Saturday, December 12, 2009

Invictus: Rugby Diplomacy

True Confessions: The Movie Slut does not kiss the ground Clint Eastwood walks on. Don't get her going on Million Dollar Baby, a movie as subtle as Lady Gaga's getups.
So here we have Clint giving us the story of Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first post-apartheid leader, as he struggles to unite his country after decades of corrosive racial division.
How did Clint do?
Well, Mandela did better. Still, Invictus isn't an all-out dud. After a stiff, uninspired beginning, the movie heats up to captivate viewers at the end.
Mandela hits on the brilliant scheme to have the South African rugby team do the diplomatic work. Matt Damon is superb as the team captain with top-notch leadership skills of his own. (He also nailed the South African accent, something that eluded Morgan Freeman as Mandela.)
The Movie Slut was confused by some poor musical choices until the credits revealed the cloying tunes were composed by Clint & family. As for the name of the film, she had to Google Invictus to learn it's the Victorian poem that comforted Mandela during his 27 years in prison.
Look for Oscar nominations galore. Maybe even a few wins. The Movie Slut is alone in her coolness for Clint.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Brothers: Trading Places

The Movie Slut almost skipped this one. First there was the cheesy trailer. Then the dopey critics. They hated it.
The Movie Slut, on the other hand, was intrigued. This is no Cain and Abel do-over as some suggested. It's a thoughtful movie with a riveting theme.
OK, so there are two brothers, Sam (Tobey Maguire) and Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal.) The good and the bad. Sam goes to war (Afghanistan) and is seriously messed up in the head. Tommy comes out of prison and finds his better self.
But what this uneven melodrama is really about is choices and decisions. What would you do to save your life? That's the decision Sam has to make.
To be fair to the critics, the movie contains some pretty lame acting from the usually excellent Maguire, Natalie Portman and Sam Shepard. The MS chose to overlook this because Brothers is an apolitical anti-war movie. Timely.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Me and Orson Welles:

The time is 1937. The place is New York City. The man is a young, pre-War-of-the- Worlds Orson Welles, who's staging his first production — Julius Caesar — at the Mercury Theater.
The Me in this delightful period dramady/coming of age movie is 17-year-old Richard Samuels, played by teen heartthrob Zac Efron, proving that he really can act.
Claire Danes is the love interest.
The movie is based on a book by Robert Kaplow, a bona fide Welles expert. And it shows. The movie works for the Movie Slut on so many levels. She enjoyed the profile of the larger-than-life, ego maniac as well as the Shakespearean play within the play, the glamorous 1930s wardrobe and the irresistible soundtrack. Gershwin galore.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Everybody's Fine: You betcha!

The bull is no longer raging and he's not driving a taxi any more. In fact, he now travels the not so mean streets on a Greyhound bus.
Still, Robert de Niro has retained his star power and he's positively brilliant in this quiet, moving flick. (Bring Kleenex.)
De Niro IS Frank Goode — everyman and every father. As a recent widower he's learning to deal with the details of life that were once his wife's balliwick. He's pretty good at gardening and vacuuming, but when it comes to connecting with his four grown children, well, not so much.
De Niro is helped by strong performances from Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell. But this is his movie. And he's more than fine.