On English Teacher review

Somehow I got on an indie comedy Michael Angarano kick, because I followed The Brass Teapot with English Teacher. Basically, a dedicated spinster English teacher (Julianne Moore) reconnects with a former student (Angarano) who’s a failed playwright and they set about performing his masterpiece at the high school under the direction of a zany drama teacher (Nathan Lane). Meanwhile, the playwright’s overbearing father (Greg Kinnear) wants him to go to law school. Shenanigans ensue.

Cons: The movie is at times silly, other times bordering on dark, and then it’s quirky. I would have loved a better balanced feel.

Pros: Solid performances from some great actors. I’ve long thought there’s a clause in Julianne Moore’s contract that she has to cry in all of her movies, and her crying scene here does not disappoint. Even the supporting characters have moments that shine. When the movie is funny, it’s really funny. There’s a sense of fun in the movie that makes you root for the characters.

Overall: 3.75 out of 5 stars. I’m afraid this one mostly appeals to writers/actors/people interested in putting on plays. I laughed out loud while watching it alone, a rare feat, but I could see it not having mass appeal.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross wishing you happy viewing.

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On The Brass Teapot review

Today I’d like to celebrate Boxing Day by reviewing The Brass Teapot. This is an indie dramedy starring Michael Angarano and Juno Temple. Basically this 20 something couple who’s struggling financially gets this magical teapot that generates cash when the owners experience pain. They start with spanking and slapping but discover that the more they use the teapot, the harsher the pain must be, eventually go to psychological torment and possibly murder.

Cons: I don’t think the concept was fully utilized. A few things happened a little too easily. I would have liked more laughs. It feels a bit more indie drama with some humor than a true comedy/drama.

Pros: Great idea. Loved Michael Angarano and Juno Temple. You may know Angarano from Jack’s son on Will & Grace, Sky High, Lords of Dogtown, Gentleman Broncos, etc. and Temple from Notes on a Scandal, The Other Boleyn Girl, Year One, Kaboom, The Three Muskateers, etc. They are so much fun in this film. They feel like a real down on their luck couple. There are supporting players like SNL’s Bobby Moynihan and Arrested Development‘s Alia Shawkat and 30 Rock‘s Jack McBrayer. Some great ideas/themes about human nature/greed. The film has a nice, brisk pace.

Overall: 3.95 out of 5 stars. Good idea, well acted, but could have used a bit more humor. I’d talk a little more about the end but I don’t want to spoil anything.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross wishing you happy viewing.