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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sex in the City 2 suggests its time to pull the plug on the series

Posted By on Thu, May 27, 2010 at 11:32 AM

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Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Charlotte (Kristin Davis), and Samantha (Kim Cattrall) reunite for a scattershot follow-up to the 2008 blockbuster that even diehard S&TC fans may find lacking. Except for a big, fat gay wedding sequence (replete with a delicious Liza Minnelli cameo), laughs are in perilously short supply. And writer-director Michael Patrick King’s decision to ditch Manhattan for an extended sojourn in Abu Dhabi reeks of creative desperation. It’s a jumping-the-shark-style time waster the movie never truly recovers from. Carrie’s marital woes with Big (Chris Noth) never seem particularly compelling either, a problem that afflicts too much of the film. While it’s fun seeing the gals strut their stuff on the big screen again, they’re a bit like dear old friends you haven’t seen in awhile who turn out to be kind of boring once you finally reconnect. King will have to do a lot better next time if he plans to make this into a viable movie franchise. Otherwise, maybe it’s best to just pull the plug on Carrie & Co. once and for all. **

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Reel Cleveland

Posted on Tue, May 25, 2010 at 8:44 AM

For the past seven years, Dave Filipi, film and video curator at Columbus' Wexner Center for the Arts, has hosted a program of archival baseball footage at the Cleveland Museum of Art (11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7350, clevelandart.org/film). This year's program, Dave Filipi Presents Rare Films From the Baseball Hall of Fame, screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 2. One of the clips includes scenes from the 1954 World Series, when the Indians lost to the New York Giants.

"There's good footage of the [Giants'] Polo Grounds, which was a historic but unusual field because of its dimensions," says Filipi. "It was short down the lines. A pinch hitter named Dusty Rhodes got big hit after big hit, and in one game, he hit this short home run down the right field line. In any other ballpark, it would have been a fly ball, but there's this great camera angle that shows how short it was."

Other highlights include excerpts from the 30-minute documentary Baseball vs. Drugs and a clip of Washington Senators owner Clark Griffith celebrating his 85th birthday with J. Edgar Hoover. In another clip, Babe Ruth plays catch with a young boy. "I was actually unsure whether there would be enough to do a program of all-new material," says Filipi. "I'm sure they have more material at the Hall, but it's a matter of it being identified and catalogued and re-digitizing it. I imagine they have boxes and boxes of old film." Tickets to the screening are $8.50.

Shaker Square Cinemas (13116 Shaker Square) and the Capitol Theatre (1390 W. 65th St.) will host benefit screenings of Sex and the City 2 at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 27 (at Shaker) and 6:50 p.m. Friday, May 28 (at the Capitol). The Shaker Square benefit will feature a free mini spa, appetizers from area restaurants, and complimentary wine and soda. Guests are encouraged to dress up as their favorite Sex and the City character; a panel of judges will pick four winners. Proceeds benefit Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital.

The Capitol benefit will start with a screening of the film, followed by a themed afterparty featuring food from local restaurants. The woman wearing the best Sex and the City-inspired outfit will win a $150 prize package. Proceeds benefit MetroHealth's BREAST Program. Tickets to each event are $40. Find more information at clevelandcinemas.com.

Send feedback to jniesel@clevescene.com.

Friday, May 21, 2010

MacGruber takes action cinema to new lows

Posted By on Fri, May 21, 2010 at 12:19 AM

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A parody of the ’80s TV show MacGyver, MacGruber began as a short recurring skit on Saturday Night Live with Will Forte starring as the title character. The skit only has one joke: while trying to deactivate some sort of timed death trap, MacGruber invariably fails and the death trap goes off. This was kind of funny the first few times, but it doesn’t take long for the concept to be run into the ground. Somehow, Forte and his team of writers have managed to come up with another handful of jokes for MacGruber’s first (and hopefully last) feature length adventure. Here, MacGruber has to find a nuclear warhead before his enemy (Val Kilmer) detonates it. None of the new jokes are funny even the first time, but that doesn’t stop the movie from repeating them ad nauseam. Ultimately, MacGruber comes off as one of the stupidest and most unlikable characters ever to take center stage in a major motion picture. *

