Saturday, March 21, 2009

Now Playing: Apocalyptic Duplicitous Bromances

The New Twenty This is only playing here in New York at the tiniest screen known to mankind (Hi, Quad!) For a first film it's quite good. Ignore the generic 'we'll get the gays to see it!' poster (if the leading man looks familiar think Beyonce's "If I Were a Boy" video) and somewhat clumsy title. The plot is a little shapeless but the characters are quite likeable and engaging. The sex lives and friendships of this makeshift family, some gay some straight, are more realistic than you usually see in movies. All that plus the film doesn't push its jokes -- some of the characters just happen to be funny. That's the way we like our laughs in ensemble dramas. B

Hunger If you've been reading lately you know that I highly recommend this one, the true story of a hunger strike in the early 80s in a hellish prison. It's politics are only viewed from one angle but cinematically it operates on several. The artist Steve McQueen is gifted behind the movie camera. (previous thoughts) A-

The Great Buck Howard "Malkovich! Malkovich! Malkovich!" This time he plays a "mentalist"... that's almost like the time Jack Nicholson played a wolf. Is the casting too on the nose?

Máncora A Peruvian road trip film about a young brother and sister and the sister's husband following their father's suicide. Apparently "lines are crossed".

Skills Like This an indie comedy that had festival audiences chuckling. It's about a frustrated writer who suddenly robs a bank.

Valentino The Last Emperor a documentary that follows the closing act of über famous orange designer Valentino Garavani and his business partner Giancarlo Giametti nearly 50 year career. I always hold out hope that there will one day be another fashion documentary as good as Unzipped (1995). Could this be it?

Sin Nombre A sociopolitical thriller about Mexican gangs and a teenager from Honduras on a freight train bound for the States. It wowed critics at Sundance, winning both Best Director (it's a first feature for Cary Fukunaga) and Cinematography prizes.

Sunshine Cleaning It has occasional trouble navigate its need for quirk (the bane of self-conscious indies). I have no idea why it steals a character wholesale from a better film -- in this case Alan Arkin all but reprising his Oscar winning Little Miss Sunshine performance -- but the rest of the supporting cast handles their roles beautifully and without much fuss. In it's best moments, particularly those involving a love affair between Amy Adams and Steve Zahn, it plays naturalistic and humble. Emily Blunt and Adams are completely watchable, sexy and winning but I suppose that's no surprise at this point. B/B-

I Love You, Man Paul Rudd is, according to EW, the most adorable movie star on the planet. I missed the part where Amy Adams was dethroned but I love the Rudd, too. Jason Segel co-stars in this bromantic comedy. Is this popculture movement a trend or a fad? It depends on whether or not this movie is a smash I suppose.

Knowing If you stop seeing bad movies, you can do your part to prevent the apocalypse. Or at least the final destruction of our beloved cinema (my review) D

Duplicity Remember that awesomely hostile sexual chemistry Clive Owen and Julia Roberts had in Closer? It's back in full force only this time twisted slightly to service comedic spy games. They really are a sensational screen couple (and relatively close in age: take note Hollywood. This helps). I'm already eager for a third date with them. Although a second date with this movie might be helpful because it's so damn confusing. Also quite fun. B+

Are you at the movies this weekend or staying in with DVDs?
If you're doing neither, explain yourself oh foe of cinema !



adam k. said...

This weekend for me is all about rewatching the BSG finale 'til it hurts. Yay, iTunes!

But I've had some quality experiences in the cinema this past week with Wendy & Lucy and The Class, so my cup is pretty full.

Anonymous said...

Seen all three major releases - I Love You Man and Duplicity yesterday; Knowing today - and I Love You Man was my favorite of the three. Refreshingly funny without being dumb or incredibly sappy. I thought Duplicity was okay to good but it got a little dry at times.

As for Knowing, you were pretty much right about the sound effects - they overpower the film - and the overall film just gave me a "The Forgotten" vibe... and that's something I don't want to feel ever again.

Paul Outlaw said...

If you're in NYC (you too, Nat), go see this movie (limited release, one week only):


Anonymous said...

I'm going to the Columbus Gay Men's Chorus performance of "Joseph." Does that make me a foe of cinema or just Paul Rudd?

Anonymous said...

Lookin' to renew the Amy Adams love affair as "Sunshine Cleaning" goes wide. It has to wait, however, until my travel schedule settles down.

James Colon said...

Saw I LOVE YOU, MAN, and it is now my early front-runner for Film of 2009 (though I know there hasn't been much of anything yet). A bold statement, yes, but I found equally hilarious and sincere, and the combination of Rudd and Segal is perfect for a guy like me (meaning I'm a big-time Apatow fan).

Cinesnatch said...

Breaking & Entering off of HBO ... I love Minghella, but this is a misfire for him. Well-intentioned, but clumsy storytelling and THOSE ACCENTS ... awful. I hate to be superficial, but they're distracted.

Here's hoping Minghella's #1 Ladies Detective Agency is better ...

Anonymous said...

Tonight I'm watching Los abrazos rotos a second time! It is fantastic!!

Almodóvar rules!!!

Sam Brooks said...

I saw Duplicity, and loved it. Can we please see Julia Roberts in more roles like this? Loved loved loved her in this.

gabrieloak said...

Didn't love Duplicity. I kept wishing Clive would dump Julia but that's because I always find Julia overrated. As In Closer, Julia is kind of painful when she tries so hard to "act." I didn't find any of the secondary characters interesting, and there were a lot of them.

Anonymous said...

I quite like Breaking and Entering.

Anonymous said...

Off topic:

Love/freak me out those google ads. "Things that are Orange", Valentino's face, lol.


i try! i just couldn't stop thinking about his... um... hue, so it had to go in gif form. said...

If you are in NYC/LA go see "Sin Nombre" Name less or without a name, I can proudly say that I was there (at SXSW 2009 Austin's Paramount, where by the way met Director Cary F. a very calm, funny, charismatic and relaxed being)witnessing such a master piece from a first time film maker with such a huge talent and great film making gift; from his first documentary "Victoria Para Chino" Cary demonstrated his unique mode of visualizing the new film making era and did a great job projecting it to focus features who ultimately believed and produced what we now have A REMARKABLE FILM about the FAR south Mexican border in-migrants never before revealed with reality as Cary Fukunaga writer/director did.