Monday, June 27, 2011

'Cars 2' is Minor, But Charming, Pixar and 'Bad Teacher' is Good for Some Laughs

Pixar's "Cars 2" is a lesser effort of the animation studio, but not nearly as much of a bust as you might have been led to believe, based on the critical drubbing the picture took in some circles.

The studio has set the bar impossibly high in recent years with "Ratatouille," "Wall-E" and "Up." And "Cars 2" finds Pixar is a lighter, breezier mode - which is not a bad thing. It's a swiftly paced, entertaining movie.

I also caught up with "Bad Teacher," a comedy in the same mold as the recent, slightly more successful "Bridesmaids."

"Teacher" is, for the most part, pretty funny. There's a gloriously funny sequence involving a threat-gone-wrong and plenty of other bad behavior to make you snicker.

The movie, it must be noted, is light years ahead of its male counterparts - namely, the stale "The Hangover Pt. II" and "No Strings Attached."

Click here for my reviews.

This coming weekend is going to be a busy one. Of course, I'll see the tentpole pictures - "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" and Tom Hanks's "Larry Crowne." But I'm really looking forward to Chrisi Puiu's three-hour marathon movie, "Aurora." Will also try to catch "Terri."

Monday, June 20, 2011

"Lantern" Fades, But "Beginners" is a Charmer

Hollywood is resting on its laurels - namely, the comic book film and the sequel - this summer. So, it should come as no surprise that "Green Lantern" makes no departures from the time-worn superhero formula.

My thoughts: you could do worse, but you could also do a lot better. There are a number of better films out there, including "The Tree of Life," "Midnight in Paris," "Super 8," Bridesmaids" and "Beginners," which I finally caught this weekend.

The latter is a charming comedy that manages to be funny without going "indie quirky."

Check out my reviews for "Green Lantern" and "Beginners" here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

'Super' Hit of the 70s and Godard's Latest 'Film'

I think I'm getting too punny with these headlines.

J.J. Abrams' "Super 8" is not quite the summer movie to end all summer movies, but it's still a solid entry into the Spielberg homage genre. No, seriously, it's a lot of fun and has a number of sincere moments between its stellar teen cast.

It's only when the barrage of special effects and explanations begin pouring in that the film slightly loses its grip. Nevertheless, it's significantly better than any of the other blockbusters I've seen this summer or year so far.

Unfortunately, Jean-Luc Godard's much ballyhooed "Film Socialisme" did not leave as memorable an impression on me. I love Godard's films, but I'll honest: I'd take his 1960s and 1970s pictures any day over most of his latter day work.

I found "JLG/JLG" to be compelling and his previous film, "Notre Musique," has some fascinating moments. The same can almost be said of "Socialisme."

The opening scenes on a Mediterranean cruise ship are no less fragmented than the rest of the movie, but there's a certain hypnotic pull to them. But the movie crashes to Earth in its second sequence - located at a gas station - and by the time we come to the final third, it's a little too late.

Check out my reviews here.

Next week, I'll finally (hopefully) catch up with "Beginners" as well as this week's entry in the cinematic comic-book-a-thon of summer 2011 - "Green Lantern."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

'First Class' Passes

It was a light posting week due to a brief respite in Canada.

My This Week at the Movies column for Patch focused solely on Matthew Vaughn's "X Men: First Class," which was admittedly better than I expected. Check out my positive review of that film here.

This coming weekend will be a (potential) smorgasbord of cinematic delights. I'm going to do my best to make it to J.J. Abrams's "Super 8," Jean Luc Godard's "Film Socialisme" and Monte Hellman's "Road to Nowhere" as well as "Beginners" and "Trollhunter."

At least some of those films will make it in my Douglaston Patch post next Monday. And, time permitting between all the cinematic feasting, I hope to post something here about the pictures.