I mentioned this movie in my Edge Of Tomorrow (2014) review, for both share the ‘Groundhog Day time loop angle’, and here I am reviewing it. I was hoping it would work out this way. I had seen the trailer for Premature this past spring and thought it looked absolutely hilarious. The movie is billed on the DVD cover as “Groundhog Day Meets American Pie” and I’d say that’s pretty damn accurate.
If it wasn’t obvious before it’s pretty damn obvious now Greed is the primary sin slowly killing our society. As sins go, it’s an awful one too because it destroys any morality you may have had and any prejudices you might carry, thus making sure you think of nothing else but it. Greed has even found it’s way into the fantasy world of Middle Earth. Barring any “special rings” among the various beings that inhabit the realm, it appears Dwarves are more susceptible than most to its corruption. They used to live in this great mountain called, Erebor (aka The Lonely Mountain), where they forged huge amounts of gold.
After Groundhog Day (1993) came out I was a little surprised that there weren’t more films made exploiting that particular time travel anomaly Bill Murray suffered from in that film. The only other movie I can recall that had a similar plot was 12:01 (1993), which came out the same year. Here we are in 2014 and there are two new movies I know of now using this concept, the soon to be released sex comedy, Premature (2014), where a kid ends up re-living the embarrassing day he lost his virginity over and over, and the movie I’m about to talk in depth about, the Tom Cruise/Emily Blunt sci-fi actioner, Edge Of Tomorrow, so it looks like everything about being trapped in a time loop is new again.
I must say that I was a fan of the first film, Red. I thought it was a clever and well done adaption. Also, I feel I must say that the trailers for Dean Parisot’s Red 2 made it look just as good. I never go into a film wanting to dislike it. Sometimes I suspect a film has a high probability of being bad, but I always want to like a film. In this case, I kind of assumed I was going to like. I did not.
The film follows Frank (Bruce Willis), a retired black-ops CIA agent, Marvin (John Malkovich), a friend who has a similar background, Victoria (Helen Mirren), an ex-member of MI6, and Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), Frank’s girlfriend, as they all go out trying to find a missing, untraceable nuclear device. They are doing this because Frank believes no one should have such power, and so he becomes #1 on the CIA watch list. The ‘greatest hit-man in the world,’ Han Cho Bai (Byung-hun Lee, who was the main character in the under-seen I Saw the Devil) is also chasing them.
As a resident of the surrounding area of NYC with a strange unstructured existence, I often find myself wandering through the city with hours to kill. I am blessed in that the compact and crowded island of Manhattan is a movie buff’s dream, filled with cinemas showing one of the best selections in the country. Textured underground indie theaters and massive vertical multiplexes are blocks from each other. The combination of all that is me frequently picking films based only on their titles and their starting times, then stumbling blindly into theaters with little idea of what to expect. It’s an activity I encourage you to try as well.
When I purchased a ticket for the virtually un-marketed and limitedly released Pawn Shop Chronicles, I had no clue what was about to happen. Oh boy. Talk about an excellent surprise of absurdism and depravity.
What do you get when you mix beautiful imagery, solid actors, and dialogue-heavy plot-less-ness? Michael Polish’s film version of Jack Kerouac’s novel, Big Sur. This 2013 Sundance selected film was easily the least interesting film I saw at Cinetopia this year, which is upsetting. It easily could have been my favorite.
I am a sucker for beautiful imagery and engaging directorial style. It is my weakness. It is probably why I really enjoyed Park Chan-wook’s Stoker and most Wes Anderson films. What sets those films apart from this one are their characters. The previously mentioned films have intriguing characters that make one want to watch more of it. In most films, they fall apart if there isn’t at least one character who is likable. Otherwise, why would anyone care for what happens? There are no interesting characters in Big Sur. There are no likable characters in Big Sur. And nothing interesting happened.
In a summer filled with giant robots versus giant aliens, eccentric billionaires that fight crime, and monsters going to college, who would have thought the best summer film would have been an indie coming-of-age story about a kid going to work at a water park? Answer: not a lot. However, this critic (me, Greg!) believes that The Way, Way Back blows every other ‘summer movie’ out of the park, quality-wise, and in terms of sheer entertainment.
From IMDB: “14-year-old Duncan’s (Liam James) summer vacation with his mother (Toni Collette), her overbearing boyfriend (Steve Carell), and his daughter (Zoe Levin). Having a rough time fitting in, Duncan finds an unexpected friend in Owen (Sam Rockwell in a role that should score him an Oscar nod), manager of the Water Wizz water park.” Well, that sums it up pretty well. Could not have phrased it better myself. Good work, IMDB! Making reviewing films easier since 1903.
This review was exceptionally rough on the critic Greg Dinskisk to write. Why? It was bad, but The Lone Ranger did not offend him, so he did not want to be mean to it. This review gets progressively weirder as it goes on. It was about 2 A.M. when he finished it. He wakes at 6.
To start off, I must state that I have had no interaction with anything “Lone Ranger” related before seeing this film; I never watched the TV show, I never listened to the radio show, and I never felt the need to hear stories about this masked man as a kid. I bring this up to explain why I may not have connected to the film. If the film was made with the intention of bringing up nostalgia, I could not possibly have felt that. I mean, I get some of its references. Its framing device is set in the very same year the radio show began for The Lone Ranger (1933). Things like that are sprung up now and again. References. References upon references upon references.
“But, I’m funny how? Funny like a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh?” – Tommy DeVito
I know Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas remains something of a sacred cow even among those not completely enamored with Scorsese, so some remarks are needed to save me from the inevitable pitchforks. Like many classics it seems invincible, and like some unkillable zombie, it is critic-proof. Let me concede from the start, there is a lot to admire in parts of the film. But as a cohesive piece, Goodfellas has fatal problems.
Judging by the name or the poster or the trailer, Crystal Fairy presents itself as a number of different things. Is it a drug movie? A romantic comedy? A surreal something or other? For the most part it’s none of these, and I think it’s deliberately misleading. This film is as realistic as they come.
The story is about Jaimie (Michael Cera), a loutish American who lives in Chile and is constantly seeking the next drug-aided good time. He meets Crystal Fairy (Gaby Hoffman), another American who seems to be some sort of Frida Kahlo wannabe, and he invites her to accompany him and his three Chilean buddies (Silva, the director’s brothers) to the beach where they intend to drink a psychedelic cactus. This is also inexplicably set in 2012, which I assume is because it was filmed that year. Anyway, it’s in the title so I thought I’d mention it.