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Nitwits.net

Nitwits.net

Too much attitude, not enough wit in new Canadian rom-com The Right Kind of Wrong attempts the kind of class comedy that comes off much better in its less mean-spirited mode, unabashedly broad, youth-pandering product featuring parodies of frat brats, sorority snobs, cads named Chad, and the idle rich being bested by the plucky hoi...
Cue the Wah-Wah Trumpet

Cue the Wah-Wah Trumpet

Misfits soap opera Somewhere Slow hits a speed bump Writer/director Jeremy O’Keefe references the phrase “nowhere fast” within his execrable Somewhere Slow, cunningly disarming critics of their most obvious barb. Suffice it to say that audiences with the time and tolerance to watch neurotic, unhappily married Anna (Jessalyn Gilsig) skipping stones on Mount Hope Bay with...
Half-way Housing

Half-way Housing

Vanessa Hudgens is a prodigal daughter in new teen drama Gimme Shelter lacks depth and complexity but not the proper affect. This memoire of Agnes “Apple” Bailey (Vanessa Hudgens), about her flight from a New York tenement and her prostitute, welfare-and-drug addicted mother June (Rosario Dawson) in search of the father she never knew (Brendan Fraser),...
Divided and Conquered

Divided and Conquered

Divorce Corp. Adjudicates the Seamy Side of Family Law  Divorce Corp. flicks spitballs at the walls of American family and divorce courts and some of them stick, but in the end they only make the chambers a little messier. Joe Sorge’s documentary amasses compelling and usually persuasive anecdotal testimony of a legal/judicial complex of corruption...
Ain't That A Man?

Ain’t That A Man?

Film legend John Milius gets the overdue bio-pic he deserves on EPIX  After decades of defiantly jutting his philistine jaw, playing the taunting Goliath to Hollywood’s liberal Davids, John Milius was hit by a lightning-bolt uppercut, suffering a stroke during the production of Genghis Kahn. Leave it to his most sensitive friend and colleague, Steven Spielberg, to...
Lisa Agonistes

Lisa Agonistes

How the Hollywood left is driving The Simpsons to the Dogs In a recent episode of The Simpsons, Lisa grows a vestigial tail, ruffled fur, a cold nose and a cocked hat. She’s evolving into Poochie the Dog, a character inserted in a classic-era Itchy & Scratchy cartoon to lampoon desperate, audience-pandering program adjustments. The...
Dickensmania!

Dickensmania!

Fiennes’ bio-pic depicts Charles Dickens as prolix and philanderer  The Invisible Woman hangs its bonnet on a quote from an obscure Charles Dickens play—“to love and be loved is life itself”—that rings with no more literary profundity or pith than popular song, say, “Nature Boy’s” secret, or a Lennon-McCartney lyric (“the love you take is equal...
Edward Hopper at the Movies 

Edward Hopper at the Movies 

How a mansion on a hill took modern sensibility from canvas to screen   In the Museum of Modern Art’s current exhibit “American Modern: Hopper to O’Keefe” viewers can survey the creation of modern sensibility and realize its impact from one medium to another. If the art of cinematography is, as film critic Armond White succinctly...
Lost in TV's Woods

Lost in TV’s Woods

More coming-of-age wistfulness in The Kings of Summer  A certain generation now exiled to the pop-culture wilderness might think of The Kings of Summer as “My Side of the Molehill,” the movie’s points about teenaged boys escaping their prepubescence to a forest sojourn so puny, its emotional tensions so slack, its slackers so coddled. If...
The Play Thing

The Play Thing

Theater imitates television in The English Teacher As the most aggrieved writer in modern movies, Michael Angarano recovers from the novel-stealing trauma of Gentlemen Broncos for a return bout against the play-bowdlerizers of The English Teacher, a high-school comedy with only a little more edge than an after-school special, but some admirable trouping by the...
Consciousness Without Conscience 

Consciousness Without Conscience 

Olivier Assayas looks back without anger  If Something in the Air is not a personal recollection of filmmaker Olivier Assayas’ odyssey through a revolting Europe, the evocative imagery and the least cliché period soundtrack in movie history—the sangfroid specificity of it all—makes for a convincing, if rather distant Portrait of the Artist as a Young...
See-Thru Disaster

