After Thwarted Kidnapping Plans, Whitmer Calls for Unity

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]

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By |2009-04-24T09:00:00-04:00April 24th, 2009|Uncategorized|

April 28, 2008

NEW THIS WEEK

The Forbidden Kingdom
Jason (Michael Angarano) is a bullied teenager who is bewildered to find himself transported back in time to feudal China, selected as the answer to a prophecy concerning a long-awaited warrior sent to free the people from a tyrannical ruler. He’s mentored by two martial-arts masters (Jet Li and Jackie Chan, co-starring together for the first time), who join forces to teach him the ways of kung fu. It’s a silly, by-the-numbers fantasy, and the teaming of Chan and Li, while historic, isn’t the blast of excitement it would have been at the height of their careers and skills. But for kids who’ve never seen this sort of thing, the battle sequences will seem fresh. As for older fans who understand that they’re watching two screen legends sometimes simply go through the motions, the pleasure of seeing them doing anything together at all will be enough for now. B-

Kinsey Scale: 1 (Angarano played Sean Hayes’ son on “Will & Grace”)

Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Composer Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) gets dumped by his up-and-coming actress girlfriend Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). To nurse his wounds, he travels to a Hawaiian resort where, coincidentally, Sarah is staying with her new rock-star boyfriend (British comedian Russell Brand). Fortunately, a pretty, feisty hotel concierge (Mila Kunis) enters the picture and becomes Peter’s vacation fling. Plot-wise, that’s about it – give or take a few throwaway moments in which Paul Rudd plays a stoned surfing instructor. But what at first seems like a series of raunchy comic “bits” eventually forms a funny, loosely coherent whole, one with plenty of surprisingly intelligent insight into the nature of adult relationships. “How I Met Your Mother” star Segel makes for a refreshingly unconventional leading man, and the script (which he also wrote) allows its characters to be uncool sometimes. For that alone, it’s the opposite of forgettable. B+

Kinsey Scale: 1 (Co-star Jonah Hill plays a starstruck hotel employee whose behavior toward Brand’s rock-star character can only be described as gay. Co-star Rudd played a gay man in “The Object of My Affection.”)

88 Minutes
On the scheduled execution day of a serial killer whom forensic psychiatrist Jack Gramm (Al Pacino) helped to convict, an anonymous caller informs the doctor that he only has 88 minutes left to live. He also becomes the chief suspect in a new murder, casting doubt on the condemned man’s guilt. The 67-year-old Pacino is about two decades too old for his role, but his acting, as well as that of the supporting cast, is generally excellent. That collectively fine effort goes for naught, though, in a would-be thriller that is otherwise ridiculous. Women, in particular, get the shaft, portrayed as dupes, victims, or psychopaths in the tasteless, predictable plot. The inane dialogue is laughable. And what ought to be a nail-biter is instead entirely suspense free. D

Kinsey Scale: 3 (Amy Brenneman plays Gramm’s lesbian secretary, a point that becomes important late in the third act. Pacino starred in “Cruising” and played the closeted Roy Cohn in “Angels in America.” Brenneman was in “Your Friends and Neighbors.” Co-star Alicia Witt had a role in John Waters’ “Cecil B. Demented,” while Deborah Kara Unger appeared in David Cronenberg’s “Crash.” Director Jon Avnet made “Fried Green Tomatoes.”)

ALSO IN THEATERS

The Bank Job
A talented cast is wasted on undernourished roles, characters so thinly sketched that their dangerous predicament generates very little suspense. C

Chaos Theory
Much of its success is thanks to Ryan Reynolds, who spices up a strictly vanilla role with a tremendous amount of charm and such perfect comic timing that otherwise lame situations still manage to garner laughs. B

Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who
Witty enough to amuse adults as well as tots, the tale also benefits from a strong cast. Jim Carrey and Steve Carell are terrific, but Carol Burnett as Horton’s stern kangaroo nemesis is pure genius. A-

Drillbit Taylor
Because the gags aren’t grounded in any sort of recognizably real human situations, this high-school-themed movie never rises above a junior high school mentality. Everyone involved deserves detention. C-

Leatherheads
Even his fine sense of detail works against him – instead of bringing the period to life by faithfully recreating the Roaring ’20s, the whole enterprise feels like an embalmed museum piece set to a grating Randy Newman jazz score. C

Nim’s Island
Logic doesn’t always prevail, but the unrealistic moments are dwarfed by the exciting action and the characters’ genuinely heartfelt longing for a daughter/father reunion. And Jodie Foster, taking a break from the female vigilante movies, seems to be having a great time returning to her Disney-esque roots. If you have kids, this is the island to visit with them. B+

Shine a Light
The director mostly just seems to want to produce a really fun concert film of his favorite group performing their hits. Diehard Stones fans won’t be able to blame him on that one. Fair-weather friends of the band should simply go watch “Gimme Shelter.” B-

Smart People
If you didn’t get that this is supposed to be a comedy, well, then you must not see many American indie films. Not to worry, though. The film doesn’t know it’s supposed to be funny either, mistaking lethal sarcasm for wit. Worst of all? It’s not that smart, either. C

Stop-Loss
Undoubtedly meant as a critique of stop-loss, the film instead insults the very combat veterans it purports to defend. Sgt. Brandon King (Ryan Phillippe) and his friends’ post-traumatic stress expresses itself in rage, delusion, violence, and alcoholism, a portrayal that suggests these men – too far gone for civilian life – are only fit to be cannon fodder. D

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.