15 April 2011

Scream 4

Neve Campbell is shown in a scene from "Scream 4."
"New decade, new rules."

Or at least that's what "Scream 4" director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson would have us believe.

Eleven years have passed since the disappointing "Scream 3" seemingly put an end to the franchise, but despite a new, young cast of corpses-in-waiting mingling with the returning characters, it's basically back to the same old, same old. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing in this age of endless "Saw" sequels.

With a movie franchise within the movie, based on the original movie (there's even a movie within the movie within the movie at one point), the meta commentary is back in full force—Craven does well to avoid drowning in it in the early scenes.

08 April 2011

Your Highness

From left, Natalie Portman, Danny McBride, James Franco and Zooey Deschanel are shown in a scene from "Your Highness."
"Your Highness" feels like a live-action version of a really bad game of Dungeons & Dragons.

Or maybe something director David Gordon Green cooked up with actors Danny McBride and James Franco as they got a little too into character on the set of their 2008 stoner comedy "Pineapple Express."

Maybe "Your Highness" plays better if you're in a similar state of mind. I wouldn't know.

This is a comedy without a whisper of wit. There are no punchlines, no jokes—not even failed ones. Every pitiful attempt at humor is nothing more than the insertion of modern vulgarity in its medieval fantasy setting. Why waste time and thought trying to be clever when you can simply utter a four-letter word?

01 April 2011


Russell Brand is shown in a scene from "Arthur."
The 1981 Dudley Moore comedy "Arthur" was successful on multiple levels. Its $82 million domestic box office take was the fourth best of the year, and it garnered four Academy Award nominations, winning best supporting actor for John Gielgud and best original song.

But it's not exactly a familiar title to movie-goers who were either not alive or too young to have seen it during its initial run, making it an unusual choice for a remake three decades later.

It makes a little more sense when you consider who is stepping into Moore's shoes in the lead role: British comedian Russell Brand, best known on these shores as hedonistic rock star Aldous Snow in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (2008) and its spin-off, "Get Him to the Greek" (2010).