The Disaster Artist
Buddy Comedy Chronicles the Making of the Worst Movie Ever
In 1998, 19-year-old Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) met a mysterious, middle-aged man named Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) in a San Francisco acting class. Wiseau not only lied about his age but claimed to be from New Orleans, despite a thick, Eastern European accent.

However, Tommy also happened to be wealthy enough to underwrite a Hollywood production starring himself, and Greg was more than willing to overlook the eccentric millionaire’s inexperience when he was offered a co-starring role.

So, the two relocated to L.A. where, over the next five years, Tommy would write the script, cast the film and hire a crew of industry professionals to shoot the picture precisely as he envisioned it. That labor of love, The Room, would gross a mere $1,800 at the box office and be uniformly derided by the critics as one of the worst movies ever made.

Nevertheless, Tommy would get the last laugh, since The Room proved so unintentionally funny that it developed a cult following. It eventually became such a favorite on the midnight and college circuits that the stars are routinely invited to address the audience after a showing.

Directed by James Franco, The Disaster Artist is a hilarious buddy comedy chronicling Tommy and Greg’s misadventures during the making of The Room. Adapted from Greg Sestero’s memoir of the same name, the film co-stars Franco’s brother Dave as Greg, and boasts an A-list ensemble that includes Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Sharon Stone, Melanie Griffith, Charlene Yi, Alison Brie, Bob Odenkirk, and Hannibal Buress, the stand-up comic credited with torpedoing Bill Cosby’s career.

Good sports Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau make cameo appearances in this sidesplitting tribute to utter ineptitude. And be sure to catch the closing credits featuring scenes from the original side-by-side with reenactments from this inspired spoof.

Oxymoronic Oscar-quality acting that’s simultaneously godawful!

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for sexuality, nudity and pervasive profanity
Running time: 104 minutes
Production Company: Good Universe / New Line Cinema / Ramona Films
Distributor: A24

 

Hostiles
Big Sky Adventure Features P.C. Variation on Classic Western Theme
I suppose the good old days are gone forever when you could make a Western without worrying about being political correct. I can still remember how, growing up, everybody (even the Native American kids) not only rooted for the frontiersmen to defeat the wild Injuns on TV, but we also preferred to be white settlers whenever we played Cowboys and Indians.

After all, we were being brainwashed in history class to believe that the indigenous tribes deserved to be pushed off their land by any means necessary, since they were “standing in the way of progress.” This attitude was reflected in an intolerant culture that made it perfectly respectable for President Teddy Roosevelt to suggest that, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.”

However, along came more enlightened times, and the classic Western gave way to comedies like Blazing Saddles (1974), as well as iconoclastic variations on the theme a la Little Big Man (1970) and Dances with Wolves (1990). Written and directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart), puts yet another unique spin on the ever-evolving genre.

This tale of redemption stars Christian Bale as Captain Joseph J. Blocker, a ready-to-retire veteran of the Indian Wars who had made a career of slaughtering savages. So, you can imagine his surprise when he’s ordered to escort a dying Cheyenne chief (Wes Studi) from New Mexico to Montana.

After being threatened with a court-martial, he grudgingly accepts the assignment and begins the thankless trek accompanied by a rag tag crew of deputized desperadoes. En route, the misfits rescue Rosalie Quaid (Rosamund Pike), the traumatized sole survivor of an Indian raid.

Perhaps the numb damsel-in-distress will snap out of her comatose state just in time to ride off into the sunset with Captain Joe. Luckily, some cliches die hard.

Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for profanity and graphic violence
Running time: 135 minutes
Production Studio: Waypoint Entertainment / Bloom Media / Le Grisbi Productions
Distributor: Entertainment Studios

 

OPENING THIS WEEK
Kam’s Kapsules
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
For movies opening Dec. 29, 2017

BIG BUDGET FILMS

All the Money in the World (R for profanity, violence, disturbing images and brief drug use) Crime thriller, set in Rome, recounting the 1973 kidnapping for ransom of the teenage grandson (Charlie Plummer) of J. Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer), then the richest man in the world. Co-starring Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams.

Molly’s Game (R for profanity, drug use and some violence) Jessica Chastain plays the title character in a biopic chronicling the rise and fall of Molly Bloom, the Olympic skier-turned-gambling operator who ran a high-stakes poker game for a decade until the FBI brought down the operation. A-list cast includes Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Graham Greene and Chris O’Dowd.

Phantom Thread (R for Profanity) Daniel Day-Lewis’ swan song, set in London in the Fifties, revolving around a bachelor fashion designer whose world is rocked when he falls head-over-heels for a strong-willed woman (Vicky Krieps). With Lesley Manville, Sue Clark and Joan Brown.

 

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (R for profanity, sexuality and brief nudity) Adaptation of Brit Peter Turner’s (Jamie Bell) memoir, set in 1978, recounting his May-November romance with Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening), the aging, American actress who won an Academy Award in 1953 for The Bad and The Beautiful. With Vanessa Redgrave, Julie Walters and Stephen Graham.

In the Fade (R for profanity, sexual references, disturbing images and drug use) Crime drama revolving around a German woman (Diane Kruger) determined to track down the neo-Nazi terrorists responsible for the murder of her Kurdish immigrant husband (Numan Acar) and their 5-year-old son (Rafael Santana). Cast includes Denis Moschitto, Johannes Krisch and Ulrich Tukur. (In German, Greek and English with subtitles)

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