Thumbnails April 2010
by Tony Medley
Alice in Wonderland (9/10): Very little of
Lewis Carroll’s wonderful philosophy and truisms, simply and plainly put
(like “Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then
stop,” which is my favorite) find their way into director Tim Burton’s
tale based on Lewis Carroll’s characters. Although Burton washed out the
color of Alice’s wonderland, magical performances, especially by Johnny
Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Stephen Fry as the voice of the Cheshire
Cat, make this highly entertaining, but not for children.
Imax Hubble 3D (8/10): Although most of the
film is about repairing the telescope, there are some eye-popping shots
of the Universe, including the Virgo Cluster, which is home to over
2,000 galaxies (our galaxy alone is 90,000 light years in diameter).One
of the final images of this remarkable film is a picture of the universe
in 3D. I can’t even begin to describe it.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (7/10):
Noomi Rapace gives a stirring performance as the weird, disadvantaged
woman helping Michael Nyqvest investigate a decades-old murder in a
dysfunctional family. Rapace plays one of the more unique protagonists
one will ever see, tattooed and thoroughly pierced with rings through
her nose and ears and other places. There are some scenes of sexual
depravity and torture. But the scenes, which are essential to the story,
aren’t that graphic and leave lots to the imagination.
The Art of the Steal (5/10): A hatchet job
from the get-go, this is about an autocratic, petty, arrogant
multimillionaire, Dr. Albert C. Barnes, who amassed the greatest array
of Post-Impressionist paintings in the world, including
181 by Renoir, 69 by Cézanne, 59 by Matisse
and 46 by Picasso, and established a testamentary trust that
basically hid them away in Merion, PA., a suburb of Philadelphia,
limiting their viewing to a chosen few. The heavily edited “60 Minutes”
style interviews raise the possibility that they have been taken out of
context to enforce the bias of the film, which has it backwards,
castigating those who tried to free the art so it could be viewed by the
masses, and defending Barnes and his selfish trustees.
Green Zone (5/10): Another film that loses
its way with a cockeyed premise, Brian Helgeland’s script is based on
Rajiv Chandresekaran’s nonfiction book about the ineptitude of the U.S.
action in Iraq. Unfortunately, Helgeland, Matt Damon, and director Paul
Greengrass convert ineptitude into The Bush Administration intentionally
misleading people in believing that there were WMD in Iraq, an idea for
which there is zero evidence. Most fair observers can agree that the
Administration was inept, if not totally ignorant and lacking in
foresight. But to make a major movie that is based on malfeasance
instead of misfeasance equals a golden opportunity lost. If you can
ignore the political bias, it’s an entertaining film. But that’s tough
The Bounty Hunter (4/10): Exacerbating the
lack of chemistry between Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler, this
romcom thriller is neither romantic nor funny nor thrilling.
Repo Men (0/10): This is a repellent,
nauseating, sorry excuse for a movie, full of scenes that show graphic
operations, knives slicing into the skin, hands reaching into holes in
the skin to pull out living organs, blood dripping, nay, gushing, all
over the place. What is Best Actor Oscar®-winning Forest Whitaker doing
in a tawdry film like this? It shows either lack of judgment or lack of
respect for the award he received.
The Runaways (0/10): The talented Kristen
Stewart should have run away from this and so should I.