The Film Fatales review some DVDs you were too cheap to go see at the theatre

Since you didn’t want to part with $13.00+ on going to the movies, you can now see movies that your friends talked about ad nauseam months ago.  Feeling kind of isolated and lonely right now, aren’t you? You have no one to blame but yourself. So the Film Fatales are here to help you decided which movies to rent now. We spent the money so you didn’t have to. Seems a tad unfair to us. Where’s the agent that we need right about now?

THE DESCENDANTS (2011) Rated R. 115 minutes. Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Matthew Lillard, Judy Greer. Directed by Alexander Payne.

The family patriarch struggles to keep his life together after his wife’s life-threatening accident. Suddenly, the “back-up” parent needs to shift gears to become the father – and man – he never thought he could be.

Nicole: Does THE DESCENDANTS deserve all the critical adulation and award nominations it’s been garnering? In some ways I think Payne is a critics’ darling. Let’s face it, he hasn’t made a single flop. So, does that give him an upper hand? Sure. But I do think he coaxed out of Clooney a deservedly award-winning performance. Not so much in the lines he spoke, but in his silent reactions to his unraveling life.

elizabeth: I personally could not fathom anyone ever cheating on George Clooney. But when I saw him in those dad jeans, all bets were off. Then I realized that this actor had left all his charm and likability in the dressing room and became Matt King who suffered much by not being present in his own life. So it would make sense that everything around him would start to implode. And it does. Director Alexander Payne’s selection of actors was brilliant, and I think he waited until each one showed up to auction.

The Film Fatales’ verdict: Rent it. Buy it. Borrow it. Steal it.

THE HELP (2011) Rated PG-13. 146 minutes. Starring: Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Allison Janney, Jessica Chastain, Cicely Tyson. Directed by Tate Taylor.


In 1960s Mississippi, a young journalist (Emma Stone) decides to write a book about the black maids who have spent their lives taking care of white children. As the best friend of one of the employers (Bryce Dallas Howard), she faces the risk of being shunned by her society friends–all of whom have servants—when she gathers the courage to participate in a secret literary project. (Adapted from the Kathryn Stockett novel.)

elizabeth: I read Kathryn Sockett’s THE HELP a few weeks before the movie came out. I am always curious to see if a film can live up to the book or surpass it. Ms. Stockett’s novel is such a compelling read about America’s unjust and immoral treatment toward a lot of its citizens. We need to revisit it and feel our shame boil up again. THE HELP needed to be written and needed to be made into a movie.

Nicole: I so need Minny’s recipe for Chocolate Cream Pie – there’s quite a few people I’d love to serve a slice or two to.

For me, Octavia Spencer steals the whole movie. As great as Emma, Viola, Jessica and Bryce (the woman you love to hate and hate some more) were – no one can match Octavia’s charisma. From the second she appears on screen, you know you’re going to witness a very special performance. And that’s why she’s been winning every award including the Oscar.

The Film Fatales’ verdict: One of 2012’s best movies. So you should do what…?

SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN (2011). PG-13. 107 minutes. Starring Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Amr Waked, Kristin Scott Thomas and Rachael Stirling. Directed by Lasse Hallström

Salmon Fishing

A fisheries expert is approached by a consultant to help realize a Sheikh’s vision of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to the desert and embarks on an upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible possible. [imdb]

elizabeth: Sheikh Muhammed wants to bring salmon fishing to his country as a way to symbolize harmony between the East and the West. Brilliant idea. So when things get tough, you go fishing together. It could almost work. Plus he was so easy on the eyes.

Nicole: While Elizabeth is clearly smitten (as was I) with Amr Waked, the other actors’ performances were equally well crafted. I was totally expecting to be bored out of my mind during this film. I figured, eh, if it’s terrible, I’ll just drool over Ewan McGregor for two hours. Wasn’t I pleasantly surprised to be so totally drawn in?

The Film Fatales’ verdict: Rent it now. You will thank us later.

THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL. 2012. PG-13. 124 minutes. Starring Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson. Directed by John Madden.

Marigold Hotel

British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways. (imdb)

Nicole: It’s interesting that they were able to assemble such a star-studded English cast such as this with an underdeveloped script. I know it sounds like I hated this film – but I didn’t. Given what they were given, Dench and company nonetheless shined.  But a better plot with richer character focus would have served them well.

elizabeth: I think I can speak for Nicole (by putting my hand in her back and barely moving my lips) when I say we were both very excited about seeing The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The cast is a who’s who of some of the best British actors around. Okay, okay, Colin Firth was not available. I think he was on the set of Bridget Jones Goes Through Menopause.

The Film Fatales’ verdict: it is a great way to escape from the world for a little bit.

MAGIC MIKE 2012. Rated R. 110 minutes. Starring Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Munn, Cody Horn, and Joe Manganiello. Directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Magic Mike

A male stripper teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women, and make easy money. [IMBD.]

Nicole: I wish we’d had seen this together so I could have seen you writhing in total discomfort. I saw this on a Monday night at 7:40pm. Where, pray tell, can you find a more incoherent, giggly gaggle of women? Answer: Nowhere, but at this showing of Magic Mike. I finally know what kind of movie gets droves of women off their asses and into the theatre. I don’t know whether to be dismayed, disgusted, and disoriented or proud? (It’s the former. Most definitely the former.) I will say this much for the movie: It is a truly authentic portrayal of what goes on inside those clubs. I won’t say how I know. Just that I know. ‘Nuff said.

elizabeth: Let my silence speak volumes.

The Film Fatales’ verdict: Ick. Not the three letter word you thought we were going to use.

THE CAMPAIGN 2012. Rated R. 85 minutes. Starring Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Suedeikis, Dylan McDermott. Directed by Jay Roach.

The Campaign

In order to gain influence over their North Carolina district, two CEOs seize an opportunity to oust long-term congressman Cam Brady by putting up a rival candidate. Their man: naive Marty Huggins, director of the local Tourism Center. [imdb]

elizabeth: While I was planning on hating this movie with every cell in my body, I didn’t. I am feeling slightly humiliated when I say the following, “I laughed my ass off during the 85 minutes Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis  were on the screen. And the supporting cast made this vulgar, inane, dumb-ass movie even funnier.” Forgive me, mother.

Nicole: Oh, Cassidy—get loose. Get down and dirty with the rest of us pop-culture-loving heathens who will never think the sound of a fart isn’t funny. Admittedly, I’m a huge fan of Will Ferrell movies, so I knew exactly what we were in for—a crass, juvenile, totally unPC, guilty-pleasure-filled romp. You know, my all-time favorite funnyman is Mel Brooks, so I can’t rightfully claim I’m into high-brow humor when that campfire scene in Blazing Saddles is perhaps one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

The Film Fatales’ verdict: Rent it and just watch it once. This way you can look at yourself in the mirror tomorrow.