Monday, July 29, 2013

The To Do List: 1. See it 2. Enjoy it

In this post-post-post feminist comedy, the girls approach sex as aggressively as boys.
Imagine the travesty when Brainy Brandy Klark (Aubrey Plaza) is graduating high school and still a virgin!

Shocking! Right?

And so she approaches this next hurtle in the organized, efficient manner that made her the class valedictorian.  Hence the infamous To Do List.

To Do is less a chick flick and more a gal-pal movie and strangely refreshing in its honesty.

Come to think about it, maybe post-post-post feminist isn't the correct label. Back when the Movie Slut was a freshman in college, she had a friend who approached discarding her virginity in a similar way.

Maybe this movie is just telling it like it really is.

Girl Most Likely: Half a Laugh

Imogene was a promising young playwright living in Manhattan with her boyfriend, but something happened on the way to success and happiness. The next thing you know, she's back home in tacky Ocean City, N.J., living with her flacky mother (Annette Bening) and Mom's younger, nuttier boyfriend (Matt Dillon.)

It's a bigtime comedown for Imogene, and, if you agree with many critics, for the actress who plays her, Kristen Wiig.

While Bening and Dillon add much to this comedy lite with sentimental undertones, Wiig holds her own. And if you're looking for a sweet flick with sporadic laughs, do go see this one.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

R.I.P.D.: D.O.A.

It's not that R.I.P.D. is actually Dead On Arrival, although Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds are, in fact, dead. It's just that this movie should have been so much better.

Remember Ghosbusters?
How great was that? The Movie Slut keeps wondering what could have elevated this flick to that level of high camp. An unforgettable theme song would have helped. But there's more.

It's not the monsters. They're as gross and deliciously ridiculous as they can be. And the plot isn't bad either. Two deceased lawmen must now protect the living from the dead.

Alas, it seems as if R.I.P.D. had a bit of an identity crisis. Is it a comedy? A sci-fi thriller? A police drama?

MS has this advice. Since you can't please all moviegoers all the time, choose your audience.
Having said all that, did MS enjoy R.I.P.D.?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Way, Way Back: Way Way Good

Fourteen-year-old Duncan is growing up surrounded by a gaggle of adults who've never managed to complete this feat. It's the summer. At the beach. And his mother's new boyfriend threatens to set the teenager back for life.

WWB's cast reads like a Comedy Central Hall of Fame. Steve Carell (40-year-old Virgin) is boyfriend Trent. Rob Corddry ("The Daily Show") is Trent's best friend. Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids) is the neighborhood theme park manager.

 Still, this movie is no comedy.

Sometimes it feels like the actors are trying too hard to be funny. But that's a minor quibble with a flick that will resonate with anyone who's been a misunderstood teenager. It might even sweep you back to those days of awkwardness and agony.

Having said this, the movie is no downer. Why? You know the Movie Slut won't spill those beans. She'll just say you won't want to miss this sensitive, empathetic flick. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pacific Rim: They Came From Under Space

You have your zombies & aliens; your cowboys & aliens; your monsters & robots; your werewolves & vampires.

So why not sea monsters & cyborgs?

Ready, or not, here they are in Guillermo del Toro's wonderfully hocky sci fi, horror flick. And if monster movies are your thing, and the Movie Slut certainly hopes they are, you'll enjoy this insane, inane summer thriller.

Beware! You might experience the sensation of dropping into a gigantic video game. But a few compelling characters elevate the movie into something more. The most interesting and endearing of these is Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), the Janpanese actor who stole Babel right out of Brad Pitt's flailing hands.

The MS would have preferred shorter battles and more wacko pseudoscience, but, hey, those monsters are pretty awesome.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Attack: The Political is Personal

Amin is a Palestinian surgeon living and practicing in Tel Aviv. Shortly after we meet him, he wins a prestigious award. Not only is it a high honor, but he's the first Arab physician to receive this award.

Amin is a healer. We see him caring for the victims of a suicide bombing, many of whom are children. This kind of violence is incomprehensible to him. How is it possible for someone to commit such a brutal and self-destructive act? That's what he sets out to discover.

The question is not merely academic for Amin. It couldn't be more personal.

The less you know about this unforgettable thriller before seeing it, the more of an impact it will have. If you haven't already read other reviews, don't.

The Attack is directed by Ziad Doueiri, a Lebanese filmmaker, with an Israeli cast. It's been billed as an even-handed rendering of the Palestinian-Israeli quagmire, but that's for you to decide.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Before Midnight: Think Before You Go

If you've seen Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004), you'll probably want to see the third flick in Richard Linklater's trilogy.

Maybe you should stop and think about it.

In the first movie, we meet Celene (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke). They're college students  on a train and decide to spend the night together. When they part, they arrange to meet again. In the second installment, we learn these plans fell through. It is now, nine years later, Jesse is a published author, whose at a Paris book signing and Celene seeks him out.

In this new movie, they've been together, committed, but unmarried, for nine years with twin daughters and on vacation in Greece.

Celene and Jesse always had a way with words and long conversations defined their relationship along with hot sex. Unfortunately, in this movie you'll find it hard to keep yourself from shouting, "Shut up, already."

Not only do they blah, blah, blah, but so do all their friends. As the movie progresses, and the unhappy couple spend time alone, their barbs and complaints escalate. Alas, they're not always as entertaining as when Jesse calls Celene "the mayor of Crazy Town."

At the movie's end, so much vitriol has been tossed around that it's difficult to think they remain together. Then again, there's always Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe.

 If you've ever spent an evening with a bickering twosome, you might prefer staying home and renting the first two flicks.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

20 Feet From Stardom: Da Doo Sing, Sing

Chances are you've never heard of them. But you have heard them.
They're the Rayettes, the Harlettes, the Supremes. The backup singers that "Oooo" and "Mmm," and "Da Doo Ron, Ron."

Now they have a documentary of their own.

The music, and there's plenty of it, is the best part of this film. But it's also an interesting subject. Who are these people and why are they always, well, twenty steps from top billing?

It turns out some of them are just fine with their position on stage. And others are still hoping for star billing.

This is a must-see-and-hear doc for anyone who loves popular music from the 1950s to today.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

White House Down: But Not Out

You knew it was going to happen. Tatum Channing was going to remove his shirt. He's now in the running with Matthew McConaughey for the most exposed pecs on the big screen.

With that out of the way, we can discuss the movie. Low expectations is the best way to approach this bombastic summer action thriller. Choose a theater with tasty popcorn and an active air conditioner. Then sit back, suspend with disbelief and enjoy the ride.

So why is an evil enemy trying to take down the president — the miscast Jaime Foxx?
Your guess is as good as anyone's.
You'll hear some mumbo jumbo about the industrial-military complex. And also some babbling about Arab vs home-grown terrorists. Both could be interesting plot points. But aren't.

Down throws in some humor to show it's not taking itself too seriously. And if you approach this megaplex experience in the same spirit, you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Heat: Hot & Hilarious

Move over Oscar and Felix. There's a new odd couple in town: Sarah Ashborn (Sandra Bullock), a tight-ass FBI agent, and Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), a potty-mouthed cop, who's not one of Boston's finest.

So, you know what to expect from this flick. The question is should you see it?

The Movie Slut says, "Absolutely."


Because it's a fast-based, truly funny, joke-a-minute comedy about a mismatched crime-fighting team. And there's also a surprise. At least for those who thought McCarthy was a one-trick chick. The girl can act. And it's a delight to see.

Monday, July 1, 2013

World War Z: Iz Zo Good

There are two kinds of people in the world. You have your vampire-fanciers and your zombie-lovers. The Movie Slut falls into the second group.

Maybe that's why she was in her element in this flick, which most critics panned. Sadly, she even put off seeing it because of poor reviews. Now, she's glad she didn't miss it.

WWZ is a sci-fi, pseudo-science, horror, thriller — with comedic elements sprinkled in like sea salt—starring Brad Pitt. Perhaps that's why the grumpy reviewers were so peevish. Years ago, they built him up. Now, they're tearing him apart. Can't we stop this silliness already?

The movie opens with a montage illustrating the brutality of nature.

"Mother Nature is a serial killer," one of the characters, a Harvard scientist, tells Gerry (Brad), a former UN hotspot operative, who's brought back to deal with the zombie epidemic.

Speaking of the zombies. These are not your every day, lumbering-around-with-arms-outstretched  walking dead. These dead people are aggressive, relentless, thrashing, growling killers. (The comedic elements.) And downright scary at times. But isn't that the point of a good horror film? It's therapeutic to laugh at danger. Or least we can walk out of the theater having survived.

WWZ is a perfectly serviceable movie of its genre. It even has interesting and thought-provoking moments. AND, the freakingest up-in-the-air scene since "Snakes on a Plane."