March 18, 2011, - 5:03 pm
Incredibly, there are two GREAT new movies at the theater, this weekend:
* “Limitless“: This is a great movie. I enjoyed every single second of it (except the ending, which had some giant gaping holes in it). I’m normally not a fan of Bradley Cooper, but his acting was perfect in this interesting flick. This is bloody and violent and not for kids, despite the PG-13 rating. But it’s a fun, escapist film for adults. And a good moral message about how there is no “perfect drug,” even if that message gets kinda muddled at the end.
As you probably know, humans use only a limited portion of the brain. Who wouldn’t want to take a pill that allows you to use all areas of your brain, become more efficient, and get things done? That’s what Cooper’s character does. A down and out writer, he’s a loser who isn’t making it in life, and is resigned to likely failure. But then he runs into his ex-brother-in-law, a drug dealer, who gives him a pill that utilizes all areas of the brain. Suddenly, he’s staying up all night cleaning up his apartment, quickly writing the brilliant novel he dreamed of, and effortlessly putting together formulas that help him win in the stock market. It’s kind of like friends I’ve had who take Adderall, the ADD drug. At first, they are very efficient and hyper-focused.
Cooper’s life is going swimmingly, and he soon finds himself joining forces with a corporate titan, a billionaire played by Robert De Niro (who proudly attended the UN showing of the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel movie, “Miral,” this week). But, then, there are more than a few serious obstacles in the form of people and symptoms that come his way. Saying anything else about the plot will spoil the movie.
This is not just a great thriller. It’s also great science fiction. I’m told that the book on which it is based, Alan Glynn’s The Dark Fields, has a darker ending, which I’d have preferred. Still, I recommend it highly. Movies like this are the reason people leave their stress-filled lives to enjoy a night out at the movies.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “The Lincoln Lawyer“: As a practicing attorney who does some criminal defense work, I always look to see if legal thrillers pass the smell test. Do they pull things that a real lawyer never would or could do? Does stuff happen in court that’s just not credible when juxtaposed with real life? This one not only passes that smell test, but it’s a fun thriller, starring a terrific actor, Matthew McConaughey (even if he’s nutty in real life). It’s bloody and violent and not for kids (thus, the R rating). But it’s a good adult night out at the movies.
No, this has nothing to do with Abraham Lincoln or Lincoln, Nebraska. McConaughey is a sleazy criminal defense attorney who conducts his law practice out of the back seat of a chauffeur-driven early 1980s model Lincoln Continental Town Car (my late father drove the same car–nice ride!). He works with the help of an investigator, played by William H. Macy. Meanwhile, McConaughey’s ex-wife, Marisa Tomei, is a prosecutor who works for the District Attorney. The stuff McConaughey pulls I’ve seen too many lawyers pull. It’s all believable. He’s all about the Benjamins, like far too many lawyers.
McConaughey is hired by Ryan Phillippe, the son of a rich Beverly Hills real estate investor, who is charged with attempted murder of a prostitute he met at a bar. But, as with all legal thrillers, things are not as they seem. And McConaughey finds that his current client’s case is inextricably tied into a past client’s legal entanglement.
The tempo in this movie is great, and while it has a great deal of action, it also shows some of the real predicaments in which defense lawyers often find themselves. It’s clever and well done, even though we’ve seen similar plot lines before in previous legal thrillers.
Watch the trailer
Paul“: What could have been a great movie and started out with such hilarity and promise, turned into a non-stop blatant attack on religious Christians, gun owners, Second Amendment advocates, and middle Americans with main street values. Oh, and it’s chock full of four-letter words, which dominate the lines.
Two British comic book geeks, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (the anti-Christian bigots who wrote this script), are in the U.S. for Comic-Con (the comic book/sci-fi convention) and then drive cross-country to see their favorite UFO/alien/sci-fi spots, such as Area 51. The opening scene at Comic-Con is hilarious. But it’s all downhill from there. Along the way, they meet typically violent, backward, homophobic gun owners (is there any other kind of gun owner in Hollywood?) and backward cops who “stupidly” question why British cops don’t have guns (yeah, that’s “real stupid” . . . if you’re a liberal).
Soon, they encounter an animated extraterrestrial alien, “Paul,” voiced by Seth Rogen (which should be enough to scare you away), who has escaped from U.S. government custody after a long imprisonment. He is being chased by a government agent (Jason Bateman) and his boss (Susan “Sigourney” Weaver). Pegg and Frost help hid Paul in their RV and take him on some unspecified mission to a destination the identity of which they do not know. At one stop early on in the movie, they spend the night at a trailer park run by a “nutty” fundamentalist Christian father and daughter with the last name of Buggs. Pegg, Frost, and Paul entice the daughter (Kristen Wiig) to give up her “backward” Christian ways and Bible in favor of swearing like a sailor and speaking graphically ad nauseam about having sex.
Do you really care what happens next? I didn’t. It’s basically a “Let’s Make Fun of Christians and Gun-Owners” flick. They would never make a movie like this with Islam and Muslims mocked the way Christians and Christianity are in this piece of crap. It’s yet another reminder why Republicans winning the House doesn’t make a damn bit of difference if conservatives flail in the culture wars. “Bitter gun and Bible clingers” don’t have even a foot in Hollywood’s door.
FOUR MARXES PLUS AN OBAMA PLUS A BIN LADEN
Watch the trailer . . .
Tags: Alan Glynn, Alien, anti-Christian, anti-gun, Bradley Cooper, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Limitless, Marisa Tomei, Matthew McConaughey, movie, movie review, Movie Reviews, Nick Frost, Paul, Robert De Niro, Ryan Phillippe, Seth Rogen, Sigourney Weaver, Simon Pegg, The Dark Fields, The Lincoln Lawyer