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The weather may be warming, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything in theaters worth seeing. If you remain firmly planted to your couch, rightfully suspicious of the thaw, you have options. Here’s what’s new on DVD:
To get you in the mood for this Sunday's 86th Annual Academy Awards, we have LN's longtime movie critic, Debbie Baldwin, comparing notes with Brandon LaMew, who's been ranked No. 15 among Netflix's top film reviewers worldwide.
Considering the options at the megaplex, it may be wise to stay in this weekend and rent a movie. Here's a list of what's out:
I have a very clear picture in my head—I didn’t say it was accurate, just clear. It’s George Clooney and Matt Damon at a high-end steakhouse. They eat giant ribeyes and the maitre d' gives George two long puffs on a Cuban before he insists he put it out. Then George tells Matt that it’s been too long since they had a guys’ trip cleverly disguised as a movie, and—as fun as it may be—Ocean’s Fourteen seems out of the question. So, they round up a great group of actors and find themselves a suitably manly script and…show time!
To be perfectly honest, I’m a fan of young romance: I’m a fan of romantic comedies, I’m a fan of straight-up comedies, and I’m even a fan of Neanderthal male-bonding buddy movies. This is none of those.
Music icon Billy Joel is making his return to St. Louis to help ring in a milestone for Scottrade Center. He’ll perform in concert on April 11, marking 20 years since he headlined as the grand-opening performer for the area (then the Kiel Center) in 1994.
After the spate of awful action movies to hit theaters in the past 10 months or so, suffice it to say, the cinematic bar has been lowered. Really, all I hope for these days is a car chase, an explosion and a likeable good guy who wins in the end. A plot, you say? Well, that would be nice certainly. So, imagine my surprise when I sit down to this: a prequel to the intelligent and wildly successful films based on the Tom Clancy novels. There’s a car chase and an explosion—there also is an extremely well-crafted, interesting and engaging thriller. Who knew?
“Bass is a demanding mistress," says Jazz St. Louis executive director Gene Dobbs Bradford. "You don’t just leave her alone and expect to come back and everything is fine.”
I’m going to break a personal writing rule here and use an expression I loathe. But, honestly, this is the first time I think it actually makes sense: It is what it is.
Let’s just get this over with: Clearly, I am missing something. Critics and audiences are blown away by this movie—it’s being called a tribute to post-modern societal detachment. I’m calling it a boring, obvious pedantic tale better suited for a short story--a very short story--than a two-hour film. So, without further ado.
Well, the weather outside may still be frightful, so this weekend may be perfect for popping some popcorn and settling in with a good film. The list of recommendations is short, but there’s something for everyone. I’m skipping what’s popular and just going with what’s good.
There is no questioning the fact that Joel and Ethan Coen have secured their chapter in the annals of filmmaking. Their command of comedy, irony, satire, interpersonal relationships and character is staggering. They may strike out on occasion but they always swing for the fence; this film is no exception.
Once again, we have a movie where the bar has been set high, very high. Not only does the film star Hollywood’s newly arrived A-list, the project is helmed by three-time Oscar-nominated director David O. Russell. It already has garnered seven Golden Globe nominations and is without doubt on the Academy’s short list. With that kind of pre-press, a movie really has to deliver…
Right out of the chute, there’s a problem--and as usual, it’s a problem of expectation. When taken for what it is, Mitty is a sweet, wholesome family film and a clever rethinking of the James Thurber story: The movie is a winner, well worth the price of a ticket. However, when a studio starts murmuring Oscar under its breath, the game changes. Expectations change. And what was once a funny, feel-good movie becomes something else: It becomes a disappointment.
Well, it has been a strange year in cinema. We’ve had movies without plots, without dialogue and without acting—although I guess as long as Vin Diesel is in the business, that’s always a possibility. We’ve had Oscar winners churn out stinkers and first-time actors deliver award-worthy performances. Without further ado…
Seeing this film's premise, one can’t help but wonder what would have happened had filmmakers cast Christian Bale as the protagonist in every Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson movie. On its face, the movie's plot doesn’t stray too far from your basic vengeance action flick: a wrong man goes up against a seemingly unstoppable force of evil to rescue/ avenge his loved ones. This movie is a true testament to what an incredible cast can do for a script.
Vince Vaughn stars in yet another mediocre sell-out; this time, playing an average Joe, who, through sperm donations, has fathered hundreds of children. It’s a 5.
I’m confused. This movie has received a ton of award buzz, particularly for the lead acting performance of Oscar favorite Bruce Dern and the breakout dramatic performance of SNL alum Will Forte. Suffice it to say, the bar was set high. To say the movie failed to live up to expectations is an understatement.
Well, I’m not delighted. I’m not disappointed. I’m not teary (not too teary). I’m not charmed. What I am is incensed. This movie pulls what I refer to as a 'trailer dupe.' That’s where the trailer leads you to believe a movie is one thing—in this case a heartwarming comic adventure to reunite a mother with her long-lost son--but the film is something else entirely.
Frankly, this is one of those movie reviews where the space would be better filled by giving you my savory beef stew recipe than actually discussing the film. I mean, I could tell you that halfway through the movie, pigmies run in and jab the audience with pointy sticks. But if you’re going to see it, you’re going to see it. On the flip side, I could tell you that going to see this movie is like watching Pretty Woman, sitting next to George Clooney, while getting a foot massage, eating Champagne truffles on Prozac. But if you don’t want to see it, you’re not going to see it.
Story: Deloris van Cartier, a lounge singer who adapted her name from the famous jewelry, is hoping that her married boyfriend, producer Curtis Jackson, will surprise her with a breakout gig for a Christmas present. Instead, he gives her one of his wife’s old coats. When she goes to his office for an explanation, she sees him kill a man. Curtis then orders his thugs to kill Deloris as she runs away.
It seems a lot of people had very high hopes for this film. Critics certainly predicted it would have a presence come awards season. Matthew McConaughey definitely had big ambitions as he continues to chase the ever-elusive Oscar predicted for him so many years ago. Most important, audiences had the bar set high in anticipation of a thought-provoking, touching and beautifully acted film. All I can say is, don’t shoot the messenger.
If you need a break from your Oscar checklist, or simply prefer to watch some of the early contenders from the comfort of your couch, here are the latest releases on DVD (and most popular downloads). It’s a good week for action fans. For your convenience, I’ve divided them into two categories: Worth a Watch and Must Miss.
I’m always iffy about time-travel movies--there’s always that over-analysis of plot points that strain the willing suspension of disbelief. That being said, this romantic dra-medy employs time-travel as both a comedic device and a catalyst for the life lesson that is the film’s focus. So, in a way, the logic--or lack thereof--of traveling back in time to relive an event is less important than the bigger picture. That’s all a very wordy way of saying, Don’t think too much about it, just enjoy it.
One can’t help but immediately be struck by the striking similarity between this film and another Oscar contender, Gravity. Neither is a plot-driven film, and both feature a lone character fighting for survival against a powerful force of nature. Instead of Sandra Bullock’s frenetic stream-of-consciousness chatter, here we have Robert Redford’s stoic sailor. For those of you who have thought through the years that Redford is so spectacularly attractive you could just watch him for two hours, here’s your chance.