ENEMY is a bizarre tale of a man who finds an actor who looks exactly like him, but the actor turns out to be both the man’s worst nightmare and his salvation. ENEMY has a bizarre ending and last shot that leaves viewers hanging. The acting is good, but the execution of the story leaves something to be desired.
The movie opens with some men voyeuristically watching women perform some bizarre and intimate acts in a dark room. In one tableau, a woman is abusing herself sexually. In another one, a covered dinner plate reveals a large tarantula spider. As the spider steps off the plate onto the platform, a woman in high heels looks as if she’s going to squash the spider with her heel.
Cut to a history professor named Adam Bell, who’s in a relationship with a blonde woman named Mary. On night while watching a movie recommended by a colleague, Adam spots a minor actor who looks just like him.
Obsessed with his desire to meet his double, Adam tracks down Anthony Clair, an actor with a pregnant blonde wife, Helen. Eventually, Adam convinces Anthony to meet, but Adam begins to feel uncomfortable and abruptly leaves. At this point, Anthony, who’s been having marital problems, starts to go unhinged. He decides to pose as Adam and convince Mary to come away with him for a weekend. In the hotel room, Mary suddenly notices the impression of the wedding band on Anthony’s finger. Things go from bad to worse, leading to a bizarre, anticlimactic ending.
Set in Toronto, Canada, ENEMY is based on a novel by Nobel Laureate Jose Saramago, titled THE DOUBLE. Apparently, the movie’s story follows the novel’s, but the director has added some bizarre images of tarantula spiders in the movie. In one shot, for example, a giant tarantula spider is shown walking nonchalantly around Toronto. Also, an image of a tarantula spider suddenly appears in the movie’s last anticlimactic shot. These brief images don’t add much at all to the movie or its story. Also, the movie’s tone seems not as lively as an excerpt of the novel MOVIEGUIDE® read.
Eventually, in the movie, Anthony tries to replace Adam by seducing Adam’s girlfriend. This doesn’t end well for Anthony or Adam’s girlfriend. However, after Anthony’s failed seduction attempt, Adam invades Anthony’s life and starts to become Anthony. Unlike Adam’s girlfriend, however, Anthony’s wife seems pleased by the new Anthony, even though she realizes it’s really Adam.
ENEMY probably will enthrall only a few moviegoers, if any. Most moviegoers will find it too slow, too monotone, and unnecessarily bizarre. The actors and actresses (including Jake Gyllenhaal as Adam/Anthony) do a good job, but the material they have to work with is slight, somewhat pretentious, and occasionally creepy. The point of the whole exercise gets lost in the telling.
Sadly, ENEMY also contains some graphic lewd content. So, MOVIEGUIDE® found ENEMY to be ultimately unacceptable and not really worth the effort to see.
THE RIGHT KIND OF WRONG is a romantic comedy that follows the affable Leo Palamino (Ryan Kwanten), a failed writer, in his absurd pursuit of Colette, the woman of his dreams. The problem is, she happens to have just gotten married to Danny (Ryan McPartlin), the golden child of a local tycoon in a small Canadian mountain town.
The story begins with Leo’s own wife, Julie, dumping him, almost out boredom. She ridicules Leo for his absurd and crippling fear of heights. She’s even created a blog all about him, whyyousuck.com, and it’s a massive hit. Now, Julie’s riding the media circuit and has a book deal.
So, Leo is left mulling in his own misery when his restaurant boss and next door neighbor, Mandeep, sends his two children over to cheer him up. Throwing a football around with the children, the ball flies off course across the street, accidentally hitting Colette (Sara Canning) in her wedding dress, just as she’s about to enter the church and marry Danny. It’s love at first sight for Leo. He leaps into action, cleans up, suits up in record time, and crosses the street, crashing the wedding. Sitting in a back pew, an eclectically dressed middle-aged woman, Tess (Catherine O’Hara) enters and sits next to him. The two hit it off and arein total agreement that this is a terrible match. Tess just happens to be Collette’s own estranged mother. Next thing you know, she’s driving Leo to the wedding reception at the home of her new and über-wealthy in-laws.
