Friday, August 27, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: Will Rock Yours

It's a Gothic novel. It's an animated film. It's a coming-of-age movie. It's a battle of the bands. "Scott P" is all these and more. Don't miss this gem.
But why, oh why did it hit theaters in the dog days of August?
"Scott P" has the energy to lift you out of the end-of-summer doldrums. (Maybe that's the reason.)
This boy-meets-wacko girl movie is pure, unadulterated fun and the camera work is unlike any you've seen before. It makes all those 3D flicks look like the pathetic losers they are. Not you "Avatar."

The Switch: Hits a Glitch

Didn't anyone warn Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman about the Cute Kid Syndrome? In "Switch" they fall right into the trap. Adorable 8-year-old Thomas Robinson steals the show. And it's not just because he's so huggable. He also has the best written part. He's not cloyingly cute and preposterously precocious like so many movie kids. Think of him as a mini-Woody Allen. Only lovable.
Not that Jenifer is a disaster. Her hair and wardrobe are amazing. And Jason Bateman, as the Harry to her Sally, is fine. They just didn't get much to work with.
As for the requisite best friends, Juliette Lewis and Jeff Goldblum, well, with friends like these...
The movie aspires to be a "There's Something About Mary" comedy — off-color, off-key and hilarious. (Think sperm. Only this time in a bottle.) No way. And you figure that out in the first scene, in which a mentally ill homeless man barks out comments about passersby. So not funny.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Eat Pray Love: See Shop Spend

You know you're in trouble when the merch gets more play than the movie. And so it is with Julia Roberts' latest flick. Sure, she's as winning as ever with her mega-smile and braying laugh, but alas, not much to work with here. While Home Shopping Network fans can wallow in all kinds of movie tie-ins, movie-goers might feel cheated.
What's the movie about anyway? (Other than selling candles and clothes.) It was billed as one woman's journey to recapture wonder, find herself and escape a bad marriage. But audiences might walk away thinking it was about nothing more than finding Mr. Right, in this case the entrancing Javier Bardem. And as cute as he is, the Movie Slut wanted more.

The Extra Man: Read all about it

People who use people are the funniest people in the world. With apologies to Barbra S., that's the theme of this amusing new movie starring Kevin Kline as the extra man — a walker, who takes advantage of an inequality in numbers, specifically the surplus of older women.
The flick, which brings together an assortment of eccentrics, also stars Paul Dano, reprising his role as a strange young man in "There will be Blood." Here he's a strange young man in New York City. And rounding out the cast is a nuttier-than-usual John C. Reilly, a hirsute neighbor with a falsetto voice. And then there's Katie Holmes. The least said about her the better.
"The Extra Man" is more a pastiche of performances and a series of memorable moments than a full-fledged movie plot, but it's most definitely a fun watch.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Life During Wartime: Devastatingly Dark

In the Movie Slut's humble opinion, there are two reasons, and only two, to see director Todd Solondz's wickedly dark new movie.
The first is the performance of Irish actor Ciaron Hinds, who plays a tortured pedophile just released from prison — a man who knows that despite years of counseling, tons of medication and profound remorse, he can neither be cured nor controlled.
The second is the breathtakingly exquisite Vivaldi music that accompanies a recurrent scene that haunts the stricken man.
Other than that, the movie is an absurd story about a Jewish family seen through the eyes of an about-to-be bar mitzva boy. Okay, there are some laughs, but too much time is spent blathering on about forgiving and forgetting and the characters are too pathologically out there to either identify with or believe in. It all takes place in a post 9/11 world unlike any you've seen. Thank the Lord.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Other Guys: Sillyliscious

Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell are right up there with Oscar and Felix when it comes to wacky odd couples. They're two New York City misfit cops, each harboring a hysterically funny past that prevents them fitting in at the precinct. Of course their boats get a chance to float and prove that they're not such pathetic losers after all.
"Guys" is both a spoof on the mind numbing action flicks we movie addicts endure each summer, as well as a merciless take on our American way of life.
Wahlberg is an ideal foil for the geeky, number-crunching Ferrell. But he's not all there either. His past transgression has made him the most hated badge in a city where cops are despised by criminals law abiders alike. The Movie Slut will not be a spoiler, but she will say his offense has something to do with Yankee Captain Derek Jeter, who makes a cameo in this deliciously foolish flick.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Charlie St. Cloud: Zac Attack

Tear jerkers don't get much sapier than this. And here's a surprise: Zac Efron, of "High School Musical" fame, really can act. Of course loyal followers of this blog know that already since they've read the MS review of "Me and Orson Welles," in which he shines as the great theater impresario's gofer.
In this new flick, Zac is a high school student again, but this time, he's not singing. He's mourning in his own special way.
Set in Quincy, Mass., with breathtaking ocean cinematography,this movie will delight swooning teenage girls and guys, too, since it's the best date film of the summer.
As for the Movie Slut, she found it refreshing to see a guy on the big screen who isn't a cad, a pig, a homicidal maniac or just a garden-variety dickhead.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Despicable Me: Delightfully Dastardly

Too-da-loo Tron. Vamoose Vader. Finally, a movie villain of truly depraved villainocity.
Meet Gru, an evildoer with a contemptible plan of mega-malevolent proportions. No small-time nefariousness for this Vicious One.
Without giving too much away, the Movie Slut will say that this miscreant's diabolically craven scheme involves stealing an orb sometimes associated with cheese and lovers. And the scalawag is not alone. His wicked army of ruthless, menacing Minions is always at his command.
So, whatever you do this summer, don't miss "Despicable Me." It's an animated gem that Mom and Dad will love as much as the kiddies do. Maybe more.