Away We Go

Away We Go is the 5th film from Director Sam Mendes. Known for American Beauty, Road to Perdition and last years Revolutionary Road which are very dark in tone and content, this is a step away from the norm from him and frankly is a breath of fresh air. Away We Go is the story of Burt, played by John Krasinski (The Office, Leatherheads) and Verona, who are a mid-thirties couple who find out they are going to have their first child. Burt’s parents played by Jeff Daniels (Gettysburg, Speed) and Catherine O’hara (Best in Show, Beetlejuice) decide to move to Belgium a month before the baby is born. Burt and Verona, having no ties to their home town any more, go exploring for the perfect place to raise a family. visiting lots of friends and family across  the country, it is a fun adventure of possibilities.

The performances in the film are all pretty good, but the one surprise performance that stands out is that of Maggie Gyllenhaal (Secretary). She plays Burt’s cousin and takes the idea of being close as a family to a whole new level, to the point of being creepy. Her performance is spot on as she delivers her lines with complete confidence without batting and eye as she talks about sharing a bed with her husband….and her kids! She is so good in this role, I could see her getting a Supporting Actress nomination.

Overall I don’t think this is Sam Mendes best film as the movies mentioned previously are very powerful films, but this is a very light, intelligent and delightful film. I would recommend seeing this movie, it is something fresh and not the usual rehashing of a story line you have seen twenty times already. Worth watching for sure!

Leatherheads

937_frontTo be honest, when I saw this in the theatre, I was on the fence about liking this film. After watching this again on bluray, I certainly enjoyed it more the second time around. Maybe because my expectations are were lowered a bit since going into it the first time, I really was wanting laugh out loud funny, and it didn’t deliver on that. Seeing it for what it is now, it is a light-hearted film with pleasantly funny scenes.

George Clooney (Oceans 11, Best Supporting actor for Syriana, Michael Clayton) directs and stars as “Dodge” Connelly, one of the veteran players in a dying professional football league. Clooney is adequate in this movie, but doesn’t deliver on the funny lines like O Brother Where art Thou. He still has some good chemistry going with Renee Zellweger (Chicago, Bridget Jones Diary), especially in the scene when they first meet. Trading one liners back and  forth was great and could almost used a few more of those type of quick witted fast talking scenes in the movie. The Film also stars The Office regular, John Krasinski (Away We Go) who is nicely cast as the young college super star.

Ok, would I recommend it to people, yes. Not to mention enjoying period pieces, especially from the roaring 20’s era, this film is solid, and enjoyable from start to finish. It is a lot of fun seeing the old-time football, leather helmets, wooden scoreboards, very few rules and half empty stands. Nothing groundbreaking or innovative from this film, but it is film that is well done in all areas. Just sit back and enjoy this easy-going and lighthearted journey about the beginning of professional football.