Saturday, August 14, 2010


The central question of Salt: Is Angelina Jolie's Evelyn Salt a double- or triple-agent. While this puzzle was intriguing enough to keep me engaged, the true mystery is how a woman who weighs all of 87 pounds can perform the feats of derring-do and don't she does. Early in the film, Jolie's Salt throws herself off a br...idge onto the top of a passing truck below. That she doesn't bounce like a penny off of it and onto the highway is beyond me ... but then much of the action in this film is beyond reason. This makes it exciting and instantly forgettable fun.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Step Up 3D

The intended audience for the Step Up series is suburban teens who sneak off to the city on the weekends to rub up against the hardcore ... and me. I really enjoy the film even though the casting of the leads -- Abercrombie & Fitch beauties who can't act -- is all about pulling in the Twilight crowd. Each of the films has been about a street smart white boy with black boy swagger who fights for respect in the highly competitive world of underground street dancing, where you either bring it or you get served (do they still talk that way?) Anyway, the eye-popping 3D of part 3 adds a stunning dimension, pun intended, to the already wild and wonderful proceedings.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Kids Are All Right

I really liked Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right and not just because the title is spelled correctly (all right). That would be pedantic, and lord knows I don't want to come off as pedantic or ironic or sarcastic. This fresh and keenly observed little film is none of those things. It's unpretentious, genuine and... respectful of our flawed humanity. It's also funny and touching. It's the story of a family of four -- Joni, who's preparing to enter UCLA; her brother, Laser, who is a little clueless about his relationship with a dipshit buddy; and their moms, Nic, a doctor, and Jules, who's trying to find herself. Fifteen-year-old Laser is curious about the guy who donated the sperm for his and his sister's conception. Joni tracks down Paul, a local urban farmer and restaurant owner and they all get to know each other. Therein lies the "drama." It's a sure thing that folks who object to gays in general or gay marriage in particular will have a problem with this movie. But I'm wondering if some lesbians might have problems with the film's central conceit about the structure of gay marriages, as well.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Other Guys

The Other Guys, directed by Adam McKay and starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, is about two New York detectives who can't seem to catch a break or a good case because they can't seem to get policing right. The movie, for what it is, gets nearly everything right. It's howlingly funny, a grotesque lampoon of evil capitalists and their stooges that is brimming with overacting from the inestimable Messrs. Ferrell and Wahlberg and the likes of Steve Coogan, Michael Keaton and Bobby Cannavale. The cherries on the top of this confection are the hilarious cameos by Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson.

Queen & Slim

In the soon to be iconic photograph from Melina Matsoukas's distressing Queen & Slim, stars Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith...