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Kyla’s Movie Review‘Don Jon’ is engaging and provocative

DON JON (R) - Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly and Brie Larson. Written and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Gordon-Levitt stars as Jon Martello, a working class guy in Brooklyn with parents (Danza and Headly) who wonder when he’s going to settle down and get married. However, Jon is having too much fun scoring with the ladies, and sets his sights for only the most attractive and sexy women who cross his path. Yet in spite of being a hero to his buddies, his life is empty. This becomes obvious when he meets Barbara (Johansson) who is gorgeous and everything he could ask for in a woman. Yet he’s still not satisfied. The only things that can really satisfy him are his sessions with Internet pornography. By taking men’s obsessions with porn seriously, rather than simply treating it as a dirty joke, is where Gordon-Levitt turns this into a movie with something to say. Barbara has definite plans for Jon. They don’t include porn, but they do include him making something of himself. He takes a night class where he meets Esther (Moore), an older woman who first seems ditzy, but turns out to have some important life lessons for Jon. Between the laughs and a bit of leering, what the film is really about is a young adult male realizing he is an adult and no longer a teenager who only has to focus on his own needs. Gordon-Levitt shows how Jon is using his online escapades as an escape from reality. The no-strings “sex” he experiences online turns out to be far more satisfying and liberating than dealing with an actual woman. Gordon-Levitt does an amazing job wearing all three hats. The rest of the cast is superb, too. This plays like a romantic comedy, but goes off in unexpected directions and doesn’t come back to safe territory. Viewers willing to hang on for the ride will find it engaging and provocative. RATING: A-

RUSH (R) - Starring Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara and Pierfrancesco Favino. Directed by Ron Howard. The movie focuses on what was a legendary rivalry from the 1975-76 season. James Hunt (Hemsworth) lives for speed. When he’s not driving fast he’s partying hard and racing through his life. He wants to be recognized as the best because he believes he is the best. Niki Lauda (Brühl) is more serious. He also lives for speed, but goes at it scientifically and methodically. He wants to be recognized as the best because he believes no one else is working as hard at every facet of the process as he is. It’s inevitable that these two will clash, and they quickly become the two to watch on the international racing circuit as one, then the other, comes out on top. As the unexpected happens and both men are continually challenged. They learn, as one of them says late in the film, that sometimes we are luckiest not in our friends but in our rivals. The two men come to respect each other and use their rivalry to spur themselves on to be the best they can. I’m not a racing fan, but I still respect the sport. There is some amazing racing footage, but it had way too much racing for me and I found myself getting bored and less engaged in the film, until about halfway through when there’s a shift in the action. I wanted more character development between the two men. RATING: B-

(Kyla Davis is a Nevada native and a movie enthusiast. She can be contacted by email at

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