Saturday, February 7, 2015

Seventh Son:

Ben Barnes and Jeff Bridges as the apprentice and the master
It's Godzilla meets Transformers, shape shifting witches morphing into flying dragons. Which is as it should be in a fantasy/action flick. And it certainly helps that the most malevolent one, Mother Malkin, is played by Julianne Moore.

Chasing her down is Master Gregory, Jeff Bridges, acting like the grog in his flask is the real stuff. Either than or he thought he was in a comedy.

Master Gregory takes on a new apprentice, Tom, a seventh son of a seventh son. Luckily, Ben Barnes, who looks like a young Keanu Reeves, acts as if he's in Julianne Moore's movie.

The Movie Slut is not a connoisseur of fantasy flicks, but this one is fun, or would have been if Jeff Bridges wasn't playing it like The Dude in mephistophelian beard. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Loft: Laughably Ludicrous

The Hooker, Rachael Taylor, and the psychiatrist, James Marsden
Five friends.
Five Keys.
One luxury loft apartment.
Five sour brunette wives.
Two sexy blondes.
One dead body.

Add these together and you should get a compelling whodunnit.
You don't.

James Marsden, the most likeable of the friends, is a psychiatrist with a bitter wife, a patient who's committed suicide, four friends who are despicable lowlifes in posh suits, and a girlfriend who's a prostitute.

The Movie Slut wouldn't want to be his patient even for a chipped nail.

The movie veers about with its unlikeable characters. There's another death, suspicious detectives, and enough red herrings to fill the Baltic Sea.

But not to worry, a tacked on rom-com ending will have you leaving the theater muttering "WTF?"

Monday, February 2, 2015

Still Alice: Is she?

Alice has it all. She's a well-regarded linguistics professor at Columbia University. She's married to a professor, has three grown children, an apartment in Manhattan and a beach house.

We meet her on her fiftieth birthday, a shining moment with her family.

But soon her perfect life begins unraveling. She gets lost jogging on campus. She forgets the words to a speech. Her agile mind becomes cloudy. She is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. The rest of the movie chronicles her slow, inevitable, and frightening decline.

Still Alice is one of this year's many movies that seem to be made to thrust a star into an Oscar-winning role. And Julianne Moore has already won a Golden Globe for her stellar performance. Alec Baldwin, as her husband, and Kristin Stewart, as her younger daughter, give laudable performances, too.

Despite the devastating subject, Still Alice never plummets into despair, which probably has to do with the book it is based on by Lisa Genova. But it also makes you wonder about those who don't have the means to hire a home healthcare aide and aren't surrounded by a family that can be at their side. 

A Most Violent Year: Slick. And Oily?

Abel Moarales (Oscar Issac) is an ambitious, smart, hard-working businessman. He's worked his way up and now owns an oil-delivery company. The year in question is 1981, and he's on the brink of expansion. But everything is working against him.

He's being investigated by a suspicious district attorney.
His deliverymen are being attacked.
His oil is being stolen.
He is threatened in his home.

But he's a tough guy in his own right. And is matched by his scrappy wife, Jessica Chastain, his partner in every sense of the term.

She's part of the problem with this well-acted and filmed movie. We know that she's the daughter of a mafia kingpin and despite her Armani wardrobe, she hasn't really upgraded herself. There still the Brooklyn accent, the declasse manicure and the expletive-laced language.

And while we're at it, what about hubby? Is he the honorable businessman he purports to be, or is he a crook as the DA believes? Or is he just a little bit crooked? And can you be just a little crooked?

How moviegoers feel about him is important in their investment in the outcome. But the movie doesn't bother to let us know.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Blackhat: Hack Attack

A Japanese nuclear reactor blows up.
The futures market goes kerflooey.

Uber-hacker Nick Hathaway is the white hat to connect the dots and stop the Blackhat. But he's in prison!

One ankle-bracelet and stern talking-to later and he's sprung.

What ensues is a hectic globe dash in pursuit of the evil-doer who's onto something bigger.
And he's off.

Maybe you, dear movie-goer, will figure out what the heck is going on. But don't waste  your gray cells. The Movie Slut suspects that's not the point. As is happens, our hacking ace is also handy with an assault rifle—an action figure come to life to leave dead bodies in his wake. (After he's removed the pesky ankle bracelet, of course.)

Yeah, it's that kinda flick.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

American Sniper: See it and decide for yourself

Bradley Cooper as a buffed up Chris Kyle, Navy Seal sniper.
American Sniper has been accused of glorifying war and the men and women who do battle. The film has also been called an anti-war movie that depicts the horrors of such conflicts.
And then, some say it's nothing more than an anti-Arab, anti-Muslim screed.

It can't have all of these contradictory themes and that's why the Movie Slut considers it a Rorshach test in which moviegoers attach their own feelings about war and soldiers.

The film is based on the autobiography of Chris Kyle, a Navy Seal sniper, who is said to have the most enemy kills in U.S. history. And yet, he's not the prototypical gung ho warrior. Actually, he was a bit off before he enlisted to go to Iraq and a total wreck after four tours of duty.

The movie is directed by Clint Eastwood whom the MS has never associated with the word "nuance" until now. He portrays Kyle as both war hero and victim.

Also interesting is the video game approach to violence. Think of the movie as four video games with a brief intro and epilogue and see how you interpret it.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Selma: History brought to life

The march to Montgomery for voter rights.
It's the story, stupid.

That's what the Movie Slut always says. In other words, a terrific story makes a terrific movie (or book or newspaper story.) So why isn't this movie about Dr. Martin Luther King's struggle to get the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed an unequivocal winner?

Sure, there are powerful moments. Some that brought MS to tears. The beginning was shocking. The end was inspiring. Alas, the middle had too many draggy moments.

Still, MS calls this flick a must-see. She'd even see it again.