April 20, 2007, - 10:48 am
By Debbie Schlussel
This week, one of the year’s best movies opens, along with some junkers, including anti-Reagan trash:
* “Fracture“–This and “Disturbia” are my two favorite thrillers, this year. So far, both are in my 2007 Top Ten.
Anthony Hopkins returns to the screen as a higher-class, more civilized Hannibal Lecter in this thriller about about a wealthy aeronautical engineer who murders his wife and appears to have committed the perfect murder. The first cop on the scene is–by design–the cop who’s been sleeping with Hopkins’ wife.
Ryan Gosling is excellent as the cocky prosecutor who wants to leave public service to go to a wealthy law firm. But he takes this one last case–an “open and shut” murder with a weapon, perpetrator, and confession.
But it’s not so open and shut, after all. No spoilers, but–other than the ending, which is on very shaky legal ground–this is a great flick. Thrilling, edge-of-your-seat stuff coupled with humor and brilliant acting. Go see this. You’ll thank me. (And see last week’s “Disturbia,” too.)
(Full disclosure: I like Anthony Hopkins, not only because he’s a brilliant actor, but he told Howard Stern that I’m his favorite on that show and complimented me, saying he thinks I’m very smart Thanks, Sir Anthony.)
* “The Tripper“–Fortunately, I didn’t see this much-hyped anti-Reagan, anti-War mass murder movie, but here’s the summary from IMDB:
A Ronald Reagan-obsessed serial killer targets a bunch of hippies who are heading to a weekend-long concert.
Yup, it’s a slasher flick, which writer/director Mr. Courtney Cox a/k/a David Arquette describes as:
a group of hippies who‚Ä¶ get all whacked out on drugs, and then they get attacked by a killer who is obsessed with Ronald Reagan and dresses up like him. He has a killer dog named Nancy. Like the Gipper, he hates hippies but worse, ‘cuz he turns violent on them.”
Fortunately, very few movies are showing this absurdity.
* “Vacancy“–I was going to skip screening this horror thriller because I’d read it was very sadistic and hard to watch. Not the case at all. It was, in fact, far less scary than I thought.
Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale are a married couple going through a divorce and lots of snitty arguments. They’ve also just lost a son. They are on a road trip back from her parents anniversary party, when they have car trouble. The mechanic nearby “fixes” their car so that they are stuck to spend the night in a seedy motel in the middle of nowhere. They find snuff films in the room. Soon they realize that the snuff films were shot in the room, and they realize they are the next targets–the “stars” of the films are innocent motel guests, who’ve been murdered.
This is not a great movie. The acting is very thin for those other than the two big-name leads. But that’s not why people go to these movies. They go to be scared and see people maimed and attacked. And that’s why I have mixed feelings on this one. The scenes from the snuff films are vicious. Movies like these give sick people bad ideas.
Like I said, this one was not as bad as I’d read. But it was not great, either. Definitely chilling and creepy. But very predictable and apparently low-budget.
The fun I had watching this was partially derived from the factthat I screened it with a largely Black audience, who talked backto the screen. You know–the typical, “Don’t go in there” stuff. Yes, White people are the dummies, who always stay at the weird motel or go into the strange house, in these movies. Hmmm . . . where are the anti-Imus brigades and Media Matters on that? Nowhere to be seen.
An okay thriller and not too sadistic, bloody, or gory.
* “In the Land of Women“–Don’t let Adam Brody as the star of this fool you. This is a dumb, depressing, boring, long chick flick, full of weeping and crying, with zero point to make. Brody is a porn movie writer who is just dumped by his movie-star girlfriend. He returns to the Detroit area to live with his grandmother, stricken by dementia. He befriends the troubled women of the troubled family across the street. The mom is Meg Ryan, who clearly has few good roles available to her these days, so she took this depressing one.
Proof that if your daddy is a famous director, you get to make movies–however crappy—too. 26-year-old Jon Kasdan, son of famed director Lawrence Kasdan, wrote and directed this silly waste of time. Why are all the worst movies set in Michigan?
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