Thumbnails Mar 13
Identity Thief (9/10):
Women are irrational; that's all there is to that.
Their heads are full of cotton, hay, and rags.
Prof. Henry Higgins.
Grant was Hollywood's master at comedically displaying the frustration a
reasonable man has in dealing with an irrational woman. He did it with
Irene Dunne, Katharine Hepburn, and other leading ladies of the 30s and
40s. If Grant has a successor in the 21st century, it is Jason Bateman,
who finds himself irretrievably involved with Melissa McCarthy. Even if
a movie isn't wonderfully terrific throughout, if it contains a line
that can make me laugh uncontrollably I will probably give it a good
rating. This movie, however, has both. It is wonderfully terrific
throughout, and it does contain at least one line (delivered by Genesis
Rodriguez) that had me laughing uncontrollably and still has me laughing
when I think about it now. McCarthy and Bateman give bravura
performances, aided by terrific supporting performances, a talented
director, and a good script.
Side Effects (8/10):
This is a neat little
thriller that reminded me of 1993's Malice, a Nicole Kidman
vehicle that presently rests in 1,418th place on the all-time list of
domestic grosses. In other words, not a lot of people saw it. And that's
unfortunate because, written by Aaron Sorkin, it started out as one
thing and completely turned 180° in the middle and became something
else, thoroughly entertaining, and so is this. Just about every year one
or two films come out with a ballyhoo that they are noir, when they
don't have any of the characteristics of real film noir which came into
being in the 40s after World War II. This, on the other hand, is a true
noir. To write much more would jeopardize being able to watch a story
unfold without a clue of what is really going on, which is the best way
to watch a movie.
Bullet to the Head (7/10):
You want violence? I'll
give you some violence. I'll give you Bullet to the Head. That
will give you enough violence to last a year. It is filled with
cold-blooded murders, knifings, and brutal fights. There is so much
violence that I frankly never saw any plot. Even so, director, Walter
Hill directs this with admirable pace and humor. Hill is no stranger to
a witty, cop-criminal film, having directed the classic 48 Hrs.
(1982) starring Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte three decades ago.
Although Tommy Lee Jones
gives a good performance as General Douglas MacArthur, it's little more
than a cameo as the film is about Brig. Gen. Bonner Fellers' (Matthew
Fox), quest to fulfill MacArthur's order to determine whether or not
Emperor Hirohito should be executed. Adding a fictional love story adds
to the quality of this telling of a little-known, but important
historical episode, enhanced by wonderful recreation of the ambience of
war-torn, post WWII Japan. Opens March 8.
The performance by Saskia Rosendahl is very good, but the story is so
unremittingly depressing that it's not the kind of film one would choose
for an evening's entertainment. Cate Shortland is a talented director,
and this film is well done, but I hope that her next choice is more
palatable. Movies are an entertainment. While this presents a stark
picture of what life was really like in Germany after the end of
fighting, it is not pleasant to watch. In German.
Stand Up Guys (1/10):
The only time the movie
picks up is when Alan Arkin appears near the end of the film. He
breathes a little life into the stale script, but it's too little too
late. To say this is "not for children" doesn't do it justice. It's not