Thursday 24 Jul
 
 

Escape from Tomorrow

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05/06/2014 | Comments 0

Sorcerer

William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Essentially part five in the ridiculously profitable horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the found-footage conceit of the other films. The difference is instead of the scares taking place in rich white suburbia, they do so in a junky apartment complex on a largely Latino side of Oxnard, Calif.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0
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Comedy
 

Carnage


Can’t we all just get along? Roman Polanski’s amusing comedy of manners, ‘Carnage,’ answers in the negative.

Rod Lott January 11th, 2012

Given the tumultuous and tragic nature of director/child rapist Roman Polanski’s life, it’s no surprise he rarely touches comedy. Until the new “Carnage,” only 1967’s “The Fearless Vampire Killers” and 1986’s flop “Pirates” gunned for laughs.

That’s not to say “Carnage,” scheduled to open Friday at AMC Quail Springs Mall 24, 2501 W. Memorial, will split moviegoers’ sides. As befitting of a film spawned from a Tony-winning play about four bickering New Yorkers in one room, most of its wit operates on a cerebral level.

Stemming from a disagreement between their sons that left one minus two teeth, Nancy and Alan Cowan (Kate Winslet, “Contagion,” and Christoph Waltz, “Water for Elephants”) visit the apartment of Pen and Michael Longstreet (Jodie Foster, “The Beaver,” and John C. Reilly, “Cedar Rapids”) to smooth things over.

Yet, just as Pen commends the group for choosing “a sense of community” over “that adversarial mindset,” good intentions collapse into serrated shards. The couples begin quarreling, and within 80 minutes, even the pairs have fractured from the influence of alcohol.

From the film’s first line, its stage roots show. Dialogue among the actors is almost all small talk: hamsters, gingerbread crumbs atop cobbler, the ability of Coca-Cola to assuage nausea, blood-pressure medication and suffering in Africa. It’s only near the end that each character’s true self emerges to address the other elephants in the room.

All four play their parts well.

Waltz’s pharmaceutical attorney is shrewdly elitist opposite Winslet’s icy investment broker with a sour stomach. Foster practices passive-aggressiveness before bursting, while Reilly’s average-Joe seller of pots, pans, door handles, flush mechanisms “and other stuff” seems befuddled by all the hullabaloo.

Amusing but slight, “Carnage” appears to exist as an opportunity for the ensemble — three Oscar winners and one nominee — to act with a capital A.

But what, then, is the challenge for someone as gifted as Polanski? Splendid score by Alexandre Desplat (“The Tree of Life”) notwithstanding, nothing about the piece is particularly cinematic post-translation, and with the limited setting, there’s little room for him — or any filmmaker — to screw up. Perhaps after tackling something as rich and dense as 2010’s underseen “The Ghost Writer,” the small scale simply appealed to him.

It can to you, too, provided one is primed for a study of manners in which the punch lines aim for an internal response. For example, Waltz gets the greatest one: “It is.”

 
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