Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dinner for Schmucks: Mauvais Appetite

Death by PC. That sums up the fate of this alleged dark comedy. Chalk one up for the Political Correctness Police. Despite the photo to the right, this movie is not about food for idiots. It's about a dinner party where each "Master of the Universe" invites a weirdo idiot guest so everyone can make fun of him/her.
"Not nice," you say. The point exactly. The problem with this movie is that it's way too nice. Steve Carell is the lovable schmuck invited to the table by Paul Rudd, who also has a surfeit of niceness. The movie is not without laughs. The problem is these laughs are too polite.
If only the Farrelly brothers had been at the helm. They know how to poke fun at the normalacy-challenged while saving us from hating ourselves for laughing at them. Case in point: "There's Something About Mary"

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Girl who Played with Fire: Burn Daddy Burn

She's back. Lisbeth Salander, the waif who can out-fight, out-smart and out-hack any guy in the Universe, is at it again. In the second installment of the late Stieg Larsson's "Millennium Trilogy," she takes on the man who wounded her both mentally and physically, creating the flawed and wounded gal that fascinates both readers and movie-goers.
Lisbeth not only plays with fire in this movie — also the second in the series — she plays with guns, too, ones that shoot bullets and others that stun. And she also fiddles with the minds of everyone unlucky enough to shamble onto her path. And that includes journalist Michael "Fucking" Blomkvist, who spends most of the movie ten paces behind her.
"Fire" clears up some of the questions that remained at the end of "Dragon Tattoo," but not all. For that we need book and movie No. 3.

Inception: You Snooze, You Lose

Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung must be rolling over in their graves. All that work they did to unravel the mysteries of dreams. And now this!
In "Inception," the always riveting Leonardo DiCaprio is a dream wrangler. He inhabits other people's dreams and steals their thoughts and ideas.So far so bad. But it gets worse. Now, he's asked to take his dream scheme a step further: to enter a dream and plant an idea. Can it be done? Of course. This is a sci fi flick.
The Movie Slut loves sci fi. The trouble is this movie is more about special effects. If only director Christopher Nolan had kept movie-goers in the loop. In the end, "Inception" is an elaborate structure of a movie built on a foundation of Jell-O. It wobbles as movie-goers struggle to hang on. Still, you'll have fun tumbling through the dream layers, at the bottom of which you'll meet DiCaprio's movie wife, the exquisite Marion Cotillard. What's she doing down there in dream level three? Who knows? Who cares?

The Sorcerer's Apprentice: It ain't magic

Nicholas Cage had the Movie slut at Raising Arizona. That was 1987 and she's been a fan ever since. Still, she was not swept away by "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," in which he plays a quirky, mysterious sorcerer. Yes, the movie was mildly diverting. No, MS was not bored. But memorable it is not.
Jay Baruchel is the apprentice, a young physics geek who's the heir to the most powerful magician who ever lived: Merlin.
There's some fun to be had in this flick, which may be more appropriate for the middle-school set. Movie-goers are even treated to a broom scene. But no Mickey.

The Kids Are All Right: What about the Moms?

If you haven't had enough of bickering couples slogging through marriage, then this flick's for you. What's new? Worse haircuts and wardrobes. And oh, yes, the spouses share four X chromosomes between them.
The critics raved, calling this the best contemporary family flick since forever. And the Movie Slut thought it was darn good cinema.
Still, she had problems: Why did the movie have to make this couple act like every other bored married twosome? How come they're universally accepted in a country that's vociferously divided on the issue of same-sex marriage? And why, oh why, are the steamiest sex scenes reserved for a hetero tryst?
Annette Bening and Julianne Moore are convincing as the couple. They walk the L-walk and talk the L-talk. Moore even owns a truck! The monkey wrench that dives into the story discombobulating moms and kids is Mark Ruffalo, who plays the clueless male to perfection.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cyrus: Trouble Times Three

Three characters in need of relationship therapy. That's what this flick is all about. The poignant moments are overshadowed by the laughs. A good thing? Or bad thing? That's up to you, dear viewer, to decide.
"Cyrus" is a movie that moves to the edge of issuey relationships. But the Movie Slut sees tons of truth on the screen. A secondary triangle echoes the first, adding depth to the goings on.
Unfortunately, the movie ends too soon and too easily. Still that's not a reason to skip it. The pitch perfect cast includes Jonah Hill in the title role, Marisa Tomei, as his mother, John C. Reilly as her boyfriend and Catherine Keener as his ex-wife.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Grown Ups: Not so much

Forget Raymond. Everyone loves Adam. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but he is a likable guy. At least in the movies. And this flick is no exception.
What you'll have to do in preparation for viewing is simple: Put your brain on pause. There's nothing to tax your gray cells here. But the movie is, well, likable. And the cast is positively lovable. Among those joining Sandler on the screen are Salma Hayek, who plays his wife, David Spade, Chris Rock, Maya Rudolph and Maria Bello. If only they'd been given more to do, here. But this is a Sandler flick.

The Last Airbenders: Good clean fun

This summer, the kids can go to the movies and study science, too. Quick, name the four elements. If you answered air, water, earth and fire, then you can skip this movie, but it's a good one for tweens and pre-tweens.
The plot is simple but compelling enough to keep the interest of those who still need a ride to the multiplex. Sex and gratuitous violence are absent. So fire up the SUV, put air in the tires, grab a bottle of water and, what was the fourth one?

Monday, July 5, 2010

I am Love: A Recessionary Tale

Money isn't everything. And neither is a loving family. What is everything? You'll have to see this movie to find out.
Tilda Swinton is a Fendi-clad Milanese mother and matriarch of a large and loving family. She's impeccably dressed and groomed and executes her role like a pro. OK, so there are hints that she's not fulfilled. Or is she ill? This movie doesn't give anything away.
Changes are underway in the family and the business that has put everyone in Fendi, Versace and Armani. Not all change is for the better.
Other reviewers have made perfect sense of "I am Love." Not the Movie Slut or her companion.
And then there's the intrusive camera. It jumps up and down, zooms in and out, bounces here and there, pauses at awkward moments and will never let you forget you're at the multiplex. Imagine a supposedly lusty sex scene that's spliced with footage of crawling insects. Turn on? The Movie Slut thinks not.
What the Movie Slut disliked the most about this flick was the sin-and-be-punished message. It's so pre-sexual revolution "Splender in the Grass."

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse: Unreality bites

And you think you had it bad in high school. Imagine poor Bella. At Twilight High (or whatever it's called), not only does she have to deal with jocks, geeks and goths, but there are also the vampyres and werewolfs. In fact, she is torn between two lovers, Edward the vampyre — you can tell by his uber-pallor — and Jacob, the mega-muscled werewolf.
Oh, the choices a gal has to make.
This is the third installment of the big screen saga, based on the fiercely popular books, but — full disclosure — the first for the Movie Slut. Here's what she thinks.
Great movie for teenage girls, judging from the giggly audience.
Surprising lavish with lush gorgeous scenery.
Fine acting by Kristen Stewart as Bella.
Laughable acting by heartthrob Robert Pattinson as Edward and Taylor Lauter as his wofian rival.
And then there's clueless dad, who somehow doesn't notice Edward's corpse-like complexion and is tickled happy when Bella announces, "I'm still a virgin."
Hey Dad, Bella's sex life is the least of your problems.