Sunday, January 30, 2011

From Prada to Nada: In Lala Land

Two sisters, who are as different as Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, are left without a home when their father suddenly passes away.
Sound familiar?
If you answered "yes," you've probably read Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility," or seen one of the wonderful movies based on the book, which celebrates its 200th birthday this year.
"From Prada to Nada" is a sweet, unsophisticated update of the story. The movie takes the girls from Beverly Hills to East L.A., a cultural journey that rocks their world. The sisters are Mexican Americans who rediscover their heritage after moving in with their Aunt. Of course love interests turn up in the form of cads and gentlemen in disguise.
Caution: If ever there was a chick flick, this is it, and one for chicklets at that.
Movie Slut Rating: Four lipsticks out of five.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Company Men: Too Little, Too Late

In "The Company Men," scenes are sliced and diced like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. And then, they're leached together so that the audio of the next scene begins before the previous scene has ended. Very arty. But effective? The Movie Slut thinks not.
Maybe that's why she failed to empathize with the men in "The Company Men," who lost their jobs in the current recession thanks to greedy corporations. Or maybe her sympathetic bones weren't stirred because she knows — personally — people who are in a much sorrier state than the Porsche-driving character Ben Affleck plays. How sad. He had to sell his beloved wheels. Really!
Affleck is joined onscreen by Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper and Kevin Costner, a heavy-hitting troupe of actors who make this film eminently watchable. Still, as the MS's companion said at the end, "So what else is new?"
The movie would have been more effective if it included blue-collar characters whose pink slips are tickets to the soup kitchen. They're the ones really suffering while C.E.O.s pull in obscene bonuses. That really makes the MS sad. And mad.
Movie slut Rating: Three out of five lipsticks.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

No Strings Attached: Freedom Is Another Word For Bed Buddies

In 1989, "When Harry Met Sally" posed the question: Can men and women be friends? Now, twenty-two years later, a new movie asks: Can men and women be friends with benefits?
Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher are the guy and gal in this thoroughly modern romantic comedy. (Mod-rom-com?) Doris Day and Clark Gable never dreamed of this kind of arrangement. Nor did Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, for that matter.
As you know, the Movie Slut never gives the plot away, but she will say that this flick makes a valiant, and often successful, effort to distance itself from the rom-coms of the past.
How successful? That depends on whom you ask. Take the teenage guys sitting behind the MS. They could not contain their glee over the onscreen goings on. Their counterparts, the teen twitteratti girls sitting nearby, they were quieter, yet captivated.
Kevin Klein, as Kutcher's flaky father, enhances the movie with a seemingly effortless performance of making narcissism endearing. If only the movie wasn't trying so hard to pull off its premise. It's doubtful "Strings" will become the classic that "Harry and Sally" is, but in our post-Monica Lewinsky age, it does hit on some relationship truths.
Movie Slut Rating: Four out of five lipsticks.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Green Hornet: It's Not Easy Being Boring

If only "The Green Hornet" were an action movie. If only it were a comedy. If only the 3D wasn't activated just to squeeze more $ from duped movie-goers who thought this was a fun flick.
If only the Movie Slut had skipped this one.
But then, she is the Movie Slut and therefore had to ferret out a nugget of worthiness in this worthless dud.
That nugget is neither Seth Rogen, as the green one, or his trusty sidekick, Jay Chou, or Cameron Diaz as the requisite comely secretary, who — wonder of wonders — actually has a brain.(Even her wardrobe is a snooze in this film.)
No, the only reason to see this stingless hornet is Christoph Waltz as the evil one. He may be the most emotionally needy and amusing villain in the history of villainry.
Thanks to Waltz, this humdrum hornet earns one lipstick out of five.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Golden Globes & Icky Ricky