Leo shamelessly enters the house, finds Colette, and proceeds to ask her to coffee. “This is my wedding!” Colette says. “We all have baggage,” Leo replies. Colette’s new husband discovers them, and Leo finds himself booted out the front door and walking home. However, he remains smitten and undeterred.
Leo stumbles across a rare “ghost bear,” a creature whose existence in this part of the country is impossible. He takes it as a sign he should pursue his impossible dream and continue going after Colette.
Leo returns to his job where he works contentedly as a restaurant dishwasher. The job gives him what he expects and never disappoints. Meanwhile, as he hides out in safe mediocrity, he’s got a talent for juggling that’s astonishing. With cat-like reflexes, he catches plates flung from out of sight across the kitchen. All the while, he speaks to his boss, Mandeep, formulating plans for his pursuit of Colette.
Enter Neil (Will Sasso) and his wife Jill (Jennifer Baxter). Neil and Jill, married and madly in love, are like family. Neil was Leo’s publisher before his last failure. They have what he wants. He bounces his plans for getting Collette off them. They love him but think he’s nuts. When he discovers Colette runs a local Mountain tour company, he books himself on the next tour and continues his pursuit.
Mandeep decides to help his friend, recommending Leo and his juggling talents to Colette and her tour company. Unaware it’s her current stalker who’s the attraction being recommended, she arrives at the restaurant. Leo demonstrates his juggling magic for her.
On word that his ex-wife’s book is now published and a hit, Leo hits the bar to drown his sorrows. Meanwhile, jealous husband Danny gets word of Colette’s visit to the restaurant and sends an “army of children” after him. A junior high school prep club of a dozen teenagers attacks Leo in the street, beating him up, and leaving him bloodied.
A few days later, when the ghost bear appears on the local golf course drawing a crowd, Leo runs into Colette again and they actually have a moment. Her husband finds out and decides to kick things up yet another notch, getting Leo evicted from his house. Now living with Mandeep, Leo picks up his ex-wife’s book Why You Suck, and reads it.
[SPOILER SFOLLOW] Colette’s mom becomes Leo’s advocate. Estranged from her daughter, she’s determined to save her daughter from the mundane life she’s chosen of wealth and privilege. At the same time, having read his wife’s book, Leo decides to prove her and her book wrong, by tackling his fear of heights. He mounts a hand glider and tries to glide the thing all the way to the family ranch – a barbeque fundraiser for Danny’s charity. When one of Danny’s friends fires a slingshot at the hand glider, Leo crashes, spectacularly landing himself in the hospital.
Colette seems to be aware of what’s happening. She visits him in the hospital and is about to speak with him when Danny appears out of nowhere to whisk her away. Feeling manipulated and controlled, the veneer has worn off the new marriage. Reconciling finally with her mother at the barbeque, Colette begins to remember how she was raised.
Danny makes one last effort to thwart Leo’s intentions by attacking Mandeep. If Leo doesn’t disappear and leave Colette alone, Danny will report Mandeep to immigration and have him deported. Leo agrees to walk away, but will Colette realize who her husband really is, and what he’s doing? If so, will she leave him for Leo?
THE RIGHT KIND OF WRONG is at times very funny, with strong comedic performances. On the surface, it’s a quirky romantic comedy with a lot of heart. The problem is an underlying romantic delusion that undermines the institution of marriage with incredible flippancy and promotes vile adultery. Making matters worse, the movie contains excessive lewd content and foul language. So, it’s unsuitable for media-wise viewers seeking something more wholesome to appreciate.
LE WEEK-END is a comedy-drama about a middle-aged married couple trying to rekindle their relationship by going to Paris to relive their honeymoon. Despite some boring parts, it’s an insightful, entertaining movie with a nice ending, but there are some elements that require extreme caution.
