Thumbnails Oct 10
by Tony Medley
The Town (9/10): This high-tension caper flick not only has terrific
performances by writer-director-star Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, and
Jeremy Renner, it has some of the best car chases since Bullitt
(1968) and The French Connection (1971), along with wonderful
location shots of Boston, ending at iconic Fenway Park. Affleck’s bank
robbery scenes capture how violently scary they can be.
You Will Meet a Tall Dark
Stranger (9/10): One wouldn’t anticipate an involving tale about how
lack of marital commitment can mess up lives to come from
writer-director Woody Allen whose own life is hardly the tablet upon
which morality can be written, but that’s what we have here with fine
performances from the A-list cast that Allen always lures; this time
Naomi Watts, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Brolin, and Gemma Jones.
Sequestro (8/10): A
stark tale of kidnapping, which is endemic in Brazil, told by a film
crew that followed the police for four years with hand held cameras.
This frank, tense film that listens in on conversations between
kidnappers and the victims’ families, involves the viewer into the
terror of a kidnapping while it happens. Among the film’s final words
are from a kidnappee talking to his father on the telephone moments
after his discovery and release crying into the phone with unabashed
joy, “I love you. Dad, they found me!” In Portuguese.
The American (7/10):
Marin Ruhe’s cinematography of both the quaint neo-medieval village
location and Violante Placido’s voluptuous body makes this worthwhile
despite lots and lots of scenes of George Clooney thinking, walking,
building a gun, and brooding.
Nowhere Boy (7/10): The
unusual relationship between John Lennon and his mother and aunt is
examined by this film that is marred by the ill-advised casting of
Thomas Sangster as Paul McCartney. Sangster looks like a 12-year-old
compared with Aaron Johnson as Lennon, even though in real life they are
the same age, but this is a movie and appearance is everything. Even so,
it’s a fascinating look at Lennon’s familial problems that shaped his
life, and his relationship with McCartney and George Harrison before
they became The Beatles and famous. Opens October 8.
Machete (7/10): Despite
the fact that Danny Trujo as Machete is wielding knives throughout,
director Robert Rodriguez is not of the Quentin Tarantino school that
requires that every gross detail of onscreen mayhem be shown. An
unlikely comedy that is politically biased and abnormally violent, it’s
embellished by numerous scenes of a body double posing as a stark naked
The tale told in this farce is convoluted enough that the couple who sat
next to me confessed that they failed to understand some of the plot
points, either, and one of them was French, so could understand the
dialogue. As to that, the subtitles were inferior, often blending in
with the background, which made understanding even more difficult. A
farce depends mightily on the music to frame the action and this score
(Klaus Badelt) isn’t up to the task, lessening the impact further. While
it’s relatively entertaining, I’ve seen better. In French.
Easy A (3/10): Emma
Stone continues her scintillating march toward stardom in this high
school farce based on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.
Director Will Gluck, painting with a wide swath, substitutes all
Christians for Hawthorne’s Puritans as hypocritical zealots, and takes
direct shots at traditional morality, as Stone makes clear in her
closing soliloquy. While the format and music are entertaining fun,
premise and moral are opaque. There’s a bit of truth in here somewhere,
but whatever it is, it is obscured by Gluck’s bias.