Cool car chases don’t make up for pedestrian narrative
Jordana Brewster and Paul Walker star in “Fast Five.”
- “Fast Five”
★★ 1/2 (out of four)
2011, Dir. Justin Lin, U.S., PG-13
- New films
Director: Paul Feig.
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph.
The plot: Picked as her best friend's maid of honor, lovelorn
and broke Annie looks to bluff her way through the expensive and
bizarre rituals with an oddball group of bridesmaids.
Director: Scott Charles Stewart.
Starring: Paul Bettany, Cam Gigandet.
The plot: A priest disobeys church law to track down the
vampires who kidnapped his niece.
Genre: Action, horror.
- Film roundup
★★★ (out of four)
From the opening scene, it’s obvious that this sequel is even
more obsessed with breaking the fourth wall than any of its
predecessors. In the first scene, we see the usual pair of pretty
young girls being tormented over the phone by Ghost Face before the
knife-wielding maniac slaughters them. This is quickly revealed to
be the opening sequence of “Stab 6,” a fictional movie franchise
based on the “real-life” events of the first three “Scream” films.
It is being watched by two other pretty young women (Anna Paquin
and Kristen Bell, echoing Drew Barrymore’s cameo in the first
outing) who talk at length about the state of modern horror cinema
before, once again, things turn bloody.
“Your Highness” tells the Medieval tale of Thadeous (“Eastbound
and Down” star Danny McBride, who also co-wrote the film’s
screenplay), a doughy and unkempt failure of a prince who lives in
the shadow of his heroic brother, Fabious (James Franco, in all his
smoked-out, squinty-eyed glory). When Fabious’ bride-to-be (Zooey
Deschanel) is abducted by the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux),
Thadeous is forced to join Fabious in his quest to rescue her. They
are helped along by Isabel (Natalie Portman), a woman-warrior and
fellow traveler on her own revenge quest. Of course, all this is
largely irrelevant, and serves primarily as a crudely fashioned
launching pad for the biggest barrage of obvious toilet you’ve ever
“Sucker Punch” is not just a “bad movie.” We see bad movies
every week, and we forget about them and move on. “Sucker Punch,”
on the other hand, will live on in infamy long after you and I are
dead. Beyond just wasting your time and boring you out of your
skull, this is a film of such mind-bending awfulness that it could
conceivably change how you approach the very art of filmmaking. It
is bad on a very fundamental, very rare and almost theoretical
level. I cannot recall the last time a film actually made me feel
as though I had just been violated.
Imagine if Quentin Tarantino decided to make a Western-themed,
animal-populated, animated reimagining of Akira Kurosawa’s
“Yojimbo” by way of Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown,” and you’ve got a
pretty good idea of what “Rango” is all about. Like a
kiddie-friendly version of “Pulp Fiction,” the movie approaches its
story from a deep-meta, borderline-postmodern perspective, and
successfully filters an entire genre through the lens of pop
consumerism. This is the Western reinvented as interactive
entertainment, tailored to an audience that has been inundated
since birth by the romantic myths of pop culture.
Posted: Friday, May 6, 2011 8:31 am
I was even less excited than usual about hitting the multiplex
this week, because really, who needs to pay for fake action and
thrills when you can turn on CNN and watch accounts of awesome
real-life badassery for free? The righteous and appropriately
brutal killing of Osama bin Laden has kept me glued to the tube
these past few days, and frankly, in light of such events, I fail
to see how something as pedestrian as “Fast Five” is continuing to
rake in obscene amounts of cash at the box office. Priorities,
Thankfully next week brings the well-reviewed “Thor,” which will
usher in the early stages of the summer movie season. We’ve got
some promising titles coming up, many of which I’m confident will
provide more bang for your buck than the often dull “Fast Five” and
the rest of the disappointing movies that have blighted release
schedules these past many months.
Friday, May 6, 2011 8:31 am.