Director Roger Michell’s (MORNING GLORY and HYDE PARK ON HUDSON) LE WEEK-END follows late middle-aged couple, Nick (Jim Broadbent) and Meg Burrows (Lindsay Duncan) as they set out to revisit the Paris of their honeymoon and hopefully revive their marriage. It’s their 30th wedding anniversary, the children are grown and gone. Aboard the Eurostar train to Paris, university professor Nick, forgetful, bumbling in tweed, irritates his wife by simply breathing. “I could lose you in a minute!” Meg announces passive-aggressively. Their relationship is teetering on the edge of collapse. Yet, mutually irritated though this couple may be, moments of deep mutual love punctuate their marriage. It’s complicated.
In Paris, Nick has booked them at the same hotel as their honeymoon. However, on arrival, what was perfect 30 years ago is now a model of mediocrity – a beige prison. Meg snaps, grabbing her luggage and leaving. She drags Nick to a fancy hotel they can’t really afford, announcing to the concierge, “Whatever it costs!”
Meg and Nick take in the City of Lights. Moments of further exasperation are interrupted by tender moments and moments of mutual laughter.
Nick takes a soda can top and offers it as a ring to Meg, proposing, “Try me again!” They kiss passionate just as an old friend, Morgan (Jeff Goldblum), bumps into them. Morgan, Nick’s former protégé, is an eccentric American, published and successful. He invites them to a party at his home to meet his new twenty-something wife. At the party, a secret about Nick’s job at a second-rate school for “idiots” comes to the fore, and Meg discovers how deeply Nick loves her. Will it be enough to give them a new start?
LE WEEK-END is a story of deep love and commitment, as well as a marriage in desperate need of healing and exorcising its past. A second honeymoon in Paris provides all the fodder for renewed romance while simultaneously releasing 30 years of pent-up frustration and unprocessed emotion. At times very raw, it’s a romantic story of a couple fighting to save a marriage. The ending seems to show that enduring love not only keeps a marriage going but also saves it from being destroyed.
LE WEEK-END is well directed and smartly written, though the unconventional story structure grows slow and a bit boring toward the end. However, the strong performances manage to keep things going and bring the movie to a satisfying conclusion. Extreme caution is advised for some foul language and a scene with marijuana.
By Tom Snyder and Ted Baehr with Ben Kayser
You can find a lot of silly, and even dangerous, things on the Internet these days.
One of the silliest, and perhaps one of the more dangerous, is the recent claim by a pastor and a self-described “Well-Behaved Mormon Woman” that the Disney movie FROZEN is promoting a homosexual agenda of normalization and same-sex marriage.
The press, including the left-wing propaganda website Huffington Post, has jumped all over this story, probably to make people of faith and values look as bad and as ignorant as possible.
Respectfully, MOVIEGUIDE disagrees with the Christian pastor and the Mormon lady.
In the first place, this pastor doesn’t cite any evidence from the movie for his position, so his remarks are easily discounted.
However, the “Well-Behaved Mormon Woman” (after spending a lot of time failing to get to the point) lists a bunch of reasons why she thinks the story and songs in FROZEN are pushing the “gay” agenda of “normalizing immorality,” promoting same-sex marriage, and teaching rebellion and disobedience.
To prove her accusation, the woman, Kathryn Skaggs, focuses a lot of attention on the song “Let It Go” from the movie, where the young queen, Elsa, decides to finally use her powers to freeze things and create snow and ice (the movie is based on the very Christian writer Hans Christian Anderson’s tale “The Snow Queen”).
“No right, no wrong, no rules for me,” Elsa sings. “I’m free!”
By focusing so much attention on this one song from the movie, Kathryn forgets the rest of the plot in FROZEN.
Despite its popularity and Oscar award for Best Song of 2013, “Let It Go” only represents one part of the story, the major turning point where Elsa rejects her sister and isolates herself from the kingdom of Arendelle, which Elsa has trapped in an eternal winter. In the rest of the movie, Elsa must learn how to control her powers for the benefit of others. Also, both she and her sister, Anna, must learn the real meaning of love – and it has nothing to do with “same-sex attraction” as the Mormon critic says.
