From ‘Hunger Games’ to ‘4:44,’ summer film lineup is promising
John Hawkes and Elizabeth Olsen star in “Martha Marcy May Marlene.”
- New films
‘The Hunger Games’
Director: Gary Ross.
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson.
The plot: Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister's place for the latest match.
Genre: Action, drama.
‘The Raid: Redemption’
Director: Gareth Evans.
Starring: Iko Uwais, Ananda George.
The plot: A SWAT team becomes trapped in a tenement run by a ruthless mobster and his army of killers and thugs.
Genre: Action, crime.
- Film roundup
★★ (out of four)
I was going to give the movie a fair shake and — gasp! — actually grant it the consideration of a review. And why not? Because it’s a “found footage” comedy about teenagers partying? Because its sense of humor is base and degrading to society as a whole? (Oh noes! For the love of God, will somebody please think of the children?!) Nuts to that. At a time when roughly 97 percent of mainstream movies are assembly-line productions adhering to a rigid template of ineptitude, I’m willing to take a shot with something like “Project X.”Turns out slightly I misjudged the situation, and the film does in fact kinda suck. I get where it was coming from in attempting to re-create that great “’80s party movie” vibe with a more contemporary style and sense of humor, but in trying to be the end-all-be-all of crazy party flicks, the film often seems like it’s simply trying too hard — like that socially awkward guy you see at a party who’s coming on entirely too strong to everyone he meets in a desperate, last-ditch effort to meet people before inevitably dying alone and afraid.
As directed by Daniel Espinosa, marking his U.S. debut, “Safe House” is yet another in a long line of generic action pictures assembled from the Tony Scott model, defined by dark, grainy photography, excessively rapid editing techniques that render action sequences incoherent, and a reliance on useless narrative padding that turns what should have been an 80-minute diversion into a two-hour torture session. I guess there’s not much to say about this approach aside from observing once again that it is terrible and stupid and should be stopped by any means necessary, but it also begs the question: Why? It’s not like Tony Scott movies clean up at the box office, and in fact the countless clones typically do even worse business. So why has this mode of filmmaking, which is constantly lampooned by the public and critics alike and doesn’t even earn its keep by producing reasonable box office results, become so incredibly popular in contemporary Hollywood? This is not rhetorical; I’m actually asking, and hope that someone can shed some light on this. Because I’m stumped.
Posted: Friday, March 16, 2012 7:48 am
As we begin the countdown to the start of the summer movie season (which, as per tradition, actually begins well before summer), I offer a brief preview of the remaining spring titles.
It looks like we’ve got a steady stream of promising wide releases to look forward to, along with a smattering of potentially interesting limited releases — until the last two weeks of April, when things go almost completely dark to make way for the surefire box-office juggernaut “The Avengers” (not sure what this column cover for those two weeks, but I’m sure we’ll figure something out).
Arts and Entertainment
Friday, March 16, 2012 7:48 am.