Every Single Article Written by Russell - All 140
A collection of the world’s most demented criminals have staged a riot in an orbiting space prison and kidnapped the President’s daughter. Only one man, framed for a crime he didn’t commit, can save her. His name is Snow. You could be forgiven for thinking that this plot synopsis was pulled from the title screen of an 80’s arcade game; but no, this is the plot of Lockout, a movie released just this year. If this had been a video game instead, the plot synopsis would have ended with the bold challenge: “Are you a bad enough dude to save the President’s daughter?”
Finally, a movie for the rest of us. A middle aged man suffering from a brain tumor gangs up with a psychopathic sixteen year old girl to rid America of reality TV stars, religious bigots, loudmouthed pundits, and annoying theater talkers in God Bless America. Comedian and cult filmmaker Bobcat Goldthwait pulls writing and directing duties and Joel Murray and Tara Lynne Bar star in this twisted little comedy.
The old lady kept the diamond all along, and she drops into the ocean at the end. Kate Winslet gets naked. A baby faced Leonardo DiCaprio freezes to death. Oh, and the giant ship sinks after hitting an iceberg, killing hundreds of people. Why am I writing this? Because if you’re reading this then it’s highly likely that you’ve already seen the movie. In fact, you’ve probably either already seen the 3D rerelease by now, you’re planning on seeing the 3D rerelease, or you’re a guy and you’re unknowingly about to be dragged by your significant other to see it again.
War Horse, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Jeremy Irvine, Peter Mullan, Emily Watson, and Tom Hiddleston, arrived on Blu-ray this week. This film will either pull you under Spielberg’s spell leaving you scrambling for the nearest box of Kleenex or it will leave you rolling your eyes. Regardless, War Horse is worth seeing at least once.
A man with no personality embarks on a quest to save a bunch of douchebags in Wrath of the Titans by Jonathan Liebesman, the sequel no one particularly asked for to the remake no one particularly wanted. With brilliant CGI, a fine cast of veteran actors, and an absolutely wretched screenplay, Wrath perfectly embodies all of contemporary Hollywood in one film. This film is neither good nor terrible, just aggressively mediocre. All spectacle and no heart.
David Cronenberg films come in two flavors: explicitly sexual and explicitly gory. Sometimes those distinct flavors mix and you get something explicitly sexual AND gory. Psychosis and sadomasochistic sex find their way into the itinerary in A Dangerous Method starring Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen, and Keira Knightley. Possibly Cronenberg’s most restrained film yet, this movie will probably only be of interest to admirers of Sigmund Freud or Carl Jung.
Four adults behave badly in a Brooklyn apartment in Carnage, directed by Roman Polanski and starring Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, and John C. Reilly. This movie seems intent on showing the audience that beneath a thin veneer of civility people are little more than apes throwing shit at one another. I don’t necessarily disagree with that message, but if Polanski & Co. are going to make any broad proclamations about human nature, they need to get the details right. And this movie leaves one gaping plot hole unaddressed, if these two couples hate each other so damn much, why doesn’t the visiting couple leave the fucking apartment?
Gary Oldman plays expert spy George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Tomas Alfredson’s slick but occasionally muddled adaptation of John le Carre’s classic spy thriller. Alfredson directs the film with the same inventiveness and eye for detail that he brought to the brilliant Let the Right One In, and the cast is stellar. However, the film suffers from being a two hour adaptation of a complex and detailed novel. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a good movie but not a great movie.
Melancholia tells the tale of two sisters who attend a wedding party and soon after receive front row seats for the end of the world. Kirsten Dunst gives a career high performance as a clinically depressed bride and Charlotte Gainsbourg plays her compassionate sister. Certifiable madman Lars von Trier takes up writing and directing duties.
A disintegrating family finds salvation in Alexander Payne’s The Descendants, a tender dramedy starring George Clooney and Shailene Woodley. I actually caught this movie back in November, but as I wasn’t with Flesh Eating Zipper back then and as this movie was just released on Blu Ray this week, now seems like a good time to revisit it. Also, my sister lectured me to try being a little less pessimistic in future reviews and the best way to do that, to my mind, is to review a movie that I’ve already seen and liked.