Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Monday, July 30, 2012
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 10:03 AM
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 7:19 PM
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 8:48 PM
Friday, July 27, 2012
In Another Year, director Mike Leigh takes viewers on a completely unsentimental journey into the lives of Tom and Gerri (Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen) who are that rarest of cinematic coups, a happily married couple. It’s obvious that they love each other, but it’s equally obvious that Tom and Gerri are happy because they’ve been through rough times in the past and came through them only because they had each other. Unfortunately, the life lesson they have learned through experience are lost on their friends, especially the very lonely Mary (Lesley Manville) a woman who so desperately wants to be with someone that she’ll latch on to almost anyone who so much as looks at her. It’s the perfect movie for intelligent film fan looking for a movie that makes them think and feel things that most movies today have forgotten all about as they fill the screen with easy to digest cinematic pabulum and ignore the honest complexity of human emotions and relationships. Leigh doesn’t hand you any simple answers as you watch Another Year, but he gets you to think while he entertains, and that is indeed a rare gift from a director these days.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 9:46 PM
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 9:47 PM
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
David Arquette gives a fascinating performance in this bleak tale of a Hollywood musician named Jack whose thriving career writing music for the movies comes crashing down in the aftermath of a personal tragedy involving a car crash that killed his daughter. Jack spends his days as a limo driver shuttling around the people he used to call his peers, and his night trying to find the muse he lost the night his daughter died. Writer/director Carl Colpaert weaves a complicated narrative…almost too complicated. People come in and out of Jack’s life but the audience – let alone Jack – is never sure who is real and who is a figment of Jack’s swiftly declining mental health. There’s a method to the madness, though, even if you won’t be able to figure it out until the second viewing. Don’t worry about what it all means. It’s enough to sit back and enjoy the ride.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 4:19 PM
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 10:08 PM
Monday, July 23, 2012
You don’t have to know a single song they play in the set to be hypnotized by Stone Temple Pilots in this intimate – yet extremely loud – show filmed in Chicago’s Riveria Theater in 2010. All you have to do is keep your eyes on vocalist Scott Weiland as he seduces the audience with his sinewy movies and sonic vocals. The rest of the band does a great job of creating a wall of sound (it’s amazing how much noise they make for only three guys). They play tight and, for the most part, seem to be having a good time up there. It’s Weiland’s show, though, and he takes it by the throat for the opening number (Vasoline) and never lets go. He’s a throwback to the frontmen of classic rock (a mix of early Mick Jagger movies with early Robert Plant swagger), with a voice that’s more powerful than both.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 10:25 AM
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Nicholas Cage takes a walk on his wilder side playing John Milton, a man on a mission to save his granddaughter before she can be sacrificed by a charismatic cult leader with a plan to literally open the gates of hell. Along the way he picks up a diner waitress named Piper (Amber Heard) who decides her life is so bad that hooking up with a crazy guy driving a fast car and carrying an ancient gun called The God Killer is a good decision. The movie is little more than a series of scenes where Milton and Piper get cornered by a faction of the cult and have to fight their way out. Given the fact that the movie is rated R and was released in 3D, each of the fights is, in turn, little more than an excuse for things — axes, bullets, severed limbs, buckets of blood – to look like they are flying off the screen right at you. And you know what? That’s enough. Directed by Patrick Lussier (My Bloody Valentine), the movie isn’t trying to be anything but a modern day grindhouse film. It has no pretense of being art, unlike the grindhouse films Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez made back in 2007. All Lussier wants to do is make each scene in the movie as exciting as possible, and he does it with style.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 9:16 PM
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 6:02 AM
Friday, July 20, 2012
It’s the craziest idea Will Ferrell has ever had. It‘s probably one of his best, too. In his new movie, Casa de mi Padre, Ferrell plays Armando, the somewhat slow-witted son of a Mexican rancher who spends his days riding the range, herding the cattle and trying to hand-roll a cigarette that doesn’t fall apart before he can bring it to his mouth. It’s an idyllic life for Armando, a life he thinks will be made even better when his older brother Raul (Diego Luna) returns to the family ranch. It isn’t long, however, before Armando discovers Raul is dealer mixed up in a drug cartel war that could destroy his whole family. The humor of Casa de me Padre is hard to describe, and will lose a lot in translation from the big screen to a few words in a review. If you read that in one scene that Ferrell approaches a calf in the field to pick him up, but in the shot of him holding the calf it has been replaced with an obviously fake animal, you will wonder what’s so funny about that. Yet seeing it is hilarious.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 10:38 AM
Thursday, July 19, 2012
