Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Look, the original Night at the Museum was no work of brilliance. But it had enough affection, amusing jokes and special-effects wonder for an inoffensive family flick. The sequel, however, is as unimaginative as it is sloppy. With all the history and cultural iconography at its disposal, Battle of the Smithsonian relies on Einstein bobbleheads and cherubs that sport Jonas Brothers mugs (and pipes) to generate pop culture laughs. Worse, it trades in the kind of idiotic (and historically insulting) creativity that recasts genocidal General Custer as a goofy come-from-behind Bill Hader hero. There are a few mildly clever moments (Ben Stiller and Amy Adams in Alfred Eisenstaedt’s famed V-J Day kissing couple photo; a giant Abe Lincoln offers dating advice), but screenwriter Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon can’t keep the rules of their own magic straight, no less deliver a decently plotted script. Not only do they allow the tablets to animate all sorts of inanimate objects without reason, they forget Stiller’s son halfway through the film, first introducing him as his computer-savvy partner then dropping him from the screen altogether.

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Back to basics

Michael Pollan makes the world safe for food again

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2009 at 12:00 AM

If you could eat only one food for a whole year, plus water, which food would be best for your health? Pick one: bananas, corn, alfalfa sprouts, hot dogs, spinach, peaches, milk chocolate. If, like me, you chose bananas, you'd be with 42 percent of the population (all that potassium)....

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Salvation salivation

Christian Bale carries a world blown to hell in the franchise’s latest sequel

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Star Christian Bale, who cranks intensity to 11, then busts off the knob. As humanity-savior John Connor, Bale’s intent to glare his way to victory, growling orders and threats with gravel-voiced fury, all the while attempting to burn a hole in the camera lens — even in the quieter moments. Of course, Connor has the weight of what’s left of the world on his shoulders, attempting to hold together a ragtag resistance army against the genocidal computers, which have nuked the planet to near oblivion. And those nasty automatons are busily rounding up people to use as guinea pigs in a plan to create new, more lifelike cyborg (Terminator) units to finally wipe out mankind. Meanwhile, Marcus (Sam Worthington), a death-row criminal in 2003 who signs an organ donor card, gets executed yet wakes up in this shattered future, totally confused, but still full of unfocused rage. His rough edges get partially sanded off by a pair of urchins he takes under his wings, one of whom happens to be young Kyle Reese (Anton Yechlin), who, in the future, will travel to the past and father Connor, if he doesn’t get aced now. Follow?

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Dance Flick

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Deep beneath its canopy of dumb slapstick, pop culture winks, and scatological ha-has, lies the existential dilemma at the heart of Dance Flick; that is, what sucks worse? The silly teen dance flicks or the lame spoofs of them? Cheesy flicks about dance-offs all get ground into a greasy pile of hamburger by the cooks of comedy fast food, the Wayans. It’s truly a family affair, with a credit list loaded with Wayan’s, from Keenan, Shawn, Damien, Kim to the lead actor, Damon Jr., a spitting image of his pop, though a fairly pale copy comedically. The shame is that once upon a time these guys packed a satiric punch. While there’s a hint of that here, there’s also a spiteful strain of misogyny and homophobia that ruins the whole vibe.

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Summer Hours

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2009 at 12:00 AM

The plot couldn’t be simpler: Three fortysomething siblings struggle to manage their mother’s estate after her death. Though the family’s home is storied and the inheritance filled with valuable art works (courtesy their great uncle, a celebrated artist), only eldest son Frédéric (Charles Berling), a French economist, longs to keep the estate and heirlooms in his family. This puts him at odds with his New York art dealer sister, Adrienne (Juliette Binoche), and younger businessman brother, Jérémie (Jérémie Renier), the manager of a sneaker factory in China. Both, expatriates, see little value in maintaining a past to which they are no longer part.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2009 at 1:38 PM

See, art and money can co-exist! We can't believe it either! Maybe this is a small sign of an economic upswing, who knows? Most artists I know aren't at all money hungry entrepreneurs. In fact, most could definitely use some cash to line their pockets. Seriously, as cheap as...

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Thursday, May 21, 2009


Posted on Thu, May 21, 2009 at 12:11 PM

Our pals at Popbitch alerted us to this handy little tool that allows you to read someone's tweets that they think they've deleted. Oh, the frolic ...

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McG hearts the Mitten.

Posted By on Thu, May 21, 2009 at 9:58 AM

A few hundred eager area moviegoers were treated to a nice bonus on Monday night, when an advance screening of Terminator Salvation turned into a meet and greet with the film's director, the man know as McG. Kalamazoo born and bred Joseph McGinty Nichol has made a splash in Hollywood...

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2009 at 2:44 PM

It Came From Detroit Producer Sara Babila and Director/Editor/Camera Operator James R. Petix shot in front of Cass Corridor's defunct garage rock venue the Gold Dollar. (Photo: T.R. Wright) There's a lot a man can do in five years. I mean, you could get through college in five years,...

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Lemon Tree

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Salma (Hiam Abbass) is a fortysomething Palestinian widow who literally lives off the fruits of her land — a 50-year-old lemon grove that sits on the border between Israel and the West Bank. Unfortunately, politics come calling when Israel’s new defense minister (Doron Tavory) moves in next door. His men view her grove as a potential security threat and want it removed. Salma enlists Ziad Daud (Ali Suliman), a young Palestinian attorney to defend her rights, pushing the case all the way to the Israeli Supreme Court. Along the way she falls into an improbable romantic relationship with Ziad as the media catch hold of her story. Meanwhile, life on the other side of the fence also becomes rocky, as the minister’s cloistered wife, Mira (Rona Lipaz-Michael), has deep misgivings about who her husband is and the choices he makes.

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