Guess who won't be hosting the Golden Globes next year? If you said Ricky Gervais, you probably watched his sorry performance last night. SO NOT FUNNY. It was apparent from the audience response, and remarks made by Robert Downey Jr. and others, that the guy was a drooling disaster. But he didn't pick up the clues, both subtle and obvious. He just continued, from beginning to end with stupid, mean-spirited, passive-agressive put-downs of the actors who got all glammed up for what? Not that.
Perhaps the worst part of his performance was the age of his material. It stretched from ancient to vintage to just plain old and stale. A joke about a certain Scientolotist's sexual orientation! So 20 years ago. Charlie Sheen's drinking! So last millennium. Gervais simply stunk any way you look at it.
Still, the show was not a complete disaster. Emma Stone wins an Easy A+ for her minimalist Calvin Klein. Not a frill or ruffle in sight. And the MS is absolutely mad for January Jone,'s lipstick red Versace cutout dress and Natalie Portman's pretty-in-pink baby-bump strapless gown by Viktor & Rolf.
And speaking of Natalie, see the Movie Slut's "Black Swan" review and you'll know how thrilled she is that Natalie won the best actress award. As for best actor, Colin Firth took it home! See "The King's Speech" review and read about how keenly the MS wanted this.
"The Social Network" won best picture. A good pick. The MS saw it twice and it was even better the second time.
Alas, she can only award the show one lipstick out of five, thanks to Icky Rickie.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Dilemma: To Tell Or Not To Tell

"The Dilemma" is not a dumb dick flick. You might call it a chick/dick flick and a pretty smart one at that.
It begins in a Woody Allenesque fashion: A couple of couples sitting around a table tossing around a question: How much can you really know about another person, even those who are the closest to you?
Vince Vaughn is on the verge of proposing to girlfriend Jennifer Connolly. But his feet are as cold as the tundra. Meanwhile, his ideal couple, buddy, Kevin James, and, wife, Winona Ryder, are the ideal couple in his book. So, what happens when they begin tumbling from their pedestal?
Sure, laughs surface in this flick. After all, we are dealing with Vince and Kevin. But we're also lucky to have Ron Howard, director, and Brian Glazer, producer. When you finish laughing, you'll find yourself thinking: Just how much do we know about any of the people in our lives?
See it. The Movie Slut rating: Four out of Five Lipsticks.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tron: Legacy: Trontastic

Once again, the Movie Slut disagrees with lamestream critics. They trounced "Tron." She applauds it. Maybe the plot and dialogue aren't Shakespearean, but let's not forget the movie's core audience. This is a flick for tween guys, video game connoisseurs.
The plot revolves around game programmer Kevin Flynn, who disappeared inside The Grid, or the inner-workings of a game called Tron. It's a bombastic, neon, futuristic universe, which plays out like something you'd see at the arcade.
It's now 20 years later and his son Sam comes looking for him. Think of it as quarters being inserted into the slot activating the game with father and son inside.
The MS chose the ultimate Tron experience: IMAX, 3D, and was swept into this stylized sci-fi world, where Jeff Bridges, as Kevin, appears as both the older and (digitized) younger versions of himself. Which brings us to the best part of the film. It actually says something. Imagine meeting up with your younger, more fool-hardy self. Now, there's something to chew on.
See it. Movie Slut Rating: Four out of five lipsticks.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Country Strong: Go Gwenny

You don't have to be country to love country. Even if you never lived in a trailer, had a daddy in prison and a mommy who's drunk, you can identify with the struggle to survive and thrive in a cold world.
In "Country Strong," Gwenyth Paltrow is Kelly Canter, a country star with a prodigious talent, marred by a hard-scrabble childhood and recent tragedy. She's plucked from rehab by her manager/husband to go on tour. But is she ready?
Sound predictable? Well, not so much. But the Movie Slut never gives away the end.
The strength of this two-tissue-box movie is that audiences really care about the characters. Not only Kelly, but her husband, her lover, and her competition. All of these people are flawed. No good guys or villains, here. Just folks leading messy lives. Most of us can relate to that.
And Paltrow's singing is superb. Don't listen to that snarky New York Times review.

Friday, January 7, 2011

True Grit:

Are you nostalgic for the old Westerns? Did you grow up watching that Masked Man? If so, "True Grit" will satisfy your longing for the old days, when movies were slow, lives were cheap and gunslingers hoofed around the red rocks and canyons.
If nothing else, "True Grit" is a Western. A big, beautiful Western.
The New Mexican scenery is magnificent. The simple hymns that dominate the soundtrack are haunting. The characters even speak in the stilted style you might expect of men and women in the latter part of the 19th century.
The trouble is that this movie is more of a tableau than the real Old West, where lives were short and people bled and suffered. It keeps you at a distance.
The critics have been orgasmic in their praise for everyone involved, especially Jeff Bridges, who swallowed half of his lines. And oh, yes, they're shouting "Oscar."
The MS has two words for them: Colin Firth.
Movie Slut Rating: Three out of five lipsticks.

