Sunday, June 30, 2013

I'm So Excited: But Not Delighted


In 1985, the Movie Slut landed her first full-time job writing for a daily newspaper. And she was soooo excited. Turns out a gal group called The Pointer Sisters had a hit that was zooming up the charts and it totally captured the exhilarating feeling. Every morning as she drove to work, that disco hit was bouncing over the air waves. It was a perfect alignment of music and mood.

So, you can imagine how excited the MS was to hear about a new movie, not only named for the song, but also containing the music in its entirety. AND, there's more. This movie was directed by her fave, Pedro Almodovar.

Alas, the excitement ended about thirty minutes into the film. Of course, bad Almodovar is better than most movies that make it to the multiplex. Still.

One problem with Excited is the claustrophobic setting. Most of the movie takes place aboard a plane. A bigger issue is the outdated sensibility. Much of the movie is about being gay, bi, or gender confused. Think Priscilla of the Desert without the the sand and drag. But we've moved on and, it seems, left Almodovar in the dust. Now, it's about gay rights and marriage equality.

The Movie Slut is still glad she saw Excited. And is, yes, excited, to see what Almodovar will do next. In the meantime listen up.
 Press Skip Ad ASAP.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fill the Void: With What?

There is much to love in this Israeli film about an 18-year-old Hasidic woman on the verge of marriage.

 Most lovable of all is Shira (actress Hadas Yaron), who has captured the essence of being  young, confused and eager to please.

And yet, the Movie Slut didn't warm to this flick.

First of all, she wonders if the critics raving about it actually understood what they were watching. (Hey guys there are subtitles.)  They write that Shira must choose between two potential husbands. Not true. Bachelor number one drops out early on, leaving her for most of the film with possible husband number two, the widower of her beloved sister.

In case Shira decides to pass on this choice, which her mother desperately wants, she could end up like one of her older cousins—an unhappy spinster— pitied by all, who turned down a suiter because she didn't like him. Imagine! A woman with her own mind! Quelle Shonda!

Hasids, or ultra-religious Jews, follow the rituals of a sect that formed in Poland in the late 18th-century. In the movie warm family life is depicted. But notice the above photo. Shira is walking behind the man she may marry. All throughout the film there are examples of women taking a back seat. In several scenes the men sing joyously while the women sit passively. What's that about?

For much of this movie, the Movie Slut actually felt like she was watching FOX News. A whole lot of spinning was going on.

The East: Direction Unknown

Two groups frame this thriller. And one woman is the bridge between.

She's actress Brit Marling, who was riveting in the haunting sci-fi drama Another Earth. And she lifts this movie beyond what it might have been without her.

She's Jane, who works for an agency that protects corporations from terrorists. But when she goes undercover in a group called The East, she begins to wonder if she's on the right side.

The East, whose members live off the grind, have little more than their eye-for-eye philosophy. Their targets are heads of companies who've harmed the public, and not only got away with it, but prospered because of their greedy unconcern.

It's easy to sympathize with people who've suffered because of corporate greed. But how far would you go?

The question asked in this dark, often disturbing, film is how far will Jane go?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Man of Steel: It's a hit. It's a Winner. It's a Bit Disappointing

Henry Cavill more than fills the capes of those who've flown before him. He's a beautiful and profoundly sincere superhero, who lives for one reason alone— to save our planet.

So, if he's an uber- earnest, forthright chap, that should be excused. After all, he's not Iron Man, who's one letter away from Irony, especially as played by Robert Downey Jr.

Cavill is what makes this murky movie. Whether on Earth or Krypton, all else is a bit dreary. Even, the usually sun-shiny Amy Adams, as plucky Lois Lane, pales in comparison to this sparkling Superman.

The movie has it all: special effects galore, juicy sci fi plot points, an evil adversary (Michael Shannon), two dads, Kevin Costner on Earth and Russell Crowe on Krypton, and Diane Lane made up to look dowdy as Supey's Earth Mom. And it's already a box office hit, raking in $125 million on its first weekend, breaking previous records.

So do see it and don't take your eyes off the Man of Steel.

The Bling Ring: Where's the Zing

Celebrity Obsession and rampant materialism are the subjects of this caper flick. The Bonnie, Bonnie, Bonnie and Clyde film, based on true events, is a fab story that, alas, loses some of its zip on the big screen.

That's not to say chick-flick fanciers won't enjoy it, but  director Sofia Coppola seems to have lost something in translation.

