Thursday, August 11, 2011


The Myth of the American Sleepover

In David Robert Mitchell’s micro-indie “The Myth of the American Sleepover”, the aimlessness of youth and awkwardness of teenage love are given seamless examination. Taking as its starting off point one long summer night on the precipice of beginning high school, it wouldn’t be unfair to mention it in the same breath alongside “Dazed and Confused” or “The Last Picture Show”… films that manage to encapsulate a certain time and mood of expiring childhood. The film follows a handful of teenagers, both male and female, as their various parties and sleepovers migrate and fold across each other. Featuring a host of amateur faces, not only does writer-director Mitchell elicit sweet, honest performances from everyone involved, but the film avoids hard plot contrivances and simply exists. The scene of a boy and girl breaking up through a bedroom window or the visual of a dream girl fading away when a boy sees several phone numbers scribbled on her arm are only the hallmarks of a film that takes its title seriously. “The Myth of the American Sleepover”, besides being one of the year’s best films, also provides us with great memories of our moments at this age, checkered by inexperience and a naïve outlook, but ones that we constantly try to re-live as we grow older.

Cowboys and Aliens

Jon Favreau’s “Cowboys and Aliens” is a summer entertainment event that successfully melds the western and the sci-fi invasion film into a thoroughly engaging effort. Like it or not, Favreau seems to be made for producing no-nonsense, easily digestible big tent movies with the right amount of intelligent humor and character connection. As the cowboys charged with holding off an alien invasion and human harvesting experiment, Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford are amiable. But faring even better is Olivia Wilde as a mysterious hanger-on to the events whose beautiful looks and other worldly eyes make for a surprising character arch. More than a pretty face, Wilde is a terrific actress who will certainly mature into something more as her careers progresses.

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Going into “Crazy, Stupid, Love” with high expectations after solid word of mouth and mostly favorable critical writings only made the deadening experience that much more intolerable. Chock to the brim with stock comedy scenarios, a grating and precocious thirteen year old who seems to crop up in every Steve Carell movie lately and a film that acknowledges in one scene that “this is so cliché” then proceeds to hammer home so many more of the same…. It all goes so wrong. Even Ryan Gosling, usually dependable in anything he does, feels stale and overwrought. A sure miss fire for me.

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