I apologize if you live not in New York or LA, because there’s some good stuff out in limited release this week. As for major releases, we’ve got Priest and Bridesmaids, and I think Bridesmaids wins that battle pretty easily just by not having Affliction rock in the trailer. Movies covered: Bridesmaids, Priest, Hesher, Everything Must Go, True Legend.
BRIDESMAIDS: Kristen Wiig is a 30-something single lady dealing with all the retarded traditions of modern wedding culture, all while baking and trying not to menstruate.
Gratuitous Review Quotes
That rarest of treats: an R-rated romantic comedy from the Venus point of view. [Ed. Note: *queef sound*] -Betsy Sharky, LA Times
On top of all that, am I really expected to swallow the phrase “These are smart, funny women”? Really? As though that’s a sentence worth writing down, let alone reproducing in poster form. Can you imagine a poster proclaiming “Movies with men in them don’t have to suck!” or a critic writing the phrase “These are smart, funny men!” No. Because that WOULDN’T MAKE ANY SENSE, BECAUSE PEOPLE TAKE MEN SERIOUSLY BY DEFAULT. Hold on—I have to go sharpen my fork.
Thanks to director Paul Feig—creator of Freaks and Geeks, the most perfect, noncorny blend of humor and heart ever captured on camera—Bridesmaids has all the humanity that Apatow projects usually lack. Both sides of the coin—hilarity and sincerity—brought me to tears. But I was probably just on my period. –The Incomparable Lindy West.
This might be a turning point in feminism and comedy, provided that both sexes can embrace it. -Mary Pols, Time
Armchair Analysis (here’s my full review): Jesus, can anyone (besides Lindy) review this f*cking movie without acting like it was directed by Rosa Parks? You’d think post-Tina Fey we’d be past this by now. Speaking of which, I thought Baby Mama was better. But there was a good movie in Bridesmaids, and even as it is, I think most people would enjoy it.
NEXT PAGE: PRIEST
PRIEST: Paul Bettany plays a “legendary warrior priest from the last vampire war who…” Oof, do you really want me to read more? Also, Cam Gigandet is in it.
Gratuitous Review Quotes:
Drab, eye-rollingly stupid and with noisy effects designed to drown out audience snores, Priest is just about as bad as it gets. -David Edwards, Daily Mirror [I love you, British reviews].
On a visceral level, Priest offers enough action and cool bits to probably hold the interest of most 14-year-old boys, but its hodgepodge story and overall derivative nature make it feel like a movie that should have come out back in the ’90s. -IGN
Not terrible. -Catherine Bray, Film4
Armchair Analysis: I’m on board with the morons when it comes to boobs and ‘splosions, but ever since dumb-people movies took this turn towards “dark” and “gritty” (and self-important), they’ve become impossibly f*cking boring. He’s a priest… with a cross tattoo. Get it? Hey, call Troy Duffy’s guy, see if you can get some Latin sh*t on your forearms.
NEXT PAGE: HESHER
HESHER: After his mom dies, Rainn Wilson’s kid and their family are going through a tough time, until Hesher shows up and teaches them that even a meaningless universe can be something to be celebrated. Now playing in:
Phoenix, Berkeley, Hollywood, Palm Springs, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Irvine, Santa Monica, Pasadena, San Jose, Denver, Hartford, New Haven, Washington DC, Atlanta, Sandy Springs (GA), Boise, Chicago, Evanston, Lawrence (KS), Cambridge MA, Boston, Ann Arbor, Waltham MA, Birmingham MI, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, New York, Portland, Eugene OR, Corvallis OR, Neshaminy PA, Philadelphia, Providence, Austin, Dallas, Bellevue, Seattle, and Spokane.
Gratuitous Review Quotes:
“Hesher” is about as awful as independent films get, a mix of ugliness and unearned sentiment, with a flat story, repellent and pathetic characters and dialogue that consists of lots of stammering and cursing. -Mick LaSalle, SF Chronicle, proving that he’s still the same moron who praised First Knight while panning Braveheart.
A dark, weird, and wholly unique comedy that uses a bucketful of obscenity to help the sweetness go down. –Eric D. Snider, Film.com
What does he want? Where does he come from? Director Spencer Susser appears too intoxicated by the title character to risk peering beyond the enigmatic surface for fear of losing some of his mystery, as mystery is all Hesher has. The film stacks the deck by making everyone around Gordon-Levitt so sad and gray that he can’t help but pop with color and life by comparison; he’s pure sex, but it’d take more than his aggressive swagger to rouse the film from its despondent stupor. -AV Club
Armchair Analysis (full review here): YOU’RE ALL F*CKING WRONG, AS USUAL. I could explain this entire film pretty easily, but I don’t want to ruin it for the people who haven’t seen it. Obviously, I liked it. The fact that it aggressively turns off half the people who see it is part of the charm, just like heavy metal. But it’s hard to see the goodness in mayhem and vulgarity if you’re some dipsh*t in a sweater.
NEXT PAGE: EVERYTHING MUST GO
EVERYTHING MUST GO: Will Ferrell does dramedy, in a film based on a Raymond
Chandler Carver short story from first-time director Dan Rush. He livin’ on his lawn, yo.
Gratuitous Review Quotes:
Taking stock and letting go — of superfluous things, of worn-out love — is a strong theme. But the progression of the script is like Nick’s self-help program. We’re familiar with the steps. -Joe Morganstern, Wall Street Journal
The big picture is familiar — busted middle-age man, suburban alcoholic despair — yet the details are so finely rendered that the overall impression is potently strange. -Kyle Smith, NY Post
Rush extrapolates a narrative that is less jarring and more familiar than anything in Carver, but nonetheless true to the writer’s tough, compassionate and intimately knowing apprehension of masculine defeat. [Say what now? -Ed.] -AO Scott, NY Times
Armchair Assessment: The trailer looks good. Looks possibly a little cutesy-kitschy, but Will Ferrell pulls that off better than just about anyone. The only thing I pull off is myself ;-(. That and hip thrusting. I make these hip thrusts look good, son.
NEXT PAGE: TRUE LEGEND
TRUE LEGEND: An old-school kung fu epic directed by legendary fight choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping (Kill Bill, Endhiran, Drunken Master, The Matrix, Crouching Tiger, Hero, Fearless, etc. etc.).
Gratuitous Review Quotes:
A solidly made, craftsmanlike opus that satisfies the requirements of period martial arts films and preserves Yuen Woo-Ping’s distinguished position among that industry’s venerated elders. -Todd Gilchrist, CraveOnline
A hodgepodge of styles, “True Legend” works best as a freewheeling showcase for Yuen’s dazzling fight sequences above any sort of cogent storytelling. -LA Times
There are a lot of new and re-released martial arts films that make their way to my review stack, so I’ve devised a way of determining which to watch that I’m happy to share with you. I slap the disc in then check out the opening fight sequence. If I don’t say “holy sh*t!” at least twice, I know not to bother. With True Legend, the fight choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping’s return to the director’s chair, I think I holy shat about five times. -Jordan Hoffman, UGO
ARMCHAIR ASSESSMENT: My screener actually came a few days ago, but I’ve only been able to watch the first 25 minutes or so. I can tell you I dig it so far. It’s definitely wire-fu, which isn’t my favorite thing, but it’s not graceful, slow-motiony wire fu like Crouching Dragon, it’s more like fast, swishy, old-school Kung Fu wire fighting. Incidentally, “Swishy Kung Fu Wire Fighting” is the name of my all-male revue. If you like Kung Fu movies, I imagine you’ll like this one.