Heavy with gloom and so pervasively violent that a single misstep might have reduced it to macabre comedy, Red Riding: 1974 has the feeling of a nightmare. This is no accident.
Director Julian Jarrold (Becoming Jane) favors his lighting dim and his skies oppressively bleak, mitigated only by illuminating flashes so brilliant as to be blinding. If they seem to suggest a break from the grim reality of Tony Grisoni’s story, about a journalist investigating a series of child murders in Yorkshire, the illusion is fleeting. At no time is 1974, the first episode of the Red Riding trilogy released last year for BBC television, anything close to cheery
Former Saturday Night Live player Tracy Morgan has by now trademarked the dizzy persona that has served him well on the NBC ensemble comedy 30 Rock and here, in Kevin Smith’s weightless new farce, as a New York cop hunting a vicious gang leader and a stolen baseball card. He is self-absorbed, endearingly eccentric and rarely at a loss for words, especially when logic escapes him. He’s never all there.
The sleepy town of Ogden Marsh, Iowa – the “friendliest place on earth,” as its roughly 1,250 residents are fond of saying – is about to undergo an extreme makeover. It begins, inauspiciously enough, with the town drunk, who wanders onto the baseball field on Opening Day, armed with a shotgun and a thousand-yard stare. From there, things go downhill fast.
The 17th annual Noise Pop Festival continues through the weekend, bringing some of the world’s most groundbreaking music and film to the Bay Area through a series of live performances (including Wallpaper’s invigorating celebration of electro-funk tonight at Slim’s) and screenings of indie documentaries about the artists whose uncompromising contributions have helped shaped our culture. Here’s what to watch.
It begins, of course, with the box, a curious-looking device on which rests a large red button. It arrives on the couple’s doorstep along with a calling card, under the cloak of night. But why?
A stranger arrives at their door the next day with an offer too tempting to ignore. Press the button and collect a million tax-free dollars, in cash. The catch? Someone – comfortingly, another stranger – will die.
“The Barnes Foundation is the only sane place in America to see art.” So declared no less an authority than Henri Matisse, and if his praise of the Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania, institution reflected personal bias – he was friendly with its founder, Dr. Albert C. Barnes, who shrewdly collected several of the French painter’s most celebrated works – he can be forgiven.
Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians series may not have risen to the heights of world-conquering success that J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books did, but to young, adventure-loving readers and fans of Greek mythology, the San Antonio-born author’s page-turners are indispensable. That they would eventually land on the big screen seemed a no-brainer.
At 48, George Lopez has starred in his own hit sitcom, amassed a loyal following over 27 years as a stand-up comic, and, most recently, joined the suddenly contentious ranks of nighttime talk-show hosts with Lopez Tonight on TBS. Why not add a surefire blockbuster to his résumé?
That’s what Lopez was thinking when he joined the A-list cast of Valentine’s Day, in which he co-stars as a florist’s assistant with Ashton Kutcher, Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner and Jessica Alba, among many others. That, and he wanted to work with director Garry Marshall.
Valentine’s Day is as much about director Garry Marshall’s love of Los Angeles as it is about the popular pagan-inspired holiday. And give the man credit — he’s nothing if not thorough in showing it. Here, he has gone out of his way to make room for a cattle call of Hollywood stars in a fairy tale that makes a passing pretense of cynicism before giving most of its luminous cast their happily-ever-afters.