Saturday, June 23, 2012

Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World

"Seeking" didn't have to be the most profound movie to ever address armageddon. If only it were a tad more thoughtful.

The above photo may appear to be more about a road trip than facing imminent death, because, basically, that's what this flick is. It's also a uber-predictable rom-com. (We are told about The End right at the beginning. OK, just kidding.)

Try out this new title:

 Harry and Sally Hit the Road in Search of the Meaning of Life and Learn that All We Need Is Love.

"Seeking" gets off to a promising start. Dodge, Steve Carell, a perennially dorky depressive, finally has something to really be down about. And he's not going to face The End as others are: Eating to abandon because those extra 50 pounds don't matter now; practicing unsafe sex because the ultimate cure to venereal disease is on its way in the form of a giant asteroid.

 Looting and rioting aren't his thing either.

So what to do with his final three weeks?

He could find the "love of his life" (Keira Knightly) and a fluffy best friend, a pooch called Sorry.

How ironic, we're to believe, that when Dodge finally finds true love it's the end of the world.

The good news: No sequel to this one.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lola Versus: A Comedy Sans Laughs

Shortly after this photo is taken, Lola (the one on her back) is dumped by what's his name, and this movie lurches forward with our damsel in distress alternately confused, depressed, drunk, drugged and nauseatingly self-obsessed. Her 29th birthday is looming and, OMG, the wedding is off!

The last time the Movie Slut saw Greta Gerwig, she was in a flick called  Damsels in Distress in which she was a college girl out to change the world. Another comedy without laughs. Now, she risks being typecast as Unfunny Girl.

In this film, she's grown up, at least on paper. She's now getting her Ph.D and writing a thesis on  silence in literature. Ha? Ha?

Since the Movie Slut is the Movie Slut, she feels compelled to find something positive about this multi-multiplex disappointment. Suffice it to say that the Manhattan filmography was artful and Lola's wardrobe, while uninspiring, was realistic. It is the kind of blah pseudo-fashion that's overtaken our malls. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

That's My Boy: Boy Oh Boy

                  Andy Samdberg and Adam Sandler in That's My Boy.

The highs are stratospheric and the lows are subterranean in Adam Sandler's latest gross-out-fest of a movie.

The ripped-from-the-headline plot — "Teacher Seduces Teen" — is promising in a politically-incorrect Sandleresque fashion. Here the teen, a 13-year-old Bar Mitzva boy, becomes responsible for parenting the offspring of the outrageous tryst when teach goes to jail.

Now, 20-odd-years later, the son has grown up with a truckload of resentment for the irresponsible, clueless dad, who turns up again just as his straight-laced son is about to be married.

Some of the highs in this movie belong to cameos by superb actors, including James Caan and Susan Sarandon. And remember Vanilla Ice? He shows up on the screen, too. Hit it!

As usual, Sandler is out to shock and play to his base: sophomoric cases of arrested development. But the most shocking part of this day at the multiplex was the two people sitting in the Movie Slut's row— a man with what looked like his 10-year-old daughter. Whatever happened to parental guidance?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Rock of Ages: Don't Stop Believin'

It's 1987. Hair is huge. Music is loud. And a corn fed Kansas gal arrives in Hollywood on a Greyhound bus.

She wants to be a rock 'n' roll star.

That's all you need to know about the plot, because this movie, based on the Broadway show, is all about the music. And to the degree that you dig late '80s rock, that's how much you'll enjoy this flick.

The Movie Slut, who's theme song can be heard here, loved every minute of this tongue-in-cheek flick.

Tom Cruise invades the role of Stacee Jaxx, rock star supreme, who travels with an entourage that includes security guards on steroids,  a bevy of chicks with implants and a monkey called "Hey Man."
Mary J. Blige, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin round out the talented cast.

Nuance and subtlety are endangered concepts in this raucous movie, as well they should be. Hey, Man, it was the '80s. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Peace, Love & Misunderstanding = Dreck

If this movie were any more predictable, you'd think you wrote the screenplay yourself.

