Western, science fiction merge in ‘Cowboys & Aliens’
Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig and Jon Favreau star in “Cowboys
- “Cowboys & Aliens”
★★ 1/2 (out of four)
Dir. Jon Favreau, U.S., PG-13
- New films
‘30 Minutes or Less’
Director: Ruben Fleischer.
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride.
The plot: Two fledgling criminals kidnap pizza delivery guy
Nick, strap a bomb to his chest and inform him that he has mere
hours to rob a bank. As the clock ticks, they deal with the police,
hired assassins, flamethrowers and their relationship.
Genre: Action, adventure.
Director: Tate Taylor.
Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis.
The plot: Aspiring writer Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan returns home
after college, where unexpected friendshipswith African-American
maids result in a book that gives a previously unheard voice of a
- Film roundup
‘HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HOLLOWS: PART
★★★ 1⁄2 (out of four)
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.
Until now, Pixar was never in the sequel business — save for the
“Toy Story” films, which proved that with the right cast and crew,
animated follow-ups could be much more than a cash cow. But with
the release of “Cars 2,” and announced sequels to “Monsters, Inc.”
and “The Incredibles” (with a fourth “Toy Story” entry rumored), it
is clear that the studio is now embracing the idea with gusto. This
decision has caused a fair amount of controversy, as Pixar has
always been rightly viewed as a haven for creativity and
originality — words that aren’t exactly synonymous with
Here is a film that is fashioned from the Spielberg model, from
the themes of childhood innocence right down to the director’s
trademark photography techniques. Director J.J. Abrams (the
television power player who has attempted to make the leap to the
big screen, with limited success, with “Mission: Impossible III”
and “Star Trek”) has aped Steven Spielberg so well that, sans
credits, one could conceivably mistake “Super 8” as being directed
by the master himself — that is, if you’re only looking at the
Posted: Friday, August 5, 2011 7:52 am
Updated: 11:18 am, Fri Aug 5, 2011.
See, I told you things were looking up for the summer movie
season. This weekend sees the debut of “Rise of the Planet of the
Apes,” which is garnering some very favorable early reviews (I’ll
have a look next week), and I hear that “Captain America: First
Avenger” is an increasingly rare example of a superhero flick done
right. (I was supposed to do a dual review this week to include it,
but life intervened. Assume that you have my blessing to see
It even seems like the bad movies haven’t been nearly as
atrocious as they were toward the beginning of the season, as
evidenced by “Cowboys & Aliens,” the subject of this week’s
review. It’s been dragged through the mud by the critics, who are
intent on painting it as an epic failure primarily due to some
perceived gaps in logic. But it seems to me that the film operates
with its own kind of internal logic, with no more genuine plot
holes than your average would-be summer blockbuster (i.e. the
allegedly intelligent and resourceful heroes ignore prime
opportunities to immobilize the bad guys; characters avoid injury
or death despite being exposed to electrified water, etc. — nothing
too maddening or out of the ordinary). But I guess haters gonna
Friday, August 5, 2011 7:52 am.
Updated: 11:18 am.