Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
This week, Steven Spielberg decides to ignore W.C. Fields' dictum of "Never work with children or animals," and includes both in War Horse. David Elliott wishes that Spielberg had listened: "War Horse is an absurdly picturesque load of mud, corn, and horse manure. It is not really for kids, or adults, or horse lovers, or even war haters, so what’s the point?" Ouch.
He kind of wishes that Cameron Crowe, director of We Bought a Zoo, had listened as well: "A gifted and guiltless manipulator, Crowe alternates shots of swell kids and animals with heartfelt memories of the late wife (Stephanie Szostak), who looks like a Breck Girl shampooed in heaven. As Ben’s cloying nostalgia for her merges with tender love of the dying tiger, it becomes dificult for us to smile, chuckle, weep, and barf all at once." Yeep! Maybe a good moment to pause and give thanks for your local movie critic, the guy or gal taking the bullet so that you don't have to suffer through another Dream Factory stinker.
But he has kind words for Pariah: "The debut feature of writer-director Dee Rees covers familiar ground with conviction. Like so many black-family films (and many gay-themed films), it relies on tightly laced ensemble strength...But what happens to Alike and those around her is moving and worth attention."
In the capsules? Not much, and nothing special: The Darkest Hour.