Monday, January 30, 2012

Man On A Ledge: Acrophobics Stay Home

Ledge Man is like that little girl with the curl. When it's good, it's very, very good and when it's bad, it's horrid.

First the good.

1. Sam Worthington is terrific as the guy standing outside a 21st floor window at the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. He's been in jail, managed to escape and insists he's innocent.

2. Elizabeth Banks is wonderful as an NYPD negotiator whose job is to prevent him from splatting on the sidewalk.

3. The plot is basically okay.

Now for the HorribleList.

1. Kyra Sedgwick is repugnant as a television reporter whose overacting is as bizarre as her last name — Morales. Obviously a shameless ploy to attract Latino moviegoers.

2. The usually spot-on Ed Harris is silly as a greedy rich guy who makes Gordon Gekko look like Snugly The Care Bear.

3. One too many implausible plot twists. Note to filmmakers: Hotels are generally emptied after bomb threats. Just because you want characters to careen into room service waiters and streak through rooms with semi-clad guests, this just wouldn't happen.

4. And a teeny-tiny tank top isn't credible apparel for a woman jumping onto a roof and shimmying through an air shaft, even if she paid 10 grand for the boobs on display.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

One For The Money: Plum Pointless

Author Janet Evanovich has legions of loyal readers who adore her flacky, messy, over-eating, wise-cracking, bounty hunting protagonist Stephanie Plum. These fans will adore this first of probably many Evanovich movies.
So, what if you're not a Plum fancier?
Luckily, eminently likable Katherine Heigl brings a spark to the lead character and great-to-look at Jason O'Mara provides the delightful steam heat in or out of the shower.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Haywire: She's Off The Grid

Don't mess with Mallory. She leaps like a gazlle, runs like a panther, fights like Jackie Chan, shoots like Annie Oakly, drives like Dale Inman and loves like a woman.

But don't tell that to double crossers Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Bill Paxton, Michael Fassbinder, Antonio Banderas, and, maybe Michael Douglas. She gets the better of every one of them and she does it with style.

Don't see this movie for the plot. It's nonsensical at best.

See it — and the Movie Slut thinks there's always a reason to see a movie — for the exquisitely choreographed and vibrantly scored fight and flight scenes. Mallory is played by martial arts whiz Gina Carano, a Thai MMA specialist (whatever that is) and she's got the moves.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Oskar Schell is not one of those prototypical precocious Hollywood brats whose simple wisdom teaches adults how to smooth out they're messy lives.
You can thank the Lord for that.
Oskar is as idiosyncratic as they come, a tangle of fears and confusions, obsessions and compulsions. He can't leave home without his juice container and a tambourine to soothe his jangled nerves.
He's also smart, eager and experiences the world in his uniquely fascinating way.
Watching him weave through life is what makes this film a joy, and that's in large part due to the brilliant performance by young Thomas Horn.
Now, the bad part.
Oskar's dad was in the Twin Towers on 9/11 and the boy is pretty sure he was one of those people floating through the sky after the terrorists' planes blew a whole through so many hearts.
The movie recounts Oskar's journey after his father's death.
"Extremely...Incredibly" is based on a 2005 book by Jonathan Safran Foer and the Movie Slut can't speak about that. But she wishes the movie wasn't a fictionalized account of the aftermath of that horrendous day. The tragedy is all too real, the thousands of true stories all too agonizing. Maybe, ten year later, it's still too soon.
Oskar's story is intense and moving. Still, it doesn't feel quite right when it's attached to that infamous event.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Contraband: A work of Art

Here's a movie for hardcore Mark Wahlberg fans, folks who are into alpha males with gorilla tendencies, who think a sentence must begin with an F-bomb, and don't mind suspending with globs of disbelief.

Gritty, dark and ugly, the cinematography has a certain interest and appeal. Hey, this is the world our bad-turned-good-turned-bad guy hangs in.

So why does the movie slut call this film a work of art?
You'll have to watch the flick clear to the end for this colorful surprise. (Hint. Hint.) This, plus the rousing end-credit music, makes it worthwhile for soft-core Wahlberg fans to see this flick.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Iron Lady: A Woman Among Men

The brilliance of this new biopic about the rise and fall of Britain's only female prime minister is not how astonishingly Meryl Streep channels Margaret Thatcher. It's the way Streep disappears and Thatcher becomes the star of this riveting drama about the accomplishments and ambitions of a duty-driven grocer's daughter.

The film does an excellent job of revealing her parental influences. The positive — her passionate father trying to improve the lives of working people, and the negative — her mousy mother scurrying around the kitchen.

Sometimes better than others, the movie takes viewers back to the historical events that defined Thatcher's 11-year tenure, from 1979 to 1990. And we're privy to her decisions, reactions and the growing inflexibility that brought her down.

The Movie Slut may not agree with the Iron Lady's ideology, but she cheers her right to express those ideas right up there with the most powerful men of her time.

She was a trail blazer, a true feminist in the real sense of the word. And MS applauds her for that.

"I owe nothing to Women's Lib," Thatcher once said.
How true. It is Women's Lib that owes Margaret Thatcher.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Joyful Noise: Glorious Gospel

It's all about the music. That's the reason to see this otherwise lackluster flick. Not the predictable plot, or the cookie-cutter characters, or the insipid insights.
Still, there is one other reasons why you might fall in love with "Joyful Noise."
Call it the Likability Factor. Few actors today are as endearing as Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah.
You can even forgive them lines like:

Dolly: I am who I am.
Queen: Maybe you were five procedures ago.
Dolly: God didn't make plastic surgeons so they can starve to death.

Love ya Dolly and back at you QL.
Thanks for the music.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pina: The Undoc

Ah dance! The Movie Slut thought she could never get enough of it. Until now.

"Pina," an anti-documentary documentary, does exactly what MS always says a doc should do: Show us the subject's art, music, whatever, and puh-leze stop with the talking heads.

Beware of what you ask for.

Here we have a film about Pina Bausch, the German dancer and choreographer who died in 2009, and if it weren't for Google, we would still be blissfully ignorant of these facts.

Pina was an avant garde choreographer - also not stated in the movie - whose work was jarring and emotional and cerebral. It was about life and death and all that fits between. And her work could be funny and whimsical, too.

Alas. This movie is only for the most hardcore dance aficionados. Although with a some judicious editing (Did we really have to see every dance she created?) it would have a more universal appeal.
Too bad. Pina deserved better than an arid academic study of her art.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy: There's a mole among us

This mirror image of Gary Oldman as British super-spy George Smiley is the Movie Slut's favorite moment in TTSS. It's not only visually arresting, but it also asks the question: Is he the double agent at the heart of this retro thriller?

It seems a mole has infiltrated the highest ranks of the British Secret Service. In fact, that nugget of information is repeated so often that when the gorgeous gal spy, Irina, turns up with a — you guessed it — mole beside her perfect lips, you can't help but wonder. (Or laugh.)

What you begin wondering depends on your tolerance for grainy cinematography, a cast of look alike pasty white guys, and a plot that revolves around the Red Menace.

The story unfolds in 1973 (when the cold war was still hot), a year before John le Carré wrote the novel of the same name. The secret service, and most other institutions on both sides of the pond, were good old boys clubs. Another favorite TTSS moment reveals a wall graffitied with the message, "The Future is Female."

Your enjoyment of this alleged thriller will depend on your tolerance for returning to that past.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Adventures of Tintin: Boy Reporter comes to Hollywood

Who knew? The boy reporter has been around since 1929 when Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi took him on his first adventure.
Maybe the Movie Slut was too busy reading Nancy Drew when she would have been into cub reporters. But now she's caught up with the intrepid chaser of stories. And hopes his box office receipts warrant a sequel.
"Tintin" is two movies rolled into one. A charming arch comedy when the lad is at home in London and a hyper action flick when he's battling evil-doers.
The result is more than a sum of its parts. It's a movie to be enjoyed by grownups, who aren't too old for cartoons, and kids, who aren't too young for a global romp.

Stay tuned for her review.