Friday, December 17, 2010

“EW Movie Review: "Rabbit Hole" - NY1” plus 1 more

“EW Movie Review: "Rabbit Hole" - NY1” plus 1 more


EW Movie Review: "Rabbit Hole" - NY1

Posted: 17 Dec 2010 12:54 AM PST

By: Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly

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In the new film "Rabbit Hole," Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart play a married couple in a Hudson Valley suburb who are coping with the death of their 4-year-old son. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly Magazine filed the following review.

In "Rabbit Hole," Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart play Becca and Howie, a married couple in a leafy Hudson Valley suburb who are still coping, eight months after the fact, with the death of their 4-year-old son. Movies about couples who have lost children in tragic accidents offer a unique challenge. Apart from how sheerly wrenching the material is, it's easy to feel locked outside of the couple's suffering, since the whole point is that the raw nerve of grief is too intense for them to touch. The best thing about "Rabbit Hole," which is based on David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer Prize-winning play -- on Broadway it starred Cynthia Nixon and Mad Men's John Slattery -- is that it carves shrewd and lively dramatic arcs out of souls who are too damaged to feel their own feelings.

Kidman plays Becca as a coldly wounded warrior who can't bring herself to jump back into the stream of her life. She and Howie join a support group for grieving parents, which allows the film to tweak the narcissism that can creep into even the most serious therapy circles. Kidman finds the courage to make Becca dislikable, and the result is her most on-fire acting in years.

Aaron Eckhart, meanwhile, is powerful as a man who will do anything to crack the ice. "Rabbit Hole" was directed by John Cameron Mitchell, who shows a real flair for actors but opens up the play in the standard, functional, you-can-still-see-the-stage-floorboards way. And I'm afraid that at least one aspect of the play is second-rate: Becca seeks out a connection with the pasty-faced, comic-book-writing teenager who killed her son, and their park-bench meet-ups are saintly communions of touchy-feely blahness. "Rabbit Hole" is worth seeing, but it's powerful only in pieces.

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Movie Review: Carrey is sweetly over the top in 'Phillip Morris' - Sacramento Bee

Posted: 16 Dec 2010 11:57 PM PST

Despite its title, it has nothing to do with cigarettes. But its star, as he once famously said on screen, is absolutely "smokin'."

Jim Carrey is the narrator, heart and soul of "I Love You Phillip Morris," transforming what could have been a clichéd con man comedy into something smarter and sweeter.

This long-shelved romp is a real Carrey showcase, one that shouldn't wear a stigma simply because it took an absurdly long time – it was at Sundance in January 2009 – to reach theaters.

Carrey plays Steven Russell, a one-time cop, married man and father who lives a secret double life until that day when a bad car wreck sends him over the edge.

"I'm gay," he babbles on the EMT's gurney. "Gay-gay-gay-gay-gay-gay-gay." Bad news for his fundamentalist wife (Leslie Mann, perfect at playing "long-suffering"). Now she has something bigger than "Thank you for helping me find that coffee filter today" to say to Jesus each night on her knees.

In a flashback hilarious for its cruelty, we've watched the 10-year-old Steven learn that he's adopted, and we've been told he only joined the police force "to find my birth mother."

His needy, over-the-top confrontation with that birth mom is just another instance in which he fails to find himself or feel loved. But out of the closet, Steven gleefully cruises Miami. The con man in him comes to the fore when he makes one unpleasant discovery about his new, free-wheeling lifestyle.

"Bein' gay is expensive," he drawls.

Steven weasels his way into work in Texas, where his gift for living a lie – many lies – makes him a grand con man. But it's when he gets caught and sent to prison that he truly thrives, and not just because of the opportunity for a glad-handing con man like him to ingratiate himself into "the system" or the many same-sex romantic options. It's in stir that Steven meets his dreamboat, Phillip Morris, played with a drawling delicacy by Ewan McGregor.

The bulk of this "really happened, it really did" story concerns Steven's efforts to be close to Phillip, to (once they're out of jail) provide an opulent life for Phillip and stay one step ahead of those who might find him out in his various hustled jobs – lawyer, accountant. Co-writers and co-directors John Requa and Glen Ficarra conjure an offbeat "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying"-meets-"Dog Day Afternoon" gay romance. And when things turn dark, as they often do when your whole life is a lie, we fear for them.

McGregor's trademark sparkle makes us believe, every minute of this film, that a nut like Carrey's Steven would fall for him and go to the ends of the Earth – or prison in Texas – to earn and keep his love. And Carrey, turning his patented shtick loose on a role with heart, makes this romantic farce a movie too good to sit on any studio's shelf.

I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS

3 1/2 stars

CAST: Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann

DIRECTORS: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa

THEATERS: Crest

102 minutes

Rated R (sexual content including strong dialogue, and language)

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

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