Tag Archives: Mia Wasikowska

The Kids Are All Right

Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson), the children of same-sex parents Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore), become curious about the identity of their sperm-donor dad (Mark Ruffalo) and set out to make him part of their family unit, often with hilarious results. But his arrival complicates the household dynamics, and nobody is sure how he fits in — if at all — in this Oscar-nominated, Golden Globe-winning comedy.

Rating: 8 out of 10

“This Kids Are All Right” is as good as the critics say it is (95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes).

The movie’s cast was excellent, with Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a married, lesbian couple raising two teenagers and Mark Ruffalo as their sperm donor. Every character is likable at times and irritating at others. I didn’t always understand their motivation or agree with their choices but that’s the way we all feel about one another, isn’t it? These characters are all flawed and come across as real, genuine people muddling through a unique situation.

When the older of the two kids turns 18, she gets in touch with her mothers’ sperm donor and, along with her brother played by Josh Hutcherson, the family begins to get to know him.

It seems complicated and difficult but I was rooting for this family to figure it out and make it work the whole time.


Hilary Swank stars as famed aviator Amelia Earhart in this dramatic biopic that follows the daring pilot’s rise from obscurity in Kansas to her troubled marriage to businessman George Putnam (Richard Gere), who recruited her for her first transatlantic flight. Mira Nair (The Namesake, Vanity Fair) directs; Ewan McGregor, Joe Anderson, Christopher Eccleston and Mia Wasikowska co-star.

Rating: 4 out of 10

In a word: boring.

Amelia Earhart was a pretty kick-ass chick. I didn’t get any of that from this movie, and the performance by Hilary Swank was drab. Richard Gere delivered a hammy, 1920 public relations man with little spark or chemistry with Swank.

The film is pretty accurate in the historic portrayal of Earhart, but it wasn’t told in a way that kept my interest or gave me any sense of pleasure. The film has some beautiful cinematography in the flight scenes and the decor and wardrobe are that of a high-quality period piece.

For a movie about such a strong and fascinating woman, I was surprised it was so week. It felt more like a Lifetime made-for-TV flick.

Alice in Wonderland

Alice, an unpretentious and individual 19-year-old, is betrothed to a dunce of an English nobleman. At her engagement party, she escapes the crowd to consider whether to go through with the marriage and falls down a hole in the garden after spotting an unusual rabbit. Arriving in a strange and surreal place called “Underland,” she finds herself in a world that resembles the nightmares she had as a child, filled with talking animals, villainous queens and knights, and frumious bandersnatches. Alice realizes that she is there for a reason–to conquer the horrific Jabberwocky and restore the rightful queen to her throne. Directed by Tim Burton (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Big Fish).

Rating: 6 out of 10

This summer I visited New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, where Burton’s illustrations and films were part of a featured exhibit. I had no idea walking in what a talented illustrator and artist Burton is. I’ve always enjoyed his films — “Edward Scissor Hands” “Batman Returns” and “Big Fish,” which is one of my all-time favorites. But Burton’s talent as an illustrator is in plain site when watching some of his pictures — and “Alice in Wonderland” is a perfect example of that.

This is a smart picture in many ways. There is great love in the recreation of an iconic world with equally iconic characters. But this is Burton’s vision, a much darker place where we see the heads of the Queen of Hearts’ victims floating in the moat around her castle.  The world Burton takes us through is both beautiful and scary, just as they were in Lewis Carrol’s novels and it works very well.

The acting is fantastic. Johnny Depp never disappoints and Mia Wasikowska was perfect as Alice, bringing beauty while having a feisty sense of innocence that teeters on adulthood. The only problem I have with the movie is the script moves awkwardly toward Frabjous Day, but we’re never really told what it is. We just know that Alice has to fight the Jabberwocky, a massive dragon who is part of the Queen of Heart’s army. Alice, a frail looking English school girl, suits up in armor and brandishes a sword, but it’s a little hard to buy into her being a heroic warrior taking on a dragon, complete with cheesy, action-movie line, “Off with your head” as she flies through the air, swinging a sword down on a dragon that is several stories tall. The film unfolds in an anti-climactic battle and ties up every loose end in far too tidy a fashion for Burton. That’s what you get with a Disney film. This is a visual feast with much left desired from the script.