To the end, even after their capture and imprisonment, these wayward teens, who filled their lives with booze, drugs, celebrity worship and home invasion robberies are more concerned with their Facebook status than the crimes committed.

And if they say "Oh my God," "Sweet" and "Sick" a few too many times, they can be excused. What else can you say when witnessing first hand the obscene amount of jewelry, shoes, clothes, and yes, bling the likes of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan have amassed?

To Coppola's credit, she doesn't spend much time psychologizing about their behavior, still something's missing from this story— something that would have made it zing like bling.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing: It's Really Something

"Methinks the Bard would love this flick 'more than words can wield the matter,'" saith the Movie Slut.

This contemporized version of Shakespeare's comedy about love and trickery, both good and villainous, is nothing short of a glittering gem. Director Joss Whedon filmed the play in black and white in his Southern California home and hit just the right stride between modern-day amorous madness and the craziness of love six centuries ago.

To put it as Shakespeare did in Act 3, "Love goes by haps; Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps."

This Is The End: Wishful Thinking

As far as the Movie Slut is concerned, there's nothing like a scary/funny armageddon flick.

Sadly, this isn't it.

Unless you're a fanatic Jonah Hill or Seth Rogan fan stay away. Yes, James Franco is here, too. But even he can't make up for the infantile antics, sophomoric dialogue and unfunny scatalogical jokes.

In fact, this "End" was so bad that Movie Slut couldn't wait for the end. She walked out in the middle.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Internship: Googleliscious

Someone had to do it. And who better than Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn.

Someone had to tell the Millennial Generation that there's more to life than texting, tweeting, Facebooking, pintristing, instagramming, prowling the Internet on smartphones and shuffling around, obliviously, with their cell crammed to their ears.

Does the Movie Slut sound angry? Well, yes, especially since she nearly ran over one of these walking-while-texting zombies when he lurched in front of her car.

But not to dwell. Wilson and Vaughn make the same point with humor in this flick by landing internships at Google and having to compete with those half their age, aka, the Millennials, who know lots about computer innards, but nothing about life.

It's said that Wilson and Vaughn were asked to make a sequel to Wedding Crashers, their laugh-a-minute 2005 film, and decided instead to do something original. Internship won't have you falling off your seat like WC probably did, but it's a ton of fun and the MS applauds the guys for creating something new in this summer of reruns.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Now You See Me: But Do You Want To?

Much is said about magic in this hyperbolic thriller about four magicians brought together by an anonymous leader, a la Charlie in Charlie's Angels. But the one truism to keep in mind if you choose to take in this flick is that the more you look the less you see. Or something to that effect.

In other words, don't try to figure it out. All will be revealed in the end. The smoke will lift. The  mirrors will shatter and it will make sense — sort of.

So the movie isn't exactly play fair and the big reveal may be anticlimactic, still there's fun to be had at this slick flick, which is strangely satisfying in the end.

The sterling cast includes Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine.

The Great Gatsby: Great Fun and More

If you're thinking of seeing Baz Luhrmannn's extravagant recreation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic American novel, the Movie Slut gives you the green light.

 Oh, yeah, the green light. It's the image that opens this 2-hour and 23-minute spectacular with Jay Gatsby gazing across the water at the blinking light on Daisy's dock. And then you're off, lost in this tale about hectic Jazz Age New York, the careless lives of the rich and shallow and the young man who had the temerity to believe, heart and soul, in the American dream.

"Over the top" are words that have been used to describe this film in a negative way. But the MS, who read the novel last month, found the movie an accurate portrayal of Fitzgerald's work in both tone and story.

Much has been made of the soundtrack, which features contemporary artists, including Jaz-Z, and Beyonce. But the music that soars was composed by George Gershwin, no matter that the action takes place in 1922 and "Rhapsody in Blue" was written two years later. It fits the sweeping arc of the tragic story, which reaches tremendous heights before crashing to its inevitable end.

The cast — with Leonardo DiCaprio as the irrepressible Gatsby,  Carey Mulligan as the superficial Daisy and Toby Maguire as Nick Carraway, the awed narrator — is impeccable.

The costumes are magnificent.

It's been said that more copies of this poignant novel were sold in 2013, the week before this movie opened, than in Fitzgerald's short life. Maybe his contemporaries weren't ready for the truth  about ugly class divisions and prejudice in their supposedly egalitarian society.