Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New Releases: Easy A and RED

I have seen a few new movies in the theater lately, but haven't been keeping up with my reviews, so here's two for one.  Easy A is as good as everyone says.  If you've listened to the podcasts I've been on lately, you'll know I loved this movie.  I got to see it all by myself in a theater - one of the benefits to living in a rural area, it's possible to get a private screening on occasion.  In case you've missed it - Easy A is the story of Olive Pendergast (Emma Stone), a high school student who makes up a date with a college student, and when her best friend asks her about it, she pretends they had sex.  This starts a rumor that flies through the high school that Olive is easy.  One of her friends, Brandon (Dan Byrd), is getting bullied because he's gay, and asks her to pretend to have sex with him so raise his reputation.  They pretend at a big party and it changes everything for both of them.  In English class they're studying Hawthorne's "Scarlet Letter", giving a theme to the movie and to Olive's life - she starts dressing like someone easy, and puts a scarlet A on her hootchie clothes.  it escalates to include many of the dorky guys in her school, and of course eventually she has to put a stop to the lies and everything comes out.  Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci play her hippie parents who love her and are hysterically inappropriate, but the best parents on screen in a while.  The rest of the supporting cast is terrific - Lisa Kudrow, Thomas Haden Church, and surprisingly Amanda Bynes.  The movie is really, really funny but has a ton of heart without going into cliche or smaltz.  Definitely check it out.  4.5 of 5 stars/lambs

** No spoilers ** The other terrific movie I saw recently was RED, starring Bruce Willis as a retired CIA agent who is trying to figure out what to do with his life.  They did a terrific job with the trailer because it doesn't reveal too much, and focuses on all you need to know.  Willis falls for Mary-Louise Parker (in a nicer role than her "Weeds" character, but quite similar).  However, just as he's going to meet her, a team comes in to kill him.  The rest of the movie is their trek to figure out who wants to kill him and how to stop it.  They enlist the help of other retired agents, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich (in a perfect level of crazy), and Helen Mirren (totally badass).  Since I liked it so much without actually knowing the details, I won't spoil it.  I'll just say they did a near perfect job of putting incredibly strong actors into a movie that could easily have turned campy and stupid, but instead is just right.  It's funny, action-driven, with lots of guns and death.  Definitely recommend it highly.  4 of 5 stars/lambs


Castor said...

Glad you enjoyed Easy A. Emma Stone is wonderful in the movie and she proves a female-centered movie can do well at the box office.

Buttercup said...

Red is at the top of my list, but I think I will add Easy A.

Jess said...

Castor, I agree - it was nice not to have to sit through really stupid high school humor to have a great film make money

Buttercup - I think you'd LOVE Easy A, very much up you alley.

Red said...

Red was all types of fun...It got a little TOO ridiculous at times, even though it was obviously doing so on purpose. Would give it a similar rating.