Thursday, February 27, 2014

3 Days to Kill: Seriously?

Amber Heard & Kevin Costner in 3 Days to Kill

Rule No. 1.
Do not take this flick seriously.

3 days to kill is a thromedy, a triller/comedy set in Paris, and as denizens of "the city of lights" would say, it is tres amusant.

C.I.A. super-assassin Keven Costner wants nothing more than to unload his pistol and win back the love of his ex-wife and daughter. Alas, his cold-blooded superior has blackmailed him into one last hit, which turns into a trail of bloody corpses. Quelle horreur.

Costner is excellent in the role of a guy who plays by his own wacko rules. And Amber Heard, as his blackmailing boss, nearly steals the show with her sang froid and outrageous turnouts. In fact, the entire cast has brought their A-games. Still, 3 days, never quite adds up to the sum of its part.

So should you see it?
"Bien sur," says the Movie Slut.

Omar: Make Love Not War

Leem Lubany & Adam Bakri are star-crossed lovers in Omar
He is a lover. And a baker. He lives for his Nadina and creates the staff of life.
But because he is a Palestinian living in the occupied West Bank, he has become a fighter.

The mistake in watching this movie is to fall back on good-guys, bad-guys stereotypes. It is a movie about one man, who is a lover not a warrior and what happens when he's pushed to become what he is not.

At times, this excellent film is difficult to watch. Omar is a man entrapped and, sometimes, imprisoned.

The shocking ending is all the more surprising because it is the logical, yet unexpected, conclusion.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Winter's Tale: Believe in Miracles

Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay in Winter's Tale.
You may think the last thing we need in this season of endless snow is a movie called Winter's Tale. It's based on a thirty-year-old novel by Mark Helprin, making you wonder if many had passed on the project.

Some critics think it should have remained on the book shelf or Amazon listings. But the Movie Slut is not one of them. The flick does requires a heap of dispensing with disbelief, but, hey, it's a romantic time-travel tale with a flying horse and a reincarnated leading man. It helps that Colin Farrell plays the part. He makes you want to believe.

If the movie can make you leave the theater believing in the possibility of miracles, as it did the Movie Slut, then it's done its job.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Endless Love: The Agony & You Know

Gabriella Wilde & Alex Pettyfer
Why would an adult, even one as moviecentric as the Movie Slut see a flick like this, which is really just a pale imitation of Splendor in the Grass?

The answer is easy. The theater SNAFUed and listed the movie she wanted to see in the time slot.

Yeah, rats.

Having said all that, MS sat it out and says it was pretty good. Interestingly, in keeping with the change in parent/teen relationships, the grownups were not nearly as despicable as the ones in first-love flicks of bygone days. Pretty interesting.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

RoboCop: Sci Fi Fun

Joel Kinnaman is Robocop

Moviegoers are apt to dismiss this flick as low-brow entertainment not worthy of their time or money. And they'd be partially correct.
RoboCop is low-brow, but worth every 108 minutes and every penny of the ticket price.

Like the half human half robot at the center of the action, it has a brain, a heart and a sense of humor.

Think of him as Frankenstein for the 21st century.

When Alex, a good cop, is blown to bits, a greedy capitalist (Michael Keaton) turns him into a mechanical crime fighter with the help of a naive physician (Gary Oldman).

No bad guy is safe from this cop and no segment of society gets a free pass in this smartish film, and that includes politicians, the press, corporations, and even law enforcement.

Samuel L. Jackson is inspired as a smarmy, spin-mongering cable TV news show host in bed with the greedy capitalist. 

So leave your inner naysayer at home and have some fun at the multiplex.   

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Monuments Men: Artful Warriors

John Goodman, Matt Damon, Geroge Clooney, Bob Balaban and Bill Murray are        The Monuments Men.
 Here's a movie with a tough road to hoe. It's World War II, atrocities are rampant, human suffering is everywhere. But moviegoers are asked not to think about the concentration camps, bombed out cities and destroyed families, but instead to worry about great works of art.

