Movie Review: Bullock, Reeves still share chemistry


By Phil Boatwright

The Lake House
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves, Dylan Walsh, Shohreh Aghdasloo, Christopher Plummer
Rating: PG 

An independent-minded doctor (Sandra Bullock) who once occupied an unusual lakeside home begins exchanging letters with its newest resident, a frustrated architect (Keanu Reeves), and discovers that, incredibly, they are living two years apart.

As they begin to reveal more of themselves to one another through their continuing correspondence (via a magical mailbox), they find themselves falling in love. Determined to bridge the distance between them and unravel the mystery behind their extraordinary romance, they tempt fate by arranging to meet.

The relationships are nicely developed, the Twilight Zone-like plot intriguing, and after their 12-year separation, the two stars of Speed still exude a genuine chemistry. On the other hand, the spiritual disconnect renown in Hollywood ethereal dramas is less than satisfying for the spiritually minded. For example, a couple lives together. OK, lots of unweds live together, but this status is portrayed as a matter of fact.

Again, that’s true in our culture, but should this fact of life be passively accepted by followers of biblical teaching? And though the dialogue is mature, often thoughtful, there are a few unnecessary profanities sprinkled throughout that jar those who believe God’s name should not be used simply to express frustration.

Nacho Libre
Stars: Jack Black, Ana de la Reguera, Hector Jimenez, Richard Montoya and Peter Stormare
Director: Jared Hess
Rating: PG

Jack Black stars as Ignacio (friends call him Nacho), a Mexican monk-in-training who moonlights as a wrestler in order to raise money for his orphanage.

There are moments in Nacho Libre meant to touch us concerning this man’s faith, his concern for his friend’s salvation and a deep caring for the children under his care – not to mention his crush on the pretty nun-in-training who has somehow joined the monastery, but each of these moments lacks any conviction. They don’t play as drama, which would have added depth to the proceedings and thereby highlighted the comic situations. These melodramas seem to be there because no one could think of anything funny that day.

A word must be said about the casting of the minor roles, from orphaned kids to people our hero encounters. Containing the most bizarre-looking supporting players since James Whale’s Freaks, it didn’t matter to the casting director if they could act or had any comic timing, just so long as they looked strange. Evidently, we are supposed to laugh at kids that don’t seem all there, banshee wrestling midgets, old men with cocked eyes and a lustful obese woman on the make. If you don’t like laughing at how people look, then right away a third of this film will be less than satisfying.