Steve Buscemi stars as a local politician and crime boss in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.”
- New films
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part
Director: Tony Scott.
Star: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine.
The plot: A rail company frantically works to prevent an
unmanned, half-mile-long freight train carrying combustible liquids
and poisonous gas from wiping out a city.
Genre: Animation, drama.
“The Next Three Days”
Director: Roger Michell.
Stars: Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford.
The plot: A hotshot television producer is set the challenge of
reviving a struggling morning show program, despite the constant
feuding of its high-profile anchors.
- Film roundup
* 1/2 (out of four)
The unifying story thread involves a former psychic (played by
Matt Damon, who has given us better work) who ditched the
high-pressure lifestyle for a simple existence as a factory worker.
He sometimes performs readings, but they rarely go well and his
“gift” always poses some kind of problem for his personal life.
Eventually, he decides to travel and “find himself.”
So ... What the hell is all this? Of course the stories
eventually intertwine on a literal level, but only superficially,
and without much thematic relevance. By the end, some things have
been resolved and some characters have forged immediate (and
therefore meaningless) connections to each other, but to what
“PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2”
Studio execs have seen fit to expand the mythology established
in the first film to fill a needless sequel — or, in this case, a
prequel. To be fair, “Paranormal Activity 2” is no “Blair Witch 2”
— it’s not objectively terrible or torturous, the acting is
serviceable, and the direction is even, at times, inspired. But
it’s all just so repetitive, isn’t it? Cue security camera footage
showing the pool. Cut to the living room. A curtain moves when it
shouldn’t be moving. Cut to the little boy’s room. Cue loud banging
noise and barking dog. Repeat for 90 minutes.
When I say that “Red” represents a cast in search of a movie,
you may take it as a harsh criticism. And, certainly, it is an
issue when the power of your cast absolutely dwarfs anything your
film could possibly have to offer in terms of plot or dialogue or
visual appeal. However, in the rare case of a movie like “Red,”
such shortcomings take on less significance. See, “Red” is almost
exclusively concerned with how its characters — and, by extension,
the stars themselves — interact with one another. More pointedly,
it’s all about the feel-good vibe of cooperation and camaraderie
that steadily builds between this cast of characters, even if most
of them do happen to be retired assassins.
Were it not for the involvement of David Fincher, I would have
had little interest in “The Social Network,” the new film about the
founding of Facebook. ’Cause here’s the thing: I hate Facebook. I
hate the manner in which it was conceived, I hate its effect on the
online community, the banality of its users’ content and its
needlessly confusing interface. Most of all, I hate everyone always
asking me if I’m on Facebook, and when I tell them that I have no
intention of ever starting a page, seeing them look at me as if I
just asked where the Internets are. Facebook is a bunch of crap,
and resistance to its influence can only make you a better,
Posted: Friday, November 12, 2010 1:33 pm
It seems that I am prone to minor setbacks. These past few days,
for example, I’ve been knocked flat on my butt by a flu that’s been
going around, rendering me unfit to go out in public — much less
sit in a movie theater for two hours, half-blind from NyQuil abuse,
as all manner of improbably colored fluids are expelled from my
every orifice. (Although I’ve been seeing most of my movies in
Stockton these days, and such a spectacle is kinda par for the
course down there.)
At any rate, silver lining time: For starters, we’ll still get
to tackle “Due Date” (the film originally slated for discussion
this week) next time, which means I’ll get to dodge both
“Unstoppable” and “Skyline” before things pick up with “Harry
Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” and Dwayne Johnson’s hard-R
actioner “Faster” in the following weeks. Not an ideal plan,
perhaps, but desperate times, desperate measures and all that.
Arts and Entertainment
Friday, November 12, 2010 1:33 pm.