Thursday, May 10, 2012


Review: Hick
1 star (out of 5)
By R. Kurt Osenlund

It doesn't take long to gather the influences trickling through Derick Martini's Hick, an aimless tumbleweed of a road movie if ever there was one. Pointing a .45 at a bedroom mirror in her shabby Nebraska home, which rests in the silo-riddled outskirts of a podunk main drag, 13-year-old Luli (Chloƫ Grace Moretz) does her best Travis Bickle while reciting lines from Dirty Harry. Her walls are papered with drawings of both cowboys and princesses, and as she asks her reflection if it "feels lucky," she shakes her hips to move the ruffles on a pair of rainbow panties. Over the rainbow is indeed where Luli dreams of ending up, and with her halter top, sunglasses, pistol, and improvised basket (a fringed and studded cowgirl's handbag), the soon-to-be runaway looks every bit the hybrid of Judy Garland's Dorothy and Jodie Foster's Iris Steensma, whose mohawked guardian seems a Luli fantasy spawned by daddy issues (her boozy father, played by Anson Mount, is barely in the picture).

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
3.5 stars (out of 5)
By R. Kurt Osenlund

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is continually resuscitated by the basic elements of its conceit. Based on the 2004 novel These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach, it tells of a handful of senior citizens who converge on a 55-and-over retreat in India, and the golden-year stars and golden-hot locale offer grand assistance to screenwriter Ol Parker, whose adaptation otherwise feels like a rather workaday rom-com. The dialogue penned for the characters isn't without heart or interest, but it's much ado about little until spoken by the likes of Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, and Maggie Smith, who lend the material a sizable touch of class. Clustered together as if headed to a summer camp for West End stage greats, the distinguished company of Dames and Sirs (also on board are Penelope Wilton, Ronald Pickup, and Celia Imrie) provides numerous pockets of earnest interplay, and the surroundings, a bejeweled bit of third-world bustle that visually recalls Fernando Meirelles's shaky-cam stomping grounds, manage to add urgency and natural beauty to a plot flecked with saccharine flourishes.