Directed by Jake Scherier
Written by Christopher D. Ford
Starring, Frank Langella, Peter Saarsgard, Susan Sarandon, Liv Tyler, James Marsden

Robot and Frank is a movie I truly wanted to like. Frank (Frank Langella) is an aging cat burglar, living in the near future, whose son decides his memory lapses warrant help in the form of a robot. Frank discovers the robot has been programmed with no code of ethics and tries to exploit his electronic care-giver for his own ends. This sounds a bit sinister, right? Wrong. Robot and Frank could have come from the Disney Studios. Its saving grace is the terrific performance of Frank Langella, who tries valiantly to rescue it from its slide toward sentimentality. There is a truly ludicrous portrayal of small town cops in this film—one that even the most generic TV show would shun.

And the twist at the end was given no setup at all. See this if you need a night off from watching the many better dramas or comedies on TV.

Directed by David Frankel

Written by Vanessa Taylor
Starring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell

Hope Springs is a better bet for the older viewer at least. Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones play a long-married couple whose marriage has grown stale, sexless, joyless. On her initiative, they travel to a charming Maine town and see a therapist (Carell) who tries to solve their problems. There are some frank moments in HOPE SPRINGS. Streep and Jones do as much as they can with the material, but at heart this is a very Hollywoodish look at an aging marriage. And although Streep and Jones are good in their parts, I can’t help but think their over-familiarity sabotage our belief that she would work at a clothing store, that he would be such a bore. Some good moments but too generic to really dig deep. The French do this sort of thing so much better.

Be sure to stop by to check out Forgotten Books every Friday as well as other thoughts, comments and reviews. A collection of her stories, Monkey Justice (Snubnose Press) can be found on Amazon