Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Banks’

Rudd’s charm drives ‘Our Idiot Brother’

Saturday, August 27th, 2011
Paul Rudd in "Our Idiot Brother" Ned is “Our Idiot Brother,” a pleasant and innocuous little comedy with a low-key charm from Paul Rudd.

“Our Idiot Brother” is a pleasant, innocuous little comedy given extra bounce and life by Paul Rudd’s charming and fluid performance as an idealistic man whose heart exceeds the size of his brain.

The first scene tells us everything we need to know about Jesse Peretz’s leisurely directing style.

A uniformed cop comes to an organic farm stand and asks a hippie-looking dude named Ned (Rudd) for some illicit weed.

Ned denies he has any. But after the cop practically begs for a dimebag (he’s had a really bad week, he says), Ned reluctantly gives him some grass. Then, the cop keeps insisting he wants to pay for it, until Ned finally gives in and quotes him a price.

“You’re under arrest!” the cop says.

“You’re kidding!” Ned replies.

Instead of instantly cutting to a shot of Ned in prison — a punchy visual requiring our brains to fill in the gaps — Peretz has Ned continue to talk to the cop until the officer finally convinces him that he’s seriously under arrest.

Not punchy. (Read more…)

Crowe launches his own mission impossible in ‘The Next Three Days’

Thursday, November 18th, 2010
Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks in "The Next Three Days" John Brennan (Russell Crowe) springs his convicted murderer wife (Elizabeth Banks) from the big house in Pittsburgh during “The Next Three Days.”

The most significant contribution of Paul Haggis’ lengthy and occasionally intense crime drama “The Next Three Days” could be the elevation of community college literature professors to the hallowed ranks of action heroes.

Noted Australian tough guy Russell Crowe plays one in “The Next Three Days.”

His name is John Brennan and he teaches such works as “Man of LaMancha,” about a man who fights windmills and never cedes idealism to reality.

When Pittsburgh police arrest John’s wife Lara (Elizabeth Banks) and charge her with murdering her boss, John never stops believing in her innocence, and spends years trying to win her freedom after her conviction.

It takes a shout-out from his attorney (the briefly seen Daniel Stern) to force him to see the obvious: “She’s never getting out, John!”

After his beloved and depressed Lara attempts suicide, John becomes desperate enough to consider the inconceivable: that a pudgy man of inaction like himself would plan and execute a daring prison break to honor a promise to Lara that incarceration “will not be your life.”

Strangely, “The Next Three Days” is a much more cinematic work than another current prison drama “Conviction,” yet far less gripping with less engaging characters. (Read more…)