Admission posterFocus Features (2013) 107 min. PG-13

Director: Paul Weitz

Screenplay: Karen Croner; based on novel Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Cinematography: Declan Quinn; Editing: Joan Sobel

Production Design: Sarah Knowles; Set Decoration: Susan Perlman

Costumes: Aude Bronson-Howard; Score: Stephen Trask

Stars: Tina Fey (Portia Nathan), Paul Rudd (John Pressman), Michael Sheen (Mark), Lily Tomlin (Susannah), Wallace Shawn (Clarence), Nat Wolff (Jeremiah), Gloria Reuben (Corinne), Olek Krupa (Professor Polokov), Travaris Spears (Nelson)

The way I happened across this Tina Fey-Paul Rudd romantic comedy about a Princeton admissions officer whose life turns upside down after the baby she gave up for adoption nineteen years ago reappears as a flaky, alternative undergrad applicant, was by comic mishap itself. I had gone to the movies planning to see the 3D re-release of Jurassic Park, but was handed a ticket for the wrong theater. Rather than rudely walking out when the mistake became apparent, I figured I’d give it a few minutes and make my exit when Admission became too intolerable and the audience too absorbed in proceedings to notice the departure. But fate works in mysterious ways. Once the movie had wrapped I found myself not only having forgotten about T-Rex, but wishing Hollywood had been overrun by a herd of Tina Fey. Continue reading


Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

PJSoM poster20th Century Fox (2013) 106 min. PG

Director: Thor Freudenthal

Screenplay: Marc Guggenheim; based on novel Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

Cinematography: Shelly Johnson; Editing: Mark Goldblatt

Production Design: Claude Paré; Set Decoration: Selina van den Brink & Shane Vieau

Costumes: Monique Prudhomme; Score: Andrew Lockington

Stars: Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson), Brandon T. Jackson (Grover Underwood), Alexandra Daddario (Annabeth Chase), Leven Rambin (Clarisse La Rue), Jake Abel (Luke Castellan), Douglas Smith (Tyson), Stanley Tucci (Dionysus), Nathan Fillion (Hermes), Robert Maillet (Polyphemus)

The second screen adaptation from the series for young adults written by Rick Riordan, these new Percy Jackson movies are like Harry Potter for the more mythological minded. They seem to be following a fixed pattern, appearing every few years, nearly in tandem with the latest Clash of the Titans release, after which they appear to be modeled. With the myth updated to the modern day, they’re what Son of Kong was to King Kong, lightweight junior varsity variations on a theme. They cutesify the concept by setting it in kiddie college, a paramilitary training camp for all the underage, illegitimate demigods sired by Olympians. Continue reading