Dubby’s dvdiscussion: Thriller, parody, magic
Director Pete Travis gets hold of Vantage Point and with a who’s-who of Hollywood names from Sigourney Weaver to William Hurts, makes a normal length movie go at warp speed adding handheld camera action and gimmicks aplenty to make for an original thriller.
Says critic Kit Bowen, “Vantage Point gives us just that — a bird’s-eyed view of an assassination attack on the US president. In Spain, President Ashton (William Hurt) is shot and a bomb explodes, killing hundreds of people. For the rest of the film, we see the same 15 minutes over and over but from different points of view: There’s a CNN-like news producer (Sigourney Weaver), who is the first to witness the events; the Secret Service agents (Dennis Quaid and Matthew Fox) assigned to protect the president; an American tourist (Forest Whitaker) videotaping the historic event; a Spanish cop (Eduardo Noriega) who suspects what’s going down by the surreptitious actions of his girlfriend (Ayelet Zurer) at the rally; and most importantly and the head terrorist (Said Taghmaoui). We learn the truth behind the assassination attempt — and as far-fetched as it is, it still isn’t pretty.”
Walk Hard, The Dewey Cox Story, is a Judd Apatow film, which guarantees crass comedy.
Writes Donald Liebenson, “John C Reilly, one of Hollywood’s most solid character actors, makes the most of his Golden Globe-nominated star turns as Dewey, whose road to stardom is paved with a childhood tragedy that killed his talented brother (“The wrong kid died,” is his father’s mantra), instant stardom (his first record is a hit just 35 minutes after it was recorded), sex and drugs, and rehab. Reilly gets solid backup including Kirsten Wiig, wife who has no faith in his musical aspirations, Darlene, Dewey’s virtuous duet partner. Hilarious cameos give Walk Hard a great “Hey!” factor: Hey, that’s Frankie Muniz as Buddy Holly. Hey, there’s Jack Black and Paul Rudd as Paul McCartney and John Lennon revealing ‘a rift in the Beatles’. Some of the jokes are obvious, others inspired. But the decades-spanning music, echoing different styles is as pitch perfect and affectionately observed Hilarious? Outrageous? Twisted? To quote the title of one of Dewey’s hit songs, Guilty as Charged. The whole cast is taking their music on a American tour.”
With suitors crashing out of castle windows and reacting with horror to the pig faced Penelope and an abundance of one-liners, the movie Penelope is a modern day fairy tale, which must be seen.
Says Kathleen C Fennessy, “Director Mark Palanksy debuts with a slight, if fanciful confection. Produced by Reese Witherspoon and written by Leslie Caveny, Penelope begins with the phrase, “Once upon a time...,” making it clear the proceedings owe more to fantasy than reality. Due to a family curse, Ricci’s sweet-natured heiress sports a pig snout instead of a normal nose. Since surgery isn’t an option — it would sever her carotid artery — her parents (Catherine O’Hara and an underused Richard E Grant) hide her from the world for 25 years. Penelope can only break the spell through “one who will love her faithfully”. One fateful day, while her face is hidden, she meets musician-turned-gambler Max (James McAvoy in a winning performance). Sparks fly, until she finds he’s only cozying up to her on orders from tabloid reporter Lemon (Peter Dinklage), so Penelope runs away from home and befriends spunky Annie (Witherspoon) and reconnects with Max, who harbours secrets of his own. Once people become accustomed to her unconventional looks, Penelope’s future starts to brighten. Like Enchanted, Palanksy’s first feature gives the romantic comedy a refreshing — and empowering — fairytale twist.”