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Posts Tagged ‘” John C. Reilly’

Salma Hayek and sea serpent

Salma Hayek and sea serpent

“TALE OF TALES”  My rating: C

133 minutes | No MPAA rating

From a technical perspective, “Tale of Tales” is one gorgeous films, a visual masterpiece of art design and cinematography.

It’s also dramatically stillborn. Sort of like the least engaging Terry Gilliam movie ever.

Directed by Matteo Garrone (who made a big splash a few years back with his lacerating Neapolitan crime drama “Gomorrah”) and adapted from the 17th century fairy tales of Giambattista Basile (the creator of “Cinderella”), this big production interweaves three of Basile’s stories. There’s an emphasis on sex and violence. The kiddies are not invited.

In one story the King and Queen of Longtrellis (John C. Reilly, Salma Hayek) are so desperate to produce an heir that they take advice from a mysterious sorcerer. The King must kill a sea monster (he dies in the quest), the Queen must eat the great beast’s heart.

It works. Her Highness has a high-speed pregnancy that lasts all of 24 hours and produces a son.  Weirdly, the cook who prepares the heart also gives birth overnight to a baby boy who is a dead ringer for the young Prince. (As adolescents the Prince and the Pauper — both albinos, by the way — are played by real-life twins Christian and Jonah Lees).

The boys have a spiritual connection which the Queen tries to break by sending the Pauper off to a foreign land. But the Prince runs away to find him.

Meanwhile the incredibly horny King of nearby Strongcliff (Vincent Cassel) has fallen for one of two sisters (Hayley Carmichael, Shirley Henderson) he has espied from afar. He doesn’t realize that the object of his lust is an old crone, and the sisters wisely conduct all the negotiations for the loss of sister Dora’s virginity through a closed door.

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Dane DeHaan and Aubrey Plaza in "Life After Beth"

Dane DeHaan and Aubrey Plaza in “Life After Beth”

“LIFE AFTER BETH”  My rating: C      (Opening Aug. 29 at the ***)

91 minutes | MPAA rating: R

How about a moratorium on zombie movies?  At least until someone comes up with a truly novel way of approaching what is quickly becoming a very worn-out genre?

In “Life After Beth,” small-town doofus Zach (Dane DeHaan) is mourning the death of his girlfriend Beth, who went out for hike one morning and was bitten by a poisonous snake.  As Jeff Baena’s film begins, Zach is dealing with her funeral.

Consumed by heartbreak, our hero starts hanging with Beth’s parents (John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon), sharing memories and bonding through mutual loss. His own family — Mom  (Cheryl Hines), Dad (Paul Reiser) and a trigger-happy security guard sibling (Matthew Gray Gubler) — would just as soon not have  his whiny self around.

One day Beth’s parents start acting strangely. They won’t come to the door. They close the shades.

A bit of sleuthing brings a shocking revelation. Beth (indie “it” girl Aubrey Plaza) has come back. She seems normal…albeit a bit distracted and flaky. But then she always was. How did this resurrection come to be?

Yup. Zombies.

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Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly and Cristoph Waltz

“CARNAGE” My rating: B  (Opens Jan. 13)

79 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Wickedly funny and maddeningly claustrophobic, Roman Polanski’s “Carnage” is a sort of pretention-free “No Exit” in which four characters are trapped in a hell from which there appears to be no escape.

Actually it’s a nicely-appointed Brooklyn apartment owned by Michael (John C.Reilly) and Penelope (Jodie Foster).  Visiting are another couple, Nancy (Kate Winslet) and Alan (Christoph Waltz).

Nancy and Alan’s 11-year-old son Zachary has ended a playground argument by smashing Michael and Penelope’s son Eliot in the face with a stick.  Now the parents are coming together to make amends in a nice, civilized fashion.

Good luck with that.

Almost from the beginning you can tell that this attempt at reconciliation is not going well.

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Jacob Wysocki, John C.Reilly

“TERRI” My rating: C+ (Opening Aug. 26 at the Tivoli)

105 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Taking a cue from its Baby Huey-ish title character, “Terri” has a big heart.

But you’ve got to wade through a lot of weirdness to get a glimpse of it.

The nominal hero of director Azazel Jacobs’ film is an obese bundle of lethargy. Not that Terri (Jacob Wysocki) has a whole lot to get excited about.

Abandoned by his parents, the teen lives in a sort of bric-a-brac-littered fairy tale cottage in the middle of the woods with his Uncle James (Creed Bratton), who is battling dementia.

One day Uncle James seems alert and erudite; the next he’s a drowsy zombie.

It’s hard to tell who’s taking care of whom.

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