Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
Hawaiian history looks great, less filling, in 'Princess Ka'iulani'
She is a cultural heroine in Hawaii. The last princess of the royal line, she fought with poise and determination to preserve Hawaiian independence even as American military and political forces were robbing the islands of their self-governing sovereignty. She exists in a historical moment blighted by unsavory skullduggery on the part of the United States that most Americans deserve to know more about. Hers is an epic story of gender, race, class, heartbreak, perseverance, and unswerving courage.
Remember Play It Again, Sam, when the spirit of Bogie coaches Woody Allen to be tough and cool in the face of life's challenges? It's a similar deal in Ken Loach's sly urban comedy Looking For Eric, where Loach's sad-sack, midlife protagonist turns for inspiration to legendary soccer great Eric Cantona. Loach, the prolific British director best known for gritty, slice-of-life realism dramas (Ladybird, Ladybird; My Name Is Joe; The Wind That Shakes The Barley) lightens up here with unexpected elements of comedy, fantasy, and romance. There's a dark side to the story, of course, and plenty of raucous profanity, but mostly, this is a funny, upbeat film about conquering one's inner loser and going for the goal. Steve Evets is solid and crackling with nervy energy as Eric Bishop, a postal worker in industrial Manchester at the end of his short fuse.
Class, guilt and privilege converge in an unconvincing 'Please Give'
Nicole Holofcener is becoming the bard of upper middle-class, white ineffectuality. Her last film, Friends With Money, was an astoundingly lame look at useless L. A. women making foolish choices, adrift in their own lives. In her angsty new comedy, Please Give, Holofcener switches the action to New York City, but sticks to the same milieu of clueless privilege, trapping her excellent cast in a lineup of dubious characters whose behavior ranges from merely baffling to downright unpleasant. To make it all feel more weighty, Holofcener tosses in an element of all-purpose white liberal guilt. But like so many other elements in the story, she really doesn't know how to use it to good effect.
Girl ... the franchise is showing signs of menopause
Don’t get me wrong—you can’t walk away from Sex And The City 2 really hating it. It’s just that there’s not that much to really love in the sequel that finds Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and her gal pals (Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon and Kristen Davis) returning for another big screen soiree based on the hit HBO show that spawned their celebrity.
Fine acting shines in an impeccable, but bloodless literary adaptation of ‘City of Your Final Destination'
Social upheaval, exile, literary reputation, academic politics, eccentric lifestyles of the semi-rich and infamous, celebrity and its unsavory underbelly—all are under consideration in The City Of Your Final Destination. Beneath this somewhat lugubrious title (based on the Peter Cameron novel) is a most decorous and well-behaved literary adaption, a bit precious at times in its novelistic symmetry and philosophical debates, but entertaining and well-acted—particularly in a showpiece performance by the marvelous Laura Linney.
Hero channels inner ogre in fun, fizzy 'Shrek Forever After'
It's a wonderful life for everybody's favorite green ogre in Shrek Forever After. Until he screws things up and gets a taste of what life would have been like for his loved ones if he'd never been born in this fourth installment of the fractured fairy tale franchise. Directed by Mike Mitchell, this entertaining chapter in the series is also the first one to be shot and processed in 3-D (although you might wonder if effects like projectile baby drool are worth all the bother).