Movie Reviews: ‘Winter’s Tale’ & ‘About Last Night’


“Winter’s Tale” warms the heart, love burns

Akiva Goldsman is no stranger to the movie industry. His successful collaboration with Will Smith has spawned a number of box office hits, among them: I, ROBOT, I AM LEGEND, and HANCOCK. He too has enjoyed great success with Russell Crowe in A BEAUTIFUL MIND; with Brad Pitt in MR. & MRS. SMITH and; the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY sequels.

This time around, Goldsman steps out in a new capacity in his directorial debut of WINTER’S TALE, a Sci-Fi romance starring Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Oscar winners Jennifer Connelly, Crowe, William Hurt and Eva Marie Saint plus Will Smith in a most surprising role.

Let’s be clear, there is nothing realistic about this tale however, if you are willing to go along for the ride, Smith’s role more than compensates the mysterious suspense.

Based on the novel from Mark Helprin, Peter Leakes (Farrell) is an orphan whose memory has been shunted. For most of his formative years, he’s made a living as a thief. Struggling to make new choices, he strikes out on his own but not before one last heist that leads him into the arms of Beverly (Findlay), an unsuspecting young woman destined to an early grave—she is dying from consumption, an out-of-control fever that runs such a high temperature, she welcomes the cold brutal winter.

They are smitten nearly at first glance although Peter is being hunted vehemently by his former boss, Pearly Soames (Crowe), a heartless demon with a proclivity for torture.

Peter and Beverly have nothing to lose, only love to gain. The lengths they go through to turn precious last days together into an eternity is the stuff fantasies are wrought from—complete abandonment of reality—great fodder for the holiday.

Goldsman drew upon his enduring friendship with Smith to attach him to the project in a role that is 360 degrees from the legacy he has relied upon over the years. Since I won’t give the spoiler away, leave it to say that Smith takes the risk that Peter and Beverly are willing to go for love.

Love’s Laughter this Valentine’s Day, “About Last Night”

Funny all night long!

Kevin Hart goes full throttle, again! I can’t remember when I last laughed so loud and so often while watching a movie. ABOUT LAST NIGHT made me holler, many times.

If you’re wondering why it’s because of the subject matter—real relationship challenges– and the way handled by four magnetic actors whose dual arcs of comedy and drama run concurrently to hoist the story, the language, the look, and the timing all in terrific tempo.

Starring Kevin Hart (THINK LIKE A MAN, GRUDGE MATCH), Regina Hall (BEST MAN, BEST MAN HOLIDAY), Joy Bryant (BOBBY) and THINK LIKE A MAN’s Michael Ealy, ABOUT LAST NIGHT is a Screen Gems release produced by Will Packer (THE GOSPEL, OBSESSED, TAKERS), directed by Steve Pink (GROSSE POINTE BLANK, KNIGHT AND DAY), opening Valentine’s Day.

This updated version of the Demi Moore and Rob Lowe 80s chick flick is a welcome addition to the desired adult dramatic comedy genre.

Hart as Bernie, an out-for-sex-only kind of guy, meets his equal in Joan (Hall) who can write a book about the ways to emotion-free relationships or so she thinks.

Theirs’ is an electric, part eccentric, part eclectic, kinetic dalliance that extends well beyond the wham bam, thank you m’aam night club variety. They actually like each other but the road to commitment is littered with pretense and premonition. Both think they know the end of the story before it actually happens. Love is sometimes funny that way and these two bring the laughter in such fashion you can’t get enough of their scenes, always wanting more.

Where Hart is concerned, less maybe more for the five-foot superstar whose costarring role in RIDE ALONG drove three weeks in the top slot, earning over $100 million since opening– his allure is so appealing, his wit so appropriate and his presence so affecting– one realizes we haven’t seen this type of stand-up-comedian-turned-actor success since Eddie Murphy burst onto the scene over twenty years ago.

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