Fri, Apr 09, 2010 - Page 16 News List


By Ian Bartholomew  /  STAFF REPORTER



Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire to give the film its full title, is not easy to watch, but if you are looking for a cinematic experience to challenge glib optimism about the human condition, this is the movie for you. The performance by Gabourey Sidibe as the title character, an overweight, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child, has already garnered intense critical acclaim, and other performances, including those by comedian Mo’Nique as Precious’ mother and, startlingly, Mariah Carey, as a social worker, seem all of a piece for a movie that is on track to becoming a definitive work about the early 21st-century American experience. Precious picked up two Oscars, a remarkable achievement for a film that skirts the edges of art house. But be warned: In Precious, hope is a distant and difficult prospect.

The Crazies

It is a question why George Romero would wish to preside over this inept remake of his own 1973 classic of the same name. Romero, who has an executive producer credit for this film, seems content to watch Breck Eisner, the director of such innocuous adventure fare as Sahara (2006), labor through yet another predictable take on the zombie genre. Critics have uniformly been unable to find anything new in his vision in terms of content or style. Stars Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell, who lead a band of normal people out of the zombie infected regions.

Date Night

Despite the well-worn concept of a couple from the burbs having romance injected back into a humdrum existence when they visit the Big Apple, early reviews rate Date Night highly. Steve Carell and Tina Fey get caught up in a case of mistaken identity and plenty of comic goings-on for a mix of rom-com and adventure, with Mark Wahlberg stepping in to provide the muscle. Directed by Shawn Levy, who hits his stride in this film, despite a track record that includes The Pink Panther (2006) and Night at the Museum (2006).

It’s Complicated

The most complicated thing to work out about It’s Complicated is why it is so bad. After all, you have Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin in the lead roles as a divorced couple who have accidentally rediscovered their old spark, and Steve Martin as a possible suitor for Streep’s affections. There is acting talent to spare, but no chemistry. Director and writer Nancy Meyers specializes in deeply improbable romantic comedies with a veneer of sophistication. Her credits include Something’s Gotta Give (2003) and The Parent Trap (1998), which were reasonably appealing rom-coms that made good use of high-profile stars. Alec Baldwin as a laddish divorce lawyer playing against Streep’s tightly wound celebrity chef wife would seem to be a surefire hit, but the whole thing turns out to be a damp squib.

I Give My First Love to You (Boku no Hatsukoi Wo Kimi Ni Sasagu)

Japanese tearjerker based on a manga series, I Give My First Love to You pulls out all the stops to get you reaching for the tissues. Main character Takuma falls in love with Mayu, the daughter of his cardiologist. The reason Takuma is consulting with a cardiologist? He’s got a dickey heart — he might not make it past 20. As kids the two promise to marry, but after Takuma realizes that his life is likely to be cut short he begins to distance himself from Mayu, hoping that she will find a more suitable life partner.

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