Legendary producer Samuel Goldwyn is alleged to have told a screenwriter to stick to comedy and, if he had a message, to “call Western Union.”
Well, though several of Goldwyn’s biographers say he never said it (the quote also been attributed to Ernest Hemingway and Humphrey Bogart), one imagines that the socially conscious science fiction South African auteur Neil Blomkamp has at least heard it during his career. Like his first film, the anti-apartheid District 9 (2009), his latest, Elysium, embeds a less-than-subtle social critique in its action. This time, it’s all about haves, have-nots and health care, and while Matt Damon is pretty compelling as a regular dude trying to access technology that can save his life, our Dan Lybarger says “the allegory might have been less obvious had it been subtitled on the bottom of the screen.” Oh well, another putative summer blockbuster down, only six or eight more to go before the serious award-seeking movies start showing up in local cineplexes.
But perhaps surprisingly, Lybarger likes the raunchy, “potentially off-putting” hard R comedy We’re the Millers. He realizes this might get him drummed out of the Bosley Crowther League of Serious Film Journalists, but he admits — sheepishly — that he laughed. A little. At least he enjoyed it more than he did the made-for-tweens fantasy adventure Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.
And then there’s Lovelace, with its overqualified cast, great ’70s look and feel and ultimately underwhelming script. Or if you like cartoons, Planes.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full reviews.