Friday, October 31, 2014

Nightcrawler: No Smiles For His Camera

At the risk of sounding cynical, the Movie Slut thinks this flick, like St. Vincent, which is reviewed below, had one goal: To place the lead actors on the short list for Oscar nominations.

The plot is thin and at times left hanging, unnecessarily. But like the main character's camera, the focus is narrow.

That's not to say that Nightcrawler should be skipped. Jake Gyllenhaal is sensational as Louis Bloom, a sociopath with autistic tendencies. He communicates like an alien that studied human behavior but just can't pull it off. No doubt, he's obsessive, too. When he decides to become a crime photographer, nothing can stop him. He's without ethics or empathy. And so is the local news director who buys his video. No questions asked.

 At times Gyllenhaal is amusing. At other times, he's chilling. He's always riveting on. Worth seeing.

Dear White People: Listen Up

On this ivy-league campus students of color have their own dorm and dining room and lots to say about the white majority. Especially Samantha, whose radio show gives this archly funny movie its title.

Sam's talk show is the best part of this film, which unfortunately branches out to tackle everything else that's wrong with college life in our allegedly post-racial society. The college president is nothing more than a fund raiser and the dean of students, an Uncle Tom.

But it's the tone deaf white students and the super-sensitive black students who make this flick stand out from the pack. To its credit, the film is pretty even-handed when dishing out the dirt. No one is blameless and no one completely to blame.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

John Wick: Rhymes With Ick

Some stuff you should know about John.

1. He once killed three men with one pencil. True story.
2. He's a natty dresser, though a bit monochromatic.
3. He used to be called The Boogeyman. Or did he kill the Boogeyman?
4. He's more action figure than human. Which is perfect casting for Keanu Reeves. Not a put down.

Seems like forever since Keanu was in a movie. That's was one reason the Movie Slut was eager to see this flick. And then there was the glowing review in the New York Times. That brings us to
5. Don't listen to the newspaper of record. This movie is a stinker.

The flimsy plot revolves around JW eking out revenge to the guy who stole his car and killed his dog, a gift from his recently decreased wife. It's what catapults him into a killfest that lasts for the rest of the move, one tightly choreographed fight scene after the other and another and another.

This was enough for the NYT reviewer and if it's enough for you, then by all means, rush right over to your multiplex.
As for the Movie Slut, she wants MORE.

Friday, October 24, 2014

St. Vincent: Teresa He's Not

Vincent (Bill Murray) is a drunk, a gambler, a curmudgeon and that's just the beginning of his negatives. If you think that's funny, you may like this flick.

The Movie Slut is not laughing.

But then, St. V is not a comedy. The only funny character is Naomi Watts, who's hysterical as a Russian prostitute and pole dancer with a heart of gold, a potty mouth and a rapidly expanding baby bump.

Melissa McCarthy, playing against type, isn't funny either. But she's not supposed to be and proves her skills surpass her usual repulsive loser-gal roles.

Maybe the problem with St. Vincent is that it tries to be heart-warming and fails. Or maybe the real trouble is that it's just a vehicle for Murray to garner an Oscar nomination. And we, the audience, are collateral damage.

So not funny.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fury: War Is Hell

In 1945, Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) leads his tank crew behind enemy lines in Nazi Germany. The battle-hardened four-man unit, joined by a young soldier trained as an army typist, know they're outnumbered. Facing death, they're determined to take out as many Nazis before the enevitable occurs.

Fury is a raw war movie, but despite some less-than-subtle opening scenes depicting Wardaddy as a consummate killer, who clings to what little humanity remains, the movie moves on to tell a devastating, believable story.

It's a story about the intense relationships between men thrown together during the heat of battle, who have only each other. It's also a movie that reminds us of the insanity of war.

When will we ever learn?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pride: And Prejudice

Talk about strange bedfellows!

In his flick —based on a true story—a group of young gay Londoners takes on the cause of Welch miners.

The time is 1984 and the miners are on strike when a charismatic gay leader realizes the two groups— surprisingly— have much in common.

Pride is an English ensemble comedy that makes the most of the clash of cultures that ensues when the gay group buses to Wales to offer help.

It's a feel-good flick about people helping people and finding a common core of humanity.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Judge: Father & Son Reunion

Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall face off in this Hollywood rarity, a movie about male relationships that don't involve cowpokes bonding in front of a campfire or sophomoric whackaloons drinking themselves into oblivion.

They're an estranged father and son, a judge and a lawyer, who share a common animosity for each other. It's a good plot, which the Movie Slut won't give away, but one with too many twists and turns. Some are necessary to play against predictability and others are unnecessary, and then there are those that are downright disgusting.

This 2-hour and 21-minute flick could have been paired down to an 1-hour and 50-minute gem.

If only.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Kill The Messenger: Crack is Whack

Jeremy Renner as journalist Gary Webb
Never heard this true story?
You're not alone.
It broke during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, which ate up all the air in all the newsrooms causing lots of stories to fall through the cracks. (Pun intended.)
So here it is now in a 1-hour and 52-minute gem at your local multiplex.
It follows Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Gary Webb's rocky career trajectory. As a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News in California he broke a story linking crack cocaine to Nicaraguan rebels, information the United States government never wanted to see the light of day.
The Movie Slut won't divulge what happens next. But will say it speaks to the game journalism plays today and is well worth seeing.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Gone Girl: If only they said "I don't"

It's been called the worst first date movie of all time.
But don't forget Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe and War of the Roses.
Whatever happened to marital bliss?

If you're one of the gazillion people who, like the Movie Slut, read the book, you won't be disappointed. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike bring the characters to life. And if you're one of the gazillion readers who got to the end of the book and screamed, "What! Never!" you'll be happy that the movie clarifies (somewhat) the ending.

Supporting actors Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry round out a terrific cast for this movie that provides edge-of-your-seat suspense even if you already know what happens.

The Skeleton Twins: Why this title?????

Comic actors long to be taken seriously. As if being successfully funny isn't enough.

The Movie Slut suspects that's why Bill Hader and Kritsen Wiig signed on to this dud in which they play twins, who've been separated for ten years and unite under sad circumstances only learn how much they have in common.

Too bad what they have in common are "coping" mechanisms that include getting drunk out of  their minds though they're not averse to a little weed now and then. And just so we know these guys can still be funny, some fart jokes are thrown in for good measure. And a vomiting scene, too. So been there, seen that.

Yes, they grew up in a dysfunctional family, but, hey, does that give them license to bore us on the big screen?