Getaway

Posted on August 29, 2013 at 6:48 pm

getaway film starring Ethan hawkeThere’s dumb fun and then there’s just dumb.  “Gateway” is closer to that second category, and worse, so forgettable that better title would be “Throwaway.”  This one has 99 cent DVD bin all over it.

Ethan Hawke, believably seedy, plays a former race car driver awfully named Brent Magna.  He was known for being both reckless and fearful and “wrecking expensive cars.”  He and his wife now live in Bulgaria.  He comes home on Christmas Eve to find that his wife has been kidnapped.  If he wants to see her alive again, he must do exactly as he is told, starting with stealing a very fancy car and then driving it very fast.  On the other end of the phone is a mysterious man with an unidentifiable but clearly villainous accent and a disturbingly genial tone that darkens when he becomes insistent and threatening.

We see only his mouth and stubble-covered chin as he sips a cocktail.  Magna hears only his voice, directing him to undertake a series of seemingly random and very reckless tasks in the car, which has been equipped with every possible kind of monitoring device, including microphones, cameras, and a sort of high-end Lojack.  The man listed in the credits only as The Voice tells him to speed through a park crowded with Christmas celebrants and crash into the dias.  He tells Magna that if he tries to get help or is stopped by the police, he will kill Magna’s wife, who we see getting roughed up and tossed into a cell equipped with the obligatory stained mattress.

A teenage girl with a gun (Selena Gomez) tries to steal the car.  Voice orders Magna to kill her.  Magna cannot do it.  Voice changes his mind and tells Magna to keep her in the car.  Not that it made any sense before this point, but now is when it really goes off the rails.  The girl is supposed to be something between the Dragon Tattoo hacker (with the hacker skills and bad manners but without the tattoos, piercings, and omni-sexuality) and Mackenzie Phillips in “American Graffiti” (with the attitude but without the shaving cream and Paul LeMat).  Even if her crazy list of character traits made sense — did I mention she also happens to be the owner of the super-duper stolen vehicle? — Gomez would not be the actress to pull this off.  Whenever she is called upon to show rage or toughness, she looks like she’s ordering a soda at the malt shop.  Magna has principles about killing people.  Until he doesn’t.  And don’t get me started on the conveniently irrational and incompetent behavior of the police and the fact that everyone speaks English.  Each subsequent twist piles on another layer of preposterousness.  When Voice said there was only more more task, I was more relieved than Magna was.

“Getaway” wants to be “Die Hard” in a car.  But it stalls in first gear.

Parents should know that this film has constant peril and violence including chases, explosions, crashes, and guns, characters in peril and minor characters injured and killed, frequent s-words and other bad language, criminal activity including extortion, kidnapping, and theft, drinking and scenes in bar

Family discussion:  What evidence did you see of Magna’s recklessness and fear?  What did he and the girl have in common?

If you like this, try: “Nick of Time,” “Cellular,” and “Phone Booth”

Related Tags:

 

Action/Adventure Thriller

One Direction: This is Us

Posted on August 29, 2013 at 6:00 pm

One-Direction-movie-poster-1840689“They don’t know me, but they love me,” says one dewy-eyed One Direction fan, and that says it all.

This 3D documentary and concert film gives us a peek at the moment in time when One Direction, a group of five British teenagers, reigned as the number one musical act in the world.  As inevitable a part of early adolescence as cliques and braces is the transitional object known as the teen idol.  Almost a hundred years ago, it was Rudolph Valentino.  Then there was Frank Sinatra, the Beatles, the Monkees, Bobby Sherman, David Cassidy, Shaun Cassidy, the Backstreet Boys. The girls move on, but those ties are strong.  Take a look at last Sunday’s Twitter feed when Justin Timberlake’s Video Vanguard performance included a reunion with N’Sync.  While there have been notable individual teen idols, the boy band has the advantage of giving fans a range of options.  All of them are always safely, well, let’s just say they don’t have to shave very often. There’s usually a cute one and a smart one and a (comparatively) rebellious one. So whole slumber parties can debate the merits of individual members but unite in their shared passion, and each girl can feel that she is expressing her sense of independence and still-evolving personal taste in her selection of a favorite.  (I’m a Paul girl, myself.)  Teen idols are a mostly harmless transition object for young girls as they rehearse some of their experience of attachment with someone who is safely far away.

