Posts Tagged ‘Movies’

AFTERMATHThey don’t make movies like Aftermath anymore. Full-scale nuclear war has fallen out of favor as a source of cinematic anxiety, reflecting the real world changes since the collapse of the Soviet Union 25 years ago. Oh, Hollywood will never swear off nukes all together, any more than they would give up Nazis. But now, it’s the suitcase device or the rogue nation warhead in the wrong hands. Get James Bond or Jack Bauer on the job, and badda bing, badda boom, all’s right in the world in a couple of hours, although there may be a teeny bit of collateral damage. (24 did nuke part of LA in season six, but it was just strip malls and warehouses; no good restaurants were lost in the filming.) (more…)

NeverlakeThe horror at the center of Neverlake is genuine. The danger in the dark (figurative, not literal) that lurks throughout the majority of the movie until its reveal in the third act springs from one of our most primal fears. The foundation is present for the film to be an effective horror movie, a modern version of a terrible fairy tale in which children are abandoned or abused by those most responsible for their well being. Unfortunately, the filmmakers bungle the opportunity at certain crucial plot points and sink the central scare within a nonsensical subplot. The end result is frustrating rather than infuriating as we are left with a second-rate flick that is beautifully shot on location in Tuscany with a competent cast that is reduced to following a too-familiar formula all the way to a predictable ending.

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DeliciousA film with the premise of a romantic relationship between an aspiring French chef and a British woman with a eating disorder sounds absurd enough to be the next Farrelly Brothers project. The pitch practically writes itself: he prepares haute cuisine, she vomits. If only he can find the right recipe, they might just cook up a little magic together. Meanwhile, the kooky elderly neighbor dispenses love and life advice while entertaining a string of gentleman callers as the would-be chef steals the ingredients for his elaborate meals from the restaurant owned by the man he suspects is his real father.

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affluenzaVery early on, Affluenza seems to be a pretty little movie about pretty little people doing pretty much nothing. As the film continues, a sense of nagging familiarity comes over the viewer. Finally, the answer to the question, “Where have I seen this before?” becomes apparent – and the answer hits with the same force as guessing the killer in a whodunnit.

Affluenza is a uncredited remake of The Great Gatsby with teenagers assuming the leads and the end of the era of irrational exuberance standing in for pre-depression America. Long Island is, of course, the setting, but the real town of Great Neck replaces the fictional West Egg.

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HerculesThe new film Hercules: Reborn is so shameless that it’s inspiring. If there are still those in Hollywood who will put aside any shred of conscience or ounce of respect for intellectual property rights in the pursuit of a quick buck, then we can be reassured that some things in cinema have not changed, the digital revolution be damned.

Hercules: Reborn is notable only for the sheer chutzpah of its existence. Following in the tradition of movie milestones like The Day The Earth Stopped and Transmorphers, Hercules: Reborn is an attempt to draft behind a better known, better financed project that will debut in movie theaters at approximately the same time. (more…)

Mary-Louise_Parker-BB03A film like Behaving Badly makes the review process rather simple and straight forward. If you answer yes to either of these questions, you should see the movie.

Do you like teen sex comedies?

Are you a teenage male?

Granted, there is a fair amount of overlap in the two target audiences identified through those questions, but Behaving Badly has enough kink and wit to appeal to more moviegoers than just oversexed adolescent boys. (more…)

road-to-paloma01Road to Paloma contains two shots of exquisite beauty. The framing and composition of these moments that last no more than a few seconds are perfect. One comes at the beginning of the film and shows the protagonist Robert Wolf (Jason Momoa) sitting under a tree, taking a break from repairing a barbed wire fence. The second occurs midway through and is simply an establishing shot of a gas station/cafe at night, but the contrast of the fluorescent lights against the desert darkness is as striking as an Edward Hopper painting. Those two shots, created by Momoa, who also directed the movie and had a hand in the screenplay, and the cinematographer, Brian Mendoza, are the best parts of Road to Paloma.

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Chiller_720x440_55Killer Legends is a tweener, a horror documentary that may not be quite creepy enough for those seeking a scare and not rigorous enough in its fact-finding to satisy those seeking validation of historical facts. Still, there is a sense of perverse fun that runs throughout the film, a guilty pleasure at examining the lurid stories that have been the grist for campfire tales and scary movies for more than 50 years.

Joshua Zeman, who also directed the film, and Rachel Mills, one of the producers, serve as the on-screen hosts that look at four urban legends and search for the true stories that may have given rise to the legends. (more…)

OSM_0483.NEF4 Minute Mile is a professional and perfunctory sports movie, devoid of passion or purpose. It’s as if director Charles-Olivier Michaud and screenwriters Josh Campbell and Jeff Van Wie received a homework assignment to deliver a Disneyesque movie along the lines of The Rookie or Invincible, but with enough of an Indy feel and gritty storyline to merit a PG-13 rating and banishment from the Magic Kingdom. We’re left with a Disney After Dark production, if a such a film company existed, and a Debbie Downer experience. Michaud and his writers merit no more than a C on this assignment.

Interestingly, 4 Minute Mile does not have the tag line, “Inspired By True Events.” One would think that the immersion into complete fiction would be liberating, but the narrative too often reverts back to cliche. (more…)

video-undefined-1EF7D99F00000578-155_636x358We don’t have freak shows anymore. We don’t pay a dime to go inside a carnival tent and lean over the railing to gawk at some poor bastard with a birth defect or other physical abnormality. Such unfortunate souls are not reduced to earning a living by standing on a stage while strangers file past.

We’ve evolved.

Now our twisted interests are served 24/7 by the Internet, where every image of every freak is preserved along with photos of every other forbidden thrill. The disabled are not subject to the same public humiliation, nor do they have the opportunity to profit from it.

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