Monday Movies Sets Fires to Feel Joy

Pitch Perfect spans the intolerable and the sublime. It’s the story of Beca (Anna Kendrick), a college radio DJ who prefers to keep to her headphones but reluctantly joins an a capella singing group when her professor father says she can only quit college and go to L.A. if she spends her freshman year just trying something. She hooks up with the Bellas, an all-female group whose ranks have been decimated after the lead senior flubbed last year’s championship by projectile vomiting out her “I Saw The Sign” solo. Continue reading “Monday Movies Sets Fires to Feel Joy”

Monday Movies Likes To Ride

I don’t think it’s helpful to call a work of art “pretentious,” but I do think it’s meaningful to call one “unpretentious.” Rather than open up an unnecessarily Bourdieuvian riff, let me put it this way: I dig a good B-movie. One of my favorites of the last decade was Cellular, a nimble kidnap thriller in which Kim Basinger is uniquely suited to slay one of her captors because she’s a seventh-grade biology teacher who knows her axillary arteries. Life-and-death stakes, a little broad comedy, car chases, never boring and never in bad faith.

Stephanie Zacharek’s compare-and-contrast of Premium Rush to The Master gave me the idea that the former might be in my zone, Continue reading “Monday Movies Likes To Ride”

Monday Movies Spent $76,520 on Booze, Dancers, and Whores

Margin Call — A masterful, quiet drama about the first 24 hours of the financial crisis, and one of the rare films to use the word “capitalism” in dialogue. A high-rolling Wall Street firm executes a round of cuts, leaving skeleton crews in its various departments. As a manager in Risk Management (Stanley Tucci) gets the axe, he passes a thumb drive to his surviving junior, an MIT-trained engineer-turned-quant (Zachary Quinto). The thumb drive contains evidence of what we now all know — that this emblematic anonymous firm is leveraged far beyond value or reason, and that the piper could ask to be paid at any minute.
Continue reading “Monday Movies Spent $76,520 on Booze, Dancers, and Whores”

Monday Movies Needs Him. He’s Our Friend.

Robot and Frank opens with a sequence borrowed from Bottle Rocket: a robber breaking and entering into his own home. But unlike Owen Wilson’s Dignan, whose crime is in preparation for a more eventful life, Frank (Frank Langella) is helplessly reliving his adventures. Frank lives in Cold Spring, NY, five hours’ round trip from his barely-not-estranged son Hunter (James Marsden), and under the lengthening shadow of dementia. When Hunter brings him a helper robot, an affably clunky-looking white cartoon astronaut without a name (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard, inhabited by dancer Rachael Ma), he proudly resists at first, but soon learns that the robot’s obedience to federal and state law is subordinate to its prime directive, to maintain his health, and if planning and executing heists keeps his mind sharp and his life purposeful, the robot is happy to learn the meaning of “case the joint.”
Continue reading “Monday Movies Needs Him. He’s Our Friend.”

Can Monday Movies Tell You, We Are Not Fond of Cremations

Bernie is based on a true crime story, first told by Skip Hollandsworth in 1998 and rehashed in the New York Times by the victim’s nephew a few months ago. In the hands of Richard Linklater, directing Jack Black and Shirley Maclaine from a script he wrote with Hollandsworth, it becomes a wonderfully odd bird of a movie, a documentary murder comedy that sets a small ensemble of actors to play in a garden of locals playing themselves. Continue reading “Can Monday Movies Tell You, We Are Not Fond of Cremations”

OK, See? Monday Movies Has a Fan. We Have William.

Celeste and Jesse Forever. Rashida Jones and Will McCormack co-wrote this romantic comedy about a couple who like each other too much to end their marriage and move on. It searches for the truth behind the clichés, sometimes finds it, and other times finds the clichés.

At the beginning of the film, Celeste (Jones) and Jesse (famed phallopyxistor Andy Samberg, who slips easily into an emotionally grounded seriocomic acting register) drive their friends crazy by neither breaking up nor staying together. Continue reading “OK, See? Monday Movies Has a Fan. We Have William.”

Monday Movies Thinks We Should Be Best Friends

Magic Mike follows two performers: Magic Mike (Channing Tatum), a masterful male stripper who dreams of getting his custom furniture business off the ground but can’t raise his credit score; and Adam, aka The Kid (Alex Pettyfer), a dropout college athlete whom Mike leads into a world of temptation. In an attempt to impress Adam’s sister Brooke (Cody Horn), Mike swears to protect him as the netherworld of Florida club life wraps him tighter in its clutches. Continue reading “Monday Movies Thinks We Should Be Best Friends”

It’s Monday Movies’ Hope That If You’re Watching This Video, Something Incredible Has Happened

The famous last line of Gatsby captures the futility of escaping the past, but it takes a time travel movie to recognize the equal problem of turning the boat around to confront it. Safety Not Guaranteed takes a real-life classified ad as its point of departure and out of it, builds a DeLorean fueled by nostalgia, regret and shame. Continue reading “It’s Monday Movies’ Hope That If You’re Watching This Video, Something Incredible Has Happened”