Saturday, October 29, 2011

In Time: Confusing Times

Time is literally money in this imaginative, futuristic film. Indeed, a hamburger could cost 30 minutes, and a gallon of gas could set you back a day.
In this have-and-have-not world, the 1% can buy immortality, while the 99% will die at 25 if they're unable to accrue additional time. It goes without saying that salaries are paid in minutes, that policemen are "time keepers" and that outlaws steal your time, and not because they're boring.
Gigantic quantities of belief suspension are needed to enjoy this flick, but the effort is worth it, probably due to Justin Timberlake's believable performance. And Amanda Seyfried's to a lesser extent.
And there's plenty of thoughtful ways to view this movie. Is endless life worth living if you're merely existing? Is immortality all it's cracked up to be? And most perplexing, since those who live beyond age 25 never appear a day older, what happens when grandma and gramps are the same age as you? Confusing, right? Come to think of it, "The Picture of Dorian Gray" was a much better film.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Take Shelter: Is He Or Isn't He

What if Noah had a shrink? That's the question that zoomed through the Movie Slut's mind after seeing this thought-provoking psychological drama/quasi thriller. If you insist on plots that zip across the screen at Nascar speeds, skip this flick. The man across the aisle clearly was not a member of the target audience. You could tell by the way he slipped into a snoreful snooze.
"Shelter" does crawl, sometimes even plod along, but thanks to exacting performances by Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain, the MS was never bored or restless. Curtis and Samantha are a young couple in the mid-West, living happily from paycheck to paycheck, until strange things start happening that only he can see.
It's a movie that will stick with you thanks to a well-developed plot that unfolds believably.
And in case you're wondering, Curtis does see a shrink.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Thing: Trust No One

The Thing is grotesque. Check. It turns up in a remote location. Check. And the humans who discover it are isolated from the rest of the world. Check.
All systems are go for a gratifying horror flick."The Thing" doesn't disappoint. But as gross as the alien monster is — and it is horrifying — it's what this movie tells us about ourselves that's even scarier.
Let's time travel back for a minute. It's 1951 and "The Thing" is in theaters for the first time. Considered a cult classic, it had all the requisite elements. Even more frightening than the slimy, growling monster, however, were the effete scientists in the movie. Back then, the atom bomb and its mushroom cloud were fresh in our minds. And then there was Dr. Freud, telling us stuff about ourselves that we didn't want to believe. It stands to reason that we'd distrust these guys.
In the remake, everyone is suspect. No one can be trusted. And as a statement about life in the second decade of the 21st century this is about as chilling as it gets.
Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Footloose: Dance Your Arse Off

The way the Movie Slut sees it, comparing a movie to its remake is like comparing siblings. Each is wonderful in its own way.
So, which is better the 1984 version of this feelgood dance movie or the flick now in theaters? Wrong question.
The right question is will you like it?
The gaggle of 13-year-old girls perched behind the MS in the theater adored the new movie, featuring stars only they would know. And they are the prime audience for his movie, which is also about misguided adult decisions and the frustration of being young and answerable to those same adults.
The MS only recognized two songs from the original film, which is too bad because the entire soundtrack had a way of forcing viewers into the aisles to join in on the fun.
Dancing is, after all, the physical expression of joy.
Click here and see if your feet don't start tapping.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Real Steel: Real Deal

The year is 2020 and humankind has not yet acquired universal dental insurance. You can tell by the toothy sneers and smiles on the faces of some of the characters in this not-so-futuristic flick.
That doesn't mean we haven't evolved.
Wind farms dot the landscape and humans no longer bash each others brains out in the ring. They now have robots to do the deed.
Atom, the underbot in this David and Goliath tale, is the steely star of this family-friendly film. Zeus is his nemesis. Boooooooo!
Hugh Jackman is fiercely fine as a Peter Pan of a dad. And then there's Dakota Goyo, who plays his precocious 11-year-old son — as wise as Yoda and as cute as Justin Bieber. Check out the hair.
Tap into your inner 12-year-old boy and enjoy the show. So what if it's predictable. It's such fun.

to be con'd

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ides of March: It Ain't Shakespeare

Everyone has feet of clay in this facile political drama based on the play "Farragut North." Sadly, only one character has a heart and he or she (MS gives nothing away.) comes to a very bad end.
"Ides" is a consummately cynical film. Self interest is the only motivation for every character. The problem with rampant cynicism is that it's one dimensional. I don't know about you, but the Movie Slut has never met such single-minded people.
If you're a cynic, you're probably saying she's lucky.
The characters (They can hardly be called people.) in this slick flick are no more than stick figures acting out the misanthropic message. Little effort is spent in understanding what really makes them tick. All MS is asking for is a little character development. Is that too much?
Stephan Myers (Ryan Gosling) is the press secretary for Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney). He's a political genius. How do we know? Because the movie tells us so. Unfortunately, he never exhibits behavior that's even remotely smart. And neither does anyone else, even the non-pols.
Sadly, the Movie Slut fears there's a large audience for this movie — people who take the easy way out, believing the worst of everyone but themselves. (How's that for cynicism?) She's not naive enough to think everyone's a Mother Teresa clone. It's just a lot more complicated.
So why see this movie? Because you'll witness some of today's best actors giving their best cynical performances, including Gosling, Clooney, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Marisa Tomei.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What's Your Number: Who's Counting?

This little number of a movie might just be a chick flick and a dick flick rolled into one. It is definitely not an ick flick, which is basically what a certain New York Times critic called it. He said the movie was "smutty" and compared it to "Bridesmaids," a pathetic flick in which bodily functions were the punch lines for failed jokes.
In deference to the aforementioned critic, "Number" tries a little too hard to be cool and shocking by tossing out references to genitalia every five minutes, but the Movie Slut gave it a pass because this film has so much more going for it.
The story revolves around a zany chick, Anna Faris, who's determined to keep the number of men she's slept with to its present double digit until she meets Mr. Right. Along the way, hilarity happens.
Some may find the movie sophomoric. So tap into your inner sophomore and enjoy the show.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mozart's Sister: A Film in Minor Key

Girls don't play the violin. Girls don't compose music. Girl's don't become artists. It's 1762 and Mozart's older sister is playing second fiddle (not literally, of course) to her prodigy brother.
A woman's place is in the bedroom and the delivery room. Whatever you do, don't buck the system.
Being a feminist, the Movie Slut, was programmed to embrace this fictionalized French costume drama set in an era even less gal-friendly than the 1950s. But although the costumes were sumptuous and the decors opulent, the movie was about as moving as rush hour traffic on the Cross Bronx Expressway.
Several characters reciting their lines as if they were at a play reading. Maybe the director wanted to portray the passivity of women, but robbed of the passion the script talks about so much, it was difficult to empathize with the young woman robbed of her talent because of her sex. Now that's the saddest part of this film.
Consider staying home and listening to this or this.