Director: Pierre Morel
Writers: Don MacPherson, Jean-Patrick Manchette (novel)
Stars: Sean Penn, Idris Elba, Jasmine Trinca
Sean Penn is on the run after the guys who hired him to assassinate a major figure are out to eliminate him. His plight takes him down too many talky pathways and dull romantic moments. Since it’s directed by Pierre Morel (who did the original “Taken”), the fight scenes are flashy and violent. There just aren’t enough of them. Penn’s very fit body (which is shown off plenty) belies his craggy, rough face, which is locked in an intense scowl. A forgettable film.
GAY ANGLE: Penn’s ripped, buff body is the only thing to recommend the movie.
Director: Etan Cohen
Writers: Jay Martel (screenplay), Ian Roberts (screenplay)
Stars: Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Alison Brie
When a pompous investment banker (Will Farrell) is convicted of a crime, he hires the only black man he knows (Kevin Hart) to prepare him for prison. The premise is promising, but the movie relies on lame predictable subjects (gay panic, racial stereotypes, obvious villains) instead of genuine comic writing. Hart’s motor mouth provides most of laffs, while Farrell’s broad, buffoon style is often annoying. There are memorable out comic moments and almost nobody in the supporting cast adds any humor (T.J. Jagodowski’s friendly gay is an exception). The dialogue feels like writer/director Elan Cohen let the 2 leads improvise most of the bits and didn’t exercise any control on their effusive styles. Their chemistry’s not bad and there are some funny parts, but more often it just tries too hard.
GAY ANGLE: Despite a flood of gay sex anxiety, the friendly gay provides some positive moments and a few genuine laffs.
Director: Damián Szifrón (as Damián Szifron)
Writer: Damián Szifrón (as Damián Szifron)
Stars: Darío Grandinetti, María Marull, Mónica Villa
This collection of 6 stories from Argentina looks at the dark side of people: revenge gets carried away, the rich try to avoid fate and jealousy ruins a wedding. The characters are interesting and the situations are inventive. Each one of them is creative enough to have been developed into a full-length movie, but the abbreviated length, robust pace and imaginative direction keep make one immensely entertaining. My favorite was the conflict between the Audi driver and the “redneck” (wickedly dark with a delightful ending). In subtitles (Criterion Cinema only)
GAY ANGLE: Even though it’s produced by gay Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, there’s not one obviously gay character.