Friday, June 22, 2018

Jurassic World: Foreign Kingdom

Finally, a dino-mite summer movie that's everything a summer flick should be.

You'll be on the edge of your seat, on the verge of tears, with a few giggles and guffaws thrown in for good measure. And okay, maybe a groan or two at the  hokey moments.

Remember the awe you experienced the first time you saw the amazing brontosaurus on the big screen? Well, you'll feel it again.

And now there's an erupting volcano to contend with!

The bad guys are truly evil. The good guys and gals are the epitome of virtue. And in the end everyone gets their just desserts. (If only the real world were like that.) And not to forget Hans Zimmer's soaring score.

Sure, this flick pushes all your buttons and knows exactly when to do that. But, heck, sometimes a little manipulation is a good thing.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

American Animals: Lives Less Ordinary

"This is not based on a true story," are the words that appear on the screen at the beginning of this engaging movie. "This is a true story."

It could also be said that American Animals is not a documentary or an action flick, but a hybrid, an "actumentary" if you will.

It's a tale of four bored college students who fear living ordinary lives and decide to do something to catapult themselves into the extraordinary zone. Their plan is to steal valuable books from the college library. And, of course, the Movie Slut will not tell you what happened.

The four guys, now in their thirties, are on hand to tell their story, while actors provide the action. Moviegoers are used to lightening-paced action films, which this is not. At the same time, there's enough activity to keep you on the edge of your seat and, at the same time, interested in understanding what made four previously law-abiding citizens undertake such a risky, criminal deed.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Incredibles 2: Sloppy Seconds

It's been 14 long years since this superhero family burst onto the big screen.

Why did the sequel take so long?

It seems superheros have been illegal. At least that's the party line. Never mind movies like Spider-Man Homecoming (2017), Batman v. Superman (2016), Ant-Man (2015), Man of Steel, (2013); Wonder Woman (2017); Deadpool (2016), and Deadpool 2... You've got the picture.

But the Movie Slut is nitpicking. No?

No. She believes (conspiracy theory alert!) that a plot befitting the movie's title was not in the bag.

Alas. It still isn't. Sadly, this sequel is a disappointment to MS, even though  the promising plot—Elastigirl (voice of Holly Hunter) is the superhero star while Mr. Incredible (voice of Craig T. Nelson) is a stay-at-home dad—is so delightfully feministy.

Luckily Edna Mode, superhero costume designer, is on the screen to almost save the show.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Seagull: No Chuckles for Chekhov

                                     Annette Bening & Corey Stoll

The Time: 1904

The Place: An estate outside of Moscow

The Characters: An aging, narcissistic actress: her morally-challenged lover; her pretentious, but
sympathetic son; the lovely girl next door; and a few others.

The Plot: The Movie Slut never gives away the plot.

The Themes: Unrequited love; unfulfilled dreams; self-doubt; self-loathing: death; and some other
cheery stuff.

Why see this movie: At times Anton Chekhov's writing sings through. His characters are so real that they practically walk off the screen. It proves that Freud was right. People desperately need analysis.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Ocean's 8: A Chic Caper

Who knew?

Danny Ocean, HIC, (Heister in Chief) of three movies, ranging from 11 to 13, has a sister. Her name is Debbie. Debbie has been behind bars for five year. Her fellow inmates might be reviewing the error of their ways. Not Debbie. She's spent her time, doing time, concocting the perfect caper.

It involves The Met Gala; a $1.5 million Cartier necklace; Ann Hathaway, who stars as Daphne Kluger, the clueless celeb around who's neck the diamond bling is dangling; and a soup├žon of revenge to pepper the pot.

Debbie (Sandra Bullock) organizes a posse of all-star crooks to carry out her chic caper, including Kate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter and Rhianna.

It's fast. It's slick. It's funny.
Still, you might want to leave the husband or boyfriend at home. 

Shock and Awe: Fraud and Lies

                                        James Marsden and Rob Reiner
So you think you know everything about the 2003 Iraq War. The bogus weapons of mass destruction. The lives lost for a lie. W's daddy issues.

Well, think again. In this film, taken from the "All  The President's Men" playbook, we go back to those dark prewar days when The New York Times and other giants of the mainstream media bought the Bush/Cheney propaganda. And later, had to apologize for falling down on the job.

What you probably don't know (and the Movie Slut surely didn't) is that Knight Ridder, which owned and supplied stories to more than thirty newspapers, had a team of reporters who uncovered the deception.

There's a clunkiness about this movie, directed by Rob Reiner, who also stars as the editor on the story, but as it picked up steam the MS got caught up in the drama and appreciates learning something new about recent history.  

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

First Reformed: Hope v. Despair

                                                         Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried

If First Reformed were a painting, it would be a work by Edward Hopper.
Like paintings by the American realist artist, this Paul Schrader film is spare, austere, all angles and edges, featuring a small group of lonely souls.

Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke) is the loneliest and most despairing of all. He's the pastor of a small upstate New York church that's all white clapboard and sharp angles. By the time we meet him, he's already experienced debilitating loss. He suffers emotionally and physically. He's plagued by guilt and remorse.

When Pastor Toller meets a young environmental activist on the cusp of becoming an environmental terrorist, his dark world further blackens. His depression, like a barnacle, attaches to what he sees as our planet's doomed future.

Can God forgive us for what we've done to his creation?  he asks. You don't have to be a therapist to know he also wonders if there's any hope for him.

And so the Movie Slut asks: Can Paul Schrader be forgiven for enveloping us in this dark shroud of a flick? To which she answers, absolutely. Like Hopper, he doesn't make us smile. He makes us think.