Fresh to L.A. the aspiring and underage model Jesse (Elle Fanning) seems to have the “it” factor that so many actors, agents, designers and so on seek with ravenous desire. So, when Jesse meets Ruby, Sarah, and Gigi (Jena Malone, Abbey Lee, and Bella Heathcote) one might say her fate is sealed. In a world where beauty is everything, it’s kill or be killed for what you have, will Jesse have what it takes to unleash her neon demon before she’s devoured by her counterparts? Written and Directed by known avant garde quantity Nicolas Winding Refn, this latest offering is as colorful and artistically driven as previous works, Drive and Only God Forgives. Now standard to Refn, a heavy use of silence between actors and thick synth scoring creates an over the top tension, sensuality, and and hunger in this particularly ugly take on the fashion world, the intent being a film that’s burned into your mind. Sadly, this go round the overall connective tissue between scenes fails to provide enough substance or clarity to the director’s intent which leaves more questions on the table than answers. Perhaps a matinee for fans of the Director’s previous works, otherwise a rental later when you’ve got the itch for an art flick that seems to be about as vapid as the vampires of Hollywood. The Neon Demon is rated R.
Once content, the lovable blue tang fish with a short term memory disorder, Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) is suddenly inspired to find her family and roots, a quest that will take her and clown fish friends Marlin and Nemo (voiced by Albert Brooks and Hayden Rolence) across the ocean to a Marine Life Institute. Meanwhile at the institute, the reluctant and gruff octopus Hank (voiced by Ed O’Neill) strikes a deal with Dory to help her find her family. But time is of the essence, it may already be too late, and what of this moving truck packed for the Cleveland Aquarium? Animated by Disney’s crack commandos at Pixar and Directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane this blast of a ride takes similar turns to 2003’s Finding Nemo but brings enough new wit, wisdom, and humor to make for the perfect kickoff to summer for all ages. With the whimsical tones of Thomas Newman’s score setting the scene to the already eye popping imagery, the film begs for a second watch just to catch all of the detail. Pixar for the win! Finding Dory is rated G.
Calvin “The Golden Jet” Joyner (Kevin Hart) was the big man on campus when he graduated high school in 1996, destined for greatness he settled into the mundane life of an accountant. But, when a blast from Calvin’s past, Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson), shows up days before their 20th year reunion, worlds collide. As it turns out, Bob is actually a C.I.A outlaw on a mission to prevent secret codes from falling into the wrong hands, teaming up with Calvin the two might actually stand a chance at success, that is, unless they fail in spite of themselves. Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber this odd couple buddy cop romp has all the hallmarks we’ve come to expect from similar films we’ve seen along the way, the main selling feature this go round is the solid chemistry between Heart and Johnson, a well balanced toss up of easy laughs. And, while not razor sharp comedy, plenty of chuckles line the way to entertain. With a handful of cameo appearances, a bit more bang for your buck is in store. You could do worse, but you could also do better. Maybe a matinee, Central Intelligence is rated PG-13.