In 1969, groovy folks went to Woodstock for Booze, Sex & Rock 'n' roll. In this unfunny faux comedy, it's 2012 and an uptight lawyer mom, on the brink of divorce, drags her two teens to the town where tie-die never died. There they visit  her estranged mother, who became persona non grata when she sold pot at her daughter's wedding.


 Grandma, Jane Fonda, is a septuagenarian make-love-not-war holdout, who's reading materials include a book titled, The Cannabis Growers Bible. OK, that part is funny.

Alas, not much else is. Especially the scene in which she teaches the grandkids how to smoke pot. Like they don't know.

Within two days, mother and teens all find love. Or is it lust? Is there something in the water?

A stellar cast saves this flop from dismal failure. Fonda is joined by Catherine Keener, as the uptight mom and Elizabeth Olsen, as the judgmental granddaughter. Stock characters all. 

The Tempest: Fathom This

"Behold, sir King,
The wronged Duke of Milan, Prospero."

And behold Christopher Plummer  as the wronged king in the movie filmed at a stage performance in Stratford, Ontario.

The Movie Slut was lucky enough to see this extraordinary rendition of Shakespeare's tragicomedy thanks to Fathom Events, an outfit that also brings simulcasts from the Metropolitan Opera to local theaters.

Check it out.

These are singular opportunities to enjoy performances that would otherwise be out of reach geographically, and/or monetarily.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman: See It Again

The answer to that question is "yes." At least to date.

Snow White and the Huntsman is a big, brassy, bold summer movie that takes us into the Dark Forest and an Enchanted Forest, too. We meet the evil queen and the lovely princess. The seven dwarfs are back, though none is named Grumpy. There are magical birds and beasts. The Duke's son is on board to fill in for the prince.

And then, of course, the Huntsman makes his appearance. He's the classic rebel and just drunk and  drunk enough not to fear the evil queen.

The movie is an odyssey through many lands filled with danger and surprise.

And most shocking of all is the fact that this flick has so much to say about the power of female beauty, the weakness of male desire, the fear of growing old, the obsession with immortality and the glory of goodness.

More sophisticated reviewers might sneer at what is, after all, a fairy tale. But the Movie Slut is not afraid to give this film a rave.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Prometheus: Unbounded

If you're looking for a flick to make you feel young again, look no further than Prometheus.
 It will take you back to rainy Saturday afternoons at the movies. You didn't understand what was happening on screen, but didn't care because the movie filled you with wonder.
 Sometimes that's good enough.

Producer/director Ridley Scott's latest mega-movie is not really incoherent, it just has giant holes. If it were a piece of Swiss cheese, you could die of hunger.
But it isn't.
It's a sci fi horror thriller with time and space travel, obligatory aliens and a little Chopin thrown in to up the wonder quotient.
And the Movie Slut shouts, "Yes, yes, yes."
As you can see from the photo, the special effects are stupendous.
Prometheus is a prequel to Scott's 1979 film, Alien, which already has more than its fair share of sequels— '86, '92, '97,'04. '07. Now, this flick is destined for sequel land. Or will the next movie be a pre-sequel?
For better or worse, the Alien franchise zooms on.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hysteria: The Problem With A Name

Some call it "the vibrator movie." And yes indeed, it is about the invention of that magical device in England at the end of the 19th century.

The electrical manipulator was believed to be a cure for hysteria, a female affliction with a plethora of symptoms. In the 20th century Betty Friedan called the disorder, "The problem with no name."

Whatever it was dubbed, women were suffering in a draconian  society where  they were expected to be nothing more than decorative and deferential pianoforte-playing poufs of pink.

The strength of this thoroughly enjoyable period film is that it's about more than vibrators. It opens a window onto the practice of medicine at a time when leaches were a cure-all, only radicals believed in  germs and washing hands to prevent infection was a laughable concept.

The movie also delves into the thinking of early feminists, who knew women had more to offer than looking demur and making sure fish forks were on the table. And maybe, just maybe, they'd even be allowed to vote. Someday.

Bravo to Maggie Gyllenhaal for her performance as one of these far-thinking women.