King Arthur is profoundly stupid and inept.. then there's Clive Owen, rising above it all. Aloof yet watchful, the actor cultivates an inner stillness that is perfect for faintly ironic brooders. He neither distances himself from this risible material nor pulls out the stops and opens himself to ridicule. His King Arthur tells us little about Arthur, but much about protecting one's flank. The mark of a box-office king?
If I had to catalog all the moronic plot turns in The Day After Tomorrow, we'd be here until the next ice age. It's just so very bad. You can have a pretty good time snickering at it-unless, like me, you think there's something to this global warming thing, and you shudder at the irony of a movie meant to warn people about a dangerous environmental trend that completely discredits it. Is it possible that the film is a plot to make environmental activists look as wacko as anti-environmentalists always claim they are?
The rise of video on demand will make it possible for small movies to earn back costs via $9.95 24-hour rentals and for people in cities without independent cinemas to see the kind of movies they never have before. That's great - but on the other hand, that's TV.
Richard Curtis, the writer and director of Love Actually, is brilliant at many things, but his genius, I submit, is for thrusting characters into situations in which they feel driven to humiliate themselves. Which is why we love them, especially when it's all in the name of love. He is the Bard of Embarrassment.
There will be a competition among critics for the best Paris Hilton insult. Here's my first: Her attention span is so short that she can't even maintain her concentration while running away from a psycho... Maybe the ultimate insult is that she makes her co-star Elisha Cuthbert seem, by comparison, the sexiest and most interesting actress in modern cinema.
What can you say about a man who leaps from a helicopter over Manhattan without a parachute in the hope that by increasing his heart rate he'll transform into an iridescent lime-green behemoth so he can take on an even bigger behemoth? That he knows he's living in a computer-generated universe in which gravity is a feeble suggestion and nothing is remotely at stake, and that when he hits the ground he'll be replaced by a special effect. The Incredible Hulk is weightless-as disposable as an Xbox game.
You won't be reading reviews of the dystopian sci-fi flick Aeon Flux in the papers today because it wasn't screened for the press-and, given that it cost the GDP of a small country and that Charlize Theron and the director, Karyn Kusama, are critics' darlings, this could mean but one thing: A stinker. A weapon of mass destruction. A planet-killer. Folks, I'll never understand studios. Aeon Flux is not that terrible.
It's hard for comic actors used to pulling faces just to be on screen, but Tina Fey does a good job. I liked watching her. The part, though, isn't filled in. When Baker announces that she's gotten too used to the madness of Afghanistan, that she's worried she's thinking of it as normal, the sentiment comes out of nowhere. The dramatic arc in "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" is nonexistent. The movie evaporates in the mind like water in the Afghan desert.
Well, the movie isn't bad. For a while, I even told myself I liked it, even as it missed one mark after another. But in the end, it's shapeless and blandly apolitical, apart from its watered-down feminism. You see, Fey's Kim Baker - changed from Barker - transforms herself from a neophyte reporter, condescended to by male war correspondents, soldiers and Afghan officials, into a hard-charging political animal who speaks the language fluently and parties as hard as men. That's about as edgy as a sitcom.
You can feel righteous fury in every frame of The Magdalene Sisters. The movie is both a masterpiece and a holy hell: Watching it, you feel you're being punished for a crime you didn't commit. Which puts you, come to think of it, in the same frame of mind as those poor Magdalene girls.
As a critic, I try to stay neutral about movies before I see them, but I really wanted "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" to be great. It's based on a barbed memoir by Kim Barker called "The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days In Afghanistan And Pakistan." And its stars Tina Fey, out of her comfort zone, just as Barker was a fish out of water when, in 2004, she began covering the Afghanistan occupation for the Chicago Tribune.
My reaction to 'Sin City' is easily stated. I loved it. Or, to put it another way, I loved it, I loved it, I loved it. I loved every gorgeous sick disgusting ravishing overbaked blood-spurting artificial frame of it. A tad hypocritical? Yes. But sometimes you think, Well, I'll just go to hell.
Argo might well be studied as a bait-and-switch masterwork: In showing the capture of the American Embassy in Tehran, Ben Affleck first made a fetish of authenticity, then served up a shamelessly Hollywood (and wholly fictional) climax, then capped the whole thing off with a coda that was essentially a tribute to his movie's authenticity, complete with side-by-side photos of the actors and their near-identical real-life counterparts. Well done, sir!