July 3, 2009, - 11:33 am
By Debbie Schlussel
You’ve already read my review of “Public Enemies,” which arrived in theaters, Wednesday. Here are the other new offerings I screened.
* “Moon“: This movie was meant to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1969 landing on the moon. But the storyline has little to do with that, though it does take place on the moon.
This futuristic thriller is sort of like an extended episode of “The Twilight Zone” or “The Outer Limits.” While it’s a little slow, I enjoyed it very much. The modern sets and cinematography of the moon are cool. I also liked its campy use of the 1991 Chesney Hawkes hit song, “(I Am) The One And Only,” as the repeated alarm clock tune in this flick. And the plot is engaging.
Sam Rockwell plays Sam Bell, an astronaut working on the moon in the future. We’ve learned how to harvest the moon for energy back on earth. Rockwell is just two weeks shy of his three year contract to serve on the moon. He’s about to return to Earth to be reunited with his wife and young daughter. But he feels like he’s starting to see things, beginning to crack up. It’s tough to spend three years in solitary existence on another planet, with a clever robot who makes smiley (and other) faces as your only friend and talking partner. Will he make it back or are things not exactly as they seem?
If you like sci-fi and modern, futuristic movies, this is for you. An interesting aside: Trudie Styler, Sting’s wife, is one of the producers of this. It’s good and the ending keeps you wondering. Not all the questions are answered. I like movies like that because they make you think.
Fun, enjoyable, entertaining, escapist–the way movies are meant to be.
* “Whatever Works“: This is typical Woody Allen stuff, though it’s among his worst. The title of this awful cinematic tripe refers to the ending sexual choices of the characters–a religious Christian southerner becomes half of a gay couple, after his wife becomes an artist living with two men in a menage a trois. Yup, Southern, middle-American Christian conservative red-staters becoming gays and sexually experimental in Manhattan, and they all live happily ever after–isn’t that great!
That’s not to mention the extremely snooty, one-dimensional, snobbish way this movie presents and looks down upon Southerners. From beginning to end, the message is that Southerners–actually, all middle Americans–are stupid and backward, that their values are inferior to Manhattan intellectuals.
Larry David plays a much older snobby, genius scientist who falls for a young Southern girl runaway (Evan Rachel Wood) in Manhattan. The girl’s mother soon follows, after her husband leaves her for another woman. The mother becomes an artist (whose work consists of naked photos) and is living and sleeping with two men. Soon, her father (Ed Begley, Jr.) comes to Manhattan and comes out as gay. And, hey, “Whatever Works,” right?
That’s the sad message of this highly unentertaining movie. “Whatever Works”? Isn’t that the philosophy South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford practiced? And, um, it’s not working for him. Ditto for former New Jersey Governor, James McGreevey. A lot of sad victims are left in their wake.
So, to sum up this movie: New York intellectuals–good, very good; Southern middle American conservatives–bad, very bad (and stupid hicks) . . . until they become gays and “artists” in menages-a-trois.