buy Flomax no prescription Synthroid without prescription buy buspar buy Singulair online buy Prednisone online Amitriptyline lasix without prescription buy buspar online buy super Levitra online Prednisone without prescription buy trazodone without prescription Zithromax No Prescription Propecia Amoxicillin

Flick Clique: September 11-17

Father Is a Bachelor (1950). A blandly sweet, forgettable William Holden comedy that came out on made-to-order DVD last spring. This was my very first review for DVD Talk and the complete piece can be read here. Please check it out and tell me what you think. Thanks!
The Hurt Locker (2009). You know the drill: Jeremy Renner as a bomb diffusing expert in Iraq, critically acclaimed but under the radar release, eventual winner of Best Picture and Best Director Oscars (hooray for Kathryn Bigelow). I somewhat enjoyed this, and somewhat found it lacking and more episodic than any film has a right to be. On the plus side was Renner’s performance — he really captured the love/hate thing with combat duty that the best of soldiers have to deal with. Bigelow’s direction is fine, also, if too reliant on the shaky cam. Actor Anthony Mackie contributes another good job as the sergeant who attempts to keep the eccentric Renner in line. The film is generally unsatisfying because it lopes from storyline to storyline without accomplishing much. It opens with a stirring scene with Guy Pierce as another bomb expert, which only ends up demonstrating what a dangerous job he’s got. The film then moves to Renner as he ventures from one peril-fraught situation to the next. I’ve always heard that combat duty is 5% combat and 95% preparation, and in that respect the film is a realistic portrayal. It was a smidge too draggy and talky (not to mention episodic) for our tastes, however.
The Princess and the Frog (2009). Netflix Instant viewing. I was a little leery of this one (current Disney movies leave me cold), but surprisingly it ended up being a total charmer and a gorgeous return to Disney Animation’s Little Mermaid/Beauty & The Beast days. The film follows Tiana (voiced and sung terrifically by Anika Noni Rose), a poor black woman in 1930s New Orleans who desires to open her own restaurant. The town is atwitter with the arrival of Prince Naveen, but the prince has a run-in with a voodoo magician that transforms both him and Tiana into frogs! Was this movie’s disappointing box office due to the fact that both leads are amphibians? Who knows, but the film flows beautifully and is chock full of wonderful music (surprisingly by Randy Newman) and sumptuous visuals. The animation was fluid, if a bit too cartoony at times. I also loved the vivid supporting characters which include a trumpet playing alligator who yearns to be with the humans, a lovelorn firefly and a blind voodoo priestess. This was a fun movie, and if it doesn’t rank with the truly great animated movies from Walt Disney’s time it is at the very least a good companion with the likes of The Lion King and Little Mermaid. For a taste, check out the sunny, stylized imagery in Anika Noni Rose’s “Almost There” number:

Return to Peyton Place (1961). The sequel to 1957’s Peyton Place, which I unironically enjoyed a few weeks back, treads in the same soapy waters as its predecessor but isn’t nearly as satisfying. The most glaring change, four years later, is that all of the roles from the previous film have been recast with inferior actors. Diane Varsi’s inquisitive teenaged writer from the first film is now essayed in a smarmy manner by Carol Lynley. The role of her Ice Queen ma, formerly Lana Turner, is now played by a trembly Eleanor Parker. Mostly the film revolves around Lynley’s character (a stand-in for P.P. author Grace Metalious) attempting to find a publisher for the steamy novel she wrote about the residents of Peyton Place. The manuscript catches the eye of suave Jeff Chandler, who takes her under his wing and painstakingly grooms her into publishing’s New Hot Thing, one of several “huh?” moments in the film. One of the film’s b-stories relate to young lawyer Ted (formerly David Nelson, now Brett Halsey) attempting to ingratiate his Italian bride (flat actress Luciana Paluzzi) with his formidable, steel-veined mother (Mary Astor, whose character didn’t appear in the first P.P.). The other details the fallen Selena (formerly Hope Lange, now Tuesday Weld) as she attempts to mend her broken reputation with the townspeople while a horndog skiier (Gunnar Hellström) attempts to woo her. A dull time is had by all. Probably the most disappointing thing about this flick is that the wonderfully evocative location shooting from the first P.P. is trashed in favor of a mountainous, pine tree-laden locale that looks more like Aspen, Colorado than any New England town. It’s just one of many things about this movie that brings about a “what where they thinking?” reaction.
Thor (2011). Did you suffer from superhero fatigue over the summer? I sure did, and yet I ended up going to see one of them (the loose and surprisingly assured Captain America) in the cinema itself. Thor was a dicey proposition from the get-go, starting with the goofy concept of muscle-bound Norse lunkhead as superhero (he ranks right down there with Aqua Man and The Wonder Twins in terms of street cred). Still, one can imagine a good film possibly coming out with Kenneth Branagh directing, all the whiz bang CGI money can buy, and Natalie Portman as the leading lady. Not so, alas. The main problem I had was that the scenes on the Thor planet were too pretentious and grandiose, with everyone (including an embarrassing Anthony Hopkins) speaking in the same quasi-Shakespearian manner. That, and special effects that are like George Lucas at his most self indulgent, add up to one huge, overinflated slog. As if to counter the overabundance of the Thor planet (I don’t remember the name, sorry), the earthly scenes are all done a little too flip, with Portman’s scientist being a scatterbrain in a way that’s supposed to be charming, but ends up looking idiotic. As some consolidation, at least she’s not a thoroughly annoying dumbell like the graduate student played by Kat Dennings. As Thor, Chris Hemsworth has the rockin’ bod and growling voice down pat, but he’s curiously lacking in charisma. I was also distracted by his painted-on blonde eyebrows and facial hair. The film has a few exciting set pieces, however, and some of the designs (like the Thor planet’s spinning room) have an elegant panache.
Vidal Sassoon: The Movie (2011). One of the other films that are among the first batch of DVDs I received for review from DVD Talk. A probing documentary of legendary hair sculptor Vidal Sassoon that goes into similar, stylish territory as The September Issue and Valentino: The Last Emperor. What’s not to like? I will go into more detail in my official review, but in a nutshell I dug this portrait of a very interesting gentleman. Unlike the other two films mentioned, this one focuses less on the intersection of fashion and commerce and is more about the power of single-minded creativity and what one individual can accomplish. Very inspiring.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation