Yes, it’s a cutsie rom com. We know this because there are two good-looking, youngish people starring in the film and on the cover of the DVD, etc, plus there is instant sexual chemistry, though, naturally, the two do not like each other at first. Your typical rom com fare. Here the good-looking couple who are determined NOT to fall in love are Amy Adams (so irresistibly perky and vibrant) and Matthew Goode (so brooding…doing his best “I do not want to be lovable” routine). The two of them almost make us forget that not only have we “sort of” seen this type of material before, we have seen almost EXACTLY the same material in a 1995 Lawrence Kasdan film, French Kiss with rom con queen Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline. There, Ryan, like Adams, runs off to follow her boyfriend abroad where she meets Kline, a Frenchman, and naturally nature takes its course and soon the boyfriend is forgotten and Kline is the ONE! So, Goode is Irish not French and plotwise, the boyfriend in French Kiss met another woman in Paris and in Leap Year, it’s that said boyfriend hasn’t proposed yet. But, still, they are pretty similar. And, to top that off, I LOVE French Kiss. It’s one of my favorite films from the 1990s and definitely one of my favorite contemporary romantic comedies. And I still like Leap Year, with its copied and clichéd characters, plot, etc.? Yes, I do. Amy Adams and Matthew Goode are so likeable (separately, but mostly together) that we do not care that we already know the ending and have heard much of the dialogue and seen much of the plot before. Another bonus here is Ireland…the lush scenery, the vistas, the gloom and rain… Well, you can’t have sunshine everyday, right? Think again – it’s sunshiny everyday in Romantic Comedy Land.

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A fun, lighthearted film that really, really, really made me want to eat. Not cook, mind you. Some would want to copy the co-main character, Julie Powell, on her quest to cook all of Julia Child’s recipes from her Mastering the Art of French Cooking classic cookbook. I just wanted to eat my way through the movie. Aside from this film encouraging my foodie-ness, it is highly entertaining, though I must admit, I enjoyed Meryl Streep playing early Julia Child on an odyssey to to get a French cooking cookbook published in English MUCH more than the odyssey of Powell and her recipe crusade. Amy Adams as Powell is appealing, as Adams always is, but I had little interest in Powell’s saga. She cooks and blogs about cooking and talks about cooking and fights with her husband about cooking. It gets a little tiresome. The Julia Child parts, mostly set in Paris after WWII, are full of life and passion…just like Child herself. It is impossible to take your eyes off of Streep’s Child…not only is the characterization by Streep spot-on, but the storyline is also more vibrant and lively. We take a vested interest in Child and her cookbook quest, whereas with Powell, we honestly don’t care by the end. Fortunately, the Julia Child pieces of the film are so overwhelmingly funny and sweet, they make the film worth watching. And, it’s not that you will HATE the Powell storyline…you just won’t want to be best friends with her. With Child, you want to be her pal…to help her along with her cookbook…to talk with her…and especially, to EAT with her. And, I’m sure this has to do with both Child’s gregarious personality and also with Streep’s vivacious performance. All in all, an engaging, entertaining film that you most definitely should not watch on an empty stomach!

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From the same producers who brought you “Little Miss Sunshine”, “Sunshine Cleaning” is a warm, quirky, sad and emotionally uplifting story about families and the relationships and events that define them.
The ensemble cast of actors play off of each other beautifully. Amy Adams, as Rose the optimist, an ex-high school cheerleader and now a single mother trying to do the best for her son while working as a maid, is endearing. Emily Blunt, as her pessimistic sister Norah who lives at home with her irascible father (Alan Arkin) who is always in search of the next get-rich-quick scheme, is equally engaging. Arkin brings a fresh look to a familiar role.

Rose’s married boyfriend (Steve Zahn) and old high school sweetheart, is a homicide detective. He overhears a building supervisor complain about the cost of “cleaning up” following a suicide.
In need of quick cash, Rose and Norah are “advised” to go into the crime-scene clean-up business, a business they find more emotionally overwhelming then physically repulsive.
Additional characters, including a lonely blood bank worker and a one-armed cleaning supply salesman add another layer of punch to the movie.
Not as intense and funny as “Little Miss Sunshine”, the plot feels a bit contrived, however, the performances by Adams, Blunt and Arkin are worth the watch. At the end of the film, I found myself wanting to live with the family a little bit longer.

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Junebug is a hard movie to say whether I liked it or I just felt so sorry for the characters I took pity on the film. The best way to describe it is the call it a slice of Southern small-town American living. It’s basically a story about George, who has moved to Chicago but, on a trip back home, reconnects with his Southern roots. Those roots might have been dormant when he fell in love with and married Madeleine, an uptight, highly educated art dealer, but once George gets back home, those dormant characteristics began to surface….from everything from afternoon naps to singing hymns at the local church’s pancake breakfast. The supporting characters are the ones, though, that made this movie special for me. Amy Adams plays Ashley, a pregnant young woman just starved (I mean REALLY STARVED) for affection and attention. She is desperate to like Madeleine, mostly because she has very little positive reinforcement in her life. Ashley’s husband and George’s brother, Johnny, is a gruff loner who shows more attention to his cars than he does to anyone in his family, especially his pregnant wife. Even though Madeleine and George seem to be at the center of the story, I got more out of the supporting characters and their troubles. The Ashley character alone is so complex in her simplicity that she could star in a movie all her own (which might be one of the reasons Amy Adams got so many raves for her over-the-top yet (at the same time) understated performance, including an Oscar nomination for supporting actress).

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A great movie that actually makes its audience think. I know — THE HORROR, THE HORROR. We have to THINK! A tough, hard film, Doubt is superbly acted and scripted. Why is it hard? Well, it deal with one of our most taboo subjects — priests and young boys and doing more than sipping the alter wine together. Meryl Streep places a nun running a school in the early 1960s. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the attached church’s priest. There is some suspicion about him with the alter boys, but Streep doesn’t have any proof. She just has her doubts. I walked out of the theater thinking I had just seen a good movie and that would be the end of it…but it stuck with me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Did he or didn’t he? Did Streep’s nun do the right thing? What would have been a better solution? Etc… Sadly, most movies today don’t even make your brain click on. So, when one comes around where it keeps your thought processes going for days…it’s a keeper!

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