Screening Room: ‘Bad Moms’

The summer’s latest rowdy-femme comedy hits screens tonight, so get ready.

My review of Bad Moms is at Film Journal International:

Five years after Jake Kasdan’s Bad Teacher found easy jokes in the then-taboo sight of middle-school teacher Cameron Diaz showing up to work hung over and mocking her students, the pocket genre of films and TV shows about women in positions of authority shirking their responsibilities (“Bad Judge,” anyone?) seems to have hit a peak. In Bad Moms, writing and directing team Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (The Hangover, Four Christmases) spin the recent trend of just-relax books and blogs extolling “moms who drink” and the backlash against overscheduled childhoods into a rebellious party epic. It’s not exactly for the ages, but it’s not exactly The Hangover Part II, either…

Here’s the trailer:

New in Theaters: ‘Jupiter Ascending’

'Jupiter Ascending': Check it out, hover boots! (Warner Bros.)
‘Jupiter Ascending’: Check it out, hover boots! (Warner Bros.)

A preposterously silly and overbudgeted space opera from the Wachowskis, whose Cloud Atlas was one of the more exciting sci-fi/fantasies of recent memory, Jupiter Ascending would seem to have it all: Laser battles, baroque outer-space architeture, Eddie Redmayne in full camp mode, Channing Tatum with wolf ears. Disappointingly, such is not the case.

After a poorly-considered surprise screening at Sundance (wrong crowd), Jupiter Ascending opened wide on Friday, for a likely very brief run; my review is at PopMatters:

There was a time when beautifully begrimed working-class movie heroines would be delighted to discover they had royal blood coursing through their veins. While those Cinderella stories focused on the romance between girl and prince,Jupiter Ascending changes the stakes. Here, the princess must save the world and the prince has had his DNA spliced with that of a wolf.

Ah, love, Wachowski-style…

Here’s the trailer:

New on DVD: ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’

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James Franco (the one in the hat) in ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’

oz-dvd1L. Frank Baum’s fantastical Oz series gets turned into another CGI spectacle with Sam Raimi’s pretty but pretty unremarkable Oz the Great and Powerful, which hit shelves today on DVD and Blu-ray.

My review is over at Film Racket; here’s part of it:

Sam Raimi’s big and splashy but tin-eared prequel Oz the Great and Powerful turns the spirit of the 1937 The Wizard of Oz inside out. Oz is no longer the place where misguided Earth youths like Dorothy can discover how special home really is. This time, Oz — with its expensively imagined rainbow- and candy-colored vistas of cold, computer-generated wonderment — is all things to its titular human interloper. For Oz the man, he would never think to say there’s no place like home, since dreary old black-and-white Kansas offers no home for him. They never appreciated his act back there anyway. The land of Oz, on the other hand, provides the greatest audience he’s ever seen…

You can watch the trailer here:

Now Playing: ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’

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oz-poster1Since studios are always trawling for the next great public domain property they can spin into a easily lucrative franchise, it was a matter of time before a gargantuan CGI budget was thrown at L. Frank Baum’s Oz series. It was also perhaps preordained that the resulting film would be pretty and pretty unremarkable.

My review of Oz the Great and Powerful is over at Film Racket; here’s part of it:

Sam Raimi’s big and splashy but tin-eared prequel Oz the Great and Powerful turns the spirit of the 1937 The Wizard of Oz inside out. Oz is no longer the place where misguided Earth youths like Dorothy can discover how special home really is. This time, Oz — with its expensively imagined rainbow- and candy-colored vistas of cold, computer-generated wonderment — is all things to its titular human interloper. For Oz the man, he would never think to say there’s no place like home, since dreary old black-and-white Kansas offers no home for him. They never appreciated his act back there anyway. The land of Oz, on the other hand, provides the greatest audience he’s ever seen…

Oz opened a few weeks back but is still playing pretty much everywhere. You can watch the trailer here: