Sunday, February 26, 2012

Act of Valor: Mindless Moments

Don't blame Hollywood for this one. According to a Huff Post story, "A/V" was "commissioned by the Navy's Special Warfare Command," probably as a recruitment tool. The stars are real Navy SEALS, not pesky professional actors who deliver laughable lines that can make you cry.
Still, the flick is not without merit. What it does best is to portray the precision and perfection needed to pull off a mission and the commitment and camaraderie that define these teams. And occasionally, moviegoers won't feel like they've slipped into "A/V," the video game, but actually witnessed an exquisitely choreographed combat scene.

Movies are comprised of moments — moments in which you gasp at the captivating cinematography, the clarity of the dialogue, the wisdom of a character — and moments when your mouth drops open and you groan, "What the...?"

"A/V" has more than its share of these.

When our valiant SEAL team realizes the diabolical terrorist plan to sneak deadly explosives into the US in a way that can fool the most crackerjack security system, they ponder how this will affect the American economy and how The Press will play the story.

What about the loss of innocent lives?
Is the Pentagon more concerned with Anderson Cooper?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wanderlust: A Failed opportunity

If only "Wanderlust" had more wandering and more lust it could be a halfway decent comedy.
Alas, you won't find much of either in this tepid, trying-too-hard flick. In fact, the only entertaining scenes take place at the beginning and end of the movie when our protagonists are in New York City.

Part One: Linda and George (Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd) are a youngish couple trying and failing to make it in the big city. (Pretty funny.)

Part Two: Our somewhat likable duo try to make a go of it at George's brothers place in one of those soulless McMansion communities. (Mildly funny.)

Part Three: Our increasingly annoying couple move into a 1960s-style commune where everyone is desperately seeking laughs. (The opposite of funny.)

Part Four: Let's just say it's almost worth waiting around for the end. But not quite.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Vow: Love is (Fill in the Blank) the Second Time Around

Gals, is your guy in the doghouse? Wanna make him suffer? Seeking Revenge with a capital REVENGE?
If you've answered yes to any of these questions, then drag him to see "The Vow." The beauty of this scheme is that while he'll loath this flick, you might love it.

Remember ladies, "Revenge is a dish best served at the multiplex."

Keeping it short: Leo (Channing Tatum or is it Tatum Channing? Whatever.) and Paige (The ever-adorable Rachel McAdams) are married, but due to a contrived plot twist, this fact alludes our heroine. And so Leo must make her fall in love with him a second time.

Does he accomplish this Herculean task? No ends are given away on this blog.

Suffice it to say that he tries with lines that make "You had me at hello" sound Shakespearean.

How about, "I vow to fiercely love you in all your forms, now and forever."

And while we're at it, what's with Channing Tatum's

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Safe House: Not So Safe But Very Sorry

Can't get enough of pointless car chases? Hankering to see guys pummeled into bloody blobs? Do you think plot is a superfluous aspect of storytelling?

If you've answered "Yes" to any of these questions, then "Safe House" is a flick for you.

Not for the Movie Slut, who won't be giving away the end, not because she eschews the spoiler role, but because she has no idea how this foolish film ends.

She walked out.

Even the eminently charismatic Denzel Washington and the adorable Ryan Reynolds couldn't save this movie in which C.I.A. does not stand for Central Intelligence Agency, but Corrupt Incompetent Arses.

Washington is or is not a rogue agent and Reynolds is or is not too green to bring him in.

And then there was the bad guy, who did not profit from anything resembling character development, but was given a malevolently massive nose instead.

See for yourself.Scareeeeeeeeeee!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Grey: Alpha Man vs Alpha Wolf

When we meet John Ottway (Liam Leeson) at the beginning of this exceptional film, he's a man who's lost his will to live. But there's nothing like looking death in the eye to kick-start the survival instinct.

"The Grey" is a story about life, love, death, survival, faith, hope and self-reliance. In other words, a breezy bauble of a flick. ;-). Still, despite the stark, merciless story, great beauty is on the screen.

The backdrop for the plot — seven tough guys survive a plane crash in the arctic — is an arresting snowscape of majestic proportions.

"The Grey" is not for every movie-going popcorn-muncher. But those who can stomach a bucket load of gore and a heap of danger in the wilderness can do no better than this thought-provoking (metaphorical?) film.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Big Miracle: Whale of a Tale

True Story: Sometimes it takes a village, but in 1988, when three whales were trapped under an ice shelf off the coast of Alaska, it took two superpowers, an eccentric enviornmentalist, a greedy capitalist, a pandering president, two wacky Minnesota inventors and the vast news media to save them from imminent death.

And what saves this movie from slipping into a cloying do gooder tale of international cooperation and interpersonal collaboration is its honest appraisal of the motives that united the winning team.

The movie doesn't slide into sentimentality, nor does it plunge into cynicism. No black hats and white hats here.

Adding to the fun of "Big Miracle" are the real television broadcasts by Tom Brokaw, Dan Rathers and Peter Jennings that recounted the plight of the whales and the efforts to free them.

This is a movie for the kids that parents may enjoy even more. And do stay till the very end to find out where these characters are today.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Albert Nobbs: Gender Bender

In a scene from this frustrating, fascinating movie Glenn Close, as Albert, dressed in a blue dress, bonnet and shawl that transforms her arms into wings, runs along a sandy shore. It's a moment of blissful freedom in a life that's both literally and figuratively binding.

And then she falls — leaving nothing for the eye to see but a pile of printed blue fabric.

Oh, Albert! What are we to make of you and your film?

Clearly, sexual identity and gender confusion are on the screen, as is the hopeless plight of the poor in late 19th-century Ireland. But just when the Movie Slut thought this film was sharpening its pencil, the point broke leaving her with an interesting character study of a woman who did what she thought she had to do to survive.

Sometimes a point is superfluous.