Tag Archives: movies

Weekend in D/FW: ‘Carlos,’ ‘Blue Valentine,’ ‘Somewhere,’ ‘Country Witch’

'Carlos' demands you come to The Texas Theatre. (IFC Films)

Only in movie-land, where we decide the best of the year long before the year itself is over, can we declare that the weekend begins on Thursday morning. But we all must plan ahead to squeeze in as much cinematic goodness as possible. Herewith my top 5 picks:

  1. ‘Carlos.’ Five hours? Made for television? Bah! It’s still one of the year’s best, according to those who know, detailing the famed Carlos The Jackal and his exploits. (Saturday and Sunday, one showing each day, The Texas Theatre)
  2. ‘Blue Valentine.’ Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as a married couple experiencing problems. At least two long-time married ladies have told me that the movie made them cry. Being a polite single gentleman, I did not inquire further. (Landmark Magnolia) [Review added.]
  3. ‘Somewhere.’ Sophia Coppola’s tale of a rich and famous man who finds that his riches and fame have not made him happy. (Gasp! Really? I never would have guessed.) This is a divisive picture, with some colleagues telling me that it’s the year’s best and others declaring it a snooze-fest. May I suggest that couples see ‘Blue Valentine’ and ‘Somewhere’ as a double feature? (Landmark Magnolia) [Review added.]
  4. ‘Season of the Witch.’ Crazy Nicolas Cage, 14th Century knights, monks, witches, and the Black Plague, from the director of ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ and ‘Swordfish.’ How can you go wrong? I’ll be seeing this at an advance screening tonight and, if I survive, I will post a review at Twitch Film. I survived; review posted: read more. (Practically Every Multiplex in Town)
  5. ‘Terribly Happy.’ In the words of (formerly) our own Steve Norwood: “A great little Danish thriller about a cop who is transferred to a distant, deceptively quiet town, only to find himself caught up in all manner of dark deeds.  Don’t miss this film!” Italics and boldface not added by editor, that’s just the way he rolls. (Limited engagement, The Texas Theatre)
  6. ADDED BECAUSE I FORGOT: ‘The Room.’ The cult sensation will get a boost from director Tommy Wiseau when he visits in person and soaks up the acclaim he so richly deserves. (Friday and Saturday, Midnight only, Landmark Inwood)

Also opening: ‘Country Strong,’ featuring actress Gwyneth Paltrow as a country singer and country singer Tim McGraw as an actor (Wide across the Multiplex)

Limited engagements: ‘Border Bandits,’ documentary on a 1915 raid on the McAllen Ranch (Friday only, The Texas Theatre); ‘Playtime,’ Jacques Tati’s classic comedy (Saturday only, The Texas Theatre).

‘Gulliver’s Travels’ Go Where No One Wants to Go (Review)

Gulliver's Travels
Jack Black in 'Gulliver's Travels.' (Fox)

“We’re the little people,” Jack Black says to a fellow mail room employee in Rob Letterman’s version of “Gulliver’s Travels,” which opens wide across the Metroplex tomorrow. Black is called Lemuel Gulliver in the film, a nod to the narrator of Jonathan Swift’s savage satire, first published in 1726. Little else about the new version could be considered a tribute, however.

Oh, Gulliver ends up shipwrecked on the island of Lilliput, all right, where he is reckoned a giant among the six-inch high (give or take an inch) inhabitants and honored for his size and strength. Yet the new film lacks any desire to explore the satirical possibilities of its source material or update the story in any meaningful way. Instead, it seems that the filmmakers counted on the combination of live action and computer-generated imagery to dazzle the audience into overlooking the crushing lack of amusing dialogue or interesting characters.

To be fair, it’s not entirely bereft of charm and invention. But it’s a close call.

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