(P)reviews

In this unforgiving economic wasteland, who has the funds to actually review a movie in the theater? Not your humble servants at The V. That’s why we’re giving you our informed analysis of upcoming films based solely on what we see in the trailer. They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. Fortunately, these are movies.


Courtesy of Henryscrimemovie.com

Henry’s Crime
Parlay Films
Dir. Malcolm Venville
Released: 4/8/11

We’ve had a weird feeling that Keanu Reeves might be a decent actor in the right role. He’s miscast in a Shakespeare play. He doesn’t have the believable gravel-in-the-guts quality necessary to make him a palatable action star. But in Henry’s Crime, Reeves appears to play a hapless naif who plans to rob the bank he was once wrongfully convicted of robbing. Seeing Keanu Reeves in a role where he’s actually supposed to look confused and depressed all the time? That’s crazy enough to work.

 

While the film doesn’t promise to be a triumph of cinema, Henry’s Crime looks like a piece of understated comic neo-noir that will delight the right audience. Performances by crime movie staple James Caan (The Godfather) and veteran character actor Peter Stormare (Fargo) probably won’t hurt this film, either.

Our prediction: Guys who obsessively dig through the bargain bins at Blockbuster will love this film.


Courtesy of Yahoo Movies

The Conspirator
The American Film Company
Dir. Robert Redford
Released: 4/15/11

It’s typically pretty hard to miss with a historical drama, but The Conspirator has apparently pulled out all the necessary stops to assure that the film goes off without a hitch. Robert Redford – that’s right, the Sundance Kid himself – directs a star-studded cast that includes Robin Wright, Kevin Kline, James McAvoy and Tom Wilkinson in a period piece (win) courtroom drama (win) about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln (win – not the assassination, the subject matter). It’s Oscar bait, and we all know it. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The only potential problem is the cinematography – in going for accuracy, it seems as though Robert Redford has pretended that the only light that existed in the 19th century was the weakest sun coming through the dustiest windows. But overall, this seems like a winner.

Our prediction: It’ll be your number one with a bullet.


Courtesy of Amazon.com

The Vaccines
What Did You Expect
From The Vaccines?
Columbia Records
Released 3/14/11

With summertime coming, you’ll need some things: trunks, sunglasses and sunscreen, obviously. But the real requisite item is a good album, one that remains in your stereo from June until August. Something fun and light that doesn’t require a studied listen. And, as of this issue, we think there will be no better summer album than The Vaccines’ bang-up debut What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?

Elemental guitar and drum work, unassuming lead vocals and a solid dose of reverb make this album a perfect companion for the community pool and for long road trips. Songs like “If You Wanna” and “Norgaard” naturally illicit head-bobbing and foot-tapping. The album does have its slower points, like “Wetsuit” and “Family Friend.” But ultimately, this album deftly mixes The Ramones’ complete lack of guile with the latent melancholy of The Cure. Get it. And have a nice summer.

Review by John-Ross Boyce


Courtesy of Amazon.com

Britney Spears
Femme Fatale
Jive Records
Released 3/25/11

Celebrity meltdowns are pretty common these days. But before Charlie Sheen became a less likeable Hunter S. Thompson and before sheer paranoia pushed Randy Quaid into hermitage, Spears’ head-shaving, child-endangering shenanigans captured the twisted, looky-loo hearts of an entire nation. Since then, some have been awaiting the return of that beaming, hypersexualized Mouseketeer who displayed such pop promise. Unfortunately, Spears’ Femme Fatale gives the impression that she’s phoning it in.

Opening track “Till The World Ends” displays decent synth tones. However, in listening to the rest of the album, it becomes clear that either the producers only had one keyboard in the studio, or they just decided to only use one keyboard. Additionally, Spears is using the dreaded Autotune, formerly reserved for tone-deaf rappers. Say what you will about Spears, but she can sing. When she wants to. When she’s not being totally lazy. Like she obviously is in this album.

Review by John-Ross Boyce

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