6/30/2008

Get Smart

GET SMART
This surprisingly smart (ha?) take on the ‘60s spy spoof features great casting, some belly laughs (Alan Arkin and Dwayne Johnson steal the show), a hilarious Bill Murray cameo, homage to the original and Anne Hathaway’s legs. But a baffling emphasis on action dilutes what could’ve been a great comedy.

Wanted

WANTED
I never read the comic, but apparently this adaptation changes almost everything, turning a secret cabal of world-leading supervillains into a justice-serving league of assassins. Despite a few nice action sequences, this MATRIX pastiche just leaves the bland, familiar taste of compromised Hollywood product. And Jolie needs to eat something.

6/23/2008

Swingtown

SWINGTOWN
CBS’ obviously MAD MEN-inspired tale of swinging in the suburbs of the 1970s suffers a bit from network TV restrictions and clich├ęs, but the casting, art direction and music make it worth tuning in if you love (or lust for) that decadent decade. Mmm, who wants fondue?

Kirby: King of Comics

KIRBY: KING OF COMICS by Mark Evanier (Abrams)
Jack Kirby was comics’ most influential and important artist, but the industry (especially Marvel) usually treated him like a worthless cog in the machine. Posthumously, his legacy shines unquestioned, and this amazing book manages to make familiar images (which never lost their vitality) look fresh and new. Truly essential.

6/16/2008

The Incredible Hulk

THE INCREDIBLE HULK
Ang Lee’s 2003 HULK may have been ponderous, but at least it was interesting. This Hulk (equal parts comic & TV show) may smash the Abomination, spawn the Leader and serum-check Captain America, but it ultimately feels too slight (evidenced by its contrasting highlight: the crowd-pleasing Tony Stark cameo).

6/14/2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL
Undercooked and overblown, completely lacking in any resonant human drama or believable excitement, this meeting of the unrestrained minds of Spielberg & Lucas yields little beyond pining for the good old days of pre-CG. I squirmed as Shia Labeouf became Tarzan, and writhed in pain at the climactic wedding scene.

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY
Another potentially hilarious film lessened by the mushy, neutering hand of Judd Apatow. There are a few moments of genius in this satire of music biographies (particularly the Beatles segment [improv?]), but the film is permeated with Apatow’s patented mainstream compromise, causing the whole to fall short of TAP-greatness.