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Archives for : Marriage

Movie Review: “By the Sea” is a Dull and Pretentious Vanity Project

Dear Angelina Jolie, please give up trying to direct anymore films. To sum it up, at best, you are not very good at directing. Too harsh? Well then you clearly haven’t endured Jolie’s latest project, By the Sea, in which the Academy Award winning actress directed, wrote, produced, and starred.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Angelina Jolie, and I believe she is an incredibly talented actress, when she’s not directing herself that is.

By the Sea follows Vanessa (Jolie) and her husband Roland (Brad Pitt) as they vacation in France so that they may mend their marriage, and he can gain inspiration to write his next book. After what feels like an hour of nothing, they discover a peep hole in their hotel room that allows them to watch a newlywed couple (Melanie Laurent and Melvil Poupaud) on their honeymoon.

Let me first say, for a good thirty or more minutes we have no clue what this film is about. It is clear Vanessa is depressed and awkward, as she is quiet and almost always crying. Not knowing what’s wrong with Vanessa, you would assume her husband is some kind of monster and we’re just waiting for him to go off. Spoiler alert, he’s not. Don’t hold your breath on that one. Basically something did happen between these two. When it’s finally revealed, the story does come together and makes sense to a point. However, it is not worth the pay off, nor the two hours of your life you have wasted.

Pitt is the only saving grace to this wretched film. He seems to be the only character that has any sense and real personality. Unfortunately, for Jolie’s character, she clearly cannot get the best performance out of herself. It was as if she was an amateur actress trying way too hard throughout the entire story.

Though the setting of France in the mid-1970s was beautiful, the shots and the style produced came off too artsy and irrelevant towards moving the story forward. Jolie’s attempt at “deep” and “meaningful” scenes has a much more comical affect.

I’d like to say By the Sea had potential, but sadly, Vanessa’s opening line, “Smells like fish,” foreshadows all too well just how much of a stinker this movie is.

Rating: 1/5

By the Sea opens in theaters November 20.

“By the Sea” Official Trailer HD

Movie Review: “Divorce Corp” Reveals Shocking Villains in the Justice System

Although this documentary begins with the deceit and manipulation of lawyers, it ends with a much more powerful scoundrel.

Narrated by Dr. Drew Pinksy, Divorce Corp is a surprising exposé of the inner workings of the $50 billion a year U.S. family law industry.  Yes, that’s right $50 billion!  The film sheds light on how divorce lawyers are ripping off their clients by charging ridiculous amounts of money, ranging from $400-$900 per hour.  Which proves to be quite a profit, when the lawyers are spending years on one case.  Often times the divorce lasts longer than the marriage.  But the deception doesn’t stop there.   Throughout the film we are shown how everyone involved in the family court justice system partakes in extortion, bias judgment, and appalling scandals.

Director, Joe Sorge provides interviews by the nation’s top divorce lawyers, mediators, judges, politicians, litigants, and journalists.  And might I say these lawyers have no problem admitting the shady way they do business.  Clients seem to believe the more money a lawyer charges, the more “skilled” they are.  When in fact, the name of the game for these divorce lawyers is, “How much money can we make off these people?  That’s the standard.”

About halfway through the film, the lawyers start looking like puppets getting their strings pulled by the true villain of the film.  The ever so controlling judge!  Taking actions as if they were God, the portrayal of every judge publicized is unspeakable and quite frankly, terrifying.  You are completely helpless once a judge has your life in their hands, and it is best not to rub them the wrong way.

In comparison to the recent documentary I reviewed over the same topic, Romeo Misses A Payment, this one fell a little short for me.  Divorce Corp is better in a technical aspect- professionally shot, well prepared interviews, dramatizations with decent actors, and a celebrity voice over (i.e. Dr. Drew).  Yet, somehow this documentary lacked the immediate emotional connection I felt with Romeo Misses A Payment.  The film starts out a bit slow and repetitive.  As it picks up with personal stories of affected parents, you just become angry at how messed up the family court is; and how when it really comes down to it, there doesn’t seem to be anything anyone can do to fix it.

A glimmer of hope is shined when we see the comparison of how much simpler and cheaper it is to get a divorce in other countries like Scandinavia.  A country that views men and women as equals, therefore their divorce system is easy and free.

Divorce Corp is an astonishing documentary that leaves the question “Is anyone actually getting a fair trial in family court?”  Feelings of hope and happiness may not occur after watching this film, but this is a must see for anyone who is considering marriage or a divorce.

Divorce Corp hits theaters January 10th.

Divorce Corp Movie Trailer

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com

Movie Review: “Baggage Claim” is a Flight you can Afford to Miss

During awards season, the majority of films I’m watching are intense dramas or dark comedies. So I appreciate getting to take a break with a fun romantic comedy that requires little or no thought. Unfortunately Paula Patton’s new film, Baggage Claim, makes too many uneventful stops and one predictable destination.

Paula Patton plays Montana Moore, a bubbly flight attendant who still hasn’t met Mr.Right. After Montana’s younger sister (Lauren London) gets engaged, she starts to feel the need to find a husband of her own. With her mother (Jenifer Lewis), who has already been married five times, constantly pressuring to find a man and become a real “lady,” Montana sets out for mission “put a ring on it.”  With the help of her co-workers, she embarks on a thirty day challenge to find her future fiancée within the batch of past exes who happen to all be taking flights on her airline.

The acting in this film is mediocre. At times it was hard to remember that Patton was the same actress who played Ms. Rain in Precious. Though Montana is a likeable character, she is also a bit of an irritating one. You like her because she is beautiful and sweet, but her desperation to find a husband comes off ungenuine by her over expressive facial expressions and lack of emotion during her “saddest” times in the film. Jenifer Lewis does a good job as the over dramatic mother who worries her daughter will never get married. I’ve just seen this character so many times before, and they always end with the same resolution that can be a bore to watch. Surprisingly enough, the characters who did make me laugh were Montana’s best friends and fellow flight attendants, Sam (Adam Brody) and Gail (Jill Scott). Scott and Brody make an entertaining duo with some hilarious one-liners. Sadly, these two have more chemistry together than Patton does with any of her suitors, and that’s with Adam Brody playing a homosexual in the film. 

To say Baggage Claim is a cliche romantic comedy is an understatement. This film is so predictable that you can figure out how it is going to end within the first five minutes. That being said, it is still a cute film with a relevantly good message. “The magic isn’t in the getting married, it’s in the staying married.”  With the rush to get married these days and the soon after divorces, it is nice to see a film express how important it is to know and love yourself first before sharing your life with someone else. But other than that message and some cheap laughs, you are left feeling a little underwhelmed with the film.

Rated PG-13 for sexual content and some language.

Baggage Claim makes it’s landing in theaters today…

If you are in the mood for a more realistic romantic comedy, I recommend Enough Said. Starring the late, James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The film is currently playing in select theaters, but its worth whatever drive you have to take to see. It’s an original story with lots of laughs and an incredibly, charming James Gandolfini.