Sunday, March 25, 2012

Footnote: To Tell The Truth?

What is more important truth or family?
That question is at the heart of this moving, amusing, thought-provoking,
award-winning Israeli film, which examines the threadbare relationship between a father and son. Both are Talmudic scholars and professors at the same prestigious Jerusalem University, but that is where the similarity ends.

When one of the men learns that he won a coveted award, the tenuous thread that unites the mismatched duo is stretched to a possible breaking point. And adding to the conundrum, the other scholar faces a most perplexing dilemma.

He possess information that could enhance his position at the detriment of the other. Should he tell the truth? Or remain true to his family?

Forgiveness is a popular theme at the movies this year, and in a sense this must figure into the decision to divulge, or not to divulge, the truth. But "Footnote" moves beyond the facile lip service often portrayed on screen. When one returns love he's never received, forgiveness is surpassed, moving this film about truth into the realm of beauty.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games: What's Old Is New Again

The Movie Slut is not "The Hunger Games'" preferred demographic. She did not read the Suzanne Collins series about a post-apocalyptic society. She did not wait in line for hours on Thursday night to catch the midnight showing.
But that's not to say she didn't appreciate the film that crosses Darwin's "Survival of the Fittest," William Goldings' "Lord of the Flies" and TV's "Survivor" with a liberal sprinkling of video game pizzazz.
The story, which revolves around a group of teens who must fight till only one survives, also brought to mind the old Phil Ochs song lyrics, "It's always the old to lead us to the war. It's always the young to fall."
And in this case the evil elders are the ridiculous wealthy leaders who live in the nation's capital. (Sound familiar?)
"HG" was also a reminiscent of Roman Gladiators who fought to the death in an arena filled with shouting cheering onlookers. And not to forget the armies of the free world — young people who risk their lives so others can live in comfort.
Lots to think about here.
If "HG" was a bit more sophisticated, it would make a fine adult film.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Lorax: Environmentally Correct

He is the Lorax. He speaks for the trees. She is Annie, 6, and he is Charlie, 4, and they speak for the audience.

"That was totally not like the book. No. No. No," said Annie, as she left the theater on a recent afternoon. And Annie knows the book. She borrowed the 1971 Dr. Seuss cautionary tale from the library and read it at least four times before she saw the movie.

To be fair, the animated movie was based on the book and remained true to the eye-popping color scheme and the general message, "to not waste the trees," as Annie put it. But alas, the wonderful, whimsical writing was chopped to pieces, just like the truffula trees in the story.

Annie was particularly annoyed by a character who was added to the movie, a greedy little man named O'Hare who sold bottled air.

"That man was bad," she said. "He was like a bully."

Still, Annie and Charlie found much to like in this animated flick.

"He cutted down the last tree," Charlie said. But "the good part was when they planted the new tree."

Monday, March 12, 2012

Friends with Kids: Parents without Marriage

"FWK" sets out to be a rom-com with a brain. And if your idea of funny and intelligent have been whittled down to mildly amusing and somewhat smartish, you could enjoy this flick. And if you find predictability a plus at the multi-plex, well then, this movie is for you.

"FWK" also tries to pump up the humor with what's threatening to become the snore of the decade: vagina jokes. Been there. Heard that. And it wasn't funny the first time.

The supposedly thought-provoking plot posits the question: Do kids snuff out the magic between husband and wife? To test the hypothesis, two annoying friends have a baby outside of marriage.

Does is work?
Remember the predictability factor.

If the end had left us wondering, this movie might have been more than a shameful snooze.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

John Carter: Of Virginia & Mars

Time and space travel are two of the Movie Slut's fave movie genres. Add some hokey creatures or aliens and she's in cinema heaven. And so, while she won't give you a money-back guarantee on this one, she did love every minute of "John Carter."

The story revolves around a reluctant Civil War soldier who manages to get away from the strife in his homeland, only to find himself on Mars, where brother is also fighting brother. On the Red Planet, however, there's no reason as honorable as the elimination of slavery. (OK forget that. It's never mentioned in the film.)

But Mars does have some folks who are worth fighting for, if only because they have four arms.

John Carter has all the ingredients for a superbly mindless summer flick: Monsters and aliens; love and comedy; gladiators (sort of), American Indians. It even has some touching moments that brought tears to the Movie Slut's eyes. Honest.

The fact that its debuting in March is the biggest surprise.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Secret World of Arrietty: Celebrate the Little People

Long before the Movie Slut was the Movie Slut, way back when she was just a kid at Roosevelt Elementary, she adored a book called "The Borrowers," by Mary Norton. It was a tale about little people who lived in houses and were responsible for lost items.

And the Movie Slut-to-be was famous for losing items.

The book not only explained why her belongings were disappearing, but it also revealed the creative uses Borrowers had for thimbles, doll accessories and other small stuff. It was a wondrous book.

Alas, the 1997 movie of the same name didn't capture the magic. But now we have Arrietty, an exquisite animated film about these mini people.

And the Japanese film, which is in English, takes the book a step further by developing a relationship between human and Borrower.

It's billed as a children's movie, but judging from the whispering, fidgeting kids sitting behind the Movie Slut, it's the grown ups who'll really appreciate it.

Friday, March 2, 2012

This Means War: Not Love.

As the saying goes, "You can't be all things to all people." Obviously, the geniuses behind this lame movie didn't know about that.
This ambitious flick tries to be a rom-com and an action spy thriller and fails at both. It's neither funny nor suspenseful.
But it is a fantastic fashion show. Remember, the Movie Slut almost always finds something to enjoy at the movies and Reese Witherspoon is one fierce fashionista.