See-Thru Disaster

Satire slouches toward L.A.’s death wish As black comedy goes, It’s a Disaster manages a shade of verism in its portrait of the 30-something Angeleno before thinning dull gray. That makes the washout all the more disappointing. The cast suggests a potential comedic depth never explored in the movie’s monotonous fixation on surface eccentricity and...
Worth A Thousand Words

Worth A Thousand Words

 Ed Ruscha’s book projects–explained January marked the 50th anniversary of Ed Ruscha’s influential book “Twentysix Gasoline Stations,” in which Ruscha’s Route 66 road trip yielded a collection of influential black-and-white photographs of filling (or emptying, if you will) stations, isolating the anomie of their stark, graphically interesting forms, with no text explanation. Ruscha’s Steinbeckian journey...
Just Say No, Gracias

Just Say No, Gracias

Larrain sells the children of Marx and Pepsi Enough time has lapsed since the punishing left/right combo of Allende/Pinochet flattened Chile that filmmaker Pablo Narrain’s generation can rise from the canvas and spit out some wistful irony. No finds it aplenty in imaging a fictional advertising agency—the quintessential sign of advanced capitalism—that handled the very...
Frack You!

Frack You!

Fracknation debates GasLand, Promised Land and the greenshirts—and wins. In Fracknation, Irish investigative journalist Phelim McAleer finds a combustible metaphor for the contrived controversy of hydraulic fracturing in the footage of the Sautner family hustlers of Pennsylvania. McAleer couldn’t politely interview the couple without Craig threatening a lawsuit (apparently emboldened by the radical National Resources...
You Don’t Know Jack Reacher

You Don’t Know Jack Reacher

Tom Cruise’s Throwback Throwaway Tom Cruise grows old and disrespectable in Jack Reacher. Only a decade after a breakthrough performance in Spielberg’s Minority Report—a story so cleverly futuristic, marketers have begun to adopt the location-targeting tactics and creepy ad personalization it predicts—Cruise casts himself in what is essentially a ‘70s Clint Eastwood detective drama, minus...
No Country for Bad Movies

No Country for Bad Movies

Deadfall gets buried in Coen clichés An attitude of movie-instructed morality and genre-abstracted artificiality enshrouds Deadfall in a blizzard of soap snowflakes. Unseasoned Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky—in what is perhaps an unwelcome tribute to modish countryman Michael Haneke—and first-time screenwriter Zach Dean fecklessly commingle unfelt film noir iconography with a nihilistic, moralistic political correctness that’s...
Hall of Presidents

Hall of Presidents

Printing the Lincoln legend Listening closely to John Williams’ score during the end credits of Steven Spielberg’s War Horse, one can hear the flutist breathing between soaring phrases. Unprocessed naturalness detracts nothing from the soloist’s virtuosity or the richness of the music because the beauty’s in the humanity of it—the depth, inspirited simplicity, and timbre...
Caucasian Circles

Caucasian Circles

Julia Loktev’s over-obvious under-populated Planet Populated almost exclusively by an engaged American couple and their Georgian guide on an interminably tedious hike through the Caucasus Mountains, The Loneliest Planet is also the dreariest in the known universe. Starting with blunt birth imagery (as it turns out, a post-sauna cleansing), writer/director Julia Loktev literalizes the path...
Manhattan Three-fer

Manhattan Three-fer

CRAFTS, ART FAIR AND OFF THE MAIN IN NYC Roosters never sleep—especially if they’re the colorful, kinetic steel cocks-of-the-walk sculpted by Fredrick Prescott. “I used to show at Art Expo, but this show is different,” says Prescott, who tells CityArts that the two-ton wild animal sculptures sent from his two-and-a-half-acre Santa Fe studio to Manhattan,...
CITYARTS EXCLUSIVE: ARTS ANALYSIS: What The Paperboy Delivers

CITYARTS EXCLUSIVE: ARTS ANALYSIS: What The Paperboy Delivers

In the Cold Light of the Day An intentionally trashy and determinedly trivial movie by the latest impresario of ugly, Lee Daniels, The Paperboy’s lapses in story logic and degenerate obsessions suggest that the director and his co-scenarist Peter Dexter meant to explore something arty and above mere murder mystery—something possibly, horribly personal. But its...