Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Jeff Daniels, whom I've always thought was synonymous to Bill Pullman and Lauren Graham who will forever be Lorelei Gilmore, star in a Romantic Comedy, The Answer Man. The premise is that 20 years prior, Jeff Daniel's character, Arlen Faber, wrote a book entitle "Me and God" that swept the country. Rather like The Da Vinci Code meets Depak Chopra.
He soon after went into hiding and doesn't do book signings, appearances etc... However, instead of the man that the world thinks is a cross between the Dalai Lama and Gandhi, he's actually a pretty miserable, lonely middle aged guy, with no more answers, really, than anyone else.
That is until he meets, new age, chiroprator, and single mother, Elizabeth (Graham/Gilmore).
So the plot sounds pretty good, right ? And filming took place right here in Center City, Philadelphia, a lot of outdoor shots of recognizable streets and buildings- Olde City, Washington Square and more! So the movie most definitely has its moments, but unfortunately on the whole it's pretty flat.
The Director/Screenwriter: John Hindman was available for a Q&A after the screening. Oddly, he says this is a film about father's and sons. This theme is presented in the film, but without any follow through. Also, the best part about Answer Man is the fact that it does have a truthful spiritual tone. However, Hindman was cynical and flippant about spirituality, as if he'd just directed Bill Mahr's Religulous.
Rating: Pretty Middle Toe
Another flat flick - Phantom Punch. This is Robert Townsend's biopic about the life of heavy weight champion, Sonny Liston. The film has a good number of realistic boxing scenes; good production value; sex and betrayal; a nice effect of ending scenes with a fade into black and white to a still drawing. So why is the overall movie just a bit too standard?
Perhaps it's because not all heavy weight champions deserve a movie about their life. I felt that the life of Sonny Liston, played wonderfully by Ving Rhames, wasn't all that interesting. He's really more a footnote in Muhammad Ali's life.
I also hate biopics that seem to only be rushing along to the person's mysterious death. Okay, so perhaps the mob did do him in and it wasn't really an accidental overdose. Liston was hardly a tragic hero, he was a hamfisted idiot who betrays his exquisite wife, (Stacey Dash) and best friend and manager (Nicholas Turturro), for a Ali Larter (Heroes) look-a-like (played by Bridgette Wilson) I say, Whack em!
Rating: Pretty 4th Toe