By Rebecca Kelley
Welcome to the Oscars edition of “Ticket or Click It.” After you look at the pretty dresses and hear about the nominated films you haven’t watched, relax with a movie. Will there be better options On Demand or in your local theater? “Ticket or Click It” is here to break it down. Click on the movie titles for more information about ordering On Demand or buying tickets through Fandango. And the little statue goes to…
What’s On Demand?
When a young woman escapes a cult, her horrified sister and the sister’s husband find her very changed indeed. Swinging between paranoia, depression and strange exhibitionist behavior, Martha struggles to adjust to the real world.
Our take: The acting is incredible, especially from Elizabeth Olsen (yes, younger sister of the Olsen twins) and John Hawkes as the cult leader, but that’s about all there is to this movie. It’s slow and odd and never quite gets anywhere. Take home message: Don’t join a cult. Now you know.
Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the titular character, the paranoid and powerful ex-head of the FBI. Contrasted with his desire to maintain order and control power, the heart of the movie is his secretive and perhaps unconsummated relationship with Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer). The controversial icon’s sexuality has been rumor mill fodder for years and this movie delves right in.
Our take: Long, slow and boring. The best entertainment in this movie is wondering when the old-age makeup is going to crack and slide off Armie Hammer’s face and, as a corollary, how many of the film’s makeup artists will never work in Hollywood again because of it. Really, secret love affairs and run-ins with the mob should yield a movie with at least some excitement.
Some working class people decide to stick it to the man – in the form of a swindling a Bernie Madoff-type character who lives in the fancy high-rise they work in. It’s a beautiful story of divergent people coming together with one goal: Steal all his money.
Our take: This piece of revenge fantasy is fun and entertaining. It’s not the best movie you’ve ever seen, but it sure feels good. Plus, it’s good for a few laughs.
What’s In Theaters?
Deeds (Perry) runs a wildly successful company, built on years of hard work. But a chance encounter with a cleaning woman and her child make him want to do something more with his life. Something good.
Our take: Tyler Perry doesn’t screen movies for critics and this was no exception. With an all-star cast including Thandie Newton and Phylicia Rashad, it sure looks good to me.
Amanda Seyfried plays a girl whose sister goes missing. And, to boot, she’s convinced the girl has been abducted by someone who tried to abduct her. So Seyfried sets off on a desperate race against time to find her vanished sibling.
Our take: This movie also was not screened for critics. Unlike the Tyler Perry movie, which at least has a chance of being good, “Gone” looks like something you’d endure untold misfortunes to not have to watch. Why do they keep giving Amanda Seyfried movies? Why?
Ralph Fiennes stars in and directs this adaptation of Shakespeare’s play. Set in modern day Rome (which looks something like Eastern Europe), Caius Martius (Fiennes) is a war commander elected to lead the city-state. But does a pointed, powerful, proud, militant soldier make a good conciliator and leader? Not necessarily. Things go wrong in wonderfully Shakespearean ways.
Our take: I did not know the story before I watched, so I’m even more impressed that this adaptation of difficult material was so powerful. It feels extremely timely, given our presidential race and the state of politicians these days. Fiennes and Gerard Butler, as his military rival, are excellent. Vanessa Redgrave as Martius’ even more militant mother is revelatory. Plus, something you don’t expect in a Shakespeare piece but perhaps should: The action scenes are intense, bloody and explosive. It’s a long cry from a choreographed sword fight, that’s for sure.
Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd are a New York City couple on the way to live in poverty with relatives down South after Rudd loses his job. But, as so often happens between New York and Atlanta, they happen upon a hippy-dippy utopia filled with eccentric and foul-mouthed people who have chosen to live by their own rules.
Our take: Did I mention foul-mouthed? Good. There’s also a lot of nudity, drug use, sexuality and all that kind of stuff you’d expect when you see Paul Rudd. Aniston leaves Rachel behind and keeps up well. How much you like this film will depend on how much you like coarse humor, as well as your tolerance for idolizing hippies. It has some laughs.
Speaking of hippies, this is the opposite. “Act of Valor” stars real, active-duty Navy SEALs. They are called up to infiltrate a Latin American compound and rescue its hostage, a CIA informer. The information she provides leads them to a terror plot against America. Soon, the SEALs are off to stop the terrorists before they reach their targets – American cities.
Our take: Ripped from the headlines, this movie is authentic in two unique ways. First, the threats they encounter are not trumped up or dialed down, but chillingly real. Secondly, the movie was filmed during SEAL training operations, which use real bullets and live ammunition. These guys are the best at what they do. And what they do is awesome. The movie treats soldiers respectfully. In fact, it’s a manifesto by the men and women who keep America safe on why they do what they do. After watching this film, you’ll never feel sorry for the troops again – they know exactly what they are doing and why – but you will want to thank them.
Ticket or Click It
Ticket! Go see “Act of Valor” and then buy a soldier a drink.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.