Thumbnails Aug 11
by Tony Medley
Horrible Bosses (8/10): Laugh-out-loud
funny, this is brilliantly directed by Seth Gordon, whose previous
directorial effort was 2008's entertaining "Four Christmases". Jason
Bateman, Charley Day, and Jason Sudeikis have the horrible bosses, Kevin
Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, and Colin Farrell, respectively. Why they are
horrible and hateful is part of the fun. Suffice it to say that Spacey,
Aniston and Farrell do wonderful jobs of creating characters that the
audience can accept seeing permanently removed from the planet. But
Bateman, Day, and Sudeikis aren't the sharpest tacks in the box and give
scintillating performances as they bumble their way to try to get rid of
their bosses. They all have their moments that cause audible laughter.
While there is a lot of vulgar language in the film that might be
jarring to some, it's relatively inoffensive.
Captain America: The First Avenger (8/10):
Starting like The Thing (1951) with people investigating the
discovery of a mysterious crashed aircraft in an icy wilderness, this
quickly segues into a flashback to Nazi German circa World War II with a
supervillain, Hugo Weaving, combating Captain America, Chris Evans.
While it's all very comic-booky, director Joe Johnston has turned it
into a pro-American, entertaining action movie. Evans, Haley Atwell, his
love interest, and Stanley Tucci give wonderful performances, but the
film pulsates when Weaving is onscreen. Unlike most of the comic book
nonsense that makes it to the screen, and despite the trailers that make
it look silly, this is a treat. Forget the phony, flat 3D added in post
production which substantially mutes the color, however, and see it in
2D with bright color.
The Devil's Double (8/10): Dominic Cooper
dominates this compelling biopic in a double role as lunatic Uday
Hussein, Saddam's son, and his sensitive, enslaved doppelganger, Latif
Yahia, based on Latif's autobiography. The film has some excruciating
scenes of torture and sadistic treatment of women, all the more
disturbing because the truth was much worse than what's shown. Lovely
Ludivine Sagnier deftly plays Uday's inscrutable psychologically
tortured mistress and Latif's forbidden lover.
The Guard (7/10): Brendan Gleeson's bravura
performance highlights writer/director John Michael McDonagh's
talkative, comedic look at police corruption, murder, and drug
trafficking in County Galway, Ireland. David Wilmot contributes a
sparkling performance as a sociopathic killer.
Tabloid (5/10): Director Errol Morris has
Joyce McKinney, Miss Wyoming in the '50s with an IQ of 168, tell in her
own words her tawdry tale of how she was pilloried by the British
tabloids for kidnapping and raping her lover. This is a strange story
about an odd woman told in sometimes black and white and sometimes color
by talking heads and archival photos of newspapers.
Zookeeper (3/10): It's hard to believe that
a film with talking animals is not OK for children, but this one isn't.
The clueless filmmakers have inserted rudeness and bawdy humor and
language into a film that should have had a captive audience in young
children. The sad part of this dismal production is that the movie has a
pretty good moral, to accept yourself for what you are and to be
yourself, regardless of what other people think. Unfortunately, in
addition to having too much adult-oriented dialogue and situations for
children, it's too vacuous for adults.
Friends With Benefits (2/10): This trifle is
a pseudo-romantic comedy about two people, Justin Timberlake and Mila
Kunis, who take "lack of chemistry" to another level. One will rarely
see more boring bedroom scenes, most of which seem to concentrate on
each giving the other oral sex under the sheets. The supporting cast
isn't much help except for Richard Jenkins who gives his usual sterling
performance and the beautiful and talented Emma Stone whose brief
appearance barely qualifies as a cameo.