Director/Writer: Mike Mills (Thumbsucker)
Starring: Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music), Ewan McGregor (Moulin Rouge!), Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds)
Oliver (McGregor) is facing a new life after his father, Hal (Plummer) passes away. He takes in his father's dog and clears out the house. He had a new relationship with his dad after his mother died. Hal came out as a gay man to Oliver and had been diagnosed with cancer. Deciding to live life to the fullest, Hal spent his short time living the gay life he never had when he was married. He went to clubs, listened to house music, had a much younger boyfriend (Goran Visnjic), and started building his personal library. While dealing with the death, Oliver meets Anna (Laurent), a French actress, who he starts a love affair with.
Beginners explores three different relationships of Oliver's. Oliver dealing with his dad, Oliver falling in love, and the memories Oliver has of his quirky mother. Mills has written an optimist movie about how you're never too old or too far along in life to start over or try something new. I love that Christopher Plummer is still acting at the age of 81 and is willing to take on a variety of roles like this one or his Oscar-nominated performance of Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station last year. Ewan McGregor is charming, funny, and always easy on the eyes.
Rating: **** (4 out of 5 stars)
Director: Martin Campbell (Casino Royale)
Starring: Ryan Reynolds (The Proposal), Blake Lively ("Gossip Girl"), Peter Sarsgaard (Boys Don't Cry)
Green Lantern is the latest comic-book adaptation from the DC Comics canon. Hal Jordan is a rebel test pilot. He is expected to live up to his father's reputation, but not die on the job like his father did. Late one night, Hal stumbles upon a pod that has crashed on shore. Being the hero that he is, he goes to rescue whoever is in there. A purple alien name Abin-Sur explains to Hal that he has been chosen by the ring of the green lantern as the protector of the sector now that Abin-Sur is dying. The galaxies are divided up into sectors. Each sector has one ambarassor that has been chosen to protect the galaxy from the evil Parallax. The group of ambassadors make up the Green Lantern Corp. Abin-Sur dies before Hal has a chance to fully understand what happens. Hal quickly drives away as helicoptors and police force start taking over. Hal is left with a green ring and a green lantern and no knowledge of how he's supposed to save the planet. After connecting the ring to the lantern, he is transported to the planet Oa, where he learns more about the Green Lantern Corps and receives his training. Hal must use his training to know how to use will power to conquer fear, which turns out to be a lot harder than he thought.
With every comic-book movie, there must be the evil bad guy out to gain power. Tim Robbins plays senator Robert Hammond who is conducting an top-secret investigation into the alien that was captured. He calls upon his son, Hector (Sarsgaard) to perform an autopsy on the alien. As he performs the autopsy, Hector is stung with a force from Abin-Sur's body. The force turns out to be DNA from the evil alien, Parallax, that killed Abin-Sur. The sting mutates Hector and gives him special telekentic powers.
Green Lantern is a fun summer blockbuster. It's the kind of comic-book movie that knows it's a comic-book movie. It doesn't take itself too serious and pokes fun at the genre at the same time. Ryan Reynolds brings his usual sense of humor to the role, which helps keep the mood light but true to the genre. Peter Sarsgaard tends to play creepier sadistic roles, which is no exception in this movie. Even for a comic-book movie he's creepy and awkward. I was able to see Green Lantern in 3D which looked pretty good in all of the scenes that take place in Oa.
Rating: *** 1/2 (3.5 out of 5)