Junior (1994)

junior_2Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito, Emma Thompson, Pamela Reed, Frank Langella, Aida Turturro, James Eckhouse, Megan Cavanagh, Welker White, Kathleen Chalfant

Directed by Ivan Reitman

Expectations: Low, but I’m excited to revisit.

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Certain films require an audience to suspend their disbelief in order for them to work, and this is probably the biggest hurdle that any viewer of Junior is going to face. The idea of a pregnant man is simply preposterous; there’s no way that the film can logically make you believe it’s possible. The explanations given in the film don’t help either, as even the simplest passing thought can deconstruct the film’s basic premise. So any viewer of Junior is asked to choose whether they will buy into the concept and just roll with it, or if they will reject it as patently absurd.

There was a time when I refused to watch Junior. It took five or six years after it came out before I was willing to see my #1 movie hero emotional and knocked up. Even then I went in with a furrowed brow and crossed arms, basically ensuring that I was going to hate it. And I did. In the intervening 15 or so years those hard edges of my film-loving personality have naturally worn down a bit, and now I realize movies are ultimately trivial, no matter how passionate I am about them (then or now). So going into Junior this time, I was actually excited.

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Brave (2012)

brave-poster-newStarring Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson

Directed by Mark Andrews & Brenda Chapman

Expectations: Fairly low. I’m only watching this because my girlfriend wanted to see it.

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Films that I never intended to watch usually fall into two camps: the ones that reinforce my reasons for not watching them, and the ones that win me over and make me sad I didn’t see them sooner. Brave falls into both categories, as everything I hated about the trailer is still front and center here, while the simple, Disney-style throwback story got me nostalgic for the good ole days of fairy tales where every young protagonist had a run-in with an elderly witch and things went sour. Brave is definitely not a great film, but it is entertaining enough. What was most interesting to me, though, were the visuals.

Let me first state that the film looks great. The team at Pixar should be very proud of themselves, as they have reached a level of visual fidelity in 3D animation that I’ve never seen before (like just about every movie they’ve done previously). Pixar is always on the forefront of killer tech, and Brave proves that they still have many tricks up their collective sleeves.

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Mini-Review: An Education (2009)

Starring Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Rosamund Pike, Dominic Cooper, Emma Thompson, Olivia Williams, Cara Seymour, Sally Hawkins, Matthew Beard, Ellie Kendrick, Beth Rowley

Directed by Lone Scherfig

Expectations: Super low, but Nick Hornby wrote the script so I do expect it will be well written.


There’s nothing wrong with this movie, but there isn’t really anything special about it either. Sure, Carey Mulligan is a great new talent and really shows off her ability in her role, but there’s not much else to get excited about here. What’s the point of it all?

The film is competently made and the dialogue is well written. The acting is very good all around. I’m a big Alfred Molina fan and I wasn’t aware that he was in this, so that was a welcome surprise. Despite the fact that they got these key things right, they forgot to have an interesting story. The whole thing for me just exudes this air of being wonderfully okay.

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