In fact, the real message of the movie is that sacrificial love is real love, not unconditional love or homosexuality as the Mormon woman suggests in her wordy article.
In promoting the message of sacrificial love, the movie not only opens with a Christian hymn in Danish about Jesus (“Fairest Lord Jesus”), it also includes a symbolic death and resurrection. So, FROZEN actually is promoting Christianity and its definition of truth and true love. In doing so, the arc of the movie’s story rejects both romantic love and selfish love. Also, as noted above, Elsa finally learns how to control herself during the course of the story (self-control is one of the benefits of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Galatians, as is true sacrificial love — see also 1 Corinthians 13 and its definition of love).
Thus, the last two-thirds of the movie is actually a rejection of Elsa’s selfish and rebellious, though very tuneful, anthem in the song “Let It Go.”
That’s why MOVIEGUIDE® saw fit to give FROZEN its Teddy Bear Award for Best 2013 Movie for Families.
Finally, as MOVIEGUIDE®’s COO Robby Baehr has noted, there are more than 512,000 churches in America, plus many para-church ministries or groups. You probably can find a pastor in one of these churches, or a leader in one of these groups, to say almost anything.
One must question, then, the agenda of the Huffington Post to cite this one pastor as representing all of Christianity. Probably not even he himself would claim to represent all of the conservative Christian churches in the United States.
Anna’s character in FROZEN lays down her life for her sister, Elsa. This is holy, sisterly love – a “love thy neighbor” kind of love – not some form of perverted love.
Ultimately, FROZEN is a validation of Christian truth, not a politically correct piece of leftist propaganda.
NEED FOR SPEED is a surprisingly entertaining movie inspired by the video game of the same name.
Tobey Marshall lives in small-town Mt. Kisco, N.Y. as a mechanic working at his father’s garage. With his father’s recent death, Tobey struggles to pay the bills. For extra money, he and his mechanic buddies race cars on the underground street circuit. When Dino, an enemy and rival from the past, approaches Tobey with a business proposition that includes building the fastest Mustang in the world, Tobey reluctantly agrees because he needs the cash.
Months pass. Tobey and his team build the Mustang for Dino and are able to sell it for $2.7 million due to Tobey impressing a buyer with his driving skills. Embarrassed by Tobey’s superior driving skills, Dino challenges Tobey to a race. The winner takes all the earnings from the Mustang sale. Tobey jumps on the opportunity to humiliate Dino, but Tobey’s close friend and protégé, Little Pete, asks if he can join in the race, and Dino lets him.
Dino borrows three identically made unreleased super cars from his rich uncle’s garage. The race begins and the danger becomes very real as they weave between cars and dodge trucks at incredibly high speeds. [SPOILERS FOLLOW] When it looks as if Tobey is about win, Dino angrily hits Little Pete’s car, causing it to flip over and burst into flames, instantly killing Pete. Dino flees the scene of the crash. So, all the blame falls on the grieving Tobey, who’s thrown into prison.
Two years later, Tobey gets released. Determined to avenge Pete, he sets up a plan to beat Dino in a highly secretive and exclusive race called the De Leon. He manages to borrow the Mustang he built two years prior, but the car’s owner requires he bring along Julia, the young British woman who originally made the deal for her client. Along with his crew from home, Tobey and Julia set off for California for the race that could make him rich, but more importantly, bring justice to a lost friend. All they have to do is get invited into the De Leon, avoid the police looking for Tobey, and survive a bounty that Dino put on Tobey’s head. Ready, Set, Go!
NEED FOR SPEED is a pleasant surprise in many ways. Likely to be compared to the six FAST AND FURIOUS movies, not only is it miles better than the first four in that franchise, but it sets itself apart as something different entirely. The car races are some of the most gripping action sequences you’ll see, hearkening back and paying homage to car related movies of the 1960s and 70s such as BULLITT and THE SEVEN-UPS. Some of the plot holes require a suspension disbelief that might leave you scratching your head. Also, the character motivations are unclear at points, and the story jumps time a few too many times. Otherwise, the acting, camerawork, and action are sure to keep you captivated.
