Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's a musical. It's a movie. It's Sondheim's Company

Television meets Broadway meets Lincoln Center for a special four-performance only screening of Steven Sondheim's 1970 hit musical about matrimony. "Company" comes to the big screen with some of the Movie Slut's fave television personalities. Steven Colbert, as in Comedy Central's "Report;" Christina Hendricks, Joan in "Mad Men;" Jon Cryer, "Two and a Half Men;" and Neil Patrick Harris, "How I Met Your Mother," join forces with Broadway's Patti LuPone, Martha Plimpton and others, to give movie audiences their money's worth and then some.
The adorable, if not deep, show paints a less than sterling picture of marriage. But, hey, it was pre-P.C. 1970 and people were more honest back then.
The songs (accompanied by the New York Philharmonic), are brilliant, if not memorable, and the acting is a treat.
But hurry, only two more nights to see this gem: June 19 and 21.
For more info, Google and you'll be in good company.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Super 8: Is a 10 minus

"Super 8" has all the ingredients for a blockbuster movie that will be remembered for decades to come. Unfortunately, it's no "E.T."
Sure there is an extraterrestrial who's misunderstood, a group of smart, appealing tweens with family troubles, an insular small town, a nostalgic look back (this time to 1979), and Kyle Chandler of "Friday Night Lights" fame. And not to forget Steven Speilberg as its producer and J.J. Abrams as its director. But somehow, those ingredients don't congeal into the kind of masterpiece the Movie Slut expected.
Which is not to say that you won't enjoy "8," especially if you bring along a tween or two.
The movie centers on the kids who are making a zombie movie when things start going all kerflooey in their town.
What we get is a movie within a movie and don't leave before the closing credit. That's when you see what the kids came up with.
If the Movie Slut could pluck out one thing that kept this flick from greatness, it's how the alien/monster is kept under wraps. Not until the end do we sort of see its soul and witness its, for want of a better word, humanity. Wouldn't it have been more fun if the kids knew what it really wanted, but the adults were too scared and jaded to recognize the truth? Just an idea.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tree of Life: Amazing Grace

Terrence Malick's "Tree of Life" is arguably the most talked about film of the year and
much of the talk revolves around whether the film is a pretentious piece of s--t or a stunning masterpiece. The Movie Slut believes it's both ostentatious and stunning and
definitely worth seeing.

Part of the pretentious problem it the whispering and mumbling of characters as if what they have to say is so terribly profound, when in fact it's quite banal, but not necessarily in a bad way, after all the Big Questions are also the old questions.

The movie begins with a churning, roiling, fiery, volcanic beginnings of our planet. (A spectacular cinematic moment.) So much for the God-created-Earth-in-six-days theory. Then we move to dinosaurs, leading us to believe that evolution is also a possibility. But then the lead female character whispers something about two paths to choose from in life, Grace or Nature.
Grace meaning the Christian idea that God will help us on our path. Nature says we're on our own.
So much of this film is about faith, particularly about faith at times when people feel abandoned by their God.
The characters in the movie are seen through the eyes of a boy, who grows up to be Sean Penn. His father is Brad Pitt, with a '50s buzz cut, and his mom is the luminous Jessica Chastain in a fabulous '50s wardrobe.
Many of the family scenes resemble Ralph Lauren commercials of a beautiful family performing ordinary activities.
The broad strokes of these scenes can be off-putting until you remember they're seen, not only through the eyes, but also through the memories of Sean Penn's character.
So, the MS has told you far too much about this movie but felt compelled to because it's been so maligned and revered. "Tree" is a visual and auditory (thanks to a spectacular soundtrack) masterpiece. Don't let all the extreme talk keep you from seeing this exceptional work of movie art.
Have a listen.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Beaver: What's with this clueless title?

Here's what the Movie Slut wrote about another Mel Gibson movie. It holds for this one, too.

The Movie Slut is indiscriminate. When it comes to flicks, she sees the wondrous, the so-so and the wickedly awful. But, even she has her standards. That's why she's passing on Mel Gibson's new movie, "Edge of Darkness." She will not see it. She will not review it. Here's why.

