Thumbnails May 11
by Tony Medley
Bradley Cooper overcomes disappointing performances by Abbie Cornish and
Robert De Niro to carry this fun movie. Cooper takes a drug that makes
him a business genius, a metaphor for todayís steroid-created
super-athletes. The tension never lets up, enhanced by terrific special
effects, cinematography, editing, and music.
Source Code (9/10):
Starting with a Robert Wise-style opening with gorgeous aerial shots of
Chicago, this presents a refreshing new idea for time warp
movies. Jake Gyllenhaalís performance shines, aided by outstanding
cinematography and music. Although there are a few plot holes, itís not
possible to make a time warp movie without them, time travel being
impossible. But they were so few and so unimportant that they were easy
Presents: THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD: (8/10):
The new style of documentary tells its story by concentrating on the
person making the documentary. Here, Morgan Spurlock shows how he went
about financing this film about product placement in movies by getting
his entire film financed by product placement. Itís a laugh-out-loud
funny, but educational, look at the way a movie gets made.
Hanna (8/10): Hanna
(Saiorse Ronan) is a teenager raised in the Arctic by her father, Eric
Bana, to be the perfect assassin. Out to kill Cate Blanchett, sheís as
much in the dark as the audience. Ronan sparkles as the violent Hanna,
as does Bana as her equally deadly father. Adding to the mischief,
Blanchett, generally a good guy, is a satisfyingly hateful villain.
There isnít a minute when the pace lapses. This is a highly entertaining
film, but there is a lot of violence.
Exporting Raymond (8/10):
Phil Rosenthal stars in his production of a cinema-verite,
eponymous, funny documentary in the same mold as Spurlockís about how he
got his sitcom ďEverybody Loves RaymondĒ produced in Russia. Rosenthalís
superb sense of humor is amplified by his narrative talent.
Atlas Shrugged, Part I
(7/10): Although burdened by a lead actress, Taylor Schilling, with
the range of emotions of a blade of grass, this low budget, well-paced
rendition of Ayn Randís conservative, prescient metaphysical blockbuster
tells the story with surprisingly effective production values. The facts
are so appropriate to todayís crisis in government, itís hard to believe
it was written in 1957.
Your Highness (5/10):
Faintly reminiscent of 2009ís Year One, but not nearly as clever
or entertaining, there is only one truly funny line in the movie.
Unfortunately, it is so tasteless and uncharming that I canít repeat it
here. Itís not unexpected that this film is full of f-bombs, crude
language, and scurrilous jokes since itís directed by David Gordon
Green, who was responsible for 2008ís Pineapple Express which
would have been a silent film without all the f-bombs.
Arthur (1/10): There
are more laughs (three) in the two-minute trailer than there are in the
110 minute movie (none), and what was funny in the trailer is not funny
in the movie. That the material is weak and offensive should not be a
surprise since the script was written by Peter Baynham, who was
responsible for the mindlessly obscene Borat (2006) and BruŮo
(2009) both of which substituted vulgarity and shock value for
The Conspirator 1/10):
Director Robert Redford shamelessly stacks the deck by omitting all the
convincing evidence against Mary Surratt as a conspirator in the
assassination of Lincoln to buttress his biased point of view that sheís
innocent. But if guilty, as the totality of the missing evidence
indicates, she is the most notorious villainess in American history
since she could have prevented Lincolnís assassination. Surrattís story
deserves better than this maladroit film thatís rife with
life-threatening boredom. I barely made it out alive.