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Notes From The Back Row

Just Like Heaven or Hell?

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Remember when Reese Witherspoon was cool? Neither do I. Although 1999’s Election was pretty good. Heck, even the first Cruel Intentions flick was somewhat watchable.

But lately, Reese and her girl-next-door cuteness have been wasting our time with crap like Legally Blonde and Vanity Fair, and this week she’s back at it again with Just Like Heaven , a lousy romantic comedy that is not only painful to watch but also totally ruins Napolean Dynamite because Reese drags Jon Heder (Napolean) down to her level.

Elizabeth (Witherspoon) is a workaholic E.R. doctor with no life. After a freak car accident she goes into a coma but her ghost/spirit/whatevever continues living in her apartment totally oblivious. Of course Mark Ruffalo, the mourning, lonely single guy who’s renting said apartment, is the only person who can see her and together they act out a stupid little existence of arguing and falling in love without touching each other. Then, in the end, she pops out the coma just before the doctors pull the plug and, well I guess I ruined the movie for you didn’t I?

Jon Heder (he’s super tall) is a stoned-out psychic buddy who helps them out and provides what passes for comic relief.

Honestly, I’m much more stoked about Witherspoon’s next movie this year – Walk The Line, a Johnny Cash biopic that just premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and hits theatres Nov. 18. Witherspoon plays June Carter opposite Joaquin Phoenix who plays a young Johnny Cash, complete with drug and alcohol problems. There’s a real love story for you, none of this airy-fairy ghost story drivel for the Lillith Fair crowd. I mean come on, ghosts are supposed to be scary.

Speaking of scary, there’s yet another PG-13 Horror/suspense flick opening this Friday. The subtly titled Cry Wolf is about a bunch of high school kids who, after a murder near their school, make up an Internet game of lies about the killer’s next victims. Only their lies start to come true and by then it’s too late because no one believes a liar, even when they’re telling the truth.

Sure, it sounds like an after- school special and it stars Jon Bon Jovi (always a bad sign), but Cry Wolf contains a few good startles and shakes and it was written by Doug Liman, who directed Swingers, Go, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith, so it’s not total crap.

And there’s always Lord of War , the Blow -styled glamorized look at the life of an international arms dealer starring Nic Cage and Jared Leto. While it’s interesting to take a look into that world, Lord of War never really gets deep enough and Cage’s character doesn’t address the seriousness of what he does fully enough to be portrayed as either good or bad. There’s no moral standpoint, he’s just a guy with a job and the film lacks punch because of it.

Still, the acting is great (especially Leto as the coked out brother), and who doesn’t wish they had an international arms dealer’s number programmed into their cell phones? If only to hook one’s self up with an AK-47 assault rifle and take a few pot shots at the people who made Just Like Heaven.

AT VILLAGE 8 Sept. 16-22: Cry Wolf; Lord of War; Just Like Heaven; Transporter 2; Constant Gardener; March of the Penguins; Wedding Crashers; 40 Year Old Virgin; Exorcism of Emily Rose.

AT RAINBOW THEATRE Sept. 16-22: Red Eye.

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