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Friday, October 23, 2009

In Theater: The Vampire's Assistant 

John C. Reilly is just about the last guy you’d think to cast as a vampire. He’s older, pockmarked, plays mostly goofy roles and is blessed with a mop of loose, curly hair. (And then there’s that slightly muppet-like voice.) It’s a pleasant surprise, then, to see him own the role of Crepsley the vampire, a tired and cynical old soul who puts on a kind of magic show with the traveling Cirque du Freak. Reilly is a talented performer, which aids him well: he’s good enough to be great without really trying, a fitting style for such a downbeat and aged character.

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(ken-lowery.com)

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Friday, October 16, 2009

In Theaters: Where the Wild Things Are 

With just ten sentences and a handful of beautiful artwork, Maurice Sendak made a timeless children’s tale in Where the Wild Things Are. Max, Mr. Sendak’s wolf costume-bedecked young hero, escapes a scolding mother to become king of a horde of monstrous-looking Wild Things until it’s time to go home again. And in those scant few pages, Max’s brief journey becomes a celebration of the essential wildness of a child’s imagination.

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(ken-lowery.com)

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Friday, October 02, 2009

In Theaters: Zombieland, The Invention of Lying 

Zombieland:

Well, this was inevitable. Between the time I wrote this and the time you read it, thirty zombie movies were produced in North America. Zombies are the poor horror filmmaker’s shortcut to social relevance and easy gore, and the genre now finds itself so overworked that any new zombie film that throws in a dash of genre bleed—say, the “alternative lifestyle” faux-doc like American Zombie or the Norman Rockwellian Cold War spoof Fido—is heralded as a minor work of genius before disappearing mere months later into merciful obscurity.

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(ken-lowery.com)

The Invention of Lying:

With The Invention of Lying, Ricky Gervais (creator and star of the originalThe Office and Extras) seems to be making a bid to be a soft-hearted Woody Allen. The opening titles cards are a familiar white-on-black text, and almost immediately Gervais begins his narration with a bit of snarky meta-commentary on the credits themselves. Gervais gives us the premise: he lives in a world where lying was never invented, and everyone is brutally honest with everyone else all the time. It’s just the sort of modern fantasy premise that would feel snugly at home in an Allen movie.

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(ken-lowery.com)

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Friday, September 18, 2009

In Theaters: Jennifer's Body 

Jennifer’s Body is the kind of teen horror movie that wants us to believe that bona fide blonde babe Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia, Mean Girls) is in fact a dumpy loser. Of course, as the movie’s written by the overbearingly hip Diablo Cody, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is some kind of intentional dig at how the Teen Movie genres operate. (Seyfried even sports glasses and pinned-up hair, which for time immemorial has been code for “ugly duckling.”) Surely Cody knows what she’s doing? Surely she’s taken even a passing glance at the genre she’s diving into, and the discussions surrounding it?

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(ken-lowery.com)

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Friday, September 11, 2009

In Theaters: Big Fan 

Paul Aufiero has one love in his life, and that love is the New York Giants. It’s the kind of love recognizable to any fan (sports or otherwise), the kind of love that engenders a love of trivia and no sense of nuance. Paul sees everything and yet sees nothing. His love is deep and very personal, but that’s not to say it’s monochromatic; to a certain kind of fan, despairing over your beloved thing is almost as much fun as adoration.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

In Theaters: Cold Souls 

“This isn’t an exact science,” says Dr. Flintstein (David Strathairn) to one of his clients. He’s referring to the thornier details of his company’s work, which is to remove souls from people who’d rather not deal with the emotions and the baggage their soul inevitably accumulates over a lifetime. Time and again, Flintstein reminds his client that there’s so much about the soul nobody knows—what it’s made of, why each person’s soul looks the way it does, and so much more. Flintstein merely presents the option of soul extraction and soul rental; the larger ramifications he leaves to the individual to discover.

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(ken-lowery.com)

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Friday, July 31, 2009

In Theaters: Funny People 

It’s a simple truism that funny people are often angry people, and angry people are often sad people. Humor, to funny people, is a coping mechanism; if the world can be made into a joke, if something horrible or offensive can be deflated without violence, then life becomes manageable.

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