June 22, 2013 |
In a perfect world, "Devious Maids," a new drama written by Marc Cherry and produced by Eva Longoria, both late of "Desperate Housewives," could be judged simply by its own merits, as an attempt to translate a popular telenovela to American television, in this case Lifetime. Taken as such, "Devious Maids" is just unfortunate - a silly, hyperactive version of "Downton Abbey," relocated to Beverly Hills and populated with as many cliches and stereotypes as can fit upstairs and down.
May 16, 2013 |
The thriller "Erased" divides neatly by influence. When Brussels-based tech security expert Ben Logan (Aaron Eckhart) shows up for work one day, there's no trace of his company anymore, a la "Three Days of the Condor. " Like the "Bourne" movies, he's then targeted for elimination, (when we learn he's actually ex-CIA and highly skilled at killing). He's also a single dad with a teenage daughter (Liana Liberato) in tow, and that creates its fair share of peril, "Taken" you very much. As with many one-man-against-an-international-conspiracy movies, details like who did what, when, for which piece of information and why it's so important mean little once the chases, spy moves and fights hit cruise control.
March 20, 2013 |
Depending on your degree of sympathy for his enterprise, Richard Prince is either a savvy mirror, reflecting select tropes of American popular culture, or a ruthless poacher, hunting on visual terrain already claimed by others. One thing his new work at Gagosian makes clear is that he has no more qualms about quoting and requoting himself than he does rehashing the work of others. In sync with the Pictures Generation that emerged in the '70s, Prince started rephotographing ads, including those starring the ruggedly individualistic Marlboro Man. About 10 years ago, he started scanning the covers of pulp novels featuring nurses, painting over and into the inkjet enlargements.
November 29, 2012 |
With its stock characters and low-expectation high jinks, the German import "What a Man" could have been fabricated on the Hollywood rom-com assembly line. The directing debut of screen star Matthias Schweighöfer, who also co-scripted and plays the lead, fits all too neatly into a familiar mold: In romantic crisis, a milquetoast does a bunch of stupid things on the way to finding true love and locating his spine. The formulaic aspect wouldn't be a problem, though, if the material (co-written by Doron Wisotzky)
November 8, 2012 |
The so-called docudrama "Shady Lady" amateurishly reconstructs the World War II tale of the then-longest aircraft bombing mission in aviation history. But about five minutes into this stiff hybrid you wonder whether it's all not a sneaky attempt to concoct a flatfooted howler for midnight movie cult status. Or better yet, a WWII version of "Airplane. " The worthy, potentially exciting subject matter would certainly have lent itself to either a straight-on documentary or a seriously budgeted narrative feature.
November 3, 2012 |
Some fuss was recently made over the role President Obama plays in "SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden," a docu-drama premiering on National Geographic Channel on Sunday. There were accusations that the timing - days before the election - and the late-hour insertion of additional footage of the president, including a voice-over describing the decision-making process, were designed to boost Obama's reelection bid. Despite subsequent protests from the network and the filmmakers, the partisan kerfuffle can work only to their advantage; no doubt more people will watch "SEAL Team Six" in light of the mild controversy.