Even for those who love nothing more than wandering through the Louvre or the MET, this is asking a lot. Still, it's not impossible if done right.

Sadly this movie missed several chances to convince us that money and manpower should be used to save art and not future artists.

The most squandered opportunity is near the beginning of the film when the monuments men, a group of art experts, find Michelangelo's sculpture of the Madonna and Child. Instead of the camera lingering lovingly over the exquisite masterpiece, it quickly pans to the face of one of the all-star cast members.

Big mistake. And it wasn't the only one of that ilk. Masterpiece after masterpiece gets a fleeting moment on camera, not enough time for us to fall in love with the work and insist that it be saved from Hitler's evil claws.

This is not to say that The Monuments Men is a failed movie. It just could be so much better.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

August: Osage County: Will Make You Sweat

If it weren't for an amazing cast, this chronicle of family dysfunction would be unwatchable. But thanks to nuanced performances by Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and everyone one else on screen, it becomes gripping drama.

The characters are complex and even the brutal and malicious matriarch, played brilliantly by Streep, moves past hateful to pitiable. Dark secrets are revealed and the next generation, Roberts and two sisters, played by Juliette Lewis and Julianne Nicholson, struggle to break through the familial horror story and create more functioning —dare we say happy?— lives for themselves.

The Movie Slut almost skipped this one. Lately, too many movies have thrown a spotlight on toxic families. But she now admits she would have missed a masterpiece.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Labor Day: A Laborious Love

Interested in watching a man's take on women's fantasies? Then, by all means, rush to the multiplex and buy a tic for Jason's Reitman's new flick. To be accurate, it's based on a book written by a woman, Joyce Maynard. But he gets the blame for bringing it to theaters.

Oh, where to start. Let's take Frank (Josh Brolin), a prison escapee who forces himself into Adele's (Kate Winslet) life. Yeah, he's a little dangerous. But he can also bake a mean peach pie though we never learn why he's a primo chef. But then, there's nothing Frank can't do. He fixes everything in Adele's fixer-upper of a house, and that includes her son, who he teaches all the manly skills from changing a tire to hitting a baseball.

Frank and Adele spend one glorious weekend together. Guess which one.

To be fair, there are moments when the movie meanders out of its calcified mold and you wonder if Frank might actually be dangerous. Alas, those moment are fleeting.

Warning: This film may cause retching, particularly in those with XY chromosomes.

Gloria: See and Decide

as Gloria in Sebastian Lelio's film
Gloria isn't young or beautiful. At times she looks like Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie.
She's not slim or glam and her office job is lame. She's divorced with two grown children and lives alone. Most of the time.

What she does have is joie de vivre. And she loves to dance. So, she dresses up and goes to clubs where like-aged men are plentiful. Sometimes she hooks up with an over-the-hill Lothario. The most recent, a once obese graduate of gastric bypass surgery.

If it's true that love is lovelier the second time around. Dating surely isn't. Which Gloria's hookups prove. In fact her experiences go down hill at a dizzying speed.

So what's the point of this Chilean gem of a flick? Several reviews say it's a testament to one woman's resilience. The Movie Slut believes it chronicles her discovery of the truth in Penelope Russianoff's 1983 bestseller, "Why Do I Think I'm Nothing Without a Man?"

See it and decide what you think about Gloria.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Invisible Woman: See Her

               Felicity Jones is the invisible woma.
At the beginning of this thoughtful, intelligent period piece, we meet a young wife and mother. It's the late 19th century and she's haunted by her past. In flashbacks we learn why.

At the age of 18, with no prospects, her well-meaning mother encourages an affair with a much older family friend, the famous and famously married Charles Dickens.

She's a chaste girl and reluctantly enters into life as his mistress, a decision that brings her more unhappiness than joy. When her invisibility threatens to shatter... Let's leave it there.

The movie stars Ralph Fiennes as the renowned author and is directed by the actor. It's engrossing and enlightening as good costume dramas should be and seemingly based on fact.

One wonderful scene finds Charles and Nelly discussing the ending for Great Expectations, proving she's more than a pretty face.