After an “aw”-inducing introduction with some home movie footage of the five members of One Direction, as they tell us in voice overs about their early childhood (we’re talking seven to ten years ago in most cases) dreams of stardom.  And then we see the Cinderella story of how they got started.  They never met before they were contestants on the British talent competition show, “The X Factor.”  They all lost competing as individuals.  (Does anyone remember who beat them?)  But then star-maker Simon Cowell saw something in the long line of runners-up.  He pointed: you, you, you, you, you.  He told them to get together and come back as a group.  They laugh in recollecting that their first conversation was not about the music or the performance but about what they should wear.

What they had, in addition to nice, tuneful voices, was good attitudes and great chemistry.  Over and over, they tell us how much fun they have with each other and how what keeps them going through all the work and pressure of the tour is that they’re in it with their best mates.  They insist that they’re not like other boy bands because they’re “cooler.”  Also, they are not good dancers and they don’t dress alike.

Morgan Spurlock (“Super Size Me,” “Pom Presents the Greatest Movie Ever Sold”) directed, so you might expect some exploration of the merchandising behind this “pre-fab five,” who seem like nice, talented kids, but who are the avatars of a marketing machine.   When a fan says, “They say what we want to hear and no one says to us,” those of us outside of the fangirl demographic would like to know something about the genius who thought One Direction should sing about how it is not knowing she is beautiful is what makes a girl beautiful.  We’d like to know more about how the age of social media make these boys stars before they had put out a single record.  But this is not that movie.  And it is certainly not Alun Owen’s/Richard Lester’s “Hard Day’s Night,” a masterpiece completely separate from the charm and hooky tunes of the Beatles in its innovative structure and documentary-like intimacy.  This is just a love letter to the fans from five boys who know how lucky they are and like to show off for the camera.

Parents should know that the movie includes some strong language, some underwear shots, and brief potty humor, but is about as squeaky clean as any documentary about teenaged boys could be.

Family discussion: Which one do you like best and why?  What makes them get along so well?

If you like this, try: “Bye Bye Birdie,” an affectionate satire of the teen idol phenomenon

 

 

Related Tags:

 

3D Documentary Music

The Next Star Wars Films: Locations

Posted on August 29, 2013 at 8:00 am

Director J.J. Abrams is getting ready to begin filming of the next cycle of “Star Wars” movies.  And every studio and location in the world — literally — wants to host them.  Variety quotes Albuquerque Studios president Gary Arnold:

“Every location and facility across the globe and every state in the U.S. must be offering the moon and stars,” Arnold says. “And they’re all willing to offer things on a one-shot basis, everything they can imagine the producers might want, just to be able to say they got the new ‘Star Wars’ shoot. That din is probably the first challenge facing any location or facility that wants to be seriously considered.”

Says Arnold: “The irony of ‘Star Wars’ is there won’t be a single location that is identifiable. We had one of the biggest-grossing films in history, ‘The Avengers’ shoot here, but ‘Breaking Bad’ has more impact on tourism than anything we’ve ever done in New Mexico. Identifiable locales are what drives tourism.”

According to Variety, they will be shooting at the legendary Pinewood Studios in London.  The original “Star Wars” script for what is now chapter IV was set in a jungle environment, but that was switched to desert for budgetary reasons.  I wonder what factors will enter into the decision about the settings for this one, especially now that so much can be done digitally.

Related Tags:

 

Behind the Scenes

Let Freedom Ring Today at 3 PM

Posted on August 28, 2013 at 11:00 am

Today three Presidents and thousands of people will gather on the National Mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial to observe the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the historic “I Have a Dream” speech by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  All week, there have been events celebrating the anniversary, how much has been accomplished, and making a commitment to carrying the dream of justice and equality forward.

Every family should watch “Boycott,” with Jeffrey Wright as Dr. King, and the stirring documentary “Eyes on the Prize.”  Then talk about what your dream of a better world is and how you can help it come about.

Let Freedom Ring Guidelines  Take a look at the guidelines for the original March participants 50 years ago.

Related Tags:

 

Commentary
THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2021, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at Rogerebert.com, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

Website Designed by Max LaZebnik