And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

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Quickie Review: Motherless Brooklyn

Motherless Brooklyn is the type of film that evokes a general sense of post-viewing contentment, and a lingering feeling that it could have been more. Perhaps with a bit more drama, or a bit more emotional pull, it could have escaped the somewhat bland “yeah, it was good” category, i.e. perfectly fine for streaming or watching on an airplane or killing time if Terminator films are not your speed. Motherless Brooklyn operates at a slow, stylized pace. The story is interesting and relevant. The actors are all very good, and the noir production design and cinematography casually and convincingly immerses the viewer in 1950s New York. Motherless Brooklyn is a crime drama with a gumshoe aesthetic and a unique twist. The main character Lionel Essrog (Edward Norton, Birdman) is a private investigator with Tourette’s Syndrome, a disorder involving the nervous system that causes involuntary tics, sounds and movements. His condition results in some awkward situations as Lionel attempts to solve the murder of his boss, mentor and only friend Frank Minna (Bruce Willis).

Review: Glass

What exactly is a “comic book thriller”? I’m not exactly sure, but apparently Glass falls into that category. So Comic-Con types rejoice! This one’s primarily for you. It’s also a gift of sorts for fans of Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016), two creepy yet engrossing movies written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. In Glass, Shyamalan merges the narrative of those two previous efforts to complete what turns out to be a trilogy nearly 20-years in the making, and possibly sets the origin story for a whole new series of comic-horror-thriller-superhero cinematic events.

Quickie Review: Death Wish

Talk about bad timing. I’m not sure I would have liked this movie on any particular day in any particular year, but this week especially, it feels so… wrong. It’s a brutal remake of the 1974 brutal action crime drama Death Wish, with Bruce Willis taking on the role made famous by Charles Bronson. Heaven forbid there was hope to reignite the franchise. That would be a disaster. Please, Bruce, just stick to Die Hard(s) – or how about a Moonlighting reboot? I’m sure the NRA and vigilante groups will love this movie. That’s exactly why I hate it.

A Good Day to Die Hard

The fifth time is not the charm for the hugely successful Die Hard franchise. A Good Day to Die Hard is, without a doubt, the weakest of the bunch – and I’m not even sure I’ve seen them all. That said, the movie is mindless entertainment that should do well at the box office because, well, it’s Die Hard. Bruce Willis. Action. Good guys. Bad guys. Things going boom. Father-son bonding. Bullets flying. Cars flipping. Helicopters crashing. And more things going boom. Get the picture? If the movie had tried to take itself too seriously, I’d have a much more serious problem with it. Instead, I will simply take exception with the fact that it has no comprehensible plot.

Looper

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.

Moonrise Kingdom

You know from the first frame of Moonrise Kingdom that you are watching one of Wes Anderson’s movies. They’re not like anyone else’s. The textures are more textured, the children are wise beyond their years, in fact all the characters are just a bit off, but in a good way. I have really enjoyed his previous efforts with Rushmore, The Royal Tannenbaums, even The Fantastic Mr. Fox. And happily, Moonrise Kingdom is his best yet. Funny, sweet and totally entertaining, it is one of those indie gems you just have to see.

2010 Fall Movies

We’re moving out of the summer blockbuster kids’ movies and into the fall when traditionally a more serious adult roster hits the screens. This year? Well, there are a few that seem Oscar worthy, several with our favorite men headlining, a couple that look like real chick flicks and what just might be some nice comedies. See for yourself.