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Friday, May 14, 2010

First-rate cast can't save Robin Hood remake

Posted By on Fri, May 14, 2010 at 12:00 AM

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Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood tries to give its legendary English hero-thief (played by frequent Scott collaborator Russell Crowe) a gritty update/reboot à la Batman Begins or Casino Royale. Scott is a capable filmmaker, and he certainly knows how to stage a visually stunning action sequence, but his talents — as well as those of the first-rate cast (including Cate Blanchett, William Hurt, and Max Von Sydow) — aren’t enough to save Robin Hood. There’s simply nothing fresh here. For that matter, there isn’t much here that feels like a Robin Hood movie. Scott spends too much time on political intrigue and not enough on Robin’s merry band. At least there’s one scene where the rich get robbed and the spoils are given to the poor. But this is Robin Hood in name only; it’s more like a second-rate Braveheart or a halfhearted attempt to recapture the success of Scott and Crowe’s Gladiator. ** 1/2

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Waiting for Armageddon makes its local debut at CMA

Posted By on Wed, May 12, 2010 at 8:40 AM

A documentary about people who believe that the second coming of Christ will be a “rapture”-like event, Waiting for Armageddon makes its Cleveland debut tonight at 7 at the Cleveland Museum of Art Lecture Hall. Here’s our review of the film.

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Waiting for Armageddon (U.S., 2009) According to this documentary film, over 50 million Americans believe the world’s end will be accompanied by the second coming of Christ. The filmmakers interview a number of Evangelical experts, ranging from ministers to housewives to provide some kind of perspective on their beliefs. Many of the hardcore believers think Israel will be the epicenter of Armageddon so a portion of the film is set in the Middle East. So-called experts argue whether it’ll be an atomic blast or an old-fashioned war with fighters attacking each other on horseback. And they imagine that Christ will “trash the planet” before rebuilding it. The filmmakers’ aims aren’t entirely clear here, but it seems like they’re trying to expose the Evangelical extremists for their far-fetched beliefs. Regardless, the film provides an interesting cross-section of the wide range of people who occupy the religious right. ***

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Still Bill makes its Cleveland premiere tonight at CMA

Posted By on Fri, May 7, 2010 at 4:08 AM

Still Bill is a terrific new documentary about R&B star Bill Withers. It makes its Cleveland debut tonight at 7 at the Cleveland Museum of Art Lecture Hall. Here's our review of the movie.

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Still Bill (U.S., 2009) This documentary about ’70s R&B star Bill Withers, who hasn’t made an album in 25 years, opens with cips from an old interview in which Withers recalls label reps telling him he was “too old” to start a recording career at 32. He was working at Webber Aircraft when “Ain’t No Sunshine” stormed up the charts, landing Withers on The Johnny Carson Show. The filmmakers follow Withers back to the West Virgina town where he grew up and they follow him as he hangs out with his old Navy buddies he met in Guam. The striking thing about Withers, who admits “I’m kind of like pennies; you have them in your pocket but you don’t know that they’re there,” is how content he is. He doesn’t miss the fame and fortune. “It would be rough to just go out there,” he says. “There was a time for that. This is not that time.” ***

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Win tickets to see Creepshow at the Capitol Theatre

Posted By on Thu, May 6, 2010 at 6:35 PM

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Creepshow is the featured film of Cleveland Cinema's Late Shift series and screens at midnight, Saturday, May 15 at the Capitol Theatre. Directed by George Romero, the film is a cult classic. For your chance to win afour-pack of tickets, send an email to freetickets@clevescene.com, use the subject heading Creepshow and answer the following trivia question: "Who wrote the screenplay for Creepshow?" Winners will be announced on Thursday, May 13 and need to pick up the tickets at the Cleveland Scene office by Friday. Please supply your name, address and phone number.
Must be 18+ years to enter. Winners within the past 30 days are ineligible. The passes do not guarantee admission and must be exchanged at the box office for tickets. Seating is limited. Arrive early.

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