But that lack of contact doesn't matter to D'Souza. As he says in his movie, 2016: Obama's America, D'Souza seized on the title of Obama's acclaimed first memoir, Dreams From My Father, as the hook that persuaded him to explore the connection between Barack Obama Sr. and Jr. And since Barack the Elder's viewpoint in Kenya was anti-colonialist, well, gosh darn it, that probably explains some of the things that his son, our president, does.
2016: Obama's America is relatively engaging through its first hour, but loses all objectivity in the last 30 minutes. D'Souza pulls out any policy decision that he disagrees with as being proof of Obama's true philosophic ethic — anti-colonialist, and thus anti-white. It's a radical deduction based on the evidence at hand. It's also irresponsible, and it should have died in the marketplace of ideas two years ago. But there's no shortage of men in America with deep pockets who don't like the president, and D'Souza was able to get some of them to finance his film.
But 2016: Obama's America isn't convincing — unless you check your brain at the door before entering the cinema.
I've wanted to talk at length about The Dark Knight Rises since the second it was over, but that was on Tuesday, and I would have been killed by my friends and office compatriots if I breathed a word of spoilers. What follows below the fold are some additional thoughts on the movie without concern for holding back details. Please consider yourself fully alerted to the spoilers before continuing.
Also, a note on the shootings in Colorado late Thursday night: It's a horrible tragedy. As someone who spends a lot of time in movie theaters I am mortified on many levels. I have no idea what motivated James Holmes, but I do know that blaming the movies in general, or Nolan's Batman flicks specifically, is wrong. No movie can inspire a person to commit this kind of unspeakable crime. That motivation must come from within the deranged individual. It would also be wrong to allow one moron lunatic with a gun to come between you and a movie you've been dying to see for weeks, months or years. The lasting message of The Dark Knight Rises is one of hope. Don't let Holmes dampen yours.
Now, on to the spoilerific nit-picking:
Someone sure knows how to have a good time. If you want to have a good time, avoid Don’t Go in the Woods.
Say hello to Nick, despotic band douche, who dragged his friends and emo-hipster bandmates out to BFE to record new songs for a demo in the quest for a record deal. Nick’s all about the concentration. No drugs. No drama. No distractions. No discussion about his decision to smash everyone’s cell phones with the axe he borrowed from the creepy hunting shack. It’s always a good idea to ditch all comms gear after ignoring an ominous sign telling you not to go in the woods, right?
So, of course, Nick is thrilled when his ex-girlfriend shows up with a load of groupies, drugs and booze — cell phones too. He tried to ward off temptation but temptation came to the band. You’d think Nick would be thrilled; not getting what he wants should be the perfect inspiration for the brooding, angsty whining music he makes.
Movie narratives are larger than life and then some. They often start out as simple jigsaw puzzles before twisting into variegated Rubik's cubes, winding through troves of characters and maze-like subplots. But the same can and should be said of the stories behind these movies, since the tortuous production histories of big budget blockbusters are just as revealing (nay, more revealing!) than any pre-show trailer or Entertainment Tonight insider special.
John Carter, is a fantastic new addition to the Hollywood compendium of behind-the-scenes chaos. In fact, this tale of Martian civil war that went through a great number of iterations and cycles in production Hell, is the epitome of movie-making mayhem.
Buddy flicks sure can be sappy, sucking in viewers with tugs at the ol' heart strings, and just as certain, sci-fi can be far-fetched and predictable.
Both genres, however, have melded into a touching new prototype with Robot and Frank, the film that got Sundance abuzz and won best feature at the 2012 festival.
A-lister Frank Langella — who returned to prominence in Ron Howard's Frost/Nixon — agreed to star in the low-key film with Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, Liv Tyler and Peter Sarsgaard, who's the disembodied voice of the movie's mysteriously intuitive robot. The decidedly non-CG white plastic guy is costumed and animated by various friends and young relatives of the cast and crew throughout the film.
Langella's honest, edgy and often humorous portrayal added a subtle humanity to the film — framed by Jake Schreier's measured direction and Christopher Ford's honest screenplay, which is chock full of some of the best lines spoken in a movie in some time.
Which brings us to Tarsem Singh's Mirror Mirror. This year's second of three retellings of the Brothers Grimm's unforgettable Snow White fairy tale (Grimm's Snow White this past February, and June's Snow White and the Huntsman rounding out the year of White) is a cute, self-indulgent experience, which likely falls into the latter category.
When you have to make someone go all American Beauty to explain the camera’s presence, maybe it’s time to think outside the box. Or back inside the box, as it were.
The old train of thought almost jumped the rails entirely before the flick even started, courtesy of the beautiful blasphemy that is the Three Stooges trailer.
Digression aside, Chronicle is a watchable film in a genre that just needs to up and die already. With that having been said, it was an acceptable vehicle for this particular story; swan song, anyone?
Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan) is a disaffected teen with a new voyeur thing going. Act I is a day-in-the-life sequence that lays the foundation of his predictable character arc, social misfit existence and the multitude of people in King County, Wash. who are in dire need of a firmly-kicked arse. He is joined by two fellow high school archetypes, glib Popular Guy Matt Garrety (Alex Russell) and Team Captain/Senior Class Pres. to-be Steve Montgomery (Michael B. Jordan). Together they climb down a mysterious hole in the ground, get up-close and personal with some low-rent Kryptonite and start bleeding from the nose.
Bam. Instant telekinesis.
Just taking a look at the cast tells you they put some serious thought and/or dough into this flick. Douglas, Banderas, McGregor, Paxton, Fassbender… even a block of wood like Channing Tatum must cost a pretty penny.
Helmed by Oscar-winning best director Steven Soderbergh—who won for Traffic, was nominated for Erin Brockovich and also gave us the Ocean’s trilogy—Haywire had some serious buzz, the kind to which action movies struggle to live up.
Believe it, but—despite what trailers suggest—expect more Danny Ocean than Jason Bourne.