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Martha K. Baker

Friday, 19 September 2014 08:16

'Tusk' offers walrus-to-walrus outrageousness

It is possible that Kevin Smith has decided to flap a wet flipper at film-making. He came to prominence in 1994 for the indie film, "Clerks," and he has been making off-kilter films all his life, but "Tusk" goes beyond the call of doody.

 

Friday, 19 September 2014 08:06

'Love Is Strange': Good movie, strange title

Where did the title,"Love Is Strange," come from? It seems to have little to do with the film, which is a love story, but neither the love nor the story is strange. Sad, yes. Sweet, very. But not strange. Unless you count a couple having pillow talk in a great-nephew's bunk bed strange.

Sometimes all it takes is one name to assure film-goers that a film promises to deliver. For “Life of Crime” that name is Elmore Leonard. He co-wrote the script with the director Daniel Schecter, so the expectation is that humor will dance around the violence of the underworld.

“The Trip to Italy” is a sequel to “The Trip,” truly one of the funniest movies ever conceived and produced. It had a boyish bounce at its core as comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon tooled their way about the Lake District of England, reviewing restaurants without knowledge but with braggadocio.
 

Friday, 05 September 2014 00:00

‘The Last of Robin Hood’ tells tawdry tale

Raise your hand if you even remember the name of Errol Flynn. Raise it again if you remember Flynn as Robin Hood. If you remember him mostly via the phrase “in like Flynn,” you’re closer to the context of “The Last of Robin Hood.” 

Friday, 19 September 2014 00:00

‘My Old Lady’ considers the law and love

The title does not refer to the Sixties’ idiom for “wife.” Rather, it refers to a real a 90-year-old woman who seems to come along with the apartment in Paris willed to a son by his dying father. That son, Mathias Gold, is 57 years and 11 months.
 

If you’ve been led to believe that “The Hundred-foot Journey” is all about whatever character Helen Mirren is playing this time, you might be vexed to discover she’s a secondary character, for this is not her character’s journey. It is Hassan Kadam’s, a young man from Mumbai, set down in France.
  

The comedy troupe known as Monty Python put a last show on stage that’s been filmed for all to see. It’s hysterically funny, if stupid, insular, sophomoric, and boyish, meaning there will be gas-passing. Watching it is like watching Gramps perform his old Shriners’ act for the neighborhood kids.

Yes, the verb’s in the wrong mood in the title: It’s indicative where it should be subjunctive: Wish I Were Here. Nevertheless, the mood of the movie is just right as it curses at death and laughs at life, especially life as a thirty-something or life as a teen-ager.
 

“Carnage,” the last film directed by Roman Polanski before “Venus in Fur,” involved a quartet of actors arguing with and among one another. He halves the company in “Venus in Fur”: a couple, a man and a woman, engage in an age-old argument, a battle, if you will, of the sexes.

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