Tag Archives: Geraldine James

Dr. Easy (2013, Jason Groves, Chris Harding and Richard Kenworthy)

Dr. Easy is definitely well made. It’s unclear if directors Groves, Harding and Kenworthy are competent on their own but together they can make a decent looking little picture.

But they raise a lot of obvious questions with Easy and ignore them.

It’s a future story with a robot medic going in to handle an armed gunman. Oh, wait, there’s the first question. Is the robot really there to help the gunman or the police? The police stand down to the medic. All the filmmakers needed was to give the main cop, played by Alex Macqueen, a line of dialogue. Except there aren’t any other speaking cops (a cost issue?) and Macqueen only barks orders.

It’s possible the directors intend this question (and others) to make the viewer think, but why bother? Easy is a seven minute short about robots; it’s incapable of offering a reward worth that extra work.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Jason Groves, Chris Harding and Richard Kenworthy; screenplay by Groves, Harding and Kenworthy, based on a novel by Matthew De Abaitua; director of photography, Barry Ackroyd; edited by Dominic Leung; production designer, Agnieszka Debska; produced by Ally Gipps.

Starring Tom Hollander (Michael), Geraldine James (Dr. Easy) and Alex Macqueen (Superintendent).


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Arthur (2011, Jason Winer)

My Thin Man affection aside, I’m not against sobriety. However, Russell Brand movies integrate the glory of AA to the point it hurts the film (Get Him to the Greek made a similar move at a similar time). The development hurts Arthur, somewhat significantly. It’s good the film has Greta Gerwig, as she pulls it through.

The film is a very pleasant surprise; Brand has shown he can be endearing while still being raucous, but this film is the first I’ve seen where it suggests he might actually be able to act as well. He’s mostly acting opposite Helen Mirren or Gerwig, so he definitely has a lot of support.

The approach helps. Of course it’s nowhere near as good as the original, but it doesn’t compete. Between Brand, Gerwig and Mirren, it engenders a totally different response.

A lot of the film is Mirren’s show—it’s funny because of her responses to Brand. Her career’s gotten so much more interesting as she’s taken these varied roles.

Gerwig’s excellent. Since I’d never seen her before, I was pleasantly surprised, but Arthur has two other big surprises. First, Jennifer Garner’s fantastic. It’s like she was born to play a (realistic) heartless harpy. The other surprise is Nick Nolte (in a small role as Garner’s father). He’s atrocious. I’m not sure they even bothered making sure he was awake.

Winer’s direction is good, very calm and self-aware.

I was hopeful for Arthur, but it’s better than I thought it could be.

2.5/4★★½

CREDITS

Directed by Jason Winer; written by Peter Baynham, based on the film by Steve Gordon; director of photography, Uta Briesewitz; edited by Brent White; music by Theodore Shapiro; production designer, Sarah Knowles; produced by J.C. Spink, Russell Brand, Larry Brezner, Kevin McCormick, Chris Bender and Michael Tadross; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Russell Brand (Arthur), Helen Mirren (Hobson), Greta Gerwig (Naomi), Jennifer Garner (Susan), Geraldine James (Vivienne), Luis Guzmán (Bitterman) and Nick Nolte (Burt Johnson).


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