The Three Stooges isn’t a biopic about the trio of vaudeville comics who made eye gouging, hair pulling and face slapping an art form in their classic series of short movies in the 1930s and 1940s. It isn’t an updating of their antics to appeal to a new generation of moviegoers… or at least that’s not all it is. The Three Stooges is a celebration, a shameless tribute to one of the best physical comedy teams to ever step in front of a camera, as well as a love letter to the fans, like the Farrelly brothers, who grew up watching them, most likely on television. But what’s the new film about? Basically, it’s the story of how Moe, Larry and Curly — played with real comic gusto by Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes and Will Sasso – as they try to earn enough money to keep the orphanage they were raised in from being closed. The basic joke is that after spending most of their lives at the orphanage, the boys have absolutely no clue how to deal with the real world, so every situation they find themselves in is a set up for their Stooge-like behavior. In other words, there is a lot of eye gouging, hair pulling and face slapping. There’s a good amount of verbal slapstick, too, an important part of the original act that The Stooges never got enough credit for. There’s also a lot of heart, too, even if it is buried deep beneath the eye gouging, hair pulling and face slapping.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 9:11 PM
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Even if you don’t play them anymore, if you listened to pop music in the 80s, you know the music of Duran Duran. Watching them in concert, though, is more than a trip down your musical memory lane because when you strip away the slick production of their hit singles you discover that they’re a good live band. It’s not always easy to see, given the over-the-top stage they play on and the frantic editing of the concert film, but there are enough moments in it where the camera settles down enough to just show them playing to make it worth the effort. Singer Simon Le Bon is in particularly good form for the show, from the opening number, Before the Rain, which really showcases his voice, to the hits he runs through during the show, like The Reflex and Rio. Watching the Blu-ray extras you get a better sense of just how important a document the Live 2011 film really is because the voice of Duran Duran was almost silenced for good when a throat injury made it impossible for Le Bon to sing.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 11:11 AM
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
The president’s daughter is being held hostage in a maximum security prison located in outer space, and there is only one man good enough – and cool enough – to rescue her. A guy named Snow. Don’t laugh. Although it sounds like the plot for a cheesy straight-to-video action movie, Lockout is actually a highly entertaining sci-fi film with strong production values, a decent script and a really cool performance from an unlikely action hero, Guy Pearce. That’s right, the guy who played a drag queen with an ABBA fetish in Priscilla Queen of the Desert is the star of Lockout and he nails it. Looking really buff, and looking like he’s as surprised/impressed with his body as the audience is, Pearce is a reluctant action at best. You get the feeling that Snow would rather be on the couch watching TV – or at the gym watching TV — than chasing after bad guys or trying to save the world. But you also know he needs an audience, not to watch him fight or do cool things, but to say cool things as he kicks ass or, because he’s such a reluctant hero, gets his ass kicked first.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 9:43 PM
Monday, July 16, 2012
Screen chemistry is such an elusive thing that when it works, it almost doesn’t matter what the rest of the movie is like. When you find it in a well made movie from a talented, visionary director like Lasse Hallström, it’s cinematic gold. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is the story of a crazy idea and how trying to make it happen changes the lives of the people involved. A rich sheik (Amr Waked) comes up with the idea of building and stocking a salmon run in the desert. The Sheik contacts his London investment firm, where a woman named Harriet (Emily Blunt) springs into action by contacting a local salmon expert, Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor) to see what he thinks of the plan. Dr. Jones frankly thinks it’s rubbish and wants nothing to do with it. And that’s that until the British government, desperate for a ‘good news’ from the Middle East latches onto the idea and decides to back it to the hilt. McGregor and Blunt are simply fantastic together. Like all great screen couples, they make even the early days of their relationship – the days when they really don’t like each other very much – feel absolutely real. That’s no small achievement given the fact that we all know how the story will end.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 9:22 PM
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 3:44 PM
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 6:22 PM
Friday, July 13, 2012
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 4:48 AM
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 7:35 AM
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 2:09 PM
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 6:07 AM
Monday, July 9, 2012
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 5:22 AM
Sunday, July 8, 2012
After a topless video shot in the girls locker room is accidentally broadcast on the jumbo-tron at the tryouts for a national competition, a group of marching band coeds from a small conservative college get a chance to strut their stuff at Ft. Lauderdale during Spring Break. All they have to do is get to the competition on time, but they aren’t on the road for more than a few hours when their bus breaks down and they have to find ways to pay for repairs. If you are waiting to find out whether the girls get to the competition or not, then you are watching the wrong movie. Bikini Spring Break is little more than a series of comic sketches designed to get at least one of the band girls topless. Thankfully, the jokes are funnier than expected, and the girls show more personality than the audience is looking for, which makes this not-so-raunchy sex comedy fun to watch even when they have their tops on.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 12:46 PM
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 5:08 AM
Friday, July 6, 2012
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 10:52 AM
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 5:05 PM
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 4:38 AM
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 5:55 AM
Monday, July 2, 2012
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 5:11 AM
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 5:08 AM