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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.
Every year, LN salutes local nonprofits commemorating milestone anniversaries. Whether distributing and planting trees, providing a safe home for children in need or supporting those touched by cancer, these organizations continue to make a difference in St. Louis. To celebrate, we’ve shared a few of their histories and goals for the future.
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.
If all you really wanted for Christmas was a movie you could go to without contemplating asking for your money back, Hollywood may be able to help…finally. Here’s what coming in December:
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.
The work of legendary Hollywood costume designer Edith Head can be seen in classic movies such as Roman Holiday, To Catch A Thief and Funny Face, work by the likes of Ginger Rogers, Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and others. With more than eight Academy Awards and 35 nominations under her belt, it’s no wonder Head inspired actress, writer and artistic director Susan Claassen to pen a one-woman play in her honor. In December, Claassen will bring A Conversation With Edith Head to St. Louis. Claassen spoke with Ladue News about creating the show and what it’s like to portray the great Ms. Head.
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.
The Baldwin report
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.
This month, we bring you the story of Tom Schlafly. It was 22 years ago that Schlafly had the audacity to think that he could start a microbrewery in the hometown of the King of Beers.
Here’s the thing: Is it possible to dislike this movie? Surely, one can loathe slavery, inhumanity and evil, and not particularly like a film about it. This movie tells an unfathomably horrible true story about the abduction and enslavement of a free black man in mid-19th century America. It’s painful to watch—often because of the subject matter and occasionally because of some awkward film-making and direction that doesn't seem to trust the power of the story itself.
Four Muny premieres are in the lineup for the 2014 season—The Muny’s 96th summer at Forest Park! New season tickets will be available beginning March 8; single tickets go on sale May 31. The upcoming shows are...
Just in time for the 50th anniversary of The Beatles crossing the pond, Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles will again make its way to St. Louis. LN spoke with Joey Curatolo, a.k.a. ‘Paul McCartney,’ about playing the famous left-hander.
OK. So it’s no secret that Hollywood is a shining example of environmentalism. I mean, when it comes to reuse and recycle, the film industry is unrivaled. If a movie’s a hit, they make it another hit and then another. Let’s see if we can hit a 10-figure, worldwide box-office gross without burning a single creative calorie. The film industry will squeeze every dollar out of a good movie down to the last action figure. It’s the soul-less version of using all the parts of the buffalo.
Here’s the thing: This movie has a brilliant screenwriter: Cormac McCarthy is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and is, without question, one of the country’s greatest living writers. He may very well be too talented for film. His use of metaphor and symbolism often replace the plot thread and his flowery (and exceptionally beautiful) prose are a challenge for any actor to own. So, sadly, what we have here is an A-list cast, director and screenwriter, and a B- movie.
Story: Stuffy Mr. Darling lives in London with his wife and their three children, Wendy, John and Michael, along with their maid Liza and dog Nina. The children are treated to bedtime stories at night by the loving Mrs. Darling. Unknowingly, they are visited by the flying Peter Pan, who enjoys the stories himself. When Peter’s shadow is captured one night, he returns with the fairy Tinker Bell to retrieve it and is met unexpectedly by Wendy.
It seems Oscar is taking a nap this week, so it might be a good time to hit the couch with a good download. Here are the new releases and top rentals:
The eleventh month is also the eleventh hour for award consideration. While one would think an Oscar-caliber movie would stay with a viewer, contenders seem to want their film fresh in voters’ minds. So with a few brain breaks for popcorn premieres November should prove to be a heady cinematic month.
Nearly every review of this film describes it as a rehashing of '80s action movies. Frankly, that is precisely what sent me running to the box office. After the abysmal summer of blockbusters, maybe Hollywood needs a refresher course. If anything isn’t reinventing the wheel, it’s this genre. I’m easy to please. Give me a respectable plot, some good explosions and a clever quip and I’m happy. Well, if there is a school for action movies, Stallone and Schwarzenegger should teach the master class.
The Baldwin Report
When you think of a movie about pirates, hooks and eye patches leap to mind, not the infinitely more harrowing story told here. This film recounts the true story of the hijacking of an American cargo ship by Somali pirates in 2009, and the heroic efforts of the captain to save the cargo and the crew.