Rock the Kasbah, Storyboard Needed

Bill Murray

Unlike roguecritic4 on IMDB “I couldn’t have had a better Friday night out”, I can’t be so kind to “Rock the Kasbah”. Sure Bill Murray was my go-to crush back in the late ’70’s SNL and Lost in Translation is still one of my top five movies of all time AND Bruce Willis was my man crush in the 80’s Monnlighting, but the screen writing/editing/don’t know where things went wrong aspect of Rock the Kasbah can not be denied.

Items needed: more character development emotion or stick to the farce. What began as a Middle eastern spoof movie with Zooey Deschanel ended with no explanation to her exit other than she left the tour. Perhaps that was a euphemism for ‘quit the movie’. Slowly we progress to the ‘heart’ of the movie, a Pashtun singer with the only perfect English in her village, who also happens to have a tv in her cave. Wait, how does the girl get good tv reception in a desert cave when I can’t get good antennae reception in Brighton, New York?

I’ve spent too much time already on this pitiful flick. In conclusion, Murray and Willis must have been instructed to not show any of their natural charm and humor. And finally, I am shamed as an educator for going to see an uneven movie about a Middle Eastern American Idol type hero, when at the theater adjoining mine was a documentary about a real hero of education: I Am Malala. May my confession be duly noted.

Pawn Sacrifice, seats available

I saw Pawn Sacrifice a week ago, and attempted to laugh a most intellectual snicker when I heard the woman in front of me at the box office complain that now that recliners were installed ‘good’ movies are sold out. She was lucky to be saved from The Intern, subtitled DeNiro Doesn’t Care About His Legacy.

Anyway, there were plenty of open recliners at Pawn Sacrifice! Even better news was that Steven Knight (who wrote the screenplay) made chess seem exciting to the non-chess moi.

Ed Zwick also has to be given credit as a director, although I believe Bobby Fisher’s life as a youngster could also have been pared down a bit. (as could that sentence:)

Toby Maguire is one of those thespians who you forget is an actor. Could it be the blandness of who we know as Toby Maguire allows him to slip into personas easier? Perhaps. I mean the only news I ever hear of the man is alluding to a possible gambling addiction.

Liev Schrieber who I never want to like (my wackiness) did a great job as Bobby Fisher’s Russian foe. And Peter Sarsgaard hits another supporting role out of the park (Black Mass) as the Priest who takes a vicarious liking to Bobby’s goal to be world champion.

Definitely worth seeing either on the big screen or a rental on some rainy afternoon.

“Sleeping With Other People”, Oddly Refreshing

Leslye Headland’s “Sleeping With Other People” was a quirky romantic comedy. Certainly not flawless, yet different enough that I felt momentarily changed to a slightly less inhibited state.

So first, the bad news, as in unrealistic dialogue. When Jason Sudeikis sleeps with Amanda Peet (and let’s be clear, Sudeikis is not Peet-worthy in the real world, but for the sake of the movie, ok), totally unfathomable was his moaning another woman’s name during his first encounter with AP and post coital, she calmly inquires if JS would like to talk about her. Empathetic inquiry is not exactly how I believe the majority of women would react. Slink off and feel unworthy, yes. But perhaps Peet caliber women could be secure enough to want to chat it up about said other woman.

On the flipside, aka vulnerable, I wasn’t exactly believing the doe eyed fluffiness of Alison Brie. Her panic attacks at seeing her married lover (Adam Scott as a total d-bag) seemed acted, for sure.

Two supporting stars who I hope get more and larger roles are Jordan Carlos and Andrea Savage.
These two as married friends of JS are funny and irreverent to the point that they make the institution (of marriage) appear fun. Now that’s a magic trick:)

Sleeping with Other People is only playing at two theaters around Rochester, but definitely unique enough to view as an alternative to the gratuitously violent pablum. As Americans we act so sad and shocked at horrific gun deaths and yet the majority of our tv and movie theaters are chocked full of violent images…doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out, we should be ingesting more humor.