Tommy O'haver Reviews

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Review DON'T BE A MENACE TO SOUTH CENTRAL WHILE DRINKING YOUR JUICE IN THE HOOD
From block parties and beepers to high tops and high-powered weapons, it's everything that's funny about growing up in the 'hood...the Wayans Brothers' neighborhood, that is! Marlon, Shawn and Keenen Ivory Wayans get together and deliver a series of hilarious situations that all move to a hot hit soundtrack! Get ready for a good time, because there are plenty of laughs in this neighborhood!

GET OVER IT!
After Berke (Ben Foster) gets dumped by Allison, the love of his life, he'll do anything to get her back. Against the advice of his buddies, Berke desperately follows Allison's lead and joins the school play. But when he struggles onstage, Berke gets bailed out by his friend's little sister (Kirsten Dunst), who just might be the one to help him get over his ex.

OUTSIDE PROVIDENCE
Timothy Dunphy (Shawn Hatosy) has a full-blown attraction to trouble. Everything changes though when he crashes into a parked police car, prompting his loudmouthed old man (Alec Baldwin) to ship him from their blue-collar town to a snobbish prep school. Even though he's out of place, outclassed and seriously outnumbered, nothing could have prepared Tim's new classmates for him.
Muriel's Wedding

Review Kirsten Dunst (BRING IT ON), Sisqo, and Ben Foster (TV's FREAKS AND GEEKS) shine in this hilariously hip comedy! After Berke (Foster) gets dumped by Allison, the hottest girl in school, he'll do anything to get her back! Against the advice of his buddies Dennis (Sisqo) and Felix (Colin Hanks -- THAT THING YOU DO!), Berke desperately follows Allison into the high school play! But when he's inept onstage, Berke gets bailed out by his friend's little sister (Dunst) ... who just might be the one to help him get over Allison! Also featuring Martin Short (FATHER OF THE BRIDE) and Shane West (DRACULA 2000) -- nothing goes as planned in this entertaining treat!
Rough Night

Review If you see one Kirsten Dunst teen flick, make it the haunting The Virgin Suicides (1999) or the charming cheerleading comedy Bring It On (2000) before you reach for this film, Tommy O'Haver's shambling follow-up to Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss (with Will and Grace's Sean Hayes as Billy). Despite Dunst's appealing performance as aspiring songwriter Kelly, this romantic comedy is rarely very romantic or comic. Ben Foster, so compelling in Barry Levinson's semiautobiographical Liberty Heights (1999), is quite the wet blanket as clumsy basketball player Berke (Berke?). Granted, his long-time girlfriend, Allison (Melissa Sagemiller), dumps him during the opening credits to the tune of "Love Will Keep Us Together" (a highlight), but it's still hard to see what Kelly would find so attractive about such a sleepy-eyed sad sack. Superior teen comedies Clueless and American Pie would seem to have influenced the candy-colored sets, gross-out humor, and topless babes, but the magic is mostly missing. And magic is the key word as the plot mostly revolves around a musical adaptation (directed by Martin Short's flamboyant drama teacher) of A Midsummer Night's Dream in which Kelly, Berke, Allison, her new boyfriend Striker (Shane West as a vapid pop star), and Dennis (real-life pop star Sisq) perform. Life imitates art at the end as Berke's Dream-inspired fantasies become reality... but the story would have been more interesting if told from Kelly's point of view. With Colin Hanks as Kelly's overprotective brother and Swoosie Kurtz and Ed Begley Jr. as Berke's permissive parents. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
The Handmaid's Tale: Season 1

Review Princess DVD Set

MIRROR MIRROR - After a beloved King vanishes, his ruthless wife seizes control of the kingdom and keeps her beautiful 18-year-old stepdaughter, Snow White, hidden away in the palace. But when the princess attracts the attention of a charming and wealthy visiting prince, the jealous Queen banishes the girl to a nearby forest. Taken in by a band of rebellious but kindhearted dwarfs, Snow White blossoms into a brave young woman determined to save her country from the Queen. With the support of her new friends, she roars into action to reclaim her birthright and win back her Prince in this magical adventure comedy that will capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences the world over.

