Monday, July 30, 2012

This Week at the Movies: 'Killer Joe,' 'Ruby Sparks' and 'The Watch'

William Friedkin's "Killer Joe" finds the director at his most wily in some time. It's a pretty lurid little picture with a solid performance by Matthew McConaughey and some decent supporting work from its cast, who portray some of the most lowdown degenerates I've seen in a movie in recent memory.
Needless to say, I liked it.

I also enjoyed "Ruby Sparks," Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris's "Little Miss Sunshine." I thought the duo's previous film was a bit overrated, so I enjoyed their sophomore picture a lot more. It's clever, funny and occasionally moving.

"The Watch" doubles as this week's obligatory raunch fest and obligatory alien invasion movie. It's actually not as bad as all that, but it's not exactly good either. There are a few laughs in the film, but not enough considering the talent involved.

Here are my three reviews for Patch.

I also saw Julie Delpy's "2 Days in New York," which is a follow-up to her surprise hit "2 Days in Paris." It's equally as funny and enjoyable. The film is lightweight, but in a good way. The same cannot be said for "30 Beats," which I managed to catch up with last week. For a film about a group of characters finding themselves in various sexual exploits during a hot New York summer day, it's pretty dry stuff.

This coming weekend, I'll most likely see a few of these selections: "Total Recall," "360" and "Celeste and Jesse Forever."

Monday, July 23, 2012

Batman Ends: 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Batman Ends. 'Batman Begins,' get it? Get it? Batman.... oh, never mind.

So, I thought Christopher Nolan's third chapter in his Batman trilogy was the weakest of the three, but I still thought it was better than your average summer movie. In essence, I liked it.

The cons for the film was its running length, which was not exactly necessary, as well as some dialogue being drowned out by Hans Zimmer's score. And while I thought Tom Hardy did a fine job as Bane, the fact that his face was obscured throughout the entire movie made his performance seem less a living and breathing sort of thing as, say, Heath Ledger's work as The Joker.

But I really enjoyed Anne Hathaway as jewel thief Selina Kyle - AKA Catwoman - and the picture's ending involved several clever plot twists. The supporting work, especially by Joseph Gordon Levitt, Gary Oldman and Michael Caine, was also solid,

All in all, it's a good movie - if not exactly a great one. Here's my review for Patch.

I also caught up with "Safety Not Guaranteed," which I enjoyed, but did not review. It's an offbeat indie film with some solid performances and clever writing. And it's got one nutty ending, let me tell you.

This coming weekend, I'll see "Killer Joe," "The Watch" and "Ruby Sparks."

Monday, July 16, 2012

Second Time Around: 'Alps' and 'Red Lights'

This weekend's selections were both follow-ups by directors to critically acclaimed breakout films. The other thing they have in common is that they both were disappointing.

I was a big fan of Giorgos Lanthimos's perverse and outrageous "Dogtooth," so much so that it landed in my top 20 of 2010. But "Alps," which is technically his third feature, but his first since his breakthrough film, did not live up to my expectations. It's certainly as strange as "Dogtooth," but less effective.

I also caught up with "Red Lights," the second film from Rodrigo Cortes, whose debut "Buried" left me with mixed feelings. His subject matter this time around is slightly more compelling and the performances in his sophomore feature are solid. The film culminates with one of those pull-the-rug-from-under-your-feet type of twists. In this case, it's an interesting one, but still a twist that causes the picture to sort-of fall apart under scrutiny.

Neither film was bad, but neither was exactly recommendable either. Here are my reviews.

This coming weekend, I'll obviously see "The Dark Knight Rises" as well as something else that has yet to be decided. Some potentials: "The Imposter," "Union Square" or "Easy Money."

Monday, July 9, 2012

This Week at the Movies: 'The Amazing Spider-man' and 'Savages'

Gotta keep it very short and sweet this week. Over the weekend, I caught up with "The Amazing Spider-man," which I found to be unnecessary, but well-made, as well as Oliver Stone's "Savages," which I thought was energetic, but slightly unfocused.

Here are my Patch reviews.

I also managed to see "The Woman in the Fifth," which I thought was often interesting, but ultimately a bit messy.

This coming weekend, I'll be seeing "Alps" and "Red Lights." More on those films next week.

Monday, July 2, 2012

'Wild' Child: Benh Zeitlin's Dazzling Debut, Plus 'Magic Mike' and 'Ted'

This past weekend was - I'd contend - the best I had at the movies this summer so far. I enjoyed Steven Soderbergh's "Magic Mike," which was an entertaining and funny take on male stripping. The source material is (apparently) Channing Tatum's own experiences as an, umm, exotic dancer.

I also thought "Ted" was funny, even if it attempted a little too hard to offend - and, then, occasionally did. Anyway, the picture was funnier than most of Hollywood's other comedies this year so far.

But the week's - and year's, perhaps - big winner was Benh Zeitlin's debut, "Beasts of the Southern Wild." Much has been written about this film already and it's easy to see why.

The film not only contains one of the best performances ever by a child, but it's also further proof that the regional indie is not dead. It's a really excellent film that I'm glad I managed to see twice. There's a lot of "stuff" going on in the film that takes a while to sink in.

Here are my reviews for Patch.

This coming weekend, I'll be seeing "The Amazing Spider-man" and Oliver Stone's "Savages."