5 Flights Up

May 9, 2015 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Diane Keaton, Cynthia Nixon
Directed by: Richard Loncraine (“Firewall”)
Written by: Charlie Peters (“My One and Only”)

After being married for 40 years, Alex (Morgan Freeman) and Ruth (Diane Keaton) decide that it might be time to move out of the Brooklyn apartment they’ve lived in for decades. In making the biggest decision of their lives, however, Alex and Ruth must come to terms not only with getting older and accepting the aging process, but with letting go of the place of their dreams.

If there is a strength to be found in “5 Flights Up,” it is the chemistry between Freeman and Keaton. The moments in which they show affection towards one another are well performed, but it extends further than that. There’s a sense of frustration that Keaton is able to convey with her husband that is entirely set in his ways that is completely believable for a couple that has been married for decades. It’s an acknowledgement that they have been together for years, that they love each other, but sometimes they can be extremely difficult to be with. It’s a subtle note that is clearly amplified by two great actors.

As Alex and Ruth begin to interact with those looking to buy their apartment, nearly every person who walks through the door is a weird caricature of an actual human. Yes, it is supposed to be a satirical look at a “younger” generation, but not every single potential buyer has to have a larger than life quirk or be intentionally off-putting.

Of course, most of these issues can be attributed to a less than stellar screenplay. There are some nice touches, like Freeman’s character being confused about not being able to hear on an iPhone that he is holding backwards, but for the most part, his “crotchety old man” dialogue and frustration with young people is generic and cliché. The most glaring script problem, however, comes from the sideplot of a terror suspect on the loose and the resulting news coverage. It’s a plotline that only serves for a loosely connected metaphor that doesn’t register or resonate on any level.

Though are some interesting scenes that show Alex and Ruth as they came to be,“5 Flights Up” is just about as tepid as a film can be. Though some very mild fun that can be had with watching an intense and ongoing real estate transaction happen, that’s about the extent of the level of enjoyment about the film. When it comes down to it, “5 Flights Up” says nothing of importance, is oddly ageist, and is a giant waste of time for its two talented leads.

Sex and the City 2

May 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon
Directed by: Michael Patrick King (“Sex and the City”)
Written by: Michael Patrick King (“Sex and the City”)

While we might have given New York City fashionista and professional bachelorette Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) free reign to dole out anecdotes about her single life throughout the late 90s and entire Aughts, it would probably be a good idea now if she tucked away those six-inch heels before somebody gets hurt.

After a half dozen entertaining seasons on TV and one frivolous feature film two years ago, director/writer Michael Patrick King refuses to recognize when enough is enough. Instead, King unleashes “Sex in the City 2,” a sequel larger in scope, style and senselessness and less focused on script.

It may be just the fix indiscriminate female fans of the series need to get them through the summer, but for everyone else the antics of the fab four – Carrie, Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte (Kristin Davis), and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) – are beyond intolerable.

Attempting to squeeze herself into a mold she does not fit (the new generation’s feminist extraordinaire), Carrie, the self-absorbed character most female fans flock to for a vicarious fantasy, is once again up to her neck in emotional turmoil.

Marriage life with Mr. Big (Chris Noth) is not how she envisioned it. Feeling like her wings have been clipped because Big would rather watch TV and order in instead of painting the town like they used to, Carrie decides she needs to freshen up her life with a trip to Abu Dhabi with her gal pals.

The all-expenses-paid trip courtesy of Samantha’s potential new business partner comes at the most opportune time. Not only is Carrie suffering from cabin fever, Miranda is stressed out about how her job keeps her from spending enough time with Steve (David Eigenberg) and her son (going out of the country makes sense), Charlotte is worried about Harry (Evan Handler) cheating on her with the braless Irish nanny (Alice Eve), and Samantha is trying to handle her new life of hormonal hell with enough pills and creams to start her own pharmacy.

It is obvious King seriously thought he had an epic story here that could fill a bloated 145 minutes of ridiculous dialogue and enough politically incorrect Muslim humor to get them on at least one extremist’s hit list. While in Abu Dhabi, the ladies, who already look like their faces are melting away even before they go camel riding in the desert, share their thoughts on love, sex, relationships, and motherhood with little substance to offer on any of the topics.

Even as lightweight and cloaked in hypocrisy as the first film was, at least it felt like an offshoot to the TV series – a bad four episodes but part of the whole nonetheless. With “Sex and the City 2” the women have nothing besides their names and unattractive attitudes to link them back to what made their friendships interesting in the first place.

Tossing out random scenes where the foursome sings Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” at a karaoke bar or wonders how Arab women in abayas can live in a culture where Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana don’t exist doesn’t cut it. We’re not sure how much longer Carrie can continue to pretend like she’s the voice of female empowerment (50 years old? 60?!) but let’s just be relieved to know Manolo Blahnik has yet to design their version of a therapeutic shoe.

Sex and the City: The Movie

May 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon
Directed by: Michael Patrick King (TV’s “Sex and the City”)
Written by: Michael Patrick King (TV’s “Sex and the City”)

After keeping women everywhere at bay for four years since the HBO series came to an end, everyone’s favorite New York City girls are back with more emotional issues than before in the film version of “Sex and the City.”

Where the TV series was charming, witty, and as light as yogurt, “Sex” at the cinema can wear you down like a triple cheeseburger sitting in your small intestine. Unless you are an estrogen-filled super fan who would maim their girlfriends over a designer handbag, skip the martinis and instead buy the $200 pink felt-covered collector’s giftset. At least then you can remember the ladies as they were in those fabulous six TV seasons. Although the names and problems basically stay the same, there is less spirit and story spread over the movie’s 135-minute mini-marathon.

In the film, the always lovable and neurotic Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) reunites with hopeless romantic Charlotte York (Kristin Davis), sexualized cougar Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), and practical redhead Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon) for her extravagant wedding to Mr. Big (Chris Noth).

But when Big gets cold feet (or whatever you would call what happens during those ridiculous scenes where he doesn’t show up for the wedding), the ladies must lean on each other for support as each of them (with the exception of Charlotte whose life is picture perfect) find themselves facing a new set of relationship problems.

Written and directed by TV series regular Michael Patrick King, “Sex in the City,” when compared to the show, lacks thematically. It’s not the length the film runs that is bothersome. It’s that King can’t seem to find anything to fill the space with other than scenes of self-pity. When the girls do finally come around and realize they’re supposed to be having fun, it’s far too late to save any of them.

King simply flattens the characters instead of broadening them for the big screen. All the girls are the same, which might be great for avid fans, but bland for others who were hoping for more from the screenplay. It’s been four years and the foursome hasn’t changed in the slightest. That might be nice to hear for Manolo Blahnik lovers but not for women who like their female empowering heroes built with a little less desperation.