Friday, September 24, 2010

Wall Street: Money Never Sleep: Nor will you

Gordon Gekko is back and he wants you to know that greed is gooder the second time around. But is it?
"Wall Street," the sequel, is a slick, smart movie, but it's not as cynical as the hugely popular 1987 classic. It actually has heart. And Josh Brolin, who's now the greediest guy on the block.
Directed by Oliver Stone, who knows a thing or two about making movies, not a frame is wasted in this lightening-paced drama that runs more than two hours and feels like one.
Set in 2008 when the stock market tanked, viewers gain access to the board rooms and trading desks where money men are freaking out.
Stone inserts one scene in Central Park where children play with soap bubbles (though none bursts on screen) and another in which a chain of dominoes tumbles like the banks they represent. In others, his camera slides along the sheaths of New York's office towers as if they are the bodies of Victoria Secret's models.
Michael Douglas is back reprising his role, older and wiser, though he'll admit to neither. Shia Labeouf is his new acolyte and Carey Mulligan, his estranged daughter.
"Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" is destined to be an Oscar contender and well it should.

The Town: Mad Men on the big screen

Ben Affleck is Doug MacRay, bank robber par excellence.
Jon Hamm is Agent Frawley, dogged F.B.I. guy.
The two should be formidable opponents in this gritty movie set in lawless Charlestown, Mass. They are not and the question is why.
Is it because Affleck, who is also director and co-writer, was determined not to be outshone by current heartthrob Hamm, star of T.V.'s Mad Men?
Or was it Hamm, who wasn't up for a juicier part?
The Movie Slut suspects the first explanation, since we don't learn anything about Agent Frawley that would turn him into a three-dimensional character.
Still "The Town" is a fine flick with pumping performances by Jeremy Renner of "Hurt Locker" fame and Rebecca Hall as the love interest. It's just that it could have been so much better.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Pat Tillman Story: Truth matters

Fact: Pat Tillman played football for the Arizona Cardinals. Fact: Pat Tillman turned down a multi-million dollar contract to enlist in the army after 9/11.

Fact: Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan.
Fiction: Pat Tillman was killed by the Taliban and enemy forces.
Fact: This remarkable documentary was possible because of the determination of Tillman's parents to learn the truth about their son's death and to expose the government cover-up that painted him as the hero they needed to pump up American patriotism. Mary and Patrick Tillman are the real American heroes here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Going the Distance: Doesn't

You'll want to go the distance. As far away as possible from this sorry flick that's supposed to shed light on long-distance relationships. Right!
The Movie slut was warned by the inane, idiotic trailer. Then a review in the venerable New York Times actually called this disaster "honest" and said it had "charm." No and no. So she got snookered in and now she's mad as F-ing Hell and wants her $ back.
Sorry for the F-bomb. But if you see this movie, you'll be cursing, too. Not just because it's so bad, but because Erin (Drew Barrymore) never utters a sentence without the word. She could win a prize for creative use the word as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb and various little known parts of speech.
The MS thinks this was an inept attempt to distance her from every other rom-com heroine you've seen. It only works if they wanted you to hate her vociferously and not care what happens to her and her equally unappealing love interest, Garrett
(Justin Long.)
As they say, "For every lid there is a pot." Yes, these two imbeciles were made for each other. What a snore.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Animal Kingdom: Grandma Dearest

Move over Hannibal Lecter. Here comes Smurf Cody. The cannibal has nothing on this wicked broad. Look into her glistening devil's eyes and you might see her eating her young.
Smurf is the matriarch of an Australian crime family. They're not the Corleones, but bad stuff has gone down and the cops are circling.
Enter J Cody, narrator of our story. Mom's dead of a heroine overdose (Smurf's estranged daughter), and he's come to live with granny and the gang.
The story begins routinely — drugs, death and derangement — but gets interesting when the police sergeant, Guy Pearce, chats up J about the survival of the fittest. Tension mounts as we wonder, who will be the last man, or woman, standing.
This is a heart-in-your-hand movie, not because of the non-stop action, but because directer David Michod makes viewers care about at least, some of the characters.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The American: Bad Boy Abroad

You're not paranoid when everyone really is out to get you. And so Jack (George Clooney) is sane, or so we're led to believe. We also know he's an assassin (How sane is that?), who says he's simply doing what he does best. When we catch up to him, he's doing his thing in Italy. And the MS was thankful for that because he takes us into the narrow winding streets of an ancient village and the breathtaking countryside surrounding it. The scenery may be the best part of this film.
"The American" defies the truth in advertising credo. Trailers portray it as a shoot-'em-up, chase-'em-down action flick, which it is not. What we get is a quiet, introspective look at a man whose sins are catching up with him. And he knows it. Regret plays around the corners of his mouth. Death clouds his eyes.
The movie was No. 1 at the box office on its first weekend. The MS wonders if audiences knew what they were going to see. Sometimes you get more than what you asked for.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Takers: Gives Back

Yo! 'Sup? What we got here is bad bad guys and good bad guys, good good guys and bad good guys, a couple of heists, some smokin' chase scenes, a fog of cigars, the finest scotch,

phat threads and a subterranean believability quotient. But who cares when we're swept along at NASCAR speed with cool music blowing out the sound track.

"Takers" is a flick right out of the "Ocean's Eleven" playbook, stylish (sort of) and slick with a cast of 11? Well, a lot. No Clooney or Pitt, but we've got Matt Dillon (a MS favorite), Chris Brown, Jay Hernandez, T.I., Michael Ealy and Hayden Christensen.
An attempt to elevate the movie finds one Taker (a good bad guy) quoting Mongolian conqueror Ghengis Kahn, as well as a few tear-jerking subplots, but this is a full-speed-ahead action flick. And if that's what you're looking for at the multiplex — yeah, ya know.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mao's Last Dancer: A Perfect Pirouette

Q. What do you get when you cross "Rocky" with "Billy Elliot?" A. "Mao's Last Dancer," a trueish flick (It's based on an autobiography of the same title.) about a young Chinese boy plucked from his village in 1972 to train as a ballet dancer in Beijing, who finally lands on the stage in Texas.
One of the Movie Slut's favorite reviewers (Marshall Fine) dubbed the movie "middlebrow." And yes, predictability and a precious take on village life in China during the revolution mar this film. What elevates it for the MS is her passion for dance and fervor for strive-and-succeed-stories. And she defies anyone to leave the theater without dabbing tears from their eyes.
Still, "Mao" is not the her fave Chinese Cultural Revolution flick. That honor belongs to "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress."