Qs Reviews – April 9, 2012
American Reunion. It’s been 13 years since the seminal High School Raunchy Comedy, “American Pie”, so it’s time for a reunion. What high school class has a 13th Reunion? Triskaidekaphobia aside, this number does not bode well. The whole cast from the prior films is back along with a few new characters. This exercise in nostalgia does not work well and the humor just goes flat. Stifler’s Mom and Jim’s Dad hook up. Jim and Michelle try to rekindle the pizzazz and it’s quite awkward. Stifler causes grief wherever he goes. Finch’s mom makes an appearance and Stifler takes his revenge. Oz has all of the girls and eventually makes the right choice. There are a few yucks and chortles, but the shock and punch of the original is not captured. We can only be teenagers once and that is a good thing. Rated R for language, nudity, crude humor and drug use.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Jiro is considered the best sushi chef in the world. His small, 10 seat counter, restaurant is in the Tokyo subway. It takes months to get a reservation in his sushi palace. Jiro is 85 years old and still has a passion for his job and the pursuit of perfection in the creation of sushi. His fish is carefully selected, his rice is custom grown and prepared and his staff requires years of training. Through Jiro we learn that happiness is achieved by determining our role in life and then dedicating our entire life to achieving perfection in that role. We will never achieve perfection, but the effort is what matters. Jiro’s simple approach has made him the renowned chef he is. This documentary fascinates as the world of sushi is explored with passion and openness. Rated PG for some language. It is a Peggy’s Pick.
Jeff Who Lives at Home. A very idiosyncratic look at contemporary life. Jeff is a 30 something slob (Jason Segal) who still lives at home with his mom (Susan Sarandon). He is consumed with the movie “Signs” which he is sure is the key to life and will show him the path to his future. On his way to the store to buy wood glue, Jeff sees signs directing him to a Kevin. As a result he gets mugged and into all sorts of trouble. Jeff’s brother Pat (Ed Helms) is having marital problems and thinks a new Porsche will bring marital bliss. Jeff and Pat connect for a series of misadventures that are both hilarious and pathetic. Meanwhile, their mother has a secret admirer she is trying to unmask while directing her two sons to some degree of normalcy. The film’s crazy events and crossed paths all build to a crescendo that does bring meaning to life and the universe becomes understandable. Jeff even gets the wood glue. A fascinating film that film buffs will enjoy. Rated R for language and adult content.
The Salt of Life. A wonderful look at contemporary Italian life through the eyes of a wannabe dirty old man. Almost documentary in nature, we get to see the swirl of Italian life through the eyes of Gianni. Gianni is in his early sixties. His aged mother won’t die and won’t stop spending his inheritance. He is a pensioner but does not want to be. Everywhere he looks he sees beautiful women and fantasies about being with them. He is bored with his life even though he has a loving wife. He does not understand his outspoken daughter and her boyfriend. He travels around Rome as his mother’s errand boy. He flirts with the girls but alas his charms have aged. Gianni sees his buddies having trysts and thinks why not me? But it is not to be, Gianni is a good man who is content with affairs of the mind. But who knows, the film leaves us wondering where Gianni may go next. In Italian with English subtitles. Not rated but would be R for language and adult content. The real name of this move in Italian is “Gianni e le Donne” which means Gianni and The Women which is a better name.