The Weekender: ‘Less’ is more


30 Minutes or Less*
Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Nick Swardson, Danny McBride
Story by Michael Diliberti & Matthew Sullivan
Screenplay by Michael Diliberti
Directed by Ruben Fleischer
Two unemployed losers (McBride and Swardson) kidnap a pizza delivery boy (Eisenberg), strap a bomb to his chest and order him to rob a bank. It sounds like a dangerous game—and the real-life story it’s based on didn’t end well—but the laughs come frequently in this movie, though it’s one that will play a lot better at home, surrounded by friends, pizza, and the impairment of your choice.

The Help
Starring Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer
Written for the screen and directed by Tate Taylor
Based on Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel, The Help is the latest from the Disney assembly line to take the tumultuous times of the ’60s in the South, and then simplify and sugarcoat into something palatable for audiences. It’s worked in the past (Remember the Titans), and this is a talented cast, but what’s supposed to be genuinely inspiring comes off as calculatedly maudlin.

Final Destination 5
Starring Nicholas D’Agosto, Emma Bell, Arlen Escarpeta
Screenplay by Eric Heisserer
Directed by Steven Quale
Oftentimes, I get upset about how often Hollywood repeats itself. Then again, there are franchises like Final Destination, which pretty much decided to get as ridiculous as possible following the frightening first installment. Thanks to the advent of 3-D, audiences now get to see all kinds of objects hurtling towards the characters as Death gets his revenge after they escape tragedy. The latest—a sequel we were almost denied after the previous film was called The Final Destination—doesn’t seem to deviate from that formula, and in this case, that’s alright by me.

Glee: The 3D Concert Movie

Starring Cory Monteith, Lea Michele, Chris Colfer
Directed by Kevin Tancharoen
The only thing I can say in defense of this movie is its trailer features the closest thing to truth in advertising I’ve ever seen: after the obligatory clip of the cast singing “Don’t Stop Believin’,” Jane Lynch cuts in to give a direct command to the audience: “Please, save your money. This thing sucks.”

The Guard
Starring Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Mark Strong
Written and directed by John Michael McDonagh
Brendan Gleeson is definitely on my list of Actors I Will Watch in Anything. Here, he’s an Irish cop who helps out an FBI agent (Cheadle) investigating drug smugglers in the Old Land. The conceit is that Gleeson is essentially the Dude with a badge: it may be impossible to tell if he’s a complete dolt or a total genius who’s just gaming everyone. Expect lots of profanity-laden laughs in the vein of In Bruges.

Also opening: The Names of Love (Angelika Dallas), Doc Weekend 2011 (Texas Theatre)

To rent:

To buy:
Blu-ray: The Fox and the Hound (30th Anniversary Edition), Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Lookout*, The Battle of Algiers (Criterion Collection)


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