Best of all, the movie takes a simple vengeance story and turns it into something much more redeeming. On more than one occasion, Tobey has the chance to avenge the death of his friend. In both cases, he rises above his hate and does the right thing. He chooses justice over vengeance. Also, his reckless and illegal driving don’t go unpunished.
Happily, NEED FOR SPEED also has a few overt Christian elements. They include a Christian funeral where a Bible passage is read and images of a chapel for truckers. A caution is advised for some rear male nudity and a little too much foul language. Otherwise, NEED FOR SPEED is a fun thrill ride with some positive Christian, moral, and redemptive lessons and content.
ART OF THE STEAL is a witty, clever heist movie about a third-rate motorcycle stuntman and his shady brother who lead a gang on a series of art heists before the stuntman realizes he has to get revenge on his brother. Despite its cleverness, ART OF THE STEAL has a strong pagan worldview and excessive foul language.
At the start of the movie, motorcycle stuntman Crunch Calhoun (played by Kurt Russell) is shown in a Polish prison. Crunch has endured a 5½ year prison sentence taking the fall for his fellow thief and brother, Nicky (Matt Dillon), on a huge heist. Nicky would have received a 20-year sentence for the same crime, but he’s not appreciative when Crunch gets released.
Instead, Nicky’s become even more shady. He’s not only engaged in a complicated plot to steal paintings but also to steal one of the world’s most valuable books. Nicky tries to get Crunch involved, but Crunch realizes Nicky’s constant thievery and lying have grown out of control. So, he decides it’s time for revenge and turns the tables on Nicky with his gang.
ART OF THE STEAL is great fun on an action and thriller, and even on a comedic level, but it could have been more enjoyable and reached a much broader audience without all the gratuitous obscenities and profanities. The cast is superb, with Kurt Russell delivering a classic star performance after being about seven years away from the big screen. Matt Dillon and Jay Baruchel also turn in top performances.
Altogether, the clever twists, turns, and lack of pretension make ART OF THE STEAL lots of fun. Sadly, the foul language is just too much. Also, the gang gets away with stealing at the end. So, most media-wise viewers will consider ART OF THE STEAL unacceptable.
Note: ART OF THE STEAL is not to be confused with the 2009 documentary by the same name.
THE SINGLE MOMS CLUB is a Tyler Perry movie about the lives of five single mothers who bond together. THE SINGLE MOMS CLUB has mediocre acting but some nice elements, though it doesn’t have the strong Christian elements Tyler Perry included in his earlier movies.
Jan is a successful businesswoman who’s also decided to raise a child on her own. Jan goes to a meeting with the principal of her child’s school and meets four other mothers with their own stories.
Hillary is in the midst of a divorce, having three children to take care of but not knowing how. At the same, May has been raising a child by herself for some time, as her husband has been out of the picture. Lytia works at Waffle House and has several children, two of which are in prison and the younger three she is trying to protect from that happening again. Esperanza has a child with a man who has married another women but is still paying for all of Esperanza’s expenses along with their child’s.
The principal has called each mom because their children have acted up by tagging the walls of the school. The principal tells the moms that the prestigious school requires the parents to get involved along with the children being disciplined after such incidents.
The moms show up at Hilary’s house. Seeing that Hilary’s breaking down after her divorce, they decide to form a club to support each other.
In each situation, the moms have become the parent that raises their children or child. What they find out is that, even though they come from different socio-economical backgrounds, they all deal with the same issues.
THE SINGLE MOMS CLUB has some nice elements. However, it doesn’t have enough direct conflict. Also, the child actors could have used better direction. That said, the movie concerns itself with the increase of single mothers in our society. It acknowledges that this scenario isn’t preferred in any way, shape, or form. Also, the mothers in the movie do have great hearts for their children and their children’s needs. In the story, they find men to help fill the position of father for their children. However, THE SINGLE MOMS CLUB contains some lewd dialogue and no really overt Christian content like earlier Tyler Perry movies.
THE SINGLE MOMS CLUB could have been much better.