Tag Archives: opening

‘The Dilemma’ Challenges the Conventions of Comedy

The Dilemma
The cast finally faces 'The Dilemma.' (Universal Pictures)

Remember when comedies used to be funny? ‘The Dilemma,‘ starring Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder, and Channing Tatum, challenges that conventional thinking, but maybe not in the way the filmmakers intended.

“If you like characters who don’t speak and act in a recognizably human way, you’ll love “The Dilemma,” the new comedy from director Ron Howard, starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James as ostensible best friends. If you enjoy comedies that are rambling and witless, and rely on hurtful physical gags, so much the better.”

You can read my full review at Red Carpet Crash. Would you like a second opinion?

“A myriad of subplots piled into the trunk of a lemon. …  A mess, in short— not comedy, not drama, not clever, not insightful, only forgettable.”

That’s from Robert Wilonsky’s capsule review, which appears in the LA Weekly — and possibly other Village Voice Media publications — but not, as far as I can see, in the Dallas Observer, not even in the online edition. Strange that it’s missing, but he certainly captures the spirit of the thing, as when he describes Vaughn’s character Ronnie: “His inability to reveal the infidelity sends Ronny into a slapstick free-for-pratfall.”

The films open today at multiplexes throughout the Metroplex.

Weekend in D/FW: ‘White Material,’ ‘Lemmy,’ ‘Night Catches Us,’ ‘Green Hornet,’ ‘Dilemma’

White Material
Isabelle Hupper tries to save the family plantation. (IFC Films)

Weekend in D/FW is a weekly feature that corrals all the films that are opening, along with special screenings and events.

Plan ahead! Saturday and Sunday look like rain days in the Metroplex, so where better to curl up with a friend than in a warm movie theater? Here are my top 5 picks for the weekend.

  • ‘White Material.’ Set in war-torn Africa, Isabelle Huppert stars as a woman fighting to save her plantation from civil unrest. Claire Denis directs. (Angelika Dallas)
  • ‘Lemmy: The Movie.’ For the Motorhead in all of us. Documentary on the colorful lead singer and hard-core rocker. (Texas Theatre)
  • ‘Night Catches Us.’ Set in strife-torn Philadelphia, 1976. Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington star as a couple dealing with his past involvment in the Black Panther movement. Tanya Hamilton directs. Friday through Sunday only. (Texas Theatre)
  • ‘The Green Hornet.’ Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, and a sleek automobile called Black Beauty star in an action-comedy directed by Michel Gondry. (Multiplexes everywhere.)
  • ‘The Dilemma.’ Ron Howard directs Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Winona Ryder, and Jennifer Connelly in a comedy. (Multiplexes everywhere.)

Special screenings: ‘Army of Darkness.’ Sam Raimi battles villains in Sam Raimi’s comedy. Friday and Saturday, Midnight only. (Landmark Inwood) ‘Mr. Hulot’s Holiday.’ Priceless Jacques Tati comedy. One screening only, Saturday 2:00 p.m. (Texas Theatre) ‘

Continuing in limited engagements: ‘Blue Valentine,’ ‘Casino Jack,’ ‘Somewhere.’ (Landmark Magnolia)  ‘I Love You Philip Morris,’ ‘Rabbit Hole,’ ‘127 Hours.’ (Angelika Dallas)  ‘Rabbit Hole.’ (Angelika Plano) ‘Blue Valentine,’ ‘Casino Jack.’ (Cinemark West Plano) ‘Blue Valentine.,’ ‘127 Hours.’ (AMC Grapevine Mills)

Look for my review of ‘The Dilemma’ coming tomorrow. I’ll make this post “sticky” and keep it at the top through the weekend for easy reference.

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).