Cinema Scoop  

Soccer moms, stolen loot, sex therapy

Greetings movie lovers, it's time to take at look at what the cinema has to offer us this weekend.

     Playing for Keeps

Playing for keeps is a romantic comedy about a charming, down-on-his luck former soccer star (Gerard Butler) who returns home to put his life back together. Looking for a way to rebuild his relationship with his son, he gets roped into coaching the boy's soccer team. But his attempts to finally become an "adult" are met with hilarious challenges from the attractive "soccer moms" who pursue him at every turn.

     My Take

Led by Butler, Playing for Keeps has a strong, appealing cast that also includes Uma Thurman, Jessica Biel, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Judy Greer and Dennis Quaid. Sadly though, it looks to be yet another typical rom-com that is likely to contain nothing but formulaic drivel. Clearly this film is primarily for the desperate housewives out there who want to drool over "hunky" Gerard Butler, but judging by his track record since 2007's 300 was released he's been in one stink bomb after another. Remember The Ugly Truth, Gamer, and The Bounty Hunter? Blech!

There usually seems to be a real lull in the film industry for the three weeks leading up to the holiday movie season, and the studios tend to release smaller films that they don't have a ton of faith in hoping to capture some desperation dollars from the public. I suppose it might work in this case for couples who are seeking something to see as a date movie and aren't too fussy about quality writing and storytelling.

Surely there has got to be something better to do than seeing this predictable looking trifle though. Hey I could be totally wrong and this could be really funny and entertaining, but I'm willing to bet that it's getting a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes right now for a reason.

You've been warned!


Siblings Addison (Eric Bana) and Liza (Olivia Wilde) are on the run from a casino heist gone wrong. When a car accident leaves their wheel man and a state trooper dead, they split up and make a run for the Canadian border in the worst of circumstances - a near whiteout blizzard. While Addison heads cross-country, creating mayhem in his wake, Liza is picked up by ex-boxer Jay (Charlie Hunnam), en-route for a Thanksgiving homecoming with his parents, June (Sissy Spacek) and retired sheriff Chet (Kris Kristofferson). It's there the siblings are reunited in a terse and thrilling showdown that pushes the bonds of family to the limit.

     My Take

This movie just seemingly showed up out of nowhere. I've never heard of it before and I've yet to see an ad for it on TV. That being said, now that I've watched the trailer online, I have to say that this actually looks like it might be a decent thriller, albeit one with many familiar elements to it that fit the standard crime film formula.

It's directed by Austrian filmmaker Stefan Ruzowitzky, who made the fabulous Oscar winning film The Counterfeiters back in 2007, and it features a very strong cast of actors.

The film was originally going to be called Kin or Blackbird, but the studio decided to go with Deadfall. What a generic choice for a title - there have been something like 3 other movies already released with the same bloody title. Not very original to say the least.

Uninspired title aside, I'm hoping that this will turn out to be one of those sleeper films that is heavy on the twist filled thrills and not reliant on contrived plot points. It remains to be seen if this will be worthwhile though.

If you are in the mood for a crime thriller this weekend then you can check out Deadfall playing exclusively at the Grand 10.

     The Sessions

The Sessions tells the story of a man confined to an iron lung who is determined - at age 38 - to lose his virginity. With the help of his therapists and the guidance of his priest, he sets out to make his dream a reality.

     My Take

Released 7 weeks ago in larger markets, Kelowna is finally getting this highly acclaimed little film playing exclusively down at the Paramount Theatre. I for one am excited to see it since it's supposedly excellent.

Winner of the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival, The Sessions is based on the autobiographical writings of California-based journalist and poet Mark O'Brien who was paralyzed from the neck down due to polio and the efforts he made to hire a sex surrogate in order to lose his virginity.

It features a great cast that includes John Hawkes, Helen Hunt and William H. Macy. I've been a huge fan of John Hawkes for several years now. He's just one of those great character actors who pops up in countless films and he's always memorable - even if people never know who you're talking about when you mention his name. Recently he delivered two Oscar worthy performances in the films Winter's Bone and Martha Marcy May Marlene, and he's also been a big part of the popular HBO series Deadwood and Eastbound & Down. I'm also a big fan of William H. Macy who has been consistently good ever since his breakout performance in Fargo.

The Sessions is definitely a film for adults though as it deals quite frankly with all matters pertaining to sex, so prudish people might want to be cautioned. I have a feeling, however, that this film will deal with these topics in a light-hearted and poignant way rather than being exploitive.

This should definitely appeal to audience members looking for a strong, fact-based, character driven drama.

Of all of the new films being released this week, this looks like the best of the bunch and the one that I'd most like to see.

Until next week, when we will be returning to the land of Peter Jackson's Middle Earth, see you at the movies.

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About the Author

Just to give you a little background on my qualifications, I've been a film buff my whole life and I enjoy all different genres.

I especially have a passion for classic cinema.

I spent most of the past 17 years working for Rogers Video, so not only have I seen an immense amount of movies, but I've recommended many films to people over the years.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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