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Monday, June 25, 2012

Rock of Ages

Malin Akerman

Tom Cruise’s latest impossible mission? Taking the hair band musical Rock of Ages from Broadway to the big screen. Does he rock it like a hurricane? Not really. Does he embarrass himself? Not really. Does it matter? Not really.

Taking the musical onscreen adds a reality that this karaoke fluffer can’t handle. There are a few fun moments, but this is crap for any ages.

Simply put: Tom Cruise hits the right notes. It hardly matters.

Award potential: None.

The ten buck review: Not worth ten bucks.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Intouchables

Omar Sy

A wheelchair bound millionaire finds his life enriched by a wise black man from the ghettos. Sounds like a horribly condescending Morgan Freeman drama or a Steve Carrell/Chris Rock buddy comedy, right?

Well, it’s neither. The Intouchables is a French film and a feel-good dramatic comedy about an improbable friendship. Credit the effortless, fun and hearty script that stays on the edge of melodrama and just shy of being trite.

And credit the chemistry of its two leads. Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy are excellent in this film. Omar’s grin is the most hypnotic smile since Julia Roberts’s smile first graced the screen. Yeh, somehow, this film just works and you realize why it’s become such a sensation in its native country.

Simply put: An enchanting crowd-pleaser. You’re likely to smile at least half the size of Omar Sy’s grin.

Award potential: France will likely enter this for Best Foreign Film. However, it’s too breezy to be taken seriously for that award.

The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks.

Snow White and the Huntsman

Charlize Theron

In the epic action-adventure Snow White and the Huntsman, Kristen Stewart plays the iconic Snow White — the only person fairer than the evil queen (Charlize Theron), who is out to destroy her. Chris Hemsworth is the huntsman that aspires to save her.

Too bad he can’t save this bloated film. I’d like to trim it by about 30 (long) minutes.

The film looks ravishing, but there's no heart in this grim re-imagining of the famous story. Ironically, a lot of the heartlessness rests with Snow White. Master of the single-expression, Kristen Stewart, was terribly miscast as an actress. I mean, terribly miscast as an actress who can play a woman whose heart is so pure that it will bring life to the doomed land.

Charlize has a delightful time in this role, and her scenes are unforgettable. It’s a shame the rest of the film is such a bad, rotten apple.

Simply put:  Definitely not the fairest version of them all. But Charlize Theron, as the evil Queen, is.

Award potential:  Should be on the long list for Best Costume Design.

The ten buck review: Not worth ten bucks.

Monday, June 11, 2012



The hype over Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, otherwise known as The Alien prequel, has been hovering over plant earth for months. This week, the sci-fi movie landed in theaters and it turns out that we didn’t get a masterpiece, we got a visual stunning mess-terpiece.

The film looks absolutely amazing on the big screen, and it’s particularly sharp in 3D.

Prometheus starts out beautifully with a fine cast, thoughtful dialogue on the birth of man and a suspenseful journey through a cavern in space. For a few minutes, I thought I was watching the thriller movie of the year — but somewhere after the first act everything gets predictable and even silly, as if someone involved with the script and characters had completely lost their head.

Prometheus comes out of the gate asking grand, curious questions, and then saves the answers for a sequel.

Simply put:  Out of this world graphics and a story that doesn’t follow through.

Award potential:  Some potential for effects.

The ten buck review: Not worth ten bucks.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Men In Black 3

Josh Brolin

Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) are back in time for summer movie blockbuster season.  And they’re back in time — specifically, 1969. 

A series of forgettable events takes J back to the 1960’s to pair up with a younger K (played by Josh Brolin). Brolin impersonating the mannerisms and vocal tics of Tommy Lee Jones is worth the price of admission alone. Yeh, sport, this could have turned into a SNL skit, but Brolin transcends simple imitations and refreshes one of the series’ best bits — the buddy routine.

Oddly, since it’s more modern, what feels tired is the series’ other bit – the creepy aliens among us. The funny yucks and the yucky 3-D gross outs are quite a bore. You can’t help but think that this feels like the last gasp of story that the series has to offer. MIB3 adds agent O, played fabulously by Emma Thompson. J, O, K….I’m pretty sure if there’s a fourth installment, we’ll know who the joke is on.

Simply put:  Fair to say that you’ll forget most of this stuff faster than you can be neutralized, but Brolin’s out of this world performance makes it fun enough for a summer escape.

Award potential:  Although Brolin is doing more impressions than Meryl these days, it’s very unlikely.

The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks, barely.