Friday, January 31, 2014

At Mittleton: Credibility Alert

Vera Farmiga and Andy Garcia aka bicycle thieves
This ridiculous film about tour-the-campus day at the fictitious Mittleton College begins in the same hackneyed way of most silly rom-coms. This time it's a squabble over a parking space. An inane tiff since it looked like plenty of spaces were available.

No matter. It was just one of countless plot devices that bury this middle-aged romantic comedy (the newest banal genre) under a sea of incredulous scenarios.

Let's back up. George and his son have come to Mittleton for a college tour. And so has Edith and her daughter. It doesn't take long for the mom and dad to ditch their offspring and set out on an adventure of self discovery.

He's an uptight cardiac surgeon. She's a free spirit who sells upscale children's furniture. In the course of their odyssey, sans kids, they steal (okay "borrow" bikes), get high on weed, lie to their kids, dance under a water fountain, and finally admit the emptiness of their lives.

The Movie Slut wonders how these two empty idiots could have lives that were otherwise.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Frozen: Will Warm Your Heart

To mark the second coming of the polar vortex, the Movie Slut went to see this cool flick. It's based on a Hans Christian Andersen story, which means there's a brain behind the action.

Frozen is an animated musical with a script and score that rival anything you'll see on Broadway. And so do the voices of Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel.

Eight-year-old Annie says the movie is too "girly." But she'll probably appreciate this when she gets older. Without giving too much away, the MS says this movie goes beyond the idea that true love can only be between a gal and a guy. (Not that it's one of those, you know, kinds of movies.)

It just proves that the love between two sisters can also be a powerful force.

If you're tired of the polar vortex click here.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit: Old is New?

Chris Pine as Jack Ryan. The American James Bond.
Rack Ryan has been a pop culture figure since 1969 when he was a minor character in a Tom Clancy a novel.

He's come a long way, brother.

In 1984, he became the protagonist in The Hunt for Red October. And he's sped on from there.
He made his big screen debut in 1990 taking the form of Alec Baldwin in Hunt.

Now Chris Pine is the fifth incarnation of the guy some call The American James Bond.
The movie slut won't compare Pine to Baldwin or the other JRs, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck. It's been a long time since she'd seen those flicks. She'll just say that he's a serviceable action figure.

Once again, the Russians are his nemesis and if it weren't for a few electronic devices, there's nothing  new here. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Keira Knightley is Ryan's love interest in Shadow Recruit and the two have as much chemistry as oil and vinegar.

Who cares. Just hop on the back of the bike and enjoy the ride.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Her: And Him

Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore Twombley in Her
It's the near future and Siri's grandchildren are the new, evolved operating systems. Theodore, a depressed, near-divorced young man is an early adapter. He calls his new OS Samantha.

Soon Samantha is doing more than sorting his emails and decluttering his hard drive. They enter a relationship. They're an item.

They'd even be considered soul mates — if she had a soul.

The ups and downs of their relationship will be familiar to anyone who's ventured into this sticky area of human experience. In fact, several men at the multiplex were laughing with each stage. Oh, they knew the drill.

Her is entertaining and wonderfully acted by Joquain Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara and Scarlett Johansson as the voice of Samantha. But the Movie Slut thinks this flick is more than laughs. It has some interesting insights into what can go wrong when two people get together. And maybe even more important, what we can realistically expect when we hitch our stars to each other.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Lone Survivor: War is Hell

Mark Wahlberg in Lone Survivor
  Every war has its movies and good ones capture the essence of the conflicts they chronicle.

Think about Gone with the Wind, (the Civil War), Patton (World War II), The Deer Hunter (Vietnam), Three Kings (the Iraq War.) The list goes on and on, but the point is that meaningful war movies reveal truths about the battles they portray.

And so it is with Lone Survivor, an account based on a book by the same title, about a group of Navy SEALs in Afghanistan. Their mission is sketchy. Backup is minimal. Still, these men fight to their deaths because they are a band of brothers.

This is not a film for every one. You may stumble out of the multiplex feeling like a walking wounded. But the Movie Slut thinks this story about US military involvement in Afghanistan is worth telling.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

Idris Elba as Mandela

Was it just the Movie Slut, or did others misunderstand the meaning of the raised fist? We learn in this classy biopic about the life of South African leader Nelson Mandela, that the original meaning was solidarity. Alone we are weak like a single finger. Together we're strong like a fist.

Based on a 700-page autobiography, the film has lots of ground to cover in its 2 hours and 19 minutes. And it breezes along, without stalling at any one chapter of this amazing life. That means, we don't dwell on his seventeen years in prison or the violence that erupted despite his dedication to peace.

The movie may take on a reverential tone. Is there another modern-day leader that deserves to be so revered?
Mandela, who died last year at the age of 95,  risked his life to end the obscene apartheid regime in South Africa. He was imprisoned for demanding equal rights for his people. He accomplished his goal without a full-scale civil war. And he became the first Black president of his country.

Yeah. Veneration  is in order.

If anything, this movie glosses over his pain, suffering and courage. No doubt that's how this dignified man would want it.