August 28, 2009, - 3:26 pm
Most of the movies out this weekend did not have critics screenings, and you can guess why. As I’ve noted, time and again, August is the cinema cemetery, where bad movies are sent to die a quick death and get buried even before rigor mortis sets in. There was only one screening–for “Taking Woodstock.” And you didn’t really expect me to sit through the big screen glorification of ’60s hippies doing drugs, getting naked and muddy, and achieving nothing at Max Yasgur’s farm, did you?
So this week, I have two video rental suggestions–two movies I liked, movies to which I give FOUR REAGANS:
* “The Ritchie Boys“: I’ll try to post a complete review of this, next week. But if you liked “Inglourious Basterds” (read my review), you’ll love this Academy Award-nominated documentary, which aired on the Military Channel.
It’s about real-life American Jewish soldiers who emigrated from Europe and then were recruited to invade Nazi Europe as spies for America. Unlike in “Basterds,” they didn’t scalp any Nazis. But they sabotaged their operations and helped America and the Allies win the war. And their exploits and enthusiasm are entertaining. One of “the Ritchie Boys,” Guy Stern, is a family who lives in the Detroit area. My friend, David Karp, is an uncredited executive producer of the movie and got the funding for the movie.
* “Criminal“: If you liked “Matchstick Men, ” you’ll love this. A caper movie about two con men who partner up to do a giant con on a billionaire, this is fun, light, and entertaining. It’s exactly what movies are supposed to be–enjoyable escapism.
John C. Reilly (of whom I’m normally not a huge fan) and Diego Luna are the confidence men, who pull off a number of fun-to-watch scams before they try for the big score. You’ll have to ignore that the homely, America-hating Maggie Gyllenhaal (she said America deserved the 9/11 terrorist attacks) has a costarring role. She’s really a very minor part of the movie.
At just over one-and-a-half hours, the movie is just right. And you’ll never guess the ending. Worth the trip to the rental store (or the wait to get your online order). Rated “R” for suggestive dialogue and four-letter words. (Not for kids.)
Tags: Criminal, Diego Luna, Guy Stern, Inglourious Basterds, John C. Reilly, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Matchstick Men, Movie Reviews, Movie Reviews, Ritchie Boys, The Ritchie Boys