Bill Cunningham hunched behind his camera last Saturday morning, snapping photos of those lined up at the southern tip of Manhattan waiting to board a ferry to Liberty State Park for the Veuve Cliquot Polo Classic.
“Watch your pedicures,” a ferry hand said.
It wasn’t just the women who were looking sharp, however. New York City’s Read More
One by one, the punishments suffered last month at the Toronto film circus are arriving to pollute the screens at home. Next week, get ready for a diabolical torture called Seven Psychopaths. For now, avoid at all costs a trash-wallow about sex and inbred Southern racism called The Paperboy. The director is Lee Daniels, who shocked and turned off a sizeable portion of the public three years ago with Precious. Maybe shock for the sake of nothing else is what he stands for, but regardless of what you thought about his disturbing feature debut, it was light years ahead of The Paperboy. This raunchy dreck, cut from the same disposable toilet tissue as the recent trailer-trash creepfest Killer Joe, is a leap downhill from Precious.
A transcendentally awful slab of chicken-fried camp replete with Nicole Kidman urinating on the near-naked body of Zac Efron, The Paperboy was booed in Cannes, laughed down in Toronto and inserted in the New York Film Festival for no other purpose than to stir up controversy. It has no place in any of them.
Director William Friedkin has always been attracted to lurid movie material. From the gruesome, overcooked The Exorcist to the vile and unhinged Cruising, he craves plots about deeply conflicted characters who are hopelessly alienated, disconnected from both the society that surrounds them and even their own lives. One craves another well-crafted action nail-biter like his Oscar-winning The French Connection, but at 76, his view of the world just gets darker than ever. Small wonder, then, that he has found his literary soulmate in Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts, whose twisted, controversial and fascinating work has found its way to the screen through Mr. Friedkin’s jaundiced camera twice—first in the repellant schizophrenic thriller Bug, and now in the toxic trailer-trash thriller Killer Joe. When this sick, ludicrous cocktail of sex, violence and mayhem was first unveiled a year ago at the Toronto International Film Festival, one wag aptly described it as “the ghost of Tennessee Williams meets the spirit of Quentin Tarantino.” For shock value, cut to Gina Gershon, crawling across a filthy kitchen floor covered in blood to perform fellatio at gunpoint on a Colonel Sanders drumstick, and you have a high-water mark in tastelessness that gives depravity a bad name.
One of the many delights of Bernie, the offbeat new comedy by Richard Linklater, is that it is fresh, surprising and funny without going for sitcom punch lines or ridiculous, contrived situations inserted for guffaws. It’s not hilarious. It’s just warm and real enough to keep you smiling and awed at the same time. It is also the only movie I have ever liked Jack Black in, one of the few times Matthew McConaughey, a terrible actor, has ever come anywhere close to giving a tolerable performance, and features Shirley MacLaine’s best role in years. A lot to like here, and I liked it all.
Finding something to love in (500) Days of Summer is a fairly easy task to accomplish. Marc Webb’s indie-rrific paean to failed romance is filled with enough jubilant laughs and heartbreak to make it an instantaneous hit (the $27,000 per screen average the film scored this weekend bears this out). But … something Read More
Do you remember the first time you became aware of Bradley Cooper? I sure do. It was sometime during the first episode of Alias, circa 2001, and Mr. Cooper played Will Tippen, best friend to Jennifer Garner’s Sydney Briscow. What I remember is being distracted from the increasingly complicated plot by the fact Read More
Is Sasha Grey the next big star? For the uninitiated, Ms. Grey is the just-turned-21-year-old porn actress who finds herself at the center of the latest pillbox-sized indie from Steven Soderbergh, The Girlfriend Experience, and if the buzz is to be believed, mainstream success is within her reach—in his Village Voice review, J. Read More
Here’s a question we found ourselves pondering while watching Ghosts of Girlfriends Past: If Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner were a real-life couple and then they had a baby, would its entire face be one giant dimple? ’Cause we’re telling you, the dimple action in this movie between the two comely stars is downright distracting! Read More
It’s 2 a.m. and you awake with a jerk, alone in your fully lit apartment and still on the couch. On TV, the credits of some movie you’ve already seen a billion times are scrolling by. It feels like rock bottom. And we know, because we’re just like you: single.
Need a movie to keep Read More