Tag Archives: Neil Patrick Harris

“The Out List” (2013) – Review

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Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

With: Dustin Lance Black, Lady Bunny, R. Clark Cooper, Wade Davis, Ellen DeGeneres, Twiggy Pucci Garcon, Neil Patrick Harris, Larry Kramer, Janet Mock, Cynthia Nixon, Suze Orman, Christine Quinn, Jake Shears, Wanda Sykes, Lupe Valdez, and Wazine Zondon

Director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders has done a number of List documentaries for HBO, such as The Latino List and The Black List. The style of the film is to show each interviewee individually and let them present their story. The common thread between each person is that they are out. The Out List contains at least one person from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered community.

Since each story is different, who and how well you identify with the person varies. The most affecting stories belonged to Larry Kramer, a writer and activist, who lost most of his contemporaries to AIDS, and Janet Mock, a writer, for the importance of being a visible and known transgender person. The most inspiring story belonged to Lupe Valdez, a lesbian hispanic democrat who won the elected office of Sheriff in the Republican stronghold of Dallas County. Interestingly enough, the two stories that had definite points to make and made them also came across as the most rehearsed: Suze Orman and Cynthia Nixon. Orman comes across as the TV personality she is, and Nixon seems to be on autopilot using one of her stump-speeches from a LGBT event appearance.

Ultimately The Out List is an average documentary. At sixty minutes it feels a little long. Without a common theme other than the fact they are all out, there is nothing to hold your attention to a story if you are not interested in what the person is saying. The concept of the shooting style and editing lends itself more to a mini-series of thirty minute shows, then one longer documentary.

Grade = C+

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Click on image to view trailer


“The Smurfs” – Movie Review

Click on image to view trailer.

Director:  Raja Gosnell

Writer:  J. David Stern & 5 More Credits

Stars:  Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, Hank Azaria

Voices:  Jonathan Winters, Katy Parry, Alan Cummings

When I first saw the teaser trailer last year, I knew how Edwin felt when he would see superhero trailers–dread.  Then I saw the trailer with Neil Patrick Harris–big fan–and felt a little hopeful.  My spirits were raised by The Miami Herald’s three star review but then dashed with the “C” in Entertainment Weekly.  So what do I say?  This movie has been the most pleasant surprise of the whole summer; more so since we watched it in 3D.

Edwin & I have never vacillated so much on whether to watch a film more than this one.  I think we finally decided to go because we had movie passes for the theatre and a Cold Stone Creamery coupon for after.  Since the movie night was basically no cost to us, the only thing we had to lose was time.  Thankfully, we didn’t.

Though the story involved many writers, it did not show in the final product.  It is a straightforward fish out of water/trying to get home tale.  The story is also self-referential to the Smurf “mythology” and makes fun of it a little:  ninety-nine male Smurfs and only one female, don’t you find that song really annoying, so your nameless until your primary trait develops?  As children’s movies go, there is a lot for adults to enjoy; based on the audience response, there is also a lot for the kids to enjoy as well.

The look of the film was also very good.  Similar to Tron and Thor, the 3D effect comes most alive in the Smurf world; it enhances the experience.  When the Smurfs are in New York the 3D takes a back seat except for a few great set pieces–especially the climatic battle with Gargamel (Hank Azaria).  Also, the Smurfs are seamlessly brought into the real world and look exactly how we imagined they would look if they were real.

As for the acting, it’s appropriate to the film.  Hank Azaria is great and over-the-top as Gargamel.  Neil Patrick Harris & Jayma Mays–as the couple whose world is turned upside down by the Smurfs–are really good and do a good job of acting with things that aren’t there.  The voice work is decent, with Jonathan Winters (Papa Smurf) coming out the best.  Though big names inhabited the roles of Smurfette (Katy Perry) and Gutsy (Alan Cummings), they didn’t bring anything to it.

Again, this movie was a pleasant surprise.  We thoroughly enjoyed it, and were happy that we watched it on the big screen.  It’s a great family film that can be enjoyed by all.  So even if you don’t have kids, go take a look at it on the big screen.

Grade:  B+

Click on image to learn more about the Smurfs

I actually owned this one back in the day