Porn Addict Meets Match in ‘Don Jon’; Tame Blues: Movies
Rush, starring Chris Hemsworth, reveals something about the male ego through its main characters, and Blue Caprice depicts the tragic true story behind the D.C. sniper shootings, though the film doesn’t dig deep enough, according to Hornaday. Divorced parents Albert (James Gandolfini) and Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) explore middle-age romance in Enough Said. (Photo by Lacey Terrell/Fox Searchlight via Associated Press) Enough Said (PG-13) Like the best romantic comedies of Hollywoods Golden Age, Holofceners film zings and pops with hilarious dialogue (‘What the hell is chervil?’ Eva snorts after Marianne lovingly gives her fresh herbs from her perfectly un-manicured garden), but also gets to the heart of human nature: in this case, the lengths people go to in order to fill their empty spaces, and how lovable foibles become intolerable flaws. Ann Hornaday Rush (R) As much escapist fun as ‘Rush’ is as an adrenaline-juiced car-race movie, its most interesting as a rare depiction of male vanity, how physical attractiveness informs self-worth and potency, and the role beauty so often the sole purview of women on screen plays in mens relationships and personal insecurities. Ann Hornaday Inequality for All (PG) this film avoids the familiar impartial-arbiter mode of documentary filmmaking and adopts a single perspective as its own. (Viewers will not, in other words, hear from any Gordon Gekko types arguing that wealth belongs to those who can take it.) Both films pair bits of biographical color with footage of well-polished lectures, bringing in just enough outside material to make them feel like real movies. John DeFore Blue Caprice (R) As admirable as Moorss oblique style is, though, Blue Caprice doesnt offer the sense of catharsis or closure, let alone new information, that makes it more than a cold, if disciplined, directorial exercise. Muhammad, who was executed in 2009 , and Malvo, who is serving a series of consecutive life sentences , remain enigmatic, remorseless figures, their depravity never deeply examined past their emotional problems and psychological ills. Ann Hornaday Don Jon (R) The only real down side of Don Jon is the extreme vulgarity, especially early on. Its easy to imagine that some of Jons audacious admissions could alienate certain audience members, and it would be a shame if the outrageousness overshadowed the movies thoughtful revelations and surprisingly sweet heart. Stephanie Merry Baggage Claim (PG-13) Theres so much wrong with Baggage Claim from its outdated story line and similarities to the dreadful Whats Your Number to Talberts clumsy, flat-screen directing that its all the more surprising when things go right. But it would be unfair to deny that it doesnt provide its own modest, sometimes outright hilarious, pleasures. Ann Hornaday Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (PG) But instead of upping the ante, as so many sequels do, Cloudy 2 merely gets the band back together including perky weather girl Sam Sparks (Anna Faris), immature bully Brent (Andy Samberg) and Flints level-headed father (James Caan) for a repetitive mission that calls to mind multiple beats from the first movie. Sean OConnell Metallica Through the Never (R) Thanks to wireless instruments, guitarists James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo are highly mobile, and even drummer Lars Ulrich moves around a lot. They interact with other performers in scenarios that appeal to some metalheads taste for carnage and destruction. The last staged catastrophe seems rather tasteless, but it turns out to be a clever setup for the back-to-basics finale. Mark Jenkins Haute Cuisine (PG-13) Frot manages the tough trick of playing someone whos both standoffish and likable. Hortense isnt easily amused or benevolently quirky, the way so many female characters can be. Shes serious, but her passion for recipes and fresh produce proves appealing. “Haute Cuisine” also strays from the typical formula because its devoid of a romantic subplot. Stephanie Merry The Trials of Muhammad Ali (Unrated) Bill Siegels The Trials of Muhammad Ali reminds us, though, that the boxer fought significant battles outside of the ring, as well.
Though its set in New Jersey rather than Brooklyn , Don Jon — written and directed with frenzied energy by Gordon-Levitt — cheerfully steals from the 1977 Saturday Night Fever in its tale of an Italian-American stud-slash-dolt who harbors a spark of life that draws him toward the wider world. Its even more condescending to the small-minded characters around him, if thats possible. Don Jon is also fast and funny. Jons deliverance comes in the form of a messed-up pothead named Esther who sees through his insulation and tells him what he needs to hear. The down-shift from cartoon romance to romantic drama would be jarring if Esther were played by a lesser actress than Julianne Moore, who makes the wisdom shes given to deliver sound like good hard sense from an older woman whos been through hell. Shes touching, Johansson is wonderfully awful and Gordon-Levitt is electric, making it easy to forgive the movie its meannesses. Unless you happen to be Italian-American. Don Jon, from Relativity Media, is playing across the U.S. Rating: **** (Seligman) Muscle Shoals Songs as energizing as When a Man Loves a Woman and Brown Sugar leave us wanting more, so maybe its fitting that a documentary about the place that delivered those gutbucket classics does the same. But Muscle Shoals , Greg Freddy Camaliers feature-length film hitting select theaters before airing on PBS in early 2014, leaves us unsatisfied for all the wrong reasons. Ruminations on Native American legends and Helen Kellers water pump would be fine in an Alabama travelogue, but in Muscle Shoals? Couldnt we please get back to Mustang Sally? Rock Superstars In the 1960s, Muscle Shoals, the backwoods Alabama town that housed FAME recording studio and its rival facility Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, drew rock and soul superstars looking to tap the areas homegrown funk rhythms. Some, like Aretha Franklin, were surprised to learn that those beats came from a rhythm section composed entirely of white boys barely out of their teens — the Swampers, as they came to be known (and name-checked in Lynyrd Skynyrds Sweet Home Alabama). Muscle Shoals explores the cross-racial camaraderie that launched gems from Arthur Alexanders Anna to Paul Simons Kodachrome. Wonderful old footage shows the Rolling Stones hearing their first playback of Wild Horses and Franklin laying down the opening piano chords of I Never Loved a Man the Way that I Loved You. Alongside interviews with Mick Jagger, Percy Sledge, Keith Richards, Jimmy Cliff, Bono and Clarence Carter, among many others, the film properly credits FAME founder Rick Hall as the man who started it all. And as intriguing as the still-living Hall is — his life story absolutely twangs with a blues songs misery and missed chances — Muscle Shoals lags when it strays from those perfect beats.