Gus (Clint Eastwood) is a typically grizzled old coot
whose eyes are going bad, which, for a scout, is the kiss of death. So,
when his best friend and boss Pete Klein (John Goodman) gives him the
one last chance that the plot has to grant him, Pete hedges by calling
in Gus’s somewhat estranged daughter Mickey (Amy Adams).
Our first few moments in the presence of Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) capture the extraordinary power and the isolation of the character. What Paul Thomas Anderson, the director of The Master, and the mercurial Phoenix have created here is a portrait of an old god, maybe the last of his kind to walk the Earth.
As a story about a scrappy, working-class nobody who gets an unexpected shot at the title, David O. Russell's 'The Fighter' was bound to earn comparisons to 'Rocky.' And the comparisons are justified — not just because of its plot but also because of its concern for quirky characters and a sense of place. Grade: B-plus.
Amy Adams has cornered the market on adorably cute and feisty young women seeking either the perfect guy or the recipe to change their lives. Here she's in the solid and rather capable hands of romantic partner Matthew Goode (he benefits from her firm grasps as well) as they swing through the familiar highs and lows of a meet-cute couple forced to travel together for a rendezvous with a third wheel (Adam Scott). Grade: C-.
Meryl Streep continues to delight in an effervescent turn as cooking legend Julia Child, whose biography makes up half of this fact-based trifle from writer/director Nora Ephron. Her counterpart is Julie Powell (Amy Adams), a frustrated would-be novelist who turns to her avocation for cooking, opting to launch a blog in which she'll chronicle preparing all 524 recipes from Child's seminal cookbook 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' in 365 days. Grade: C.
I never saw the first 'Night at the Museum,' but there are times when you just know everything you need to know about a movie from a trailer, especially those aimed at the broadest audience possible. And this latest installment looks just as silly, mainly because I've come to realize that I just don't have a thing for Ben Stiller's brand of humor. Grade D.
Wonderfully emotionally alert actresses at their best, Amy Adams and Emily Blunt play working-class sisters whose job it is to clean up the mess some people leave when they die lonely and violently. As they go about their business, the film achieves stretches of pathos. Grade B.