ELLA ENCHANTED - Full Screen, Anne Hathaway, the delightful star of THE PRINCESS DIARIES, is Ella in the charming fairy tale adventure ELLA ENCHANTED. On the day of her birth, Ella is given a gift by her Fairy Godmother -- the gift of obedience, which is also a curse. Under no circumstances can Ella refuse anything she is asked to do, no matter how wicked it may be. Tired of being taken advantage of, Ella, with a talking book as her companion, leaves home to find her Fairy Godmother and return her unwanted gift. This simple errand soon turns into an amazing journey filled with ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, elves, and the plotting of Prince Charmont's evil uncle who wants to take over the Crown and rule the kingdom. Bursting with colorful characters, music, wit, and whimsy, ELLA ENCHANTED is a truly enchanting and heartwarming tale that will captivate the entire family.
Remember Me

Review brand new
Waking Madison

Review Anne Hathaway, the delightful star of THE PRINCESS DIARIES, is Ella in the charming fairy tale adventure ELLA ENCHANTED. On the day of her birth, Ella is given a gift by her Fairy Godmother -- the gift of obedience, which is also a curse. Under no circumstances can Ella refuse anything she is asked to do, no matter how wicked it may be. Tired of being taken advantage of, Ella, with a talking book as her companion, leaves home to find her Fairy Godmother and return her unwanted gift. This simple errand soon turns into an amazing journey filled with ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, elves, and the plotting of Prince Charmont's evil uncle who wants to take over the Crown and rule the kingdom. Bursting with colorful characters, music, wit, and whimsy, ELLA ENCHANTED is a truly enchanting and heartwarming tale that will captivate the entire family.
Secret Diary of a Call Girl Season 1

Review "This," said Prosecutor Leroy New, "has been the most terrible crime ever committed in the state of Indiana;" the first crime of child abuse that broke through reticence and denial to register with the public. In Tommy O'Haver's heartbreaking and hard-hitting film, AN AMERICAN CRIME, Academy Award nominee Catherine Keener portrays Gertrude Baniszewski, the seemingly ordinary housewife who imprisons and tortures a beautiful teenager, played by Academy Award nominee Ellen Page, in the basement of her house - two portrayals that will resonate with audiences long after they leave the theatre. AN AMERICAN CRIME also stars James Franco and Bradley Whitford.
Fat Actress Season 1

Review An extended sleepover turns tragic for two sisters in this fact-based tele-film. After their carnival worker parents separate, Sylvia (Juno's Ellen Page) and Jennie Fae Likens (Hayley McFarland) move in with Gertrude "Gertie" Baniszewski (Emmy nominee Catherine Keener), a divorced Indianapolis mother with seven children (six in the screenplay). The kids get along, so the Likens figure Gertie will offer a safe haven until they return. Little do they realize she has a substance-abuse problem, a history of mental illness, and a layabout lover (James Franco). Even with the money the Likens send and the washing she takes in, Gertie can't make ends meet, so she takes her frustration out on her boarders. Since Jennie has polio, Sylvia bears the brunt of her anger: beatings, cigarette burns, and worse. Then when Sylvia tries to protect Paula (Nick and Norah's Ari Graynor) from an abusive boyfriend, Paula turns against her, too (Sylvia tells him about Paula's pregnancy). Like dominoes, the rest of the extended family falls in line. Three months later, their torture culminates in murder. Throughout, the narrative alternates between 1965 and the ensuing court case, in which prosecutor Leroy K. New (The West Wing's Bradley Whitford) cross-examines witnesses and defendants, whose testimony comes from the original transcripts. If An American Crime, which aired on Showtime, makes for difficult viewing, former Indianapolis resident Tommy O'Haver (Ella Enchanted) renders a salacious story as tactfully as possible, and his cast is always convincing--painfully so in the case of Ms. Keener. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Rampart

Review A homosexual photographer dates a man who is already taken and another whose sexual orientation is uncertain.
The Riches Season 1

Review First-time director Tommy O'Haver garnered a lot of critical acclaim for this contribution to the "new queer cinema." But he seems more clued in as to its weight than the reviewers. O'Haver rightly calls Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss a Tommy O'Haver "trifle" in the credits and he's on the money in estimating what his film is worth. For sure, the movie has much going for it; it's wholeheartedly enjoyable and packed with the usual dynamic that saturates most gay-themed films: what does one do when that object of desire is heterosexual? In this case O'Haver at least gives his protagonist, Billy, played by Sean P. Hayes, another obsession besides the Brad Pitt-lookalike, prophetically named Gabriel, who is enigmatically acted by Brad Rowe. This is because Billy is a photographer, as addicted to finding the perfect picture as the perfect man. His world is formed by old movies: From Here to Eternity and Imitation of Life are his criteria and the flirty foreplay by which to gauge whether or not a love will have stamina and staying power. Of course, Billy is bound to be disappointed by gay-friendly Gabriel, who is struggling in his own way as much as Billy. Full of the usual mix of second-string players who inhabit the gay milieu (e.g., the best female friend who has man trouble of her own, and the older, secure pal who has secretly held Billy in his sights for some time), O'Haver's film breaks the mold by keeping to a dark note. It resembles a Pedro Almodovar spectacle initially with its saturated look and primary-color palette. But three-fourths through, Billy and his gang walk into the contemporary gay equivalent of a Gidget movie. The shift is surprising and even sometimes funny. Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss has a lot going for it, but it's still just a trifle, and not a milestone in the genre. --Paula Nechak
Shameless: The Complete First Season

Review DON'T BE A MENACE TO SOUTH CENTRAL WHILE DRINKING YOUR JUICE IN THE HOOD
From block parties and beepers to high tops and high-powered weapons, it's everything that's funny about growing up in the 'hood...the Wayans Brothers' neighborhood, that is! Marlon, Shawn and Keenen Ivory Wayans get together and deliver a series of hilarious situations that all move to a hot hit soundtrack! Get ready for a good time, because there are plenty of laughs in this neighborhood!

