Tuesday, February 18, 2014
THE LEGO MOVIE
Without falling victim to the awful traps its very premise sets for itself, The Lego Movie is largely devoid of the gimmricky, nonsensicality, and overwrought sentimentality one might have feared; instead, even if its philosophy of life is really very terribly suspect, it never fails to deliver it with intensely beautiful, genuinely funny, and sweetly moving verve. Plus, if you add up all the jokes at his expense, it makes fun of Batman for like a full half hour, which would be worth a pass even if the other sixty minutes were literally blank screen.
Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Written by Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord, and Christopher Miller
With Chris Pratt (Emmet Brickowoski), Elizabeth Banks (Wyldstyle), Will Arnett (The Bat-Man), Allison Brie (Unikitty), Charlie Day (Benny), Morgan Freeman (Vitruvius), and Will Ferrell (Lord Business)
Spoiler alert: mild, rising to high with warning (or severe; see the second paragraph after the grade, but if you're extra-sensitive just go watch the movie as soon as you see that big bold "A", for Lego is superb)
Monday, February 10, 2014
I'M SO EXCITED!
(Los amantes pasajeros)
In the main a supremely delightful comedy, undermined by a completely unrelated side-story that drains its once-seemingly infinite energy for an interminable 20 minutes, before being critically damaged when Almodovar, without much indication he knows what he's doing, plays a violent felony for laughs.
2013 Spain/2013 USA (the same year? inconceivable!)
Written and directed by Pedro Almodovar
With Javier Camara (Joserra), Carlos Areces (Fajas), Raul Arevalo (Ulloa), Antonio de la Torre (Capt. Alex Acero), and Hugo Silva (Benito Moron)
Spoiler alert: mild
Sunday, February 9, 2014
THE BANSHEE CHAPTER
The Banshee Chapter is probably the scariest horror movie last year had to offer, and it accomplishes this triumph by—get this—actually being scary. That must be why it seems so unfortunate that it is so seriously flawed. As forgivable as the low-budget feature's lack of scope may be, the best things in life are still free—like acting choices that aren't insanely distracting. But I can't help but recommend it, as both an entertaining frightener and as an invitation to google all the real-world creepy concepts which it so deftly ties together.
Directed by Blair Erickson
Written by Daniel J. Healy and Blair Erickson
With Katia Winter (Anne Roland), Ted Levine (Thomas Blackburn), and Michael McMillan (James Hirsch)
Spoiler alert: moderate
Thursday, February 6, 2014
WORLD WAR Z
An apocalyptic action horror science fiction fantasy thriller mystery thing, with practically no brains at all, but there is joy in all its unconscious pleasures, from its well-appointed set-pieces to its almost too-scathing social commentary to the most absurd and invasive yet shockingly appropriate piece of product placement of last year—and that's saying an awful lot.
Directed by Marc Forster
Written by a lot of people, none of whom I wish to credit except Drew Goddard because I can remember his name offhand (based on the book by Max Brooks)
With Brad Pitt (Gerry Lane), Mireille Enos (Karin Lane), Fana Mokeona (Thierry Umutoni), Daniella Kertesz (Segen), and Peter Capaldi (WHO Doctor) (ugh)
Spoiler alert: severe