A frontier newsreader is tasked with delivering an orphan girl to her relatives.
Directed by Paul Greengrass
Starring Tom Hanks and Helene Zengal
Review by Jon Kissel
Tom Hanks, America’s dad, lives into his reputation in News of the World. In Paul Greengrass’ western, Hanks rides from town to town in post-Civil War Texas, telling the townsfolk in a calm and entertaining manner what’s happening outside of their communities. He’s the personification of the future nightly newsman, showing up in households as a comforting presence who filters the noise of the world into a signal. News of the World knows exactly what it has going for it with Hanks, and gives the venerable actor another role that projects competence and decency.
Movies that achieve cult status are supposed to be flattering to their adherents. The masses might have overlooked this film, but I’ve got the secret message that it’s an underrated gem that was too smart or too idiosyncratic, just like me. Clue supposedly has its own cult, but smart, it is not. Directed by Jonathan Lynn, who’ll follow this up with Nuns on the Run, Clue is indeed as shallow as its premise. Board-game adaptations are always being threatened by creatively bankrupt studios, sometimes to fruition with Battleship, and Clue shows why that’s an empty and pathetic idea. Clue might find redemption as being a spoof of a specific genre that’s also a worthy member of said genre, but the genre of chamber mysteries is another that fails to entertain me, thus doubly relegating it to the trash bin.
He's a responsible candy executive with a troubled love life. She's adorable and clumsy and runs her own free-spirited candy store. These two don't belong together at all, but the power of love and their shared preference for fiction books can cross any bridge. In David Wain's latest comedy spoof, They Came Together, the tropes of romantic comedies are broken down and served up like so much peanut brittle, the proceeds from which will go to a charity, because I'm too cute to know how to run a business.
In the recent autobiographical documentary Val, Val Kilmer is shown struggling to stay engaged at a convention where fan after fan thrusts a Top Gun poster in front of him and asks him to sign it with his Iceman catchphrase. Kilmer had earlier remarked on how little he thought of Top Gun, dismissing it as a jingoistic puffball, but now, people are singling it out to talk with him as opposed to anything else he’s ever done. Alexander Dane (Alan Rickman) knows this feeling as Galaxy Quest begins. We’ve just seen footage of his major credit played for an eager convention, and with its lot of corny effects and stilted acting, it’s not something anyone should be proud of. Dane certainly isn’t, but he has to economically rely on fans who like the show for reasons he cannot understand. Galaxy Quest engages with both sides of fan culture and lovingly satirizes it by imagining the most dedicated fans possible, which here are guileless aliens who’ve patterned their space-faring culture off a D-grade sci-fi series that likely aired at 11 on Saturday mornings between Looney Tunes reruns and Julia Child. Dean Parisot’s crowd-pleasing comedy acknowledges how silly and disposable parts of the culture can be, and still manages to make the same ephemera affecting in the exact scenario.
Superhero franchises in the early 21st century could not seem to make their third entries work. Spider-Man 3 was overstuffed and cringey while X-Men 3 turned to hackiest hack Brett Ratner. Blade Trinity fits squarely within that pattern but worse, as it’s a film enslaved to current trends in blockbuster movies and music with an eye toward future sequels and a lack of any motivating factor beyond the quest for more money. The two earlier Blade films at least had a minimal amount of underlying drama, whereas this is all meaningless snark and commerce. Blade Trinity exists for the funny behind-the-scenes nonsense, at least if Patton Oswalt is to be believed, and that’s about all the entertainment value provided by this pathetic limp to the end credits.
JUST SOME IDIOTS GIVING SURPRISINGLY AVERAGE MOVIE REVIEWS.
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