GET OVER IT!
After Berke (Ben Foster) gets dumped by Allison, the love of his life, he'll do anything to get her back. Against the advice of his buddies, Berke desperately follows Allison's lead and joins the school play. But when he struggles onstage, Berke gets bailed out by his friend's little sister (Kirsten Dunst), who just might be the one to help him get over his ex.

OUTSIDE PROVIDENCE
Timothy Dunphy (Shawn Hatosy) has a full-blown attraction to trouble. Everything changes though when he crashes into a parked police car, prompting his loudmouthed old man (Alec Baldwin) to ship him from their blue-collar town to a snobbish prep school. Even though he's out of place, outclassed and seriously outnumbered, nothing could have prepared Tim's new classmates for him.
American Crime

Review Kirsten Dunst (BRING IT ON), Sisqo, and Ben Foster (TV's FREAKS AND GEEKS) shine in this hilariously hip comedy! After Berke (Foster) gets dumped by Allison, the hottest girl in school, he'll do anything to get her back! Against the advice of his buddies Dennis (Sisqo) and Felix (Colin Hanks -- THAT THING YOU DO!), Berke desperately follows Allison into the high school play! But when he's inept onstage, Berke gets bailed out by his friend's little sister (Dunst) ... who just might be the one to help him get over Allison! Also featuring Martin Short (FATHER OF THE BRIDE) and Shane West (DRACULA 2000) -- nothing goes as planned in this entertaining treat!
House of Evil: The Indiana Torture Slaying (St. Martin's True Crime Library)

Review If you see one Kirsten Dunst teen flick, make it the haunting The Virgin Suicides (1999) or the charming cheerleading comedy Bring It On (2000) before you reach for this film, Tommy O'Haver's shambling follow-up to Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss (with Will and Grace's Sean Hayes as Billy). Despite Dunst's appealing performance as aspiring songwriter Kelly, this romantic comedy is rarely very romantic or comic. Ben Foster, so compelling in Barry Levinson's semiautobiographical Liberty Heights (1999), is quite the wet blanket as clumsy basketball player Berke (Berke?). Granted, his long-time girlfriend, Allison (Melissa Sagemiller), dumps him during the opening credits to the tune of "Love Will Keep Us Together" (a highlight), but it's still hard to see what Kelly would find so attractive about such a sleepy-eyed sad sack. Superior teen comedies Clueless and American Pie would seem to have influenced the candy-colored sets, gross-out humor, and topless babes, but the magic is mostly missing. And magic is the key word as the plot mostly revolves around a musical adaptation (directed by Martin Short's flamboyant drama teacher) of A Midsummer Night's Dream in which Kelly, Berke, Allison, her new boyfriend Striker (Shane West as a vapid pop star), and Dennis (real-life pop star Sisq) perform. Life imitates art at the end as Berke's Dream-inspired fantasies become reality... but the story would have been more interesting if told from Kelly's point of view. With Colin Hanks as Kelly's overprotective brother and Swoosie Kurtz and Ed Begley Jr. as Berke's permissive parents. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Hard Candy

Review Princess DVD Set

MIRROR MIRROR - After a beloved King vanishes, his ruthless wife seizes control of the kingdom and keeps her beautiful 18-year-old stepdaughter, Snow White, hidden away in the palace. But when the princess attracts the attention of a charming and wealthy visiting prince, the jealous Queen banishes the girl to a nearby forest. Taken in by a band of rebellious but kindhearted dwarfs, Snow White blossoms into a brave young woman determined to save her country from the Queen. With the support of her new friends, she roars into action to reclaim her birthright and win back her Prince in this magical adventure comedy that will capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences the world over.

