Are all movies required to be positive and ‘uplifting’?
“Blue Valentine,” the not-so feel-good film, is available on
- New films
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
Director: Michael Bay.
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
The plot: Against the backdrop of the space race between the
U.S.S.R. and the USA, the alliance between Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf)
and Optimus Prime is put to the test against a common enemy:
Genre: Adventure, Action.
Director: Tom Hanks.
Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts.
The plot: Unclear of his next steps after losing his job at a
big-box retailer, Larry Crowne (Hanks) enrolls at his local
college, where he finds a niche among the school's community of
outcasts, and a connection with a teacher (Roberts) who has lost
her passion for life.
Genre: Comedy, drama.
- Film roundup
★★ 1/2 (out of four)
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
‘X-Men: First Class’
★★★ 1/2 (out of four)
Matthew Vaughn is no Christopher Nolan, and “X-Men: First Class”
is no “Dark Knight.” Vaughn does not completely reinvent the genre
here, nor does he dabble in philosophy and subversive themes, as
Nolan does. Vaughn plays things relatively straight (a little
homosexual subtext notwithstanding), but he assembles his
old-fashioned picture with deft precision and confidence. Nolan
wrote the book on how to completely retool a franchise from the
ground up, but Vaughn deserves his own accolades for providing a
template for how to resurrect a good-as-dead film series while
still remaining true to the predecessors’ tone and overall
‘The Hangover Part II’
★★★ (out of four)
I went into “The Hangover Part II” with the understanding that I
would be witnessing a cynical act of studio-sanctioned pandering,
and that’s exactly what I got. Yet, since I was going in with
lowered expectations, I was able to let my guard down and
appreciate this crass cash-grab on its own limited terms. And, lo
and behold, I had a good time. I suppose the importance of
creativity is diminished when one is faced with the prospect of a
drug-dealing capuchin monkey riding a motorcycle. Or a heterosexual
man being seduced by a Thai lady-boy, or any number of the other
lewd gags the film lays out with record speed.
‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger
★★★ (out of four)
You see, against all odds and despite what you may have heard
from basically everybody you’ve ever met, “Pirates of the
Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” is not a bad film. It is not
aggressively stupid, as some have charged, nor is it woefully
boring. Its horridness will not inspire you to burn effigies, and
it is not among the worst films you will see this year. In fact, in
many respects, it is indistinguishable from the rest of the movies
in the series.
But that’s the problem. Uninspired, inert and listless on every
conceivable level, “On Stranger Tides” is perfectly content to
simply exist alongside its predecessors without setting itself
apart in any meaningful way. The result is a summer spectacle
without the spectacle. With nothing even remotely new or
interesting to offer audiences, the film just sits there, waiting
for you to be impressed simply by virtue of the fact that you are
watching a “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie
Posted: Friday, June 24, 2011 8:38 am
No review of “The Green Lantern” this week. I read from a
trusted source that the movie is equivalent to a self-serious
episode of “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” in which Meatwad’s ability to
transform himself into a hot dog or an igloo enables him to save
the galaxy. That description —combined with the fact that the movie
has been universally panned — made my decision to focus on more
relevant issues this week pretty easy. Check back next time for a
look at “Cars 2” — reportedly the first sub-par Pixar film, but at
least it’s gotta be better than “The Green Lantern.”
This week, there are a few things I’d like to clear up before we
launch into some recent DVD picks. You will remember that last week
we ran out of time to delve into a key question that some
News-Sentinel readers attempted to tackle in last week’s Letters to
the Editor talkback, with limited success. The question at hand is:
What is a film’s obligation to society? Is it required that every
film released purports a positive view of society, and “lifts us
up” to make us feel better about ourselves, or is it OK for a movie
to be more cynical? Is it acceptable for a movie to be
Friday, June 24, 2011 8:38 am.