Tag Archives: Max Thieriot

[Review] – House at the End of the Street

5 Oct

Title: House at the End of the Street
Year: 2012
Director: Mark Tonderai
Writers: David Loucka and Jonathan Mostow
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Max Thieriot, Gil Bellows, Elisabeth Shue
MPAA Rating: PG-13, intense sequences of violence and terror, thematic elements, language, some teen partying and brief drug material
Runtime: 101 min
IMDb Rating: 5.9
Rotten Tomatoes: 12%
Metacritic: 31

I had heard some pretty awful things about House at the End of the Street, the latest generic horror movie offering out in theaters right now, and while it’s certainly far from being anything close to good, I kind of think it’s a slightly more competent feature than most people are making it out to be. Again, this is not to say it’s a good film, it really isn’t, but the sheer fact that the mandatory hot girl running around in a tank top screaming her ass off in this one is Jennifer Lawrence already makes it a better film than most of its horrid contemporaries.

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[Trailer] – House at the End of the Street

1 Jun

All gorgeous young actresses have a requisitory horror movie to make. And Jennifer Lawrence‘s is House at the End of the Street, and you can watch the second trailer for it after the cut.

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[Trailer] – House At The End Of The Street

31 Mar


Jennifer Lawrence got an Oscar nomination for the impeccable Winter’s Bone, where she proved her chops as an actress in a tremendous indie production. She also, as you may have heard, headlined The Hunger Games, which just scored the third highest-grossing opening weekend of all-time. In between projects, though, she shot House at the End of the Street, which just got a trailer which you can watch above.

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The Family Tree

1 Oct

Title: The Family Tree
Vivi Friedman
Writer: Mark Lisson
Dermot Mulroney, Hope Davis, Chi McBride, Max Thieriot, Brittany Robertson, Christina Hendricks, Selma Blair, Keith Carradine, Bow Wow, Madeline Zima, Jane Seymour, Evan Handler
MPAA Rating: 
R, sexual content, pervasive language, drug use and some violence
87 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
Rotten Tomatoes: 

I try to watch as many films as I can so that my total of reviews for any given year can be reasonably high and allow me to really make a good decision as to what the best film of a year is, even when I know a film will probably be horrible I’ll give it a go, but there are also some smaller films which I’m not really all that excited about because they look bad that I’ll skip right on through. The Family Tree would have usually been one of those films, the plot just didn’t really do it for me and I could tell that it wasn’t going to be a movie I would ever really get to love at all. But then I took a look at the cast listing for the film, and I decided I had to check it out if only because it seemed to be a rather huge collection of very good supporting actors given a feature-length film without no real star to try and shine in. And hey, maybe there’s no real star here, but at least one of those second-(or-third)-teer stars was Christina Hendricks, and as a Mad Men devotee (and a sane male) she was good enough a reason to give this one a chance, even if she only appears for a brief moment.

Dermot Mulroney is one of the actors here, in charge of playing Jack, the father figure of the Burnett family, a rather dysfunctional clan living in Ohio. Hope Davis plays his wife here, and gives the best performance of the film (which isn’t really saying all that much) as a rather bitter sort of woman named Bunnie who takes the time she has home alone while Jack is at the office to engage in some sort of twisted affair with their next-door neighbor Simon, played by Chi McBride. Then there are the Burnett’s teenage children, Eric, played by Max Thieriot, who’s in charge of providing the film’s narration, a guy who lives under the wing of the local Reverend Diggs, who’s in turn played by Keith Carradine and who happens to have a an unusual fascination with guns and marihuana. And then there’s Eric’s twin sister, Kelly, a foul-mouthed girl who’s played by Brittany Robertson, an actress I really liked when she headlined the CW’s gone-too-soon Life Unexpected.

Yes, The Family Tree is just another one of those films that do their all to provide some sort of fresh outlook at suburban dysfunction, it tries to both show a rather dramatic and serious vision of a family trying to get a second chance at normalcy and a more topical sort of dark comedy interpretation of it. The whole cast is totally game for this, it must be said, and if this film isn’t plain out awful it’s most because of that, but the script, though ambitious in some of the themes it tackles, is ultimately still just an utter mess, and the less said about Vivi Friedman’s direction the better, as she never once succeeds even partially at marrying these two point of views of the situation and just totally lets the film fall apart through the seams.

