Sunday, April 20, 2014

Muppets Most Wanted: It's Not Easy Being Mean

Constantine, left, and Kermit in Muppets Most Wanted

You've heard the old saw that everyone has a double. Well, this movie proves it. To the right we have loveable Kermit, star of film and television. To the left, sporting a black mole, is his dopplegangar, Constantine, the baddest frog in Muppet Land.

And so, a case of mistaken identity fuels this delightful comedy. Annie, 8, Charlie, 6, and Sidney, almost 4, were glued to the big screen for the entire 112 minutes. Not a whine or bathroom request was heard. And no pleas for those sugar-laced Icee drinks that stain kids tongues in garish shades of pink and blue.

The Movie Slut also enjoyed every minute of the flick, which included wry performances by Tina Fey and Ricky Gervais (not usually a MS favorite).

 Muppets Most Wanted is a fun movie for the entire family.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Draft Day: No Crying in Football?

Kevin Costner as Sonny in Draft Day
"You sure got big balls, Sonny," a character in this football movie tells the team's general manager. And from the look on Kevin Costner's face, it's the ultimate compliment.

Sonny's mission, which takes place on the day that the NFL trades and hires players, is to pick the best players for his team, the Cleveland Browns. And he executes that feat with the kind of expert wheeling and dealing that would have made Lyndon Johnson proud.

Draft Day is a squeaky clean football flick with characters that appear to have as little to do with reality as Kermit the Frog or Miss Piggy. Forget steroids, concussions, dog fighting rings and domestic violence, the players Sonny signs and trades might as well be wearing Boy Scout badges and helping little old ladies cross the street.

Still, thanks to Costner's low-key performance this is an eminently likable popcorn flick.
Reality can be overrated.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Finding Vivian Maier: Camera Ready

A box of negatives purchased at  auction began an odyssey that uncovered the work of the an unknown street photographer. One box led to another. Soon, there were 100,000 negatives and a name.

Vivian Maier was an amateur street photographer in Chicago in the second half of the 20th century,  discovered in the early 21st century by a young historian, John Maloof, who got more than he bargained for.

The resulting documentary chronicles his search for the person behind the camera and then for information about this mysterious woman, who never processed her work. Not everything he learned about Maier, who died in 2009, is pretty. In fact, the film left the Movie Slut wondering what was considered too unpalatable to bring to the multiplex.

Still, her photos are arresting and the documentary provides a fascinating look at a person who lived on the fringes of society and seemed to truly connect with others only through the lens of her camera.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Under The Skin: Out Of This World

At times baffling, unsettling and upsetting, this is a movie not to be missed by moviegoers who are willing to wait in wonder for most of the 147 minutes. For this reason, the Movie Slut warms readers away from The New York Times review, which gives away everything in the first sentence. And it doesn't even have the grace to say "spoiler alert."

Luckily, MS read the review after seeing the movie.

Under The Skin gives new meaning to the term "art house film." It's a melange of modern art, music, and even dance. Scarlett Johansson stars as a mysterious and exquisite young woman. Who is she? What is she doing? Why is she doing it?

Don't worry, you find out everything in the end. And it all adds up. When you look back at her every act and action, it makes perfect sense.

Beautifully scripted, choreographed and filmed (in Scotland), this is a movie for people with patience and fortitude. It helps to have an open mind, too.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Bad Words: Skip This #%^@#$% Movie

Jason Bateman must be the most likeable, and, or, luckiest guy in the movie biz. The critics adore him. This movie is a perfect example.

In his directorial debut, Bateman also stars as a 40-year-old poster boy for arrested development. (Sound familiar?) Since he quit school somewhere around the eighth grade, he technically qualifies for the national spelling bee. And that's fortuitous because he happens to be a spelling dynamo.

So there he is onstage with the kiddies, viciously competing.

There's a back story that's divulged at the end of the movie.
Hint: Revenge is a word best spelled R-E-V-E-N-G-E.

Still nothing can explain or justify his unfunny, uncouth shenanigans. Now, the Movie Slut loves a good politically incorrect movie as much as anyone. (There's Something About Mary is a favorite.) And there's nothing on this screen that offends her.

 "It's just not funny," she says.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Lunchbox: Eat & Meet?

Irrfan Khan, as Saajan & Nimrat Kaur, as Ila, in The Lunchbox.
The loneliness of the main characters in this romance of sorts is all the more poignant and palpable because they live in Mumbai, the most populace city in a country known for human density. A young housewife and a white collar worker are brought together by, what else, lunch.

The plot is no more than a short story (a good one.) But it's stretched into a full-length movie. Those with short attention spans and action/thriller fans might grow restless. Not the Movie Slut. She savored every scene, all of which opened windows onto modern day Indian life and customs.

Bollywood this is not. But the film may have a happy ending if you choose one. That's left for the audience to decide.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Divergent: Not So Different After All

Shailene Woodley and Theo James 

Divergent, based on a series of young adult novels, is a PG-13 movie with its sights set squarely on those in the 12 to 16 age group. Needless to say the Movie Slut is not in the chosen demographic. So, she's channeled her inner 14 year old to write this review. Here goes.

So, like there was a big war or something and everyone in Chicago is in a group. I mean, like high school. You have your goody goodies, your jocks, your geeks, your leaders, like the class president and treasurer types.

When you're like 16, you take this test and you get assigned to a group and you have to be in that group for the rest of your life. Most people fit into a group, but then there are these people, like Tris, (She's the star of the movie.) who is like a goody goody and a jock and a leader, but she can't tell anyone because people like her are called Divergents and the people in power like Kate Winslet (She was like the mother in Labor Day), like don't like them. I mean they'll kill them if they find out.

Anyway, Tris like likes this hunky guy whose in the warrior group, (a jock) and he like likes her too. But they don't tell each other or anyone. Though I don't think they'd get killed for like liking each other.

So, I think this movie is pretty good. I think The Hunger Games was like kinda better and the Twilight movies, too. There are no vampires in Divergent. I guess that would be too divergent.

I overheard my mother saying this was a post-apocalyptic coming-of-age movie.