27 Dresses (Comedy/Romance)
Great chick-flick with a surprising amount of depth. Interesting love angle. Remains light-hearted, albeit full of expected tensions and resolutions. Katherine Heigl, from "Grey's Anatomy" is great in it and it's funny to see her portrayed as the plain sister (ha) to the appropriately hot and bitchy Malin Akerman (from "The Heartbreak Kid"). Ed Burns is Heigl's original love interest (and who doesn't love that raspy voice with shoulders you can hang onto - yum), but James Marsden sneaks up with his own romantic intentions (he's charming, sarcastic and experiencing his own healing process during the movie). Judy Greer plays an excellent set-you-straight best friend who doesn't mince words. Good movie. Plus, a closet full of bridesmaid dresses??? You gotta see that.
Lars and the Real Girl (Dramedy)
What would appear as a lighthearted silly story - a lonely guy who orders the perfect girl (doll!) from the Internet and totes her around as his fake girlfriend - is really a very interesting look at Delusional Disorder and how a family copes with mental illness/dealing with grief. Don't be fooled: it's funny and sweet but also sad and complicated, a real family drama. Absolutely worth watching - one of the most interesting movies I've seen in a long time. Lars (Ryan Gosling) lives in the garage of his brother (the wonderful and attractive Paul Schneider who had me rolling on the floor laughing in "Elizabethtown") and sister-in-law (the incredible, sweet and emotional Emily Mortimer**). This story explores loss, grief, motherlessness, love, relationships, family, what it means to be healthy, communication, loyalty and responsibility, the concept of a welcoming town, and psychotherapy. The dr/therapist is incredible and her approach is so subtle, so perfectly timed. The town welcomes this would-otherwise-be freak, Lars, and their reactions to the doll, Bianca (!), are strikingly moving. You really gotta see this redemptive movie.
I think I may have reviewed this movie before, but if not, this is a must-see. Keri Russell (who shone in the TV show "Felicity" and the recent wonderful movie "August Rush") is brilliant in this quirky, off-beat love story. Reminiscent of the style of "Punch Drunk Love" and the TV show "Pushing Daisies," this movie mixes drama with humor. Keri Russell's character makes these fantastic pies to explain her emotions, like the "I am so sick of feeling this way blackberry pie." This is a must-see for anyone who loves a real-life, messy, endearing and unusual love story.
This movie details the interesting life and coming-of-age of a jockey, and his horse, Seabiscuit. With all the requisite, lovely horse scenes - think "Black Beauty" and "The Horse Whisperer" - this really is a movie about the persons involved. Tobey Maguire plays the hard-on-his-luck jockey and Jeff Bridges, as always, makes an amazing character out of the horse's owner. The horse trainer, expertly played by Chris Cooper, adds to the depth of this redemption story. It's a horse-wins-by-a-nose story, yes, but it also explores relationships, how people create family, and believing in the ability to succeed beyond all odds. There are some surprising plot twists and a few unanswered questions. And some beautiful scenes of horses racing, plus an incredible sound of hoofs beating that you will never get out of your mind. Beautiful and well done.
Mr. Brooks (Suspense/Thriller)
This is a serial-killer film about a man who has the thirst for killing. It is subtly played and really well written, without too much blood and gore but with insight into the mind of a serial killer. Starring Kevin Costner, who is surprisingly creepy, this is clearly the first in a series of films...the end leaves you hanging just enough for a sequel. Costner ends up with a "killing apprentice," which is an unusual twist, a young man who wants to know what it's like to murder. This is a thoughtful, smart film with emphasis on the mind and morality, exploring addiction, rather than focusing on blood and guts, and involves just the right amount of detective-trying-to-find-him scenes. If you are in the mood for a crime movie without the predictable plot line, this might be right for you.
Also recommended: The Bucket List (Comedy), Grace is Gone (Dramedy offering a good cry at the end), the new Indiana Jones movie (Action/Adventure), About Schmidt (Dramedy), Little Miss Sunshine (hysterical Dramedy), and Something's Gotta Give (Comedy/thoughtful Romance).