Friday, July 30, 2010

Flick picks for the weekend

First course, Dinner for Schmucks, directed by Jay Roach, director of the Austin Powers movies and producer of Borat. In other words - credentials great. This has hilarity – but with a point – written all over it. The film is based on 1998’s French farce The Dinner Game (Francis Veber) which has the kind of setup – based on today’s contemporary class structure – that I love. Pierre and his snobbish friends host dinner parties and see who can bring the dullest or most unsuspecting inept guest. Of course tables, so to speak, turn. Which brings us to this weekend’s Americanized  Dinner for with Steve Carell as Barry, Paul Rudd’s (Tim’s) guest. Tim’s in this dinner because – suck suck - he wants a promotion. What I love about the premise is that it gets at the root of our class-ridden society. No, we don’t have classes divided by wealth anymore. We have classes divided by tastes or interests. The film should be a hoot, should being the operative word. It’s Hollywood after all and probably a few notches below the movie’s original version because Europeans – unlike syrupy Americans – know how to be really cruel to drive the storyline.....Next on the menu, Countdown to Zero (Lucy Walker). Be scared - very, very scared. If you thought the nuclear arms race ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union you of course would have been wrong. In fact, the film suggests, we could be more at danger than ever. At least in the Cold War we had a relatively few countries with big stockpiles of arms assuring mutual destruction if one country launched missiles first. Today we have numerous nations – often quasi-rogue states – with nuclear caches. And don’t forget terrorism. Who needs massive nuclear destruction when a few small nukes will do just fine for destroying New York, L.A. and Chicago?.....For dessert, Ramona and Beezus (Elizabeth Allen), based on Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby books for kids. Joey King as nine-year-old Ramona is supposed to put in a great performance as a character who’s a mixture of clumsiness, charm and spunk. Older sister Beezus is played by Selena Gomez. The film apparently is also a realistic look at joblessness (dad John Corbett is out of work) and a view of family life and the little tensions that can bug everyone, from time to time, living in close quarters.....The apertif is up to you.

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