Walter Mencken 10 a.m., March 13
Unlike the print edition, this installment of the review revue will get the dross out of the way at the outset: Lockout was not very good. Writes Reader critic David Elliott, "Mainly this is more waste from the Blade Runner flush pipe." He does, however, get to use the always delightful phrase "insane meth monkey." Now there's a movie that needs to get made. What's the critter from Hangover II doing these days?
Better times: hilariously, the same guy who came up with the idea for Lockout (unless there are two Luc Bessons in the movie biz) also ran the show for The Lady, a biopic of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi which Elliott finds "a film of honorable but uninspired sympathy" that is, of all things, "too ladylike." Lots of politics and suffering here; maybe it would have benefited from an insane meth monkey?
No monkeys necessary, cuz there's already tigers: Willem Dafoe goes hunting for an elusive and supposedly extinct tiger in The Hunter. Just looking at his grizzled grimace makes me want to see a film where Liam Neeson starts at one end of a Russian forest and Dafoe starts at the other, and each man wants the other dead. In the meantime, Elliott thinks "this hunter’s tale should stick in memory, like the Tasmanian tiger."
If college dorm-room walls were any measure of cinematic potential, Marley would be the breakout hit of 2012. As it is, "What you got from Bob Marley was a life, something much more than a packaged image," and this "docu-shrine...feels utterly Jamaican. Sexy colors and hormonal music blend with the conquering smile. The celebration opens April 27."
And finally, the best for last: Elliott admits that when he saw Monsieur Lazhar, he "took no notes — bad student but a pleased critic. Bachir is almost too good, yet always vulnerably genuine, an uprooted man who has taken on the nationality of basic humanity. This moving film is not an issues checklist, not a hysterical whine like the recent school-drama Detachment. At its rooted core, Monsieur Lazhar is a portrait of civilization at work."
More like this:
- All films viewed in 2012 by star rating — Jan. 2, 2013
- Movie Reviews: Monsieur Lazhar, Marley, The Hunter, Lockout, The Lady — April 18, 2012
- Reviews! — April 12, 2012
- Reviews! — Feb. 15, 2012
- Reviews! — Dec. 29, 2011