Matthew Lickona 1 p.m., July 22
Oliver Stone’s latest “just say yes” endeavor is reminiscent of his work on Scarface. The only shock here is that 30 years later, the brutal killing and graphic dismemberment is being performed in the name of blowing weed, not snorting coke. Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch star as a pair of cutting-edge Laguna Beach pot farmers whose shared gal-pal, Blake Lively, is kidnapped by ruthless drug enforcer Benicio Del Toro, the only actor in Hollywood who appears to be wearing a toupee even when he’s not. John Travolta (forsaking his rug for a change) adds amusing support as a crooked DEA agent, and Salma Hayek steals the show in the Connie Corleone role of a cold-hearted Mexican Baja Cartel leader who authorizes hits via Skype. Stone’s scare tactics have worsened with age, particularly when he wants to devote equal time to enticing the audience with three attractive leads and their hedonistic lifestyle. This should impact Mexican tourism much in the same way Stone’s screenplay for Midnight Express put the kibosh on romantic Turkish getaways. With Demian Bichir and Emile Hirsch. 2012.
- Big Screen Review • July 6, 2012