ELLA ENCHANTED - Full Screen, Anne Hathaway, the delightful star of THE PRINCESS DIARIES, is Ella in the charming fairy tale adventure ELLA ENCHANTED. On the day of her birth, Ella is given a gift by her Fairy Godmother -- the gift of obedience, which is also a curse. Under no circumstances can Ella refuse anything she is asked to do, no matter how wicked it may be. Tired of being taken advantage of, Ella, with a talking book as her companion, leaves home to find her Fairy Godmother and return her unwanted gift. This simple errand soon turns into an amazing journey filled with ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, elves, and the plotting of Prince Charmont's evil uncle who wants to take over the Crown and rule the kingdom. Bursting with colorful characters, music, wit, and whimsy, ELLA ENCHANTED is a truly enchanting and heartwarming tale that will captivate the entire family.
Trust

Review brand new
A Killer Among Friends

Review Anne Hathaway, the delightful star of THE PRINCESS DIARIES, is Ella in the charming fairy tale adventure ELLA ENCHANTED. On the day of her birth, Ella is given a gift by her Fairy Godmother -- the gift of obedience, which is also a curse. Under no circumstances can Ella refuse anything she is asked to do, no matter how wicked it may be. Tired of being taken advantage of, Ella, with a talking book as her companion, leaves home to find her Fairy Godmother and return her unwanted gift. This simple errand soon turns into an amazing journey filled with ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, elves, and the plotting of Prince Charmont's evil uncle who wants to take over the Crown and rule the kingdom. Bursting with colorful characters, music, wit, and whimsy, ELLA ENCHANTED is a truly enchanting and heartwarming tale that will captivate the entire family.
American Monster Season 2

Review "This," said Prosecutor Leroy New, "has been the most terrible crime ever committed in the state of Indiana;" the first crime of child abuse that broke through reticence and denial to register with the public. In Tommy O'Haver's heartbreaking and hard-hitting film, AN AMERICAN CRIME, Academy Award nominee Catherine Keener portrays Gertrude Baniszewski, the seemingly ordinary housewife who imprisons and tortures a beautiful teenager, played by Academy Award nominee Ellen Page, in the basement of her house - two portrayals that will resonate with audiences long after they leave the theatre. AN AMERICAN CRIME also stars James Franco and Bradley Whitford.
The Hatred

Review An extended sleepover turns tragic for two sisters in this fact-based tele-film. After their carnival worker parents separate, Sylvia (Juno's Ellen Page) and Jennie Fae Likens (Hayley McFarland) move in with Gertrude "Gertie" Baniszewski (Emmy nominee Catherine Keener), a divorced Indianapolis mother with seven children (six in the screenplay). The kids get along, so the Likens figure Gertie will offer a safe haven until they return. Little do they realize she has a substance-abuse problem, a history of mental illness, and a layabout lover (James Franco). Even with the money the Likens send and the washing she takes in, Gertie can't make ends meet, so she takes her frustration out on her boarders. Since Jennie has polio, Sylvia bears the brunt of her anger: beatings, cigarette burns, and worse. Then when Sylvia tries to protect Paula (Nick and Norah's Ari Graynor) from an abusive boyfriend, Paula turns against her, too (Sylvia tells him about Paula's pregnancy). Like dominoes, the rest of the extended family falls in line. Three months later, their torture culminates in murder. Throughout, the narrative alternates between 1965 and the ensuing court case, in which prosecutor Leroy K. New (The West Wing's Bradley Whitford) cross-examines witnesses and defendants, whose testimony comes from the original transcripts. If An American Crime, which aired on Showtime, makes for difficult viewing, former Indianapolis resident Tommy O'Haver (Ella Enchanted) renders a salacious story as tactfully as possible, and his cast is always convincing--painfully so in the case of Ms. Keener. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Hounddog

Review A homosexual photographer dates a man who is already taken and another whose sexual orientation is uncertain.
American Horror Story: Cult

Review First-time director Tommy O'Haver garnered a lot of critical acclaim for this contribution to the "new queer cinema." But he seems more clued in as to its weight than the reviewers. O'Haver rightly calls Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss a Tommy O'Haver "trifle" in the credits and he's on the money in estimating what his film is worth. For sure, the movie has much going for it; it's wholeheartedly enjoyable and packed with the usual dynamic that saturates most gay-themed films: what does one do when that object of desire is heterosexual? In this case O'Haver at least gives his protagonist, Billy, played by Sean P. Hayes, another obsession besides the Brad Pitt-lookalike, prophetically named Gabriel, who is enigmatically acted by Brad Rowe. This is because Billy is a photographer, as addicted to finding the perfect picture as the perfect man. His world is formed by old movies: From Here to Eternity and Imitation of Life are his criteria and the flirty foreplay by which to gauge whether or not a love will have stamina and staying power. Of course, Billy is bound to be disappointed by gay-friendly Gabriel, who is struggling in his own way as much as Billy. Full of the usual mix of second-string players who inhabit the gay milieu (e.g., the best female friend who has man trouble of her own, and the older, secure pal who has secretly held Billy in his sights for some time), O'Haver's film breaks the mold by keeping to a dark note. It resembles a Pedro Almodovar spectacle initially with its saturated look and primary-color palette. But three-fourths through, Billy and his gang walk into the contemporary gay equivalent of a Gidget movie. The shift is surprising and even sometimes funny. Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss has a lot going for it, but it's still just a trifle, and not a milestone in the genre. --Paula Nechak

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