Saturday 19 Apr

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

No Holds Barred

RLJ Entertainment's new Blu-ray for No Holds Barred begins with what seems like dozens of trailers for movies starring pro wrestlers from the WWE talent pool. Each flick went direct to home video, but once upon a time — aka 1989 — one had to go to the multiplex to catch such a spectacle.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Knights of Badassdom

In 2008, the third act of the guy comedy Role Models used LARPing — live-action role-playing, that is — as a backdrop for our protagonists' lessons learned. Today, Knights of Badassdom extends that half-hour into a full feature, to the point where viewers are left not smiling, but exhausted. 
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Switched on

Not everything on television has to appeal to mass audiences. In fact, with the further fractioning of viewership thanks to alternatives like Netflix and VOD, more series can afford to become more niche. Here are five examples of shows both past and present — and new to DVD and/or Blu-ray — that encompass some of the more outrageous ideas ever to go beyond boardroom discussion.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Confession of Murder

Seventeen years after slaying 10 women and getting away with it, the charismatic serial killer Du-sok (Park Si-hoo) comes clean with a Confession of Murder, in this 2012 South Korean crime thriller. He does so by publishing a book that dishes all the grisly details.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · 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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