Tag Archives: thriller

Ya gotta laugh

Not finding much to your liking at the movie theater this weekend?  Might I recommend an unexpected comedy delight?


My friend Char and I took Criminal on face value. Big name cast. Thriller premise. Should be okay at the very least, right?

In hindsight, I’m glad we didn’t read the lackluster reviews, or we might have missed the comedy event of the season!  Criminal is such an over-the-top ridiculous movie, with scenes of action and violence that build and morph into such grandiose gore, you can’t help but laugh aloud.

I mean, I kept a bored, straight face for the first 45 minutes. But once I allowed myself to laugh at the craziness on screen, the movie got better and better. And the rest of the audience seemed to enjoy it more, too.

If the producers had marketed the movie as a comedy, I think the reviews would have been better, too. And it might have explained why Kevin Costner’s character growled like an ape the entire film.

We’re talking whackadoodle, my friends.


I spy a fun film

I finally saw The Man from U.N.C.L.E. today.

I’m so glad I didn’t let the critics dissuade me.

Since the stylized spy thriller opened counter to Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, critics seemed hell-bent to compare the two.  I’ve seen both; there’s really no comparison.

MI:RN was a wonderful sequel in the Mission Impossible franchise, but the storytelling and action sequences are distinctly modern. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a homage to the 1960’s television series, and the look, feel, pacing, soundtrack — you name it — are true to that era.

I also loved the very dry, British humor that director Guy Ritchie brought to the production. I’m not sure everyone in the theater today got it, but that simply made me feel smarter…and laugh all the louder.

As the trailers promised, everyone in this film is beautiful to gaze upon. Russian spy Armie Hammer is deadly gorgeous, especially in the close-ups, and American agent Henry Cavill is so chiseled, he doesn’t seem realistic. Hugh Grant has also never looked better. He should hire the hair and makeup people and keep them on staff.

I loved Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and I loved The Man from U.N.C.L.E. 

I am so complex.

Scary feet

I have never attended a live ballet performance.

Living steps from Lincoln Center, I am particularly ashamed to admit that.

But the truth is, what goes on behind the scenes in professional ballet has always been far more interesting to me than watching the actual dance.

That’s why I was one of the first to attend the movie Black Swan at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas yesterday.  The psychological thriller starring Natalie Portman goes back stage at a New York City ballet company as it launches its new season with a performance of “Swan Lake.”

Natalie plays a young soloist tapped to play the lead after the prima ballerina retires.  The movie follows her struggles to play the duel roles — the innocent White Swan and the sensual Black Swan —  that the part requires.

Now, obviously I enjoy movies about dance.  I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them all, good and bad.  But if you typically don’t do dance films and hadn’t considered seeing Black Swan, I encourage you to change your mind.

This movie is a thriller, first and foremost, and a fascinating glimpse into the world of professional ballet.  Natalie Portman’s performance — both on and off the dance floor — is not to be missed.  You’ve probably read about her weight loss and her year of ballet training.  She backs up both with a powerful emotional performance.

Any Oscar talk is completely justified.

I left the theater a little creeped out, but the lights of Lincoln Center provided the perfect beacon for my walk home.