For a movie based on a fairy tale, “Snow White and the Huntsman” is kind of grim – or is that Grimm?
The year’s second movie based on the tale of Snow White and the Wicked Queen, it’s a much more serious film than “Mirror Mirror,” which tried to keep things light and jokey. This film, by newcomer Rupert Sanders, approaches its material with a tone closer to “The Lord of the Rings.” (More…)
The temptation to make lots of marijuana-derived jokes would be a lot stronger if “High School,” an alleged stoner comedy, were actually funny.
But this half-baked enterprise, which has been sitting on the shelf for the two years since it played the festival circuit, isn’t just stale – it’s lazy. Director John Stalberg Jr. and writers Eric Linthorst and Stephen Susco operate under the misconception that all stoned behavior is funny and rarely take the gag further than that. (More…)
I will admit: I tend to have a bias against movies with the number “3” in the title. If there’s ever a dead giveaway that all imagination has been sapped from a movie, it’s that second sequel (as if the first sequel wasn’t bad enough).
Sure, the filmmaker can say, “Oh, I planned to make it a trilogy all along.” Tell me another.
There are exceptions, but not many of them. Still, I’m willing to add “Men in Black 3” to the very short list of third outings that actually work – better by far than the second film, perhaps even better than the first. (More…)
I’ve got to hand it to Morgan Spurlock, a documentary maker who has enough curiosity – and enough wherewithal – to make the movies he wants to make, and lots of them. “Mansome” is his second this year (after his entertaining Comic-Con doc), a slight but entertaining piece that is enjoyable if weightless.
Spurlock’s topic is masculinity, masculine vanity and the slice of the Venn diagram where they intersect. He breaks it down mostly by varieties of body hair: the hair on your head (or the hair that’s NOT on your head), mustaches, beards, body hair and the notion of the metrosexual. (More…)
Is there anything headier, happier and more confusing than first love? Of course not.
That sensation is captured perfectly in Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom,” as wonderfully odd and formal a film as Anderson has made. Even in Anderson’s detail-oriented obsession with symmetry and control of his images, he manages to let the unpredictability and volatility of young love burst through at unexpected moments. (More…)
“The Intouchables,” opening Friday (5/25/12) in limited release, offers the epitome of the breakout performance: Omar Sy, who won the Cesar, the French Oscar, for best actor for his performance in this film, defeating Jean Dujardin for “The Artist.” Sy was already a star in France – but he’ll come as a surprise to Americans.
A Senegalese actor who grew up in France, Sy gives a performance that is incredibly vibrant, underlined by a certain sadness. He fairly bursts off the screen, playing a character that is an embodiment of undirected life force, one who gradually learns to focus his energy to make him someone truly to be reckoned with. (More…)
“Lovely Molly” is a direct descendant of “The Blair Witch Project.” Aside from the fact that it incorporates the same handheld, shaky-cam, faux-doc technique as that 1999 sensation, it was written and directed by Eduardo Sanchez, one of “Blair Witch”’s co-directors/creators.
But this genre of horror film is played out – or at least this slight, rarely unnerving effort makes it seem so. Sanchez follows the horror-movie template. And while he doesn’t show us ghosts, he wants us to believe in evil spirits and a kind of demonic possession without doing much to convince us. (More…)
Though billed as a Russian film noir, “Elena” skimps on the noir and more’s the pity.
Instead, it’s a disciplined, controlled and ultimately disappointing drama of family tension and murder. The crime does not go unpunished, but the punishment seems mild to the point of nonexistence. (More…)
When I saw Tanya Wexler’s “Hysteria” last fall at the Toronto Film Festival, I enjoyed it for its perspective on how far we’ve come in terms of our attitudes toward women having control over their own bodies.
Eight months later, “Hysteria,” a charming comedy to be sure, suddenly feels dramatically relevant to current events – particularly the right wing’s attacks on women’s reproductive rights. When Maggie Gyllenhaal, as a forward-thinking woman in 1880 London, voices her belief that, in the not too distant future, women will be able to have the final say about their own welfare, you listen and think, “Hmmm – apparently not yet, as far as some people are concerned.” (More…)
Maiwenn Le Besco’s “Polisse” is tough and compelling, a police drama with no real plot but, rather, a snapshot slice-of-life of a group of Paris cops coping with what may be the most demanding assignment on the force.
They are the members of the Child Protection Unit, charged with investigating everything from runaways to sexual abuse. Their daily work brings them in contact with some of society’s saddest cases because their clientele includes its youngest, most vulnerable victims. (More…)