Friday, June 15, 2012

Rock of Ages

All those tight panty critics who give this 2 stars can suck it. I am going to give it FOUR stars- not just for some "rock ' n roll will stand" philosophy, but because it has sex, drugs (alcohol), rock and roll AND some 1987 rock songs that are somehow, someway connected to the very slight, very predictable and hilarious performed story line. Julianne Hough plays a perky new-to-Hollywood sort of modern Doris Day with stars in her eyes. She falls for the guy (somebody I never heard of but I guess they cast a nobody to play a nobody) who tries to save her from being robbed at the bus station (yep- the BUS STATION- that's 4 stars right there). Tom Cruise plays a raunchy aging rock star (4 MORE STARS!!!) and of course, there is  boozing, stripping, simulated sex acts, and- wait for it- a MONKEY like Michael Jackson had. WHAT more can a film do?? Of course it is silly- but adult silly. And you will be laughing at the likes of Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, and Paul Giammati. It is brilliant at what it sets out to do- parody, farce- you name it. But I smiled throughout. There is no sub-story. There is no pretense other than humor. I loved it, and I thought it was light and funny and exactly what I expected. Cruise is so good at playing Stacee Jaxx that he is worth the price of the ticket all by himself. So, if you don't want to see a sound track to 1987 with movie stars in it, then don't go. But I say, go have some fun- movies have become such a drag at times.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Madagascar 3

I saw the first 2 Madagascar films and I loved them. This one is no different. It moves along at a clip- I guess to keep the kiddos in their seats. The 3D is really fun- they make the best of it. The animals go through a big circus adventure on their way back to NYC (finally). Some of the lines are only for adults and the kids will NOT know why you are laughing (thank goodness). It is bright and colorful and keeps the little ones happy.  I really liked it. If you like animation intended for families, then this will be something not to miss in 3D.

Moonrise Kingdom

Well, there is good and bad news aside from the obvious that Anderson isn't using futura as his font. But on the good side- it is whimsical and fanciful and really is a fairy tale or sweet story he is telling. I have no IDEA why this is a good thing because in the end, the flat faced, monotoned performances by the lead children is enough to kill the audience.  You know how bad Matthew Weiner's kid is in Mad Men? Well, these kids are WORSE. Flat affects are one thing, but no personality at all gives the audience no sense of liking the kids we are supposed to be rooting for. Because it is Wes Anderson, it is so stylized that it feels phony. But if you saw the Royal Tennenbaums or The Life Aquatic (or even Rushmore), then you have to expect it. So you can't complain about it like I do. I'm the critic here. I had to see it.  But it was, in two words, charmingly boring. The script was full of one liners that are pretentious. It just tries too hard.  I think Anderson's best work was The Fantastic Mr Fox and nothing has happened to change that. Maybe I just can't suspend belief long enough to see this as anything other than self-indulgence. Sigh. But if you are a fan, it will not disappoint because it will be everything you expect.

Friday, June 8, 2012


Just before Warrant Officer Ridley goes about alien stomping, she must first have a reason to have stumbled upon them. Now, I could be wrong, but that is what this movie is all about. It takes place in 2093- which is a HUGE form of wishful thinking even if private space travel can get that far. And as in most Ridley Scott films, just don't bother getting attached to anyone or cheering on their behalf. Just saying. Right away, it's just a question of when- and frankly, not even how since most everyone knows going in here what most of the HOW will be. So sit back and enjoy the film. And you can, if you don't mind gross here and there, because it is HALF as scary as Alien or Aliens. And it actually is funny in parts- well, our audience laughed several times. And the best performance, hands down, is by Michael Fassbender. Fassbender, probably in an effort to make us forget he was in Shame, goes into excellent acting mode in the role of a humanized robot who models himself after Peter O'Toole as Lawrence of Arabia - probably to pass the time since for 2 years he(it) wanders about the ship while everyone else is in suspended animation. But you do believe this character- he is stiff and oddly detached. Fassbender is just wonderful in that role.  There are holes in the plot- BIG ones- but who cares- and frankly, you are watching fiction after all. The special effects are fantastic- and the 3D is seamless. In fact, unlike other 3D movies, you are unaware of it. That's good. You don't want guts in your face anyway. Now to the weak part- Charlize Theron. Period. She is wooden and her face looks plastic and unemotional- not in a "cool and calculating" way but in a "I'm sleepwalking" way. And she is far too young for the role. Maybe Tilda Swenson- she has cold bitch down.  But NOT Theron.  Anyhoo, have fun. It's a beautiful film with great detail and attention and the set design and special effects are fantastic.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Men In Black III

Ah, you might think "not this again". BUT you'd be wrong. This is by far the best of the franchise. Maybe the maturity of the actors, or the twist of humanity at the end, or the innovative use of Josh Brolin as the young Tommy Lee Jones- I don't know, but it is a much better and far more entertaining movie than its predecessors.  I really enjoyed it. The usual aliens lurk about. There is a villain and a hero- and it just when you think the end is predictable, it throws a sweet twist in. I do recommend it, and I would see it again. What a surprise!

The Dictator

I can't. I just can't. Awful. Just awful. It went for cheap laughs, the usual stupid pubic hair jokes and in general, if you can't see Sasha Baron Cohen laughing AT you for being in the theater, then I guess it would be the kind of movie you could enjoy.  Dumb and not a moment of creative energy. It just wasn't anything. No.