Apr 30 2010

Mid-August Lunch

Gianni (Gianni Di Gregorio) is a middle aged Italian man living with his 93 year old mother (Valeria De Franciscis); the two share a small condo/apartment of which they are significantly behind on maintenance dues. When the building manager comes to Gianni with a way to work off some of the debt, he’s sees little option but to say yes to what seems to be a simple proposal– he’ll watch over the manager’s mother for several days during Italy’s biggest summer holiday. Before long Gianni is also pulled in to watch over the manager’s aunt, and then further suckered into also watching over the family doctor’s mother, crammed quarters indeed. Conflicting personalities full of zeal, differing dietary requirements, and sweltering heat, how and can Gianni keep these four very real women happy?1
Endearing in it’s simplicity and underlying dry wit, Di Gregorio’s directorial debut arrives with an examination of culture that show’s not only a window into the Italian lifestyle but also how a little wine and a little kindness can go a long way. Sharp and believable acting from all of the players lends to the film’s organic feel; and, for anyone who’s ever had to tend to an elderly parent or relative, the film’s relatability is even greater. A fun matinee and good prep for a real Italian meal afterward. Mid-August Lunch plays at the Guild 45th this weekend.

Apr 30 2010

A Nightmare on Elm Street

A reboot of the horror franchise featuring Freddy Krueger (Jackie Earle Haley), the twisted burned pedofile who wears a glove made of knives and hunts high school teens in their dreams takes to the theatres this weekend. In this go around, two classmates, Quentin Smith (Kyle Gallner) and Nancy Holbrook (Rooney Mara) are in a race against time to figure out what it is that Freddy is after, where he came from, and perhaps how he can be stopped. But can the two stay awake long enough to actually do away with Freddy? Nightmare poster
Now, first of all it should be noted that as remakes or reboots of classic horror flicks go, a lot is expected by fans of the genre to make things newer, scarier, and full of more suspense. Knowing this, sadly, it seems this offering just can’t pull it off. Sure there are a few paint by number scares, and there are plenty of nods to previous incarnations of Freddy which fans may or may not appreciate. And, to Haley’s credit, he certainly handles the role admirably as only the second actor to wear the glove and hat, it’s just unfortunate the material he’s given to work with just seems trite and under whelming.  Appreciated though is a more developed backstory to Freddy’s character but it isn’t enough to make up for the short comings of the rest of the storyline which keeps drawing from the same well only to pull up stale water; what should be shrieks and laughs instead turn out to be snickers and sneers. Better luck next time. Maybe a rental later for the curious. A Nightmare on Elm Street is rated R.

Apr 23 2010

The Losers

Graphic novel action comes to life when a group of spec ops military personnel are set up for failure and presumed dead by a cloak and dagger CIA operative named Max (Jason Patric). Now out to clear their names, Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Jensen (Chris Evans), Roque (Idris Elba), Pooch (Columbus Short), and Cougar (Oscar Jaenada) team up with the help of the mysterious Aisha (Zoe Saldana) to get back into the country that betrayed them and take their revenge on Max. But are they biting off more than they can chew, and what exactly is this new weapon that Max is trying to obtain and why?The_Losers_poster Visually designed and shot to have a look and feel similar to the graphic novel series the film is based on, this offering has what could be considered a softer action feel when compared to the recent hyper-violent action films audiences have been exposed to. Fun performances from the ensemble also work well to strike the careful balance of levity and seriousness to give the film that desired comic-esque pulp action feel. Still, the visual effects could have been a bit better, and the film ultimately ends up feeling a little long despite the fact it only clocks in at 98 minutes of runtime. Decent enough to warrant a matinee for those looking for a popcorn chomping family action flick. The Losers is rated PG-13.