Movie Review: Portia Nathan (Fey) is one of several admissions officers at Princeton University. She is dedicated to her job. All is status quo until John Pressman (Rudd) introduces her to Jeremiah Balakian (Wolff). Moreover, Pressman tells Nathan that Balakian is her son who she secretly gave away nearly 18 years ago. Balakian is a gifted, eccentric student who is applying to Princeton University. Nathan feels she must make amends by aiding Balakian’s means to become a student at Princeton.
Fey and Rudd are at their best here. They are comical without going overboard. They play their parts earnestly. Wolff is agreeable as an odd teenager, and veteran actor Tomlin steals scenes. They are a part of this amiable story.
This screenplay is not typical. It plays like life with an unknown future. Moviegoers have become complacent with the formulaic manner in which photoplays exist. “Admission” breaks with the common notion that every screenplay has to end as people expect. This makes this film a worthy venture, one involving a little realism.
“Admission” has its less than stellar moments, but they are minimal. Paul Weitz (“About a Boy,” 2002) knows how to take a mild film and turn it into valuable entertainment. He turns “Admissions” into to something watchable and engaging, even if unmemorable.
Grade: B- (Admission accepted.)
“Spring Breakers” (Crime: 1 hour, 34 minutes)
Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine and James Franco
Director: Harmony Korine
Rated: R (Thematic elements, sexuality, nudity, drug and alcohol usage, profanity and violence)
Movie Review: Director-writer Harmony Korine has been penning movies since he was 19. His first was “Kids” (Director Larry Clark, 1995). His movies depict the modern manner, in which youths party, entertain themselves and use illegal substances, such as “Gummo” (1997). “Spring Breakers” is his latest wayward attempt to show what happens on spring break in an artistic manner.
Four teenage college students, Candy (Hudgens), Faith (Gomez), Brit (Benson) and Cotty (Korine, wife of the director), travel to St. Petersburg, Fla. They travel there to have fun. They hunger for excitement. They find it and more: parties, liquor, drugs, police, sex, and perhaps pregnancy. They encounter multiple sins, including Alien (Franco), a major drug dealer.
James Franco’s arrival makes this film better. Conversely, his portrayal does little to aid a scatterbrained plot, which fails to convince. Motives for other characters’ actions appear missing. Franco’s character has more development than the four leading stars, the young women on a college break. The four women appear more like characters from “A Clockwork Orange” (Director Stanley Kubrick, 1971).
This film is very much an extension of a “Girls Gone Wild” video. Nudity is prevalent throughout. Drugs are rampant, and alcohol is everywhere. After watching this, audiences will feel they have had their spring break or will feel the need for prayer.
Again, the intention is clearly an artistic screenplay. It fails as much as it succeeds. If this is art, it is abstract. “Breakers’” direction is as if it was a product made during a major party.
The editing is all over the place, like the plot. The footage is sliced and diced as if done by two monkeys with attention deficit disorder.
Grade: C (An eclectic break)