- “Our Idiot Brother”
★★★★ (out of four)
2011, Dir. Jesse Peretz, U.S., R
- New films
Director: Steven Soderbergh.
Starring: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet.
The plot: The Center of Disease Control dispatches an
international team of doctors to stop an airborne virus from
Genre: Horror, thriller.
Director: Gavin O’Connor.
Starring: Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte.
The plot: Ex-marine Tommy Riordin returns to his hometown to
train for a mixed martial arts tournament.
Genre: Drama, action.
- Film roundup
★★ (out of four)
Most horror movies, good or bad or in between, at least have an
easy time establishing a consistent tone — scary or campy, or a
deft mix of both, if the director really knows what they’re doing
and can effectively juggle different sub-genres. Craig Gillespie’s
remake of the 1980s camp classic “Fright Night,” however, never
seems to find its place. A choppy and confused blend of
old-fashioned vampire horror and more self-aware, borderline-meta
camp, the movie never properly gels (especially when it tries to
add genre homage into the mix, best exemplified in the scene where
original “Fright Night” star Chris Sarandon shows up in an
unimaginative token cameo as an ill-fated motorist).
‘RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES’
More morality play than typical summer blockbuster, this “Planet
of the Apes” envisions a not-too-distant future in which human
greed and arrogance lays the groundwork for the primate-run society
first seen in the 1968 film with Charlton Heston. Our primary human
protagonist is medical researcher Will Rodman (James Franco,
looking way too spaced out to be believable as an M.D.), an
altruistic lad who is working tirelessly to find a cure for
Alzheimer’s, the disease that is slowing destroying his father
(John Lithgow). After a lab mishap involving an aggressive ape
leaves him without a prime test subject for his regenerative
“cure,” Will secretly takes home that ape’s offspring, named Caesar
(played by Andy Serkis, king of the blue-screen), to conduct
‘COWBOYS & ALIENS’
I always appreciate it when a film makes an effort to show me
something I haven’t seen before, and I’m willing to forgive a great
many oversights in exchange for that spark of creativity. “Cowboys
& Aliens” (based on the comic book by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg,
but credited to no less than eight screenwriters) offers up an
intriguing blend of the Western, adventure and science-fiction
genres, and that alone is a novel enough concept to pique my
interest. The film has a lot of fun with the madcap mixup and even
includes several blink-and-you’ll-miss-them nods to such genre
staples as “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “The Searchers,” and I can
honestly say that I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
‘HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HOLLOWS: PART
There’s something to be said for a book franchise that has
almost single-handedly instilled a love of reading into a whole
generation of youths, and a movie franchise that has brought
genuine joy to hundreds of millions of people. In the end, the
positive residual effects of Pottermania easily trump the cynicism
and greed that went into its creation. And despite its status as a
studio product, I defy any old-fashioned, entertainment-seeking
moviegoer to see “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” and
come away dissatisfied.
Posted: Friday, September 2, 2011 8:02 am
Times like these, you have to seek comfort wherever you can find
it. I often look to movies for some extra degree of solace, and it
seems that sometimes it can be found in the unlikeliest of
It is in this spirit that I recommend not one but three films
this week, all of which in their own distinct and sometimes subtle
ways make the viewer feel just a tad bit better about the world we
live in. They do not achieve this effect via any conventional means
(e.g. “heart-warming” stories, pat characterizations, emotional
manipulation, etc.), but rather by adhering to a set of social
ethics and doing their small part to better society.
Friday, September 2, 2011 8:02 am.