Neither a chain of spice stores nor a Food Network program, The Seasoning House is a bleak-as-nuclear-winter thriller set during the Balkan conflict of the 1990s. A deaf girl named Angel (Brit teen Rosie Day) is taken from her home by soldiers who shoot her mother dead.
Paul Schrader’s The Canyons opens and closes with a montage of abandoned movie theaters. For this film in particular, that choice strikes one as symbolic in several ways: not only as a comment on the state of the industry, but on the state of The Canyons itself. You’re unlikely to find many 2013 films this empty.
What's a director of classic musicals doing in science fiction? Making Saturn 3, one of the worst of the genre Hollywood made in the immediate post-Star Wars / Alien era. Stanley Donen (Singin' in the Rain) takes to it about as well as you'd expect; he's in over his head.
Military marksman Col. Jim McQuade (Gregory Hines, Running Scared) is called into top-secret duty to neutralize a surveillance robot gone haywire in San Francisco. It won't be easy, because for one thing, the android is undetectable from a human. For another, it has a built-in nuclear bomb that will detonate upon imminent threat.
I plead guilty: My friends and I have goofed around with a camcorder before and made stupid movies, but we were smart enough to know that no one outside ourselves would think they were funny. If only the makers of Caesar and Otto's Deadly Xmas realized the same.
Jennifer Westfeldt is a smart woman. So why does her latest film, Friends with Kids, feel so seen-it-already?
Although long a screenwriter (Kissing Jessica Stein) and an actress (TV’s Notes from the Underbelly and 24), Westfeldt makes her directorial debut with this romantic comedy that co-stars four members of the Bridesmaids cast and opens Friday.
She stars as Julie, best buds to Jason (Adam Scott, TV’s Parks and Recreation). Their relationship is pure When Harry Met Sally ..., watching one another date other people when it’s so obvious they’re perfect for one another — it just takes them 100 minutes, give or take, to realize that. They even call each other at insane hours over trivial stuff; Jason answers the phone at 4 a.m. to hear Julie ask without introduction or context, “Death by shark or alligator?”
What separated Sally from sitcom setup was sharp writing, which Friends does not have. It belabors its non-point by having Julie and Jason agree to have a baby together, but not be committed to one another in any way. As if. At least he’s there at delivery: “Your vagina looks like a jellyfish!”
Their title pals whose offspring inspired Julie and Jason’s semen-bonded deal play to the stereotype of the sexless, miserable parents whose love was destroyed by spawning. Talented people like Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd seem like they’re doing Westfeldt a favor ... and they certainly are, by tricking moviegoers into thinking the film will be made funny/amusing/credible — take your pick — by their presence.
It’s not. A typical gag has Jason scare off a girlfriend (Megan Fox, losing the least when it’s all said and done) by being covered in poo, face included, while changing his son’s diaper. Has Westfeldt even seen a diaper change?
Naturally, Friends with Kids ends up exactly how you think it will, with one slight twist: Jason says, “Let me fuck the shit out of you” to convince Julie of his true feelings. She agrees. Isn’t it romantic? —Rod Lott