Film Reviews

A friend’s nephew was at the movies on Friday, July 20 when plaster dust fell on his wife and him. They shook it off and wondered if this was part of some studio stunt.

Since all of the male (where are the ladies?) critics at the Weekly avoided reviewing this film for reasons only the Great Bearded Light Above understands, I’ve taken it upon myself to analyze and report back, withholding nothing about the social commentary and deep humanism of Magic Mike. But don’t think our reviewing team didn’t see the movie.

Remarkable in every possible way–story, acting, fusion of reality and fantasy, locations–the beautifully realized Beasts of the Southern Wild has been years in development and tells a tale you’ve never seen or heard before. It will keep you frozen in your seat as the final credits roll.

The West has always been a savage land, or so we like to fantasize, and maybe this (mis?)conception is fueled by Hollywood’s constant masculine, insecure need to be the center of attention. What better way to get there than with an act of enviable lawlessnessness?

Writer-director Woody Allen, looking rather dapper at 76, has cast himself in one of his movies for the first time in years (as a Woody-esque retired opera director) in four stories (thematically linked) about seizing the day. All the main characters (Americans and Italians) are frustrated, stuck in place, and the movie suggests (by plotline) that only by risking can one live: wholly to live is to choose and accept, however nervously.

When a movie that holds a special meaning for me comes out on BluRay, I am likely to add it to my collection. I recently purchased Fellini’s 8 ½, not so much for the film itself as for what happened to me when I first saw it.

The matinee audience with whom this writer saw Moonrise Kingdom earlier this week just wasn’t prepared for it. Expecting heaven-knows-what, they sat in a state of stupefaction not knowing exactly what they were seeing.

To judge from the high spirits at opening night of the Honolulu Surf Film Festival at the Doris Duke Theatre, the island’s in the mood to celebrate life in the waves. Lucky for us, as the Festival moves into its second and third weeks, there’s a lineup of features, shorts and speakers that ought to open eyes, blow minds and maybe even prompt a tear or two (notably, Don King and son Beau at Makapuu in Come Hell or High Water.) Tears and cheers erupted for “Nappy” Napoleon, the low-key 67-year-old star of the short I Just Love to Paddle.

All film is anthropology. Whether you view or make a movie, you’re either visiting a culture or reflecting your own–often both.

Lola Versus, the new woman-on-the-verge-of-30 comedy starring Greta Gerwig, bolts out of its starting blocks saddled with an excessively weighty question: Can mumblecore go legit? We’re talking about the no-budget, seemingly scriptless indie films about self-obsessed twenty-somethings facing early-life crises.

There’s nothing like the end of the world for bringing people together, if your timing is right. (Otherwise it’s a bit of a drag.) The basic conceit here, if you can buy into it, is that the giant asteroid Matilda is due to crash into and destroy the planet Earth in three weeks.

Suffering from a summer diet of banquet-sized blockbusters? You’re not alone.

At the end of High Sierra, Ida Lupino cowers over the dead body of a gangster played by Humphrey Bogart. Through her tears she asks a detective, “Mister, what does it mean when a man crashes out?” The detective answers, “It means he’s free.” “Free!” Lupino exclaims, with an expression of bittersweet relief.

To kick off the film series portion of its blockbuster Tattoo Honolulu exhibition, The Honolulu Museum of Art’s Doris Duke Theatre couldn’t have made a wiser or more relevant choice than Skin Stories. The one-hour documentary, an executive production of the Honolulu-based Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), manages to capture the beauty, history, meaning and excruciating pain of Polynesian tattooing.

With an absolutely brilliant first act–intriguing story, amazing visuals, terrific cast–Sir Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, a kind of prequel to his l978 Alien, promises the world. Setting itself up adroitly, the film is genuinely dazzling.

The Pope has died. Almost all in cardinal red, the 108 electors, one of whom will be selected the new Pontiff after days of balloting, file chanting into the Vatican as tens of thousands of the faithful gather in St.

If you were an alien longing to look up some old friends, you’d probably use the Men in Black franchise like a high school yearbook. Certainly there’s no end to the menagerie of extra-terrestrial mutations, but after MIB and MIB2, they’re feeling their age–like your friends (but not yourself, of course) at high school reunions.

Folks, I’m here to tell you we have it good. So good I can’t just devote this space to one film this week.

Shot in pieces as fleeting as a pre-teen’s attention span, I Wish reveals a culture deeply fissured by modernity through the eyes and actions of a set of children in two schools several hundred miles apart, linked only by a pair of brothers separated by their parents’ divorce. Though it starts from the point of view of its two boy leads, Koichi and Ryu, the film’s humanity and psychological depth of field is deep and wide.

Excruciating is not a word that comes to mind as a recommendation. Yet Sacha Baron Cohen’s first feature, the mockumentary Borat, if not exactly pleasurable, proved capable of producing such intense fight-or-flight responses that it remains one of the weirdest in-theater experiences of my life.

This writer first encountered the truly groundbreaking book The Celluloid Closet, a decade-long-researched tome on the history of gays in American films, in l98l. Written by Vito Russo, it quickly became a surprise bestseller.

Movies adapted from Nicholas Sparks novels require that their audiences suspend disbelief–a lot. Yet most of the time the films work because audiences go in wanting to believe in the power of fate, especially when fate leads to true love.

The train grand vitesse is packed, everybody snug in a reserved seat except for this disruptive young mother standing in the aisle, babe in arms, asking if someone will switch so that she and her family can sit together. No one will, and her stubbly-faced husband says, “It’s only three hours.” She kisses him.

The newish term “dramedy” is meant to describe a film that is part-drama/part-comedy. It’s an ugly term, scarcely English in structure, and, if anything, suggests a movie made by a camel.

Like many who read him as an adolescent, my introduction to serious literature was Edgar Allan Poe. So when I heard, some 50 years after Roger Corman’s campy cinematic send-ups, that a truly serious attempt at transposing Poe to the screen had arrived at the multiplex, I was as curious as excited.

This week