Archives for June 2010

ARCHIVES

Winter’s Bone

Never ask for what oughta be offered
Jennifer Lawrence, Isaiah Stone and Ashlee Thompson
Directed by Debra Granik

As a reporter long ago, I worked a story involving illegal trash dumping in Georgia. After locating a popular illegal dump, I headed up the walkway to the nearest door. I was met by a shadow, a man I never quite saw, asking suspiciously about my business there. I identified myself. He told me to leave, with serious intent in his voice. Walking down that driveway is the only time in my life when ... more >

Grown Ups

Boys will be boys. Some longer than others.
Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Chris Rock
Directed by Dennis Dugan

“Grown Ups” brings together Adam Sandler and his four buddies, guys who owe their movie careers in some way to him, except poor Chris Rock who just can’t seem to register. Sandler always come off a nice guy, and Dod knows I’ve grown up with the guy and have had my share of likes (“Wedding Singer,” “Happy Gilmore”) and dislikes (“Little Nicky,” “Longest Yard,” “Mr. Deeds”). I also liked the new ... more >

KNIGHT AND DAY

Nobody follows them or he will kill himself and then her!
Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz and Peter Sarsgaard
Directed by James Mangold

It’s been a summer where the law of diminishing returns continues to apply and such is the case with director James Mangold’s “Night and Day.” Here is a movie that stars Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz and gets off to a high flying start, only to glide on action and star charisma the rest of the way. It’s pleasant and entertaining, but it’s also another movie that doesn’t try too hard. Cruise is ... more >

NEW DOC ON AGING: To Age or not to Age

Imagine a 120-year-old living like today’s 60 year-olds. Possible?
Documentary
Directed by Robert Kane Pappas

Director Robert Kane Pappas, best known for his documentary "Orwell Rolls in his Grave" (2003) has strung together a new film about the controversial science of anti-aging. I say “strung together” because despite the wealth of footage and resources he has to draw on, "To Age or Not To Age" is disjointed, poorly edited and difficult to sit through. Clearly fascinated by his subject, Pappas ... more >

Jonah Hex

Revenge can get ugly, people
Josh Brolin and Megan Fox
Directed by Jimmy Hayward

The comic book is to this age what shoot'em up Westerns were to an older time: an outlet for children’s heroic fantasies. So perhaps Jonah Hex, a combination of the two, was inevitable. This DC Comics Western slyly refers to this fact, as a Frontier father watches his son read an illustrated Western storybook by candlelight. The father tells him it isn’t highest literary material. He can feel ... more >

Splice

Filled with thrills but ultimately disappointing
Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley and Delphine Chanéac
Directed by Vincenzo Natali

The buzz about "Splice" has been almost universally positive. Manohla Dargis of the New York Times described it as “a lot of unnerving fun,” and David Edelstein, on Fresh Air, lauded it as “a strange and wonderful brew!” I agree wholeheartedly with these assessments…but only as they apply to the first half of the film. Let me explain. The film starts out entirely in a good direction; we’re ... more >

Double Take

If you meet your double, you should kill him.
Documentary
Directed by Johan Grimonprez

How do you describe a film that’s part narrative, part documentary and part essay? Video and visual artist Johan Grimonprez’s “Double Take” (released this month) is all those. Following the success of his 2005 video installation Looking for Alfred, “Double Take” is a continuation of Grimonprez’s meditation on the many incarnations of Hitchcock, both those created through his own work and those ... more >