Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Counselor: Court Closed.

As you know, the Movie Slut has a myriad of reasons for going to the multiplex. (Popcorn notwithstanding.)

For her, even the worst movies have something worth seeing. And so it is with this ridiculous disaster of a film.

See it for the mystery, she says. No it's not not a whodunit flick. The mystery is how a movie with such a sterling cast —Michael Fassbinder, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt — such an accomplished screenwriter — Cormac McCarthy — and such a successful director — Ridley Scott — could be so hideously horrendous.

The Counselor tells a flimsy story about a lawyer who succumbs to greed and loses his way. But that's just an excuse to string together scenes designed to shock, scare, disgust or just plain gross you out. It's a cynical approach to movie making, which seems to be failing. Don't worry about finding a seat for this dud.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Wadjda: Grrrrrl Power

This moving film set in a conservative suburb of Saudi Arabia is generally known and the movie about a girl who longs for a bike. That's true, but hardly tells the whole story.

Those with even a drop of feminist sensibilities will find much of this film difficult to watch. It goes miles beyond the bike and deeply into what it's like to be a girl or a woman in this restrictive culture.

Radjda and her mother lead lives strictly deliniated by the rules and regulations that determine what women can and cannot wear, what they can and cannot do, when they can and cannot be seen and when they can and cannot be heard.

It's not as if we haven't heard about the status of women in this culture, but to see it in action is a far different story.

But stick with this flick. The Movie Slut can't recall a movie with a more moving ending. Those who try to crush the human spirit fail in the end. Think about the real life story of Malala..

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Fifth Estate: WikiWonderful

You may have read some disparaging reviews about this engaging movie. They were probably written by members of the Fourth Estate.

The Fifth Estate can be considered journalism's newest incarnation. Hence, some negative reviews from the previous regime.

This is the story of WikiLeaks and the website's founder Julian Assange. He's either a hero or a vilian depending on your feelings about the public's right to access secret government documents.

Assange is a strange dude, with his white hair and zealous manner. But it's best to separate his personality from his actions and assess what he's done. And while you're at it, think a bit about what's happened to the Fourth Estate.

Would Woodward and Bernstein be able to write the Watergate story today? Is the new media too dependent on ratings and advertisers? Where was the Fourth Estate in the build up to the War in Iraq?
Do we need a Fifth Estate, not only to watch over the government, but also to serve as watchdogs for the Fourth Estate?

Benedict Cumberbatch, who the Movie Slut first saw on the sensational PBS series "Sherlock," is Julian Assange. At times you won't believe he's not the real guy.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Runner Runner: Half Baked

Runner Runner reminds the Movie Slut of her sixth grade home economics class.

All the ingredients were ready as were the proper cooking equipment and yet the chocolate pudding never congealed. It was a mystery —somewhat.

The failure of this promising movie is mysterious, too. It brought together a great cast: Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake. A decent plot: Princeton whiz kid confronts online gambling kingpin when he's cheated.

Yet something went awry on the way to the multiplex.

The MS guesses the director was MIA. How else to explain the actors standing around looking dazed as if they were waiting for direction.

As for the drippy chocolate pudding. There's an explanation for that.

It seems some pranksters, including the MS, dumped in twice as much sugar as the recipe called for in hopes that the batch would be sent to the teachers' room for consumption. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Captain Phillips: Waterlogged

There's a scene early in this based-on-a-true-story thriller when Captain Phillips (Tom Hanks), binoculars in place, focuses on a pirate skiff rapidly approaching his cargo ship off the coast of Somalia. He sees the pirate captain staring back at him through his binoculars.

This is not a good-guys-bad-guys movie. It's a battle between worthy opponents.

Captain Phillips is doing what he must do and so is Captain Muse.

For all its high-seas adventure, however, this flick did not blow the Movie Slut out of the water.

Yes, there were some brilliant scenes and some fine acting, but a few problems kept her from full enjoyment. The most important: Why was a cargo ship coasting through known pirate-infested waters without any security? Not even a handgun. (Doesn't every American have one of these?)

But seriously, this plot point was difficult to swallow. And it turns out, it should be. Although the movie doesn't delve into this, according to some sources and a lawsuit, the real Captain Phillips disobeyed orders and, to save time and money, took his ship too close to the Somali coastline.

So do movies have to cleave to the truth? Absolutely not. But when they fabricate and force the viewer to cleave to disbelief, that is a problem. 

Hopefully, you'll be able to suspend with disbelieve though the MS could not. And while she's at it, why was the most despised company in the US — Haliburton — mentioned in a positive light more than once in this movie?

There's nothing MS hates more than being manipulated. Instead of making Dick Cheney's company appear more warm and fuzzy, these plugs pulled her out of the movie, leaving her thinking it was a pretty fishy tale.

Salinger: The Man, The Book, The Movie

He was the first counter-culture vulture.
He taught us not to trust anyone over 30.
He exposed the phonies.
He warned about selling out.
And then he disappeared.

If Holden Caulfield was ever your hero, the guy you lauded for telling truth to power, the kid who spoke to you about the dangers of growing up, then you have to see this movie about his creator and alter-ego, J.D. Salinger.

Salinger wrote the Catcher in the Rye in 1951. Soon after the book was declared the voice of a generation, he dropped off the radar to lead a reclusive life in Vermont. He might have been out of sight, but he wasn't out of our collective consciousness, and most importantly, Salinger, who died in 2010, never stopped writing.

This two-hour documentary is not for everyone. But those who read the book and took it to heart, like the Movie Slut, will adore every minute of it. Finally, you'll learn who this guy Salinger was and see him for all the warts and wonder.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gravity: Lost In Space

At times during this cinematic odyssey, you might think you've awakened in adult space camp.
You're up there— or is it out there?— untethered, floating about in zero gravity with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

But is that really what this interesting, if not always enjoyable, film is about?

The Movie Slut thinks not. Though she won't give away her interpretation. Suffice it to say, that it's not until the end of this flick that the message is revealed. And she thinks it's worth waiting for.

Don Jon: Sex And The Single Guy

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a triple threat.  He's the writer, director and star of this modern-day variation on the Don Juan story.

Jon is a Lothario. He never goes home alone. But as sexy as his gal-pals are, in his mind they never match the ones he ogles on his computer screen.

Enter, Scarlett Johansson, a real life babe. Will she cure our porn-addicted protagonist?

The Movie Slut will not answer that question. But she will say that for all its preoccupation with sex, this flick is about relationships.

It's a dynamo of a movie. Watching it is like sipping a Jolt cocktail. But it's not the first time a spectacular flick has taken off on Don Juan's story.

Enough Said: But here's the MS's 2 cents

Enough has been said about this flick being a grown-up romantic comedy.

Plenty has also been said about the fine acting. Yes, James Gandolfini, who died too soon last spring, could play a role diametrically opposed to his famous character: Tony Soprano. As for Julia Louis-Dreyfus, she's a bit like Elaine in Seinfeld. But that's OK.

The movie attempts to show the hurtles of finding love the second (or third or fourth) time around. It breaks the mold in that it's not predictable at every turn.

But is is realistic?

Take your pick. This flick seems to have two endings. One for hopeful romantics. The other for hopeless realists.