Little Fockers: Get Fockerized

Does the world really need another Focker flick? Number 3. The Movie Slut thought not — until — she laughed her way through "Little Fockers." Okay, she didn't LOL, but was amused from beginning to end.
If you've ever noticed that you're the last sane person on Earth, you'll recognize the humor in this movie. Ben Stiller is Normal Guy, surrounded by a world of wackaloons, including his paranoid father-in-law (Robert De Niro); his Mother, a TV sexpert, (Barbra Streisand) his father, who's discovered Flamenco dancing (Dustin Hoffman); his new-agey best friend (Owen Wilson); and a gorgeous, morally-challenged drug salesperson (Jessica Alba.) And they're not the only loony birds fluttering across screen in this funny, funny film.
Movie Slut Rating: Five out of five lipsticks.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

How do you know: Like pornography, you will

With a cast like this, how can you go wrong? And despite some snarky reviews, the Movie Slut knows you will love this rom-com.
So what if it's as profound as a Chinese fortune cookie.
So what if it's chock full of inane platitudes. "Don't drink to feel good. Drink to feel better." Or something like that.
So what if the plot is as inspiring as one of those new James Patterson alleged thrillers.
This movie works because Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Mark Rudd and Jack Nicholson make it work. And then there's Tony Shalhoub — hiding under a beard — and playing a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist! That's like Madonna playing the real Virgin Mary. (For those who don't remember, Shalhoub is the obsessive, compulsive sleuth on the TV series "Monk".)
Oh yeah. There's lots of fun to be had at this movie.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Fighter: No Knockout

"The Fighter" is one of those movies that has audiences blown away by an actor's performance. "He's amazing," they find themselves saying. (Hopefully, not out loud.)
The MS is not fond of those movies. "They're like eating a dish overpowered by uncooked onions."
In this flick, it's not even the star, who has audiences enamored. It's the alleged supporting actor Christian Bale.
As for Mark Wahlberg, the fighter in "The Fighter," he takes to the ropes, not only with Bale, but with most of the other actors. And that includes Amy Adams, playing against type, as his hard-drinking, potty-mouthed girlfriend. And then there's his toxic mom, the excellent Melissa Leo. Still, The Movie Slut kept thinking how much better this dynamic played out in "Animal Kingdom," reviewed in this blog on Sept.9, 2010.
"The Fighter" throws a few good punches. That's it.

Inside Job: Crime without Punishment

The stock market crash of 2008 has been considered too complex for average Janes and Joes to understand. Charles Ferguson aims to crush that myth with his new documentary, "Inside Job."
OK, so the Movie Slut still doesn't know what a derivative is, but Ferguson did a yoeman's job of explaining the mess, while not putting his audience to sleep. (Excluding the MS's companion, who did nod off but won't admit it.)
Ferguson takes us back to (yuk!) Reaganomics. But the blame doesn't stop with Ronnie. Goerge 1, Bill, George 2 and, yes Obama, all come out smelling like pig poop. The latter for hiring some of the same creeps who got us into the mess.
Ferguson livens up the doc with lively music and entertaining interviews with a Washington madam, who spills more than beans about the lives of the rich and greedy.
If you don't walk away from this movie foaming with outrage, check to see if you have a pulse.

The King's Speech: Leaves You Speechless

The Movie Slut is still pissed. Don't tell her that Colin Firth didn't deserve the best actor Oscar last year for his role in "The Single Man." Now the Academy can redeem itself by awarding him the Oscar for "The King's Speech."
Firth plays King George VI, the stammering monarch. Most of the movie takes place when his father is still alive, and before his brother abdicated the thrown "for the woman he loved." Still, the speech impediment dominated his life.
Enter Geoffry Rush, a self-proclaimed (quack?) speech pathologist, and the movie is off. Much of the film revolves around the relationship, based on mutual respect and affection, which is forged between the royal and the commoner.
Helena Bonham Carter is pitch perfect as the king-to-be's ever-supportive wife.
The scene in which the new king delivers a BBC speech on the eve of WWII will stand out in the Movie Slut's memory as a high point in big-screen entertainment.
It doesn't hurt that it's set to the second movement of Beethoven's 7th Symphony.
Movie Slut Rathing: Five out of five lipsticks.