Tuesday, May 14, 2013


This silent Spanish charmer will garner comparisons to The Artist and they are both well crafted and beautifully told.  Blancanieves tells the story of Snow White with a Spanish twist.  When her matador father is paralyzed and her mother dies in childbirth, young Carmencita is sent to live with her doting grandmother, but once the elderly abuela falls ill she is sent to live with her father and step-mother, played with delicious cruelty by Maribel Verdu (Pan's Labyrinth).  Young Snow eventually grows up and sets out on an adventure of self discovery involving a motley crew of bullfighting dwarves.  You may know the story, but this unique re-telling will enchant you all over again. 

Gimme The Loot 
The two engaging leads in Gimme The Loot make you a part of their world from the opening sequence where they’re stealing spray paint cans to ‘bomb’ their neighborhood.  Malcolm (Ty Hickson) and Sofia (Tashiana Washington) are two graffiti artists with a simple plan: They want to tag the giant green apple that pops up at Mets games whenever someone hits a home run.  They just need the money and the access.  The goal isn't as important as the journey in this New York slice-of-life comedy by writer/director Adam Leon.  

The Great Gatsby
Baz Luhrmann's opulent, glitzy, Gatsby whizzes by so fast in the beginning that you might think you're going to lose the story in all of the glamour, but by the second half you find yourself completely engrossed in the complicated relationships and inner turmoil of the characters.  Leo DiCaprio plays the suave, titular millionaire with a quiet sensitivity that is matched by Toby Maguire's Nick Carraway.  Carey Mulligan brings a strength and complexity to what could be a really whiny one-note character.  The anachronistic Jay-Z infused soundtrack might seem jarring at first, but by the end all of the pieces fit together quite nicely. 

Oz the Great and Powerful 
Sam Raimi's big budget prequel to The Wizard of Oz lives up to the whimsy and the spectacle of the original.  It may be substantively soft for adults, but there is plenty here for kids to enjoy.  James Franco plays a young Oz, whisked away in his hot air balloon to a colorful unknown land where he meets three witches played by Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams all with very different agendas.  If you know the original story there won’t be any surprises, but the journey is a lot of fun.

The Place Beyond The Pines  
Ryan Gosling is a cool, reckless stunt driver who finds out he is a father and wants to provide for his son, but the mother (Eva Mendez) has already moved on.  Bradley Cooper is a beat cop with a law degree and a grudge against his father, who is regarded as a hero, but then gets embroiled in department corruption.  The final of the three vignettes in the film involves the sons of the two previous characters 15 years in the future both dealing in their own way with the legacy of their fathers.  It’s well acted, but the plot doesn’t always seem plausible or get to anywhere specific enough to make a clear statement about fathers and sons, which it seems to want to do.

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