What happens is that Bunnie knocks her head and gets a case of amnesia. That gives The Family Tree the option of asking what if Bunnie forgot how messed up her relationship with her mediocre husband was and how much pain she got from her kids, which is of course what opens the door to the possibility of the Burnett’s becoming a normal family again. And I would have liked seeing that being developed further, seeing Bunnie and Jack maybe rekindling their relationship and restoring the one they have with their children before Bunnie fully recovers her memory and them being fine as a family unit once again. However, the story gives too much attention to the secondary plot points that it just really takes away from it, all the stuff about the Reverend, about gun control and crime and sex and a slew of other events and characters get this to be just a really scattered sort of film.

I didn’t enjoy The Family Tree one bit, and Vivi Friedman really could have made a much better debut film considering she got a script she could work with because it certainly had some decent stuff in there and because it had a cast that was game for everything she threw at them. How she got all of this talent I don’t know, she must be seriously well-connected, but it’s horrible to see people like Mr. Carradine, Ms. Hendricks and Selma Blair be given these really small and thankless roles that means that their considerable talents will go to waste here. Not to mention that the other actors are given characters that aren’t fleshed out one bit and only serve to go through the plot points of an overstuffed screenplay. This is a movie with no substance at all, and no laughs either, which means, no matter the talent assembled, it failed at everything it set out to accomplish.

Grade: C


14 Apr

Title: Chloe
Year: 2009
Director: Atom Egoyan
Writer: Erin Cressida Wilson, based on the film Nathalie… written by Anne Fontaine
Starring: Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Nina Dobrev, Max Thieriot
MPAA Rating: R, strong sexual content including graphic dialogue, nudity and language
Runtime: 96 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 7.1
Rotten Tomatoes: 52%

Some critics haven’t received Chloe, the remake of the 2003 french film Nathalie…, that well, claiming that it doesn’t deliver the thrills it promises and falls into clichés of the sexual thriller genre, I personally loved the film, especially because it showcases three fabulous actors who I love, especially Amanda Seyfried, who was convinced to take the titular role by executive producer Jason Reitman.

Atom Egoyan is outstanding in directing Chloe, the film in which a woman, played by Julianne Moore, sees a girl outside her office window who looks and acts like a super fancy call girl, then she finds a photograph on her husband’s phone that she finds suspicious, goes back to where she first saw the girl, makes eye contact with her and starts taking to her in the powder room. The girl, played by a wonderful Amanda Seyfried, is wonderfully nonchalant when she tells her women are not usually her clients.

Amanda Seyfried is a young actress I’m completely nuts over, one of my Hollywood crushes if you will, but still, crush and bias aside she’s still a terrific actress and how she plays Chloe is superb, this is a character that obviously has personal motives to do what she does, but those aren’t apparent, and that’s what fuels this incredibly complex film because it’s not so much about actually doing something, as much as it is about thinking about doing it.

The plot after the initial scene I just described goes like this: Catherine, the Julianne Moore character, tells Chloe, who’s actually quite smart aside from her obvious beauty, that she suspects her husband of being adulterous and wants her to try and seduce him as an apparent test of her husband’s fidelity, or lack thereof.

The psychology behind it all is great, how Chloe, showing how smart she actually is, doesn’t sell her body, that’s for cheap whores, but instead uses her intelligence to work her clients and find out what it is what they really desire first, and then giving it to them, in a way that, whether they want it or not, they’ll be tempted to take. She meets David, the husband, at the place where he usually has lunch, a tip given by Catherine. And she tells Catherine what she says she found out.

I would go on describing the rest of the story, but I’ve decided I won’t, if you have read anything about the film you’ll probably already know there’s an sapphic scene between Moore and Seyfried, but the thing is the film is incredibly complex, more than just the sex bits, and it’s a treat to really enjoy and figure out as you go, this is a film about a young girl, wise beyond her years, who knows how to psychologically control people and enjoys it, it’s a film about Chloe’s real motives and what moves her and her way of thinking, and it’s truly fascinating to watch how Egoyan delves into this.

This is a serious mindtrip more than it is a thriller, it’s about the complexities of love, I would say, it raises a lot of questions about the titular character and it raises a lot of questions about the questions this character asks, and yes, it tells this tale and asks this questions in a sexual manner, but there’s really no other way this could have been told to illustrate it properly, and it helps it has Neeson performing his role as a true enigma at such a high level, this was, after all, the film he was shooting when he found out about his wife’s unfortunate death, it also has Moore in a great part, but then again Moore never disappointed, and Seyfried going deep into the intelligent, complex and beautiful Chloe.

Grade: B+