December 30, 2009
Rock Star should be believed as it is based on the true story of the lead singer of a cover band who gets a chance to be the lead singer of the band his cover band is covering - got it? But Mark Wahlberg's character is unbelievable, and Jennifer Aniston is just to good to believe. The movie is also bland, having left only a glimmer of sex and drugs from the requisite formula of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
December 27, 2009
Robert Hazard should be ashamed for allowing his song Girls Just Want to Have Fun to be made into a movie about a girl who wants to win the Dance TV dance contest (a la Hairspray). Cyndi Lauper should be proud that she did not allow her version of the song to be used in the Girls Just Want To Have Fun movie. Sarah Jessica Parker should be glad she was a teenager and not responsible for her own actions.
December 25, 2009
Not much exciting going on in The Taking of Pelham One Two Three despite the thriller label. Sure it's about the hijacking of a New York subway train but you already know who the villains are, the cops (almost) never leave the station, and the film is as stagnant as the subway car that never moves. Most interesting though is the very end; too bad they didn't start there and move backwards.
December 23, 2009
Baby Boom is one of the 80s remaining treasures. Diane Keaton is wonderful as the advertising executive who finds herself the parent to an absolutely adorable little girl and she carries this huge box office hit (as well as two babies playing the one). It's simplistic and endearing and almost a throwback to the idealistic flicks of Frank Capra - but not quite.
December 21, 2009
Ginifer Godwin (so good in Big Love) is so annoying and the denouement of her story line with Justin Long so unbelievable that everything that might be good about He's Just Not That Into You pales in comparison. Jennifer Aniston and Ben Affleck are fine, Scarlett Johanssen and Bradley Cooper are hot, Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Connelly are depressed and the gays are in as the second bananas but this Sex and the City knock-off hasn't anything more worth discussing - except that Kris Kristofferson plays Aniston's father here, Marlo Thomas played Aniston's mother in Friends and the two actors starred together in 1984's The Lost Honor of Kathryn Beck. In the end this chick flick fails to click.
December 18, 2009
The Road is a dick flick as the bond between father and son is portrayed in this post-apocalyptic road movie. Unfortunately, we don't actually see any real post-apocalyptic cannibalism which makes the flick anti-climactic. We do hear talk, talk, talk and we do see Viggo Mortenson and boy running away from cannibalistic confrontation after cannibalistic confrontation in this adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel; must be a dramar but it was still anti-climactic.
December 17, 2009
Martyrs is not essentially a horror film but a dramatic film with scenes of such horrifying violence that I had to stop and watch the last half of the film the next day. It's a mesmerizing and very difficult viewing with a fascinating payoff that is almost existentialist (maybe). Many will not be able to stomach it but those who do will be rewarded intellectually and viscerally.
December 16, 2009
When I was young, watching The Trouble With Angels was an emotional maelstrom; from I've got the most scathingly brilliant idea to Mary's final brilliant idea, I was always a crying mess. Now I'm an adult and the whole religious indoctrination thing comes into play (and is really annoying) so although I'm not as emotionally debilitated as before, Rosalind Russell and Hayley Mills (and Marge Redmond and Gypsy Rose Lee and June Harding and Mary Wickes and...) are still a hoot. And what's not to love about a film directed by Ida Lupino?
December 15, 2009
Elizabeth Montgomery is a wonderful actress but not so much in Dark Victory, a made for television version of the 1939 Bette Davis weeper. The morning show producer she plays is harsh, cold and self-centered, and it's hard to imagine anyone falling in love with her - which is the core of the story. Despite a good performance from Anthony Hopkins, this victory is way too long and should have been left in the dark (although Elizabeth's smile in the final frame lights up the screen).
December 14, 2009
The most interesting thing about Taken is how the writer managed to find a new nationality (Albanians) to be the terrorists. The story (which plays dangerously close to Hardcore, the George C. Scott film from 1980) is about an annoyingly entitled girl, kidnapped into the sex trade, and her father who kills anyone to get her back. No spoilers there and no surprises as you watch; you know exactly how this calculated film will end when you read the poster.
December 10, 2009
The 1984 comedy All of Me is unbelievably ho-hum and not intrinsically funny. Steve Martin is excellent and Lily Tomlin is...well...Lily Tomlin so the movie holds some interest but its no silk purse. To this day it remains a mystery to me how this movie became a huge box office hit.
December 8, 2009
With all the vampiric blood-sucking in current entertainment, it's nice that Near Dark never mentions the word. They are simply serial killers. Kudos to writer/director Kathryn Bigelow because it's an intelligent film for anyone but especially for fans of Bill Paxton, Adrian Pasdar, Lance Henrikson and the little girl from Beaches (no, not Blossom).
December 5, 2009
The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a courtroom drama with horrific flashbacks; it's cerebrially horrific. It's also highly watchable. Laura Linney is excellent as a lawyer defending priest Tom Wilkinson against murder charges for his exorcism of Jennifer Carpenter in all her demoned-out glory.
December 4, 2009
December 3, 2009
High Society is nothing more than Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly play acting the much better The Philadelphia Story. It's a musical but that is pushing it as the mostly trite Cole Porter tunes seem haphazardly thrown in. The saving grace is the swinging presence of maestro Louis Armstrong and his band, and the classy presence of maestra Celeste Holm who looks phenomenal and manages to create an actual character.
December 1, 2009
An interesting myth about the Catholic Church (aren't they all?) is mingled with a well-known fact about the Catholic Church to create The Gathering, a watchable film about the beginnings of the Catholic Church. It's not particularly thrilling but it does maintain interest as Christina Ricci bounces around the English town of Ashby Wake trying to figure out why she is in a tee shirt seeing visions. It's benign.