INDIE FLICKS: MAX ROSE
Two diversely remarkable performances make a cloying pair of indies tolerable this week. One comes from a certified Hollywood legend; the other by a quintessential character actor.
The legend is Jerry Lewis, making his first screen appearance since 1995's Funny Bones, as Max Rose (R), a recent widower discovering his wife's infidelity decades earlier. There's nothing funny about writer-director Daniel Noah's barely-a-movie or Lewis' intensely brittle portrayal of a haunted cuckold....
Parents have more explaining to do after Storks, a breezy animated exaggeration of where babies come from. Rather, where they came from before online shopping turned these nursing birds into delivery drones.
Storks presents the act of procreation as obsolete, a factory contraption banished to the basement of Cornerstore.com. In the old days, people wrote letters to storks, requesting infants delivered. Now those letters are piled up, unanswered, although I'm guessing babies were still being born. Smart children will, too....
Westerns haven't tried to simply be fun in years. Too preoccupied with dark history and making amends, what John Ford would call rebranding the legend. That almost isn't the case with The Magnificent Seven.
Director Antoine Fuqua's reboot of the 1960 western classic is what used to be termed a rip-snorter, a rambunctious movie with no agenda other than thrilling audiences. The Magnificent Seven had me smiling throughout, tapping into Saturday matinee memories without seeming entirely old-fashioned....
St. Petersburg's Et Cultura festival dropped its inaugural lineup Friday, reflecting a purpose of showcasing the local arts community.
Et Cultura, slated for Nov. 16-20, is compared by organizers to the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Tex., with live musical performances, independent films, interactive events, workshops and pop-up art exhibits.
"Right now, St. Pete is primed for a cultural renaissance of sorts," Et Cultura project manager Nikki Devereux said. "There's so much activity in arts and music that this seems like a perfect time to come together."...
Blair Witch is blasphemy, taking in vain the name of a landmark exercise in horror, 1999's The Blair Witch Project.
The creators of that no-budget sleeper hit — four University of Central Florida film school students — already tarnished their legacy with a misbegotten 2000 sequel. Now it's desecrated by director Adam Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett, in a wheel-spinning homage gone terribly awry....
A BREAK: TELLURIDE FILM FESTIVAL ROUNDUP
Here's a confession: I spent four days at the Telluride Film Festival and only watched one movie.
Feeling pretty good about that, too.
Someday I'll get psychoanalyzed to determine why I annually choose to spend precious vacation time in a setting that otherwise calls for work. Some kind of subconscious pushback to a job largely built upon other people deciding what I can do, and when....
Oliver Stone hasn't sunk his cinematic teeth into an American outrage since Nixon, so the saga of Edward Snowden offers a return to patriotic dissent form.
Unlike Stone's previous politically charged projects, Snowden isn't rooted in history, or attempting to change its perception. The subjects of government overreach in surveillance, of Snowden exposing that process, even the very definition of patriotism are still being weighed....
Fall is when Hollywood's attention, like leaves, turns from green to gold.
Money is still paramount (and Disney, Universal, Sony, etc.), but studio executives might swap a healthy box office weekend for a guaranteed Oscar or Golden Globe.
Movies generally get better after Labor Day. That's just the way it is. Movies remembered are those rewarded, and award voters have notoriously short memories....
Maybe they don't make movies like they used to, but Tampa Theatre movie tickets will roll back to silent era Hollywood prices when the historic venue celebrates its 90th birthday.
On Oct. 15, Tampa Theatre will present four acclaimed films paying tribute to cinema, each for 25 cents admission, which was the average ticket price in 1926 when the movie palace opened. Bust out a buck, and you can watch all four classics in a marathon, under the twinkling "stars," surrounded by the old world Mediterranean opulence designed by John Eberson....
Different wars and soldiers demand different sorts of storytellers about them.
World War II had the grunt's-eye view of Ernie Pyle. Vietnam was revelead in Michael Herr's dark missives. Afghanistan has Sebastian Junger, whose books and Academy Award nominated documentary Restrepo help to define the modern wartime experience....
TELLURIDE, CO. — The optics weren't flattering, until Tom Hanks put the picture in focus, with his energetic blend of levity and perspective.
At a time when a lack of diversity in Hollywood is being challenged, the Telluride Film Festival staged a open-air panel discussion among actors about heroism in movies.
Aside from moderator Annette Insdorf, there wasn't a single woman or actor of color involved....
Chesley Sullenberger's life, and certainly his finest 208 seconds as a pilot, don't need to be ginned up. Here's an unfathomably decent person by all accounts, who in 2009 landed a crippled commercial jet on New York's Hudson River, saving everyone aboard.
And that's why Clint Eastwood's Sully, recounting that Miracle on the Hudson, doesn't entirely work as a movie. On the good side, we get Tom Hanks — the go-to choice for playing anyone's integrity — as Sullenberger. And thankfully, the true story doesn't contain the heavy conflict or tragedy that drama requires....
OPENING FRIDAY: WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS
Take the erotic suspense of Fatal Attraction, mix in a helping of The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, then dilute the formula with two decades of Lifetime movies cribbing those ideas.
Voila! You have When the Bough Breaks (PG-13), starring Morris Chestnut in the role Michael Douglas made cliche: a happily married man led astray by a beautiful, mentally unbalanced woman. Hide the boiling pots and the bunnies....
GONE WEST: TELLURIDE FILM FESTIVAL
It's the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas of sorts in the Rockies, where the 43rd annual Telluride Film Festival is a cinematic gift waiting to be opened.
Telluride is where I've spent many of the past two dozen Labor Day weekends, on vacation but not entirely. I'll bring back the awards season buzz traditionally kicking in there, comments from artists discussing their films and thoughts on whatever films I get to see....
Gene Wilder hadn't made a movie in 25 years when he died Monday at age 83, at his Stamford, Conn., home.
The long absence doesn't matter. Neither does Mr. Wilder's relatively slim body of work; barely two dozen feature films.
One role is all Mr. Wilder needed to be eternally mourned.
He's forever the mischievous moralist Willy Wonka, whose chocolate factory tour remains a rite of cinematic passage for young viewers, or those needing reminders of what being young is like....