A great sports movie needs to have three things: an unsung hero, a heart-stopping victory and an inspirational message. I am happy to report that this movie has those thee components. And fortunately, great acting and compelling subplots are not a requirement for a great sports film.
I have to admit I've been curious about this film. As an Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature, I thought to myself that it must drive these animators nuts to create something so precious, only to be trampled by the Goliath that is Disney. Nothing against Frozen, it’s a delightful film, but this is art.
As we near the end of Hollywood’s self-proclaimed dead time (why on earth one exists is a question for another day) movie goers approach the Cineplex with the caution of a squirrel. And much like that squirrel, you may discover that the treat is not where you left it. So if you aren’t interested in seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger trying to convince everyone that he’s 45, or witnessing a lot of teen drama—both on screen and in the audience—you may want to wait a few more weeks before venturing back to the big screen. Here’s what’s new and interesting:
Story: A dark, brooding Irish musician is at an unpleasant crossroads in his life. His girlfriend left Dublin six months ago for New York City, and he’s been carrying the torch for her ever since.
Story: To paraphrase protagonist Clifford Bradshaw, “there was a place called The Kit Kat Klub in a city called Berlin in a country called Germany…and we were all fast asleep.” Bradshaw, an American novelist wannabe, has traveled to Europe in 1929 in search of his muse, first in London, then in Paris and now in Berlin.
I don’t want to give anything away. No matter your religious beliefs, you really can’t argue the fact that Bible stories make wonderful theatrical productions: The Ten Commandments, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Passion of the Christ. Frankly, it’s surprising no one has brought the story of Noah’s ark to the big screen before now. Well, actually, they have. There was a respectable feature film in the '20s—you can almost picture the stagehands throwing buckets of water from off-stage—and a somewhat embarrassing mini-series in 1999 starring Jon Voight and Mary Steenburgen that just about everyone seems to want to forget. This new movie version fares the flood waters with greater success.
I think it’s fair to say that Jason Bateman is one of the most likable actors working today. In movies like The Change-Up and Horrible Bosses, he puts an edge to the classic straight-man role. On top of that, he seems like a smart guy, which is why I was eager to see his directorial debut, this black comedy. I have no doubt Bateman himself would like the film referred to as a 'twisted' black comedy, sadly there is no plot to twist.
Let’s face it: Tragic career spirals are as common in Hollywood as Botox and traffic jams. Nobody seriously asks the question, Whatever happened to (fill in the blank)? because the answer is obvious and unsurprising: He chose a couple of bad projects (Zac Efron); his ego got the better of him (Vin Diesel); drugs (Lindsay Lohan); bad reviews (Ryan Reynolds); people forgot about him (whatshisname). It’s the nature of the business. Did you know, for example, that the actor who portrayed the magnetic bad boy Kelly Leak form the original Bad News Bears movie, Jackie Earle Haley, is a renowned and busy character actor these days; or that Karate Kid nemesis William Zabka has been popping up in television shows of late?
Let me state for the record that I have never met Wes Anderson. Let me also state that I would very much like to. If I am ever stuck on an elevator with a stranger or stranded on a desert island with an unknown companion, or pinned next to someone on an international flight, I would like that person to be Wes Anderson. That being said, I don’t know where to begin with this movie. Like most of his films, it has the beaming charm of a French children’s book, but it also has a similar tendency to meander.
And coming up next in the seemingly endless line of young adult fiction that tackles the insurmountable and painfully obvious problem of 'fitting in' (wrapped in one blanket metaphor or another), we have Divergent. The Mortal Instruments, The Hunger Games, Twilight, X-Men, The Host...the $2-dollar word here is dystopian. In a dark future or parallel world, an unlikely hero takes on the system…
Story: Banker Sam Wheat and his girlfriend Molly Jenson, a potter, have moved into an old brownstone in Brooklyn to renovate it and make it their home. Meanwhile, at work Sam notices some major and troubling discrepancies in some accounts he’s managing, and confides the problem to his friend and colleague Carl.
It may not feel like it, but it is that time of year again: Time to pack your bags or your car or your kids, and head for what you hope will be sun and surf and peace and quiet. Spring break can have many different interpretations. It can mean chaperoning a high-school trip—or trying to avoid chaperons on a high-school trip. It can mean shuttling kids around an Orlando theme park, or it can even mean two weeks of It’s time for the kids to see Europe. It any event, whether land-locked, in flight or seaside, spring break always involves one thing: the beach read.
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…