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Posts Tagged ‘Rosario Dawson’

Chris Rock in "Top Five"

Chris Rock in “Top Five”

“TOP FIVE” My rating: B  

101 minutes | MPAA rating:R

Chris Rock long ago conquered the comedy concert stage and then put his mark on the TV sitcom with his semi-autobiographical “Everybody Hates Chris.”
But he had little luck on the movie screen, his most artistically successful effort being the 2009 doc “Good Hair.”
“Top Five” changes everything. Written and directed by Rock, this meta-saturated comedy/drama may be the biggest surprise of this holiday film season.
Yes, it’s funny, packed with in-your-face dialogue and snarky observations about celebrity and show business. It is frequently off-the-charts rude. It has broad audience appeal.
But it’s also achingly romantic. It’s not an art film, but an art film fan will find plenty to chew on.
Andre Allen (Rock) has abandoned a huge standup career and a series of hit action/comedies — he played a cop in a bear costume — to pursue his vision as a serious artist. (This movie would make a great double feature with “Birdman,” in which an action star played by Michael Keaton is on the same quest.)
Andre is in New York to promote his new film, “Uprize,” an aggressively unfunny (or at least not intentionally funny) historical epic about the bloody Haitian slave revolt of the 1790s. He’s also scheduled to attend his bachelor party, an event being videotaped for the Bravo reality show starring his [ glamour-puss fiancee, Erica (Gabrielle Union).
Things aren’t going well. Nobody likes “Uprize,” and increasingly Andre feels like an unpaid extra in Erica’s Bridezilla-ish publicity stunt. (Think the first Kim Kardashian nuptials; “Top Five” even lists her current husband, rapper Kanye West, as one of its executive producers.)
And to put the frosting on this ugly cake, Andre’s handlers have set him up to spend the day with Chelsea Brown (Rosario Dawson), a New York Times reporter profiling  the floundering star. Given that one of the Times’ critics regularly savages his movies, it’s little wonder that Andre isn’t looking forward to submitting to a journalistic evisceration.

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Trance 1“TRANCE”  My rating: C- (Opening wide on April 12)

101 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Danny Boyle is like that little girl with the curl.  When’s he’s good (“Trainspotting,” “Shallow Grave,” “28 Days Later,” “`127 Hours”) he’s very good.

And when he screws up – as with “A Life Less Ordinary” and now “Trance” – he’s awful.

“Trance” is a crime thriller so overthought and overwrought  that it no longer makes any sense.

It begins with London auction house underling Simon (James McAvoy) attempting to save a precious Goya painting from a gang of crooks who have taken over the premises. In the process he gets banged on the noggin and awakens with no memory of what he’s done with the painting.

This is particularly galling to Frank (Vincent Cassel), the creepily threatening chief robber. You see, Simon was in on the caper and was to have delivered the painting for a fat cut of the proceeds. And now we’re supposed to believe he forgot where he put the goods?

After yanking out all of Simon’s fingernails, Frank is forced to admit that this may be a genuine case of amnesia. He sends Simon to hypnotherapist Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson), hoping that she can unlock the secrets in her patients’ skull.

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