning sequel to the 1972 Oscar winning adaptation of Mario Puzo's 1969 novel. Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Robert Duvall and Oscar winner Robert De Niro starred.
4. "Quiz Show" (1994) - Robert Redford directed this intriguing adaptation of Richard Goodwin's 1968 memoir, "Remembering America: A Voice From the Sixties", about the game show scandals of the late 1950s. Ralph Fiennes, Rob Morrow and John Tuturro starred.
5. "The Mirror Crack'd (1980) - Angela Landsbury starred as Miss Jane Marple in this adaptation of Agatha Christie's 1962 novel. Directed by Guy Hamilton, the movie also starred Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and Edward Fox.
6. "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls" (2008) - Harrison Ford returned for the fourth time as Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones in this adventurous tale in which he is drawn into the search for artifacts known as the Crystal Skulls. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the movie was produced by him and George Lucas.
7. "Champagne For One: A Nero Wolfe Mystery (2001)" - Timothy Hutton and Maury Chaykin starred as Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe in this television adaptation of Rex Stout's 1958 novel. The two-part movie was part of A&E Channel's "A NERO WOLFE MYSTERY" series.
8. "Hollywoodland" (2006) - Adrien Brody, Diane Lane and Ben Affleck starred in this intriguing tale about a private detective's investigation into the life and death of actor George Reeves. Allen Coulter directed.
9. "My Week With Marilyn" (2011) - Oscar nominee Michelle Williams starred as Marilyn Monroe in this adaptation of Colin Clark's two books about his brief relationship with the actress. Directed by Simon Curtis, the movie co-starred Oscar nominee Kenneth Branagh and Eddie Redmayne as Clark.
10. "Boycott" (2001) - Jeffrey Wright starred as Dr. Martin Luther King in this television adaptation of Stewart Burns' book, "Daybreak of Freedom", about the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott. Directed by Clark Johnson, the movie co-starred Terrence Howard and C.C.H. Pounder.
Honorable Mention: "Mulholland Falls" (1996) - Nick Nolte starred in this entertaining noir drama about a married Los Angeles Police detective investigating the murder of a high-priced prostitute, with whom he had an affair. The movie was directed by Lee Tamahori.