Thumbnails June 2011
by Tony Medley
Paris (10/10): With
gorgeous Parisian cinematography, Oscar®-winner Marion Cotillard
sparkles, Michael Sheen is a captivating pedant, and Owen Wilson, whose
talents have heretofore been wasted in inferior films, finally gets to
prove his chops in a terrific time warper that is writer/director Woody
Allen’s most enjoyable film. It includes an hilarious take on Ernest
Hemingway speaking exactly as he wrote, along with scintillating
appearances by Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso,
and all the others that made Paris in the ‘20s a moveable feast.
Lesson For Today (8/10):
Although the Army Signal Corps only filmed 25 hours of the 10 ½ month
1946 trial of Nazi monsters Herman Goering, Joachin von Ribbentrop and
their compatriots, Stuart Schulberg put together this film showing the
trial that tells the story of the Nazi years. The film was never allowed
to be shown to American audiences due to Democrat politics in the Truman
Administration, and was left to rot, even though it was shown throughout
Germany. As a result a Soviet film shown throughout the world told the
story. Stuart’s daughter, Sandra, reconstructed her father’s work using
original sound taken at the trial. Now it’s available and it’s a damning
telling of the Nazi misery told in the Nazi’s own words. June 3-9 at
Fast Five (8/10): The
opening is so mind-boggling it drew gasps and applause from my screening
of film critics, most of whom have seen just about everything there is
to see in movies. While the crashes and
special effects are wondrous, unfortunately the final chase is too long,
although it is interesting to watch for awhile. But the lengthy
dénouement does not substantially detract from a highly enjoyable film
highlighted by spectacular
cinematography of the favelas and pristine beaches of Rio de Janeiro.
Something Borrowed (chicks
8/10; guys 5/10): The problems with all these chick flicks are
twofold. First, they are written by chicks who apparently don’t have a
clue about how normal men act, think, or speak. Their men, you should
pardon the expression, are either girly men like Colin Egglesfield, or
sexless like John Krasinsky who gives a good performance nonetheless in
the Tony Randall role, or unbearably gross and crude like Steve Howey.
The second problem is the dialogue between and among the women, which is
enough to send any normal man running out of the theater.
The Hangover, Part II
(4/10): While in the scintillating original writer/director/producer
Todd Phillips walked a fine line to keep from crossing over into
vulgarity and smut, this derivative sequel explodes over that line and
the result is unfunny, profane with abundant f-bombs and worse, and
often just disgusting.
Pirates of the Caribbean:
On Stranger Tides (4/10): While director Rob Marshall’s take is the
most entertaining of the series, that’s damning with faint praise.
Despite good performances by Geoffrey Rush, Penèlope Cruz, and Ian
McShane, Johnny Depp’s alcoholic, asexual, speech-slurring sea captain,
flat 3D that darkens the picture considerably, and nonsensical stories
are surely passé by now.
(1/10): If the movie is
full of vomit, diarrhea, and profligate use of f-bombs, especially by
women, you can be pretty sure it’s the work of producer Judd Apatow, who
continues his assault on gentility and good taste with this disgraceful
roll in the gutter that degrades women and substitutes raunch for humor.
The sad part is that there is a good, sweet movie lurking here behind
all the vulgarity.