Hope Springs (2012)

Add Comment on August 06, 2012 by Pete Hammond

A major studio summer release exploring the sex life of a married couple over the age of 60 is almost unthinkable, yet that's exactly what Sony's winning dramedy Hope Springs is unapologetically about. Of course, it helps to have Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones as that couple,  plus a terrific script that explores what happens when a wife decides her non-existent marital sex life needs a major tune up and forces her extremely reluctant and complacent hubby into a week-long retreat of couples therapy to fix it. Although this may be the very definition of counter-programming,...

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

Add Comment on August 03, 2012 by Pete Hammond

The first two fairly cheap Diary Of A Wimpy Kid films earned a collective domestic gross of over $100 million, so it's no wonder 20th Century Fox wants to keep returning to this well every year. With Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, they could have the most profitable installment yet. This summer finds "wimpy kid" 8th grader Greg Heffley pretending he has a job at the ritzy country club that his best friend Rowley Jefferson's family has joined. Naturally, complications abound. The franchise is a throwback to the live action kid comedies Hollywood used to regularly turn out, a solid formula that makes kids crack up while adults uncover a surprising about of nostalgic yearning. Expect some rich box office action in the dog days of summer 2012.

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Total Recall (2012)

Add Comment on August 02, 2012 by Kate Erbland

Despite drawing from the genius of visionary author Philip K. Dick and the fun of Paul Verhoeven's original Total Recall, director Len Wiseman's remake is both slicked-up and dumbed-down. Working from a script by Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback, Total Recall jettisons the most recognizable element of its source material—a trip to Mars—in favor of setting its confused hero in an earthly future dystopia. Wiseman's Total Recall stars Colin Farrell as Douglas Quaid, a bored factory man who procures the services of a company that promises to implant him w...

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Hello I Must Be Going

Add Comment on July 28, 2012 by Sara Maria Vizcarrondo

Melanie Lynskey is poised for a comeback as Amy, a recent divorcee. Much can be made of the trajectories of actress and character in Todd Louiso's incisively wry comedy, which occasionally recalls D.W. Griffith's True Heart Susie, a silent film in which actress and part blurred most in extreme close up. Lynskey plays a girl done wrong by her husband, a man she loved once but clearly learned to sleepwalk with, and now they've split, she's thirtysomething and stuck in the warmly regressive embraces of her parents. Her mother (a stunningly on key Blythe Danner) is caring in her bourgeois best; Lynskey's weight, dowdiness, and sense that she just has to be more than she seems, are ritually addressed.

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Killer Joe

Add Comment on July 28, 2012 by Sara Maria Vizcarrondo

Chris (Emile Hirsh) is as dim as his dad (Thomas Hayden Church) and as conniving as his wicked stepmother (Gina Gershon), which almost explains how he could fall into debt and think calling a hit out on his least favorite family member will fix it. Killer Joe isn't as outlandish in premise as it is in execution, which is saying something. The actors in this trailer park satire realize the stakes; most of them poised for a second renaissance, you can see why they treated this project like a cage match. Gina Gershon (trying to erase her reputation as "that lady from Showgirls") is Sharla, bad mother and worse wife.

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Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Add Comment on July 27, 2012 by Sara Maria Vizcarrondo

Ai WeiWei's "Sunflower Seeds" is an installation consisting of over ten million, hand-painted, ceramic sunflower seeds. It's teasingly "Made in China." And it also highlights the fact WeiWei's artwork isn't made by one man—or for one person. Much in the same way Matthew Akers' doc Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present pulled the curtain on the methods of a master artist, Never Sorry watches WeiWei in his studio, directing sculptors, supervising woodworkers and configuring the number of backpacks needed to spell out "She lived happily for seven years in this world" in Chinese characters.

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Step Up Revolution

Add Comment on July 27, 2012 by Amy Nicholson

You're stuck in traffic, cars cramming you on all sides, and then: boom. A stereo kicks in, kids leap from their convertibles, and they dance. Apathy has been jolted into action, and while half the commuters think it's a damned nuisance, the other half are electrified. That's the opening number in Step Up's fourth film and it's an apt metaphor for watching the film itself: when the plot motors forward, you're restless, but the second bodies get in motion, you're slammed awake. I'm happy to be stuck in my seat when the legs start flailing—despite swapping out their entire cast, Step Up Revolution has again found some of the most kinetic talents in the country.

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