Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis in "The Help"
“THE HELP” My rating: B+ (Now playing wide)
137 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13
You can’t throw a rock at “The Help” without hitting an Oscar-worthy performance, making this adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s best-seller one of the best-acted films since, well, “The King’s Speech.”
All that thespian power comes in handy in diverting our attention from some of the story’s more Hollywood-ish plotting and an unimaginative visual style.
OK, maybe I’m being too much of a critic here. There may be a few pedestrian elements in this sure-fire box office smash, but there’s no ignoring the pure emotional power of this story set in the Jim Crow South.
This is a movie that will set audiences to laughing, then bawling, then laughing and bawling all over again.
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“CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE” My rating: B- (Opens wide on July 29)
118 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13
“Crazy, Stupid, Love” isn’t just about cheating. It IS a cheat.
But if you can buy its improbable premise, its jarring and sudden shifts in tone and its desperate desire to be all things to all people, you may find moments of real substance here.
It helps that this romantic comedy from directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (“I Love You Phillip Morris”) features an astonishingly strong cast with several breakout performances.
Suburban husband/dad Cal (Steve Carell) is blindsided when Emily (Julianne Moore), his wife of 24 years, announces she’s been having an affair with a co-worker and wants a divorce.
Sad sack Cal finds himself sitting night after night in a bar bemoaning his fate and watching other people score. An expert in that pursuit is the suave, slick, self-assured Jacob (Ryan Gosling), who goes home every night with a different woman. (more…)
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