From Mary Burgan. Email her at mary[AT]borderstan.com.
Not for her the repulsive roar of a new comic book transition to the screen at Gallery Place. She would rather call up a great movie like Despicable Me on stream or on Netflix and enjoy its clever sentimentality one more time.
The Dark Night Rises. I tested The Dark Knight Rises at a Cineplex for this review, and I actually fell asleep. I woke up mainly for Catwoman, played with classy verve by Anne Hathaway. Hathaway seems the best thing in the movie, aside from the elaborate machines. The opening set-up is clever, but it goes on too long, as does almost everything else–like Michel Caine’s sobbing admission that he has failed the somber Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale). I say “Good” for Michael Caine, but shame from prostituting his talent in this drivel.
Ruby Sparks. I saw two other films that will keep me going back to movie houses (and trying to avoid the ridiculously expensive popcorn there.) The first was Ruby Sparks, a romantic comedy, introducing Zoe Kazan as the new America’s Sweetheart. She’s unpredictable but loveable, with a cute little nose that always looks vulnerable, on the verge of a cold. That vulnerability plays into this slight fantasy about how you can’t just create a perfect girlfriend on your own.
Beasts of the Southern Wild. Another film to keep us going out to the movies is Beasts of the Southern Wild. Its opening imagery is so rich and its people are so phantasmagoric, that you may feel lost at first. But there is the clear, hard voice of the heroine, Hushpuppy, to explain everything in her own way and by her own cosmology. She makes life after a storm in the “bathtub,” her marginal town that lies outside the Louisiana levee, seem almost normal.
I don’t enjoy confusion in a movie. But in Beasts of the Southern Wild, confusion is the very language of Hushpuppy’s experience of childhood and Nature and the love of a parent. Experience in Beasts of the Southern Wild can be poetic, savagely real about how we are all “meat,” comic, and refusing to be sad. “No crying” is the demand of Hushpuppy’s father even in death.
So there are still good movies out there. I’ll continue to tell you about one or two of them every other week. Meanwhile you may decide to test your wakefulness by seeing The Dark Knight Rises. Some people thought it was a pretty good flick.
But don’t miss Ruby Sparks or Hushpuppy.