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Buffy, the Now Player Slayer

By: Jeff Ford
By: Jeff Ford

For the past few weeks as I’ve been typing this column, I’ve stuck mostly to movies being released in the multiplexes.

For the past few weeks as I’ve been typing this column, I’ve stuck mostly to movies being released in the multiplexes.  By doing this, I’ve ended up neglecting the theater that is literally just down the street from me.  The Kentucky Theater does not always get the biggest blockbusters.  Instead they choose to limit their slate to mostly the independent and limited release scene.  They get the occasional big movie (I caught “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and “The Ides of March” there) but the smaller films are their bread and butter.

 Alongside “Anonymous”, now showing is a film called “The Way.”  Written and directed by Emilio Estevez and starring his father, Martin Sheen, it tells the story of a man who has to travel to Spain to pick up the body of his estranged son.  He ends up walking “el camino de Santiago” spreading his son’s ashes along the way.  From the trailer, it looks very good and I’m kicking myself for not having noticed it earlier.  The final showing of it is on Thursday and I’m going to try and catch it before it leaves.

Come Friday, “Anonymous” and “The Way” will no longer be gracing the Kentucky Theater, leaving space open for two more films, both of which, I’ve heard, have very strong performances that are already getting major Oscar buzz.  One of those performances comes from a Lexington native.  I’ll get to those films in a little bit.  First, I must deal with the elephant in the room; an elephant that has pointed teeth and sparkles in the sunlight.

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 1

It’s the wedding of the Millennium.  Perfect little klutz Bella (Kristen Stewart, “Twilight”) is marrying the vampire almost a century her senior, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon”), and we’re all invited.  Also receiving an invitation is the shirtless teen wolf, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner, “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse).  We all know that he’s the better candidate for Bella (Team Jacob all the way, fools!) but she can’t deny her feelings for her true love, Eddie.  Everything proceeds smoothly until she goes and gets herself knocked up.  This is not an appealing occurrence to the vampire and werewolf clans so something’s about to go DOWN!!!

Confession time.  I am NOT a Twi-hard or whatever Stephanie Myer fans are calling themselves.  I’ve never read the books nor seen the movies.  The closest I’ve come to knowing what these things are about is I read a plot summary on Cracked.com which spent the whole time making fun of the books.  I’m not the right audience for this, and I am perfectly fine with that.  I’ll leave the sparkling pretty boys to the teenage girls and their 40-year-old mothers and I’ll stick to my style of vamps (which can be found in “Let the Right One In” (or “Let Me In” if you would prefer the American version), “The Lost Boys” and “Blade”).  I’m rating my Interest Level in this as 1 Nosferatu out of 5.  Breaking Dawn is rated PG-13 for disturbing images, violence, sexual/partial nudity and some thematic elements.

HAPPY FEET 2

These penguins can dance if they want to.  They can leave their friends behind.  ‘Cause their friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance well then they’re no friends of theirs.  Mumble (Elijah Wood, “North”) and Ramon (Robin Williams, “The Survivors”) returns to the 3D screen in the sequel to the 2006 animated hit.

Here we are with another film not up my alley.  Once again, I’ve not seen the original and I am not in the proper age group to find this interesting.  The only thing that gives me pause is the director behind these two penguin movies.  George Miller got his start in Australia making the Mad Max series.  The man behind “The Road Warrior” is now bringing us dancing penguins.  I guess it shows his versatility as a filmmaker.  I congratulate him on this sure to be success and hope this will allow him the collateral to deliver us more adventures in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.  Mel Gibson is optional.  For now, I’ll be passing on Happy Feet 2.  I’m awarding this 1 Thunderdome out of 5.  Happy Feet 2 is rated PG for some rude humor and mild peril.

MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE

Elizabeth Olsen (How the West Was Fun) opens the Kentucky Theater portion as a girl who may have been able to physically escape from an abusive cult that indoctrinated her, but struggles to break the mindset that still haunts her.  She finds solace in her only family left, but still suffers from severe paranoia and haunted memories.

Her last name may sound familiar, as well it should.  She is the younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley but from the looks of it, she may have already broken out of that mold in just her second film.  James Berardinelli from Reelviews.net (one of the best movie review sites on the internet, IMHO) describes her performance as “the kind of out-of-nowhere portrayal that garners attention and earns Oscar nominations.”  The movie lives or dies by her performance and from what I have seen and read, it not only lives, it thrives.  It’s on my must-see docket so I’ll award my interest as 5 Full Houses out of 5.  Martha Marcy May Marlene is rated R for disturbing violent and sexual content, nudity and language.

TAKE SHELTER

Oscar nominated and Lexington native Michael Shannon (Chicago Cab) is a man who has visions of a massive storm that is about to be unleashed onto his town.  Whether these visions are of things to come or just those of a man losing his mind, he cannot say, but he starts preparing for it nonetheless.  This begins to worry those around him as they begin to question his motives, wondering if he has, in fact, lost his sanity.

The man who will be Zod is receiving big Oscar interest and from the trailers, it looks like it’s well deserved.  He has steadily improved his craft from “Chicago Cab” to his nominated performance in “Revolutionary Road.”  I always love seeing a local boy get his kudos.  I for one will be rooting for him come nomination time.  This movie also looks very interesting and it tops my must see list.  I’ll give it 5 Thunder Road’s out of 5.  Take Shelter is rated R for some language.

Four films enter, two leave with 5’s.  I just need to find the time to catch them both.  Next week, Scorsese’s latest goes up against one of the best marketing campaigns I’ve ever seen.  Until then, somebody please tell Taylor to put on his dang shirt.

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