Currently browsing posts by Ellen Carl.
Posted on January 18, 2013
Broken City is a broken movie. Sorry, it had to be said. But even an all-star cast can’t fix this noirish clunker. I always wonder about movies released in January. If they were any good, the studio would release them in December in time for award nominations. January is a dumping ground for the studios’ leftover junk, and that’s why Broken City is out now.
Posted on October 4, 2012
My newspaper headline for The Paperboy would be: “Hot Mess” and not in a good, kinda campy way. It’s a creepy, sweaty melodrama set in the Florida Everglades circa 1969 — a jumble of sex and violence that never comes together into a coherent story. Director Lee Daniels, an Oscar nominee for “Precious,” was obviously going for something here, but what that was isn’t clear. What is clear is that he doesn’t shy away from scenes that will make you cringe — like the already infamous one where Nicole Kidman pees on Zac Efron, or the one where she and John Cusack mime sex acts to get each other off in a prison visiting room.
Posted on September 28, 2012
Looper is where mobsters and sci-fi meet, a smart time-traveling action movie. Set in the near future, in a gritty city somewhere in the mid-West, the mob of the further future is sending its enemies back in time to be eliminated. To do the dirty work, they employ a band of low-level hitmen called “loopers.” All the loopers have to do is show up at the designated spot at the designated time and fire their guns when the bound and hooded target arrives from the future. Then they collect their silver from the body and dispose of the evidence. An easy job — until the target is yourself.
Posted on September 27, 2012
Hotel Transylvania is a delightful little getaway — of the animated, cinematic variety. You can check in anytime you want, on one condition, you must be a monster. Humans are not welcome. This flick takes the usual monster movie plot and turns it on its head… at the Hotel Transylvania the humans are the scary ones. It’s a cute premise that results in lots of family friendly laughs.
Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) built the “five-stake resort” as a human-free haven for his monster friends and, more importantly, his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez). Every year, Drac throws his little girl a big birthday bash with all of his monster friends and this year is a very special one. She’s turning 118 — get it? The problem is Mavis wants to spread her wings and fly. She wants to experience the world outside the hotel’s grounds. But Drac is your typical blood-sucking, over-protective dad, and he does everything he can to keep her at home. Then all of his plans are jeopardized when a cute backpacker (of the human variety) named Jonathan (Adam Samberg) stumbles upon the hotel and, of course, captures Mavis’ heart.
Posted on August 28, 2012
I love a good kids’ movie. I will even go see one alone if I can’t find a little buddy to take me along. But The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure is not one of those kiddie flicks that adults will want to see on their own. I’m not even sure you’d want to see it with your kids. It’s clearly meant for the two to six year-old crowd, but even a discerning six year-old might want to run for the exit. It’s a weird musical adventure featuring three brightly colored, big-hipped teletubbie wannabes and their friends a talking window, vacuum, fish and pillow. Throw in brief appearances from an odd smattering of Hollywood stars — Cloris Leachman, Christopher Lloyd, Chazz Palminteri, Cary Elwes, Jaime Pressley and Toni Braxton — and it all adds up to a strange attempt to create a new thing for kids to obsess over. It doesn’t work.
Posted on August 16, 2012
I was really tempted to write just a two word review for Cosmopolis: “Don’t bother.” But then I thought I should probably explain myself. You’re either going to find this movie a pretentious, claustrophobic slog through hell or an artful commentary on contemporary capitalist excess. You can guess where I stand. I hated it.
Posted on August 16, 2012
Confession time: I have only seen the first Jason Bourne movie and that wasn’t until it was on basic cable. So I am not fully versed in the Bourne backstory. Take that for what you will but I thought you should know. As for The Bourne Legacy, I was not blown away. For an action movie, it could do with a little less conversation and a little more action. On the plus side, the man in the middle of the action is Jeremy Renner and there’s nothing wrong with that. He plays his part with a focused intensity that is one of the best things about the movie.
Posted on August 3, 2012
“It’s the perfect break-up.” That’s what Celeste and Jesse tell their friends and themselves. They were married and now they’re getting divorced but they say they’re still “best friends.” Can it work? As a movie, it certainly does. Celeste and Jesse Forever isn’t really a rom-com, but it will make you laugh and it’s certainly better than any actual rom-com I’ve seen recently. Plus, it’s got a lot of heart, without a lot of the standard chick flick cliches.
Posted on June 14, 2012
If you are a child of the 80s and a fan of musicals, you will most likely love Rock of Ages. (Take note Mainstream Chick.) If, like me, you are a child of the 80s and not a big fan of musicals, you will still really like this movie. It’s over-the-top campy fun with a soundtrack that will have you singing along. And honestly your singing will be almost as good as most of the actors’ singing. That’s my major quibble with the movie; I wish the voices had been stronger.
Posted on May 17, 2012
I wasn’t expecting much from What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and it’s a good thing because this movie really doesn’t deliver. It’s one of those movies that suffers from too many plot lines and too many stars — Jennifer Lopez, Dennis Quaid, Cameron Diaz, Chris Rock, Chace Crawford, just to name a few. Based loosely on the best-selling pregnancy manual, the movie focuses on five couples who are expecting. Four of them are in Atlanta and one is in Los Angeles but of course they are all somehow connected. (Frankly, we could have done without at least two of the couples.) Throw in the gang of park-walking dudes/daddy support group led by Rock and it’s all just too much going on.