Monday, August 26, 2013

Jobs: The Man, The Machine, The Movie

With all due respect for the Supreme Court, corporations are NOT people. But if they were, Apple is a company that seems to have a pulse and heartbeat and the ability, if not to love, then to be loved.

You'll have to excuse the Movie Slut for such hyperbole. But she's been an Apple believer and lover since she took her first bite. She's never owned another computer. She knew it was a superior product even when it was looking down, if not out. Then, of course, there was the comeback.

Jobs, the movie, was not embraced by many critics. But maybe the problem is the title. What if the movie were called Apple? It is, after all, the story of the company as much as the man.

It opens in 2001 with Steve Jobs introducing the revolutionary iPod. Then we go back to the mid-'70s to meet the visionary who believed that what we wanted now was not a chicken in every pot, but a personal computer on ever desk.

The MS remembers those early days when home computing was in its infancy. The movie captures the exhilaration of the time when this new, seemingly miraculous, machine was being introduced. She read everything she could about it. She took courses to learn to operate it. It was the future.

The movie captures all of this, as well as the ups and downs of the company and the man.

Some critics complained that Aston Kutcher was out of his depth in the role. Not so, the MS says. He carries the movie and does a superlative job of reminding us that you don't always have to be one of the pack, that you can risk failure, that it's OK to follow your dream when others are telling you it's a nightmare.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Blue Jasmine: Art Immitating Life?

In this years installment of the world according to Woody Allen, our beloved director goes bi-coastal.

Jasmine (Cate Blanchett), a spoiled Park Avenue socialite, is the East Coast sister.  Ginger (Sally Hawkins) lives decidedly downscale and happier in San Francisco.

Sadly, Jasmine has had a reversal of fortune that necessitates moving in with Ginger.

It's not pretty. And not funny either. Woody has gone dark in this one, though some amusing characters, played by a sterling cast, will put some smiles on faces.

"What do you think he was saying?" the Movie Slut asked her companion as they left the multiplex.

It wasn't until hours later that she figured out Woody's message. At least what she thinks it is.
Of course, she won't give it away. But here's one clue. If she's right, this entertaining film is also quite self-serving.

See what you think. And feel free to leave your interpretation in the comment box.  

Lee Daniels' The Butler: Will Serve You well

Loosely based on the story of Eugene Allen, an African American who served eight presidents, this movie serves as an American history lesson and an insightful look at what it's been like to be Black in America.

In the movie, Eugene becomes Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) son of a sharecropper, who joins the White House staff during the Truman administration and remained there through the Regan years. The audience is treated to inside glimpses of each president and his family, as well as the personal life of the man who learned to adopt two faces: one he presented to the White world, the other for those of his race.

The Butler is a riveting movie of a man working at the heart of social change forced to carry on as if all remained the same. At the end of the film, when this sharecropper's son returns to the White House after Obama's victory, there didn't seem to be a dry eye in the theater.

The Spectacular Now: See It Now

When boy, (Miles Teller, as Sutter) meets girl (Shailene Woodley, as Aimee) in this delightfully fresh love story, it's as if two distinct species have come together for the first time.

He's the popular player in high school. She's the studious, shy girl, who's never had a boyfriend. She's on her way to college the next year. He's going nowhere.

Their meeting is under rather unusual circumstances. And were off from there.

Sure you've seen far too many teenage love stories already. They're usually predictable fantasies about stock characters in a fictitious school that bears little resemblance to reality. That's where this sensitive movie is different.

In A World: Look Who's Talking

Lake Bell may not be a be a household name yet. But just wait.

In this debut film, which she wrote, directs and stars in, she'll make you want to see more of her. Which is not to say that World is a winner. But it's good enough.

In this flick, Bell (who you might know as Alec Baldwin's wife in It's Complicated) is a voice-over artist trying to break into the big time where the plum job is saying those three little words, never before uttered by a woman in a movie trailer.

The plot is delightfully original, as are parts of the film, but too often it devolves into the kind of rom-com tripe we've seen hundreds of times too many.

Still, the Movie Slut recommends this flick. In a world filled with violence and phony sex, this movie is a breath of fresh jokes.

We're The Millers: Or Not

There's Something About Mary
At it's core, We're The Millers is a story about family. No matter that these four are related neither by blood, by church or by state. They've joined forces for a purpose —which involves a road trip— and, well, something develops along the way.

If that sounds shmaltzy it really isn't because the flick tries hard to be a politically incorrect, gross-out film on the order of the There's Something About Mary

Alas, try as it does, it never reaches the hysterical highs of that 1998 film.

Mildly amusing is the best the Movie Slut can say about this forgettable flick. But maybe you'll like it more. Lots of chucking could be heard in the theater.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Despicable Me 2: Despicaliscious

Despicable Me 2 was a very good movie. My favorite characters are the Minions and the girls. My favorite part is when the Minions turned into monsters. I recommend it to kids like 4 through seven.
Annie, almost 8.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Elysium: Go Matt Go

In this dystopian sci fi thriller the chasm between haves and have nots has reached gigantic proportions. The masses remain on the overpopulated, depleted, rubble-strewn Earth, while the one percent luxuriate at a five-star space station.

"No fair," you say. And you haven't heard the worst of it.

On Earth, medical facilities can't handle all the ill and injured, but on Elysium, the tony habitat of the wealthy, there's way more than Obamacare. They've got machines that snuff out all disease.

When our hero (Matt Damon) is exposed to a lethal dose of radiation and has five days to live, guess where he needs to go. Alas, Elysium is off limits to the likes of him.

The rest of this action-packed flick, follows his attempts to save his life. And since he is our hero, his odyssey is not purely selfish.

Elysium was directed by Neill Blomkamp, the South African who bought us the wonderfully imaginative District 9, which focused on the evils of bigotry. No extraterrestrial's grace this screen, but as far as summer blockbusters go, this one's a gem.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Chennai Express: It's No Monsoon Wedding

What does a Bollywood misstep look like? For the answer to this question shimmy on over to the multiplex and buy a ticket for this disappointment.

Sure, it has all the bell and whistles: A gorgeous leading lady, splashy colors, energetic song and dance numbers and a twisty rom-com plot. In fact it could have been a winner if forty minutes had been left on the cutting room floor.

CH clocks in at 2 hours and 21 minutes and contains many repetitive scenes. If you decide to go, you'll want to sit in an aisle seat. A lengthy trip to the concession stand mid movie might do the trick. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

2 Guns: Double The Disappointment

Imagine how excited the Movie Slut was when she heard that two of her faves were starring in a new buddy flick. Denzel! and Mark! What could go wrong?


Okay, so there were some fun moments in this crime caper but they were as rare as a Denzel Washington flop.

Instead of relying on star power to keep the flick shining, the movie piled on one absurdity after another. They lost the Movie Slut long before the marauding bull scene. It was about the time the man sitting in front of her got up and never returned.

Talk about squandered opportunities.

The Wolverine: Les Miz II

Last time we saw Hugh Jackman he was the miserablest character in the movie Les Miserable. Poor Jean Valjean couldn't cut a break. Oh, how he suffered— this man of honesty and principle— in this story about the French Revolution. But the audiences who watched the flick were ecstatic.

Now the tables have turned.

 It's the audience that's in misery.

This adaptation of the Marvel comic book character with sword like spikes jutting from his hands,  doesn't cut it at all. The Movie Slut read that it was tailored for the Asian market, but that shouldn't preclude enjoyment on this continent.

Sadly, the movie isn't so bad that it's good. It's just—to use a scientific term— feh.