Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Couch Time with Sheldon

Black Sheep Reviews is going through some major site changes and this feature will soon be no more. In the meantime though, with all the behind the scenes work to be done, I have to get a few capsule reviews out there so as not to fall too far behind. Here are a few of the titles you might come across on video store shelves, or more likely you will come across them online to stream or download, and whether or not they are worth it your dollar or your bandwidth.

JACK GOES BOATING is the directorial debut from Academy Award winning actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman. It is based on a 2007 play that Hoffman was in, making this a passion project which unfortunately falls prey to all of the trappings that can so easily accompany these scenarios. Jack (Hoffman) is a broken, single person - the kind you just know is never really going to find anyone. He is introduced to Connie (Amy Ryan), another lost cause, and they start preparing themselves mentally to potentially date each other. People who don't know how to be around other people are not the kind of people I want to watch on screen really. They make me uncomfortable and Hoffman does everything possible to make sure that discomfort hits home. By the time the dinner scene climax roles around and explodes into a drug-addled catastrophe, I didn't care whether Jack ever made it boating. Even if he did, he would just sink. (Alliance)

I had heard plenty of bad press about the fourth season of the HBO series, BIG LOVE. I have been a fan of the show since the beginning but even Chloe Sevigny was bad mouthing the writing in this particular season. I have to say I found the reports to be greatly exaggerated. Sure, it got a little outlandish by the ninth and final episode but by then, I was already deeply involved in the insane hijinks of the Henrickson clan. This season, Bill (Bill Paxton) decides he has a testament to run for public office and then come out as a polygamist to his constituents so that he and his three wives (Jeanne Trippehorn, Sevigny and Ginnifer Goodwin) can change the face of polygamy in America. The testament could be an extension of Bill's ever expanding ego though and everyone but Bill knows it. The fifth and final season is currently airing on HBO. (Warner Bros.)

Like the title character in NOWHERE BOY, this film might get lost amidst the shuffle, as it might not jump out at anyone at first glance. This would be tragic as this gem is often almost as brilliant as the man it is about. The man is John Lennon and he is played here with surprising depth by Aaron Johnson. World renowned artist, Sam Taylor- Wood has chosen to tell the story of Lennon's adolescence as her first feature film. It is a story that most will not be familiar with so Beatles fans who think they've seen it all will be delighted. That said, the family drama has universal appeal thanks to its great depth and incredibly talented cast, including Kristin Scott Thomas and Anne-Marie Duff. Click here for the original Black Sheep review. (Maple Pictures)