Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kick-Ass


The over-the-top action picture genre is hit-or-miss with me. Hits have included most of Guy Richie's stuff, the little praised but much seen Wanted and the little seen but much praised Shoot 'Em Up. Misses include the Jason Statham collection, which is getting pretty hefty, and much of the lesser comics-to-cinema attempts starting, I think, with Daredevil (2003). Kick-Ass is a comic-to-cinema film that is as self-referential as a movie can get. A high school nobody is inspired to amateur superherodom by little more than reading comics and asking the question "Why not?" His first foray into crime fighting ends with him getting his "ass kicked" but through the intercession of modern medicine he is turned into a schmo who can take a punch better than most. The young British actor Aaron Johnson plays the youthful schlub and Nicolas Cage adds some gravitas (in a weird Christopher Walken kind of way) as a Batmanesque crusader Big Daddy. But the true star is 13-year-old Chloe Moretz who plays Hit-Girl a pre-teen badass who spits the c-word (yes, that c-word) like a pro. The movie's base vulgarity is exceeded only by the bloodletting. Do NOT take the kids.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Date Night

The laughs in Shawn Levy's Date Night, which stars Steve Carell and Tina Fey, are pretty rich and fairly frequent, and its underlying message to keep love alive in marriage is sweet, but the film is weighted down by weary cynicism. This cynicism will be familiar to those who have seen Fey's 30 Rock and Carell's The O...ffice, although Date Night is not nearly as biting as either of those programs. Still, I pulled for the poor, hapless Fosters as they climbed out of a pit of ridiculous mishaps and mistaken identities and howled at their antics.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Clash of the Titans (2010)

Clash of the Titans (2010) is loud and exhausting, predictably short on exposition but long ... numbingly long ... on fight scenes led by Mr. Avatar, Sam Worthington, and directed by Louis Leterrier, who brought us the better of two Hulk movies. It's swords and sands and so everybody speaks like an earl. The Medusa is... wicked hot. The audience in screening cheered at the end. Go figure.

Yesterday

  Director Danny Boyle's hummably insightful morality tale, Yesterday, is a sure starmaker for amiable Hamish Patel, who plays ...