In 2004, the Movie Slut was disturbed by "The Passion of the Christ," in which Gibson espoused pre-Vatican II ideas, including Jewish culpability for the killing of Christ. She didn't like it, but she respected his right to express his beliefs. After all, he was a Fundamentalist Catholic and that's the party line.

That respect came to a dead end in 2006, when Gibson went on an anti-Semitic rant after being arrested for drunk driving.

Surely that's not behavior condoned by his religion or the first amendment.

Now, the more-Catholic-than-thou Gibson is getting a divorce amidst rumors of philandering. Divorce! Philandering! Finally, he's showing the world exactly who he is: A loathsome hypocritical bigot. The Movie Slut urges you to boycott this flick.

X-Men: First Class: In the beginning...

Who knew? Sure, Kevin Bacon is all over the place. Hence, the whole six degrees of separation thing.
But now, thanks to this tongue-in-cheek summer, sci-fi thriller, headed for blockbuster status, we also know he was behind some of the most egregious holocaust horrors and the freakingly frightening Cuban Missile Crisis.
Those two events bracket this highly entertaining prequel, which takes us back to the beginnings of the X-Men story. It's one of those epic summer flicks that the Movie Slut saw at the old RKO or Loews theaters on rainy days in July and August and didn't know what the heck was going on. But the action was mesmerizing and the theater was air conditioned.
In those days, for some inexplicable reason, you went to the movies at your convenience. If the film was halfway through, you stayed till the end, watched the second feature, then took in the first part of the movie. It didn't much matter because you didn't know what was going on anyway.
The new X-Men is not that difficult to understand if you know a smidgen of 20th-century history, which will probably eliminate much of the audience. But they'll groove on all the action, special effects and pyrotechnical bells and whistles.
If you're a grownup, you'll find this a lively, and at times witty, summer diversion. Mutant Power!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Midnight in Paris: Une Petite Bijou

Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" is a gem of a movie that works simultaneously on several levels. In just 88 well edited minutes it tells a story of time travel, mismatched lovers, a longing for the unattainable, and the inner workings of a writer's mind. All this is played out in the city of light and love, starring Owen Wilson in the Woody Allen role and Rachel McAdams as his betrothed.
Without giving too much away, the Movie Slut will tell you that this flick is speckled with unforgettable cameo performances by both the living and the dead. Look for, not necessarily in this order, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Kathy Bates, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, Adrien Brody and Ernest Hemingway.
If you see one movie this year, make it "Midnight in Paris."

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Hangover Part Two: Here we go again

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," said philosopher George Santayana, though it's doubtful he was referring to alcohol and drug-induced amnesia. Still, the statement aptly describes the plight of three bachelor party celebrants (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis), who woke up in Vegas with no memories of their night of debauchery and are now back to repeat the insanity in Bangkok.
If you're a movie-goer who remembers past flicks, you'll recall the first "Hangover" as a quintessential dick flick with the requisite gross out bathroom scenes, sparsely clothed girls with breast implants and gazillions of comments about male body parts. Now, multiply these and you'll have a firm handle on Part Two.
The Movie Slut shared the theater on a weekday afternoon with a troop of tween boys, who'd probably purchased tickets for "Rio" or "Kung Fu Panda 2," then sallied into the "wrong" theater. They loved it. And MS has to admit she also laughed out loud.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Incendies: Double Trouble

Somewhere in the Mid-East, sometime in the 1970s, a Christian woman, pregnant with the child of her Muslim lover, is forced to flee her homeland. Her winding, troubled path finally leads to Canada. Along the way, she gives birth to twins, who migrate with her.
This crushing tale of two epic journeys spans four decades. The mother's odyssey ends in Canada, where her twin's quest begins. A letter, written by the mother, sends them back to their roots to find the father they believed was dead and the brother they didn't know they had.
The scenes shift seamlessly in time and space, relating the two heart-wrenching stories.
"Incendies," which means "fire" in English, is not a movie for the faint of heart and the Movie Slut kept wondering where in the Middle East it began, until she realized it didn't really matter. Is there any difference between blind and brutal hatred? The film also reveals great love and, though difficult to believe, even forgiveness.