About Last Night
Rated R for profanity, sexuality, nudity and brief drug use
Kevin Hart Spearheads Raunchy Remake Of Romantic Romp
Released in 1986, About Last Night revolved around the yearlong effort of a couple of Chicago yuppies (played by Rob Lowe and Demi Moore) to forge a solid relationship on the shaky ground of a one-night stand. The movie was adapted from Sexual Perversity In Chicago, a dialogue-driven drama by Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet (for Glengarry Glen Ross).
Loosely based on the original, this raunchy remake is a romantic comedy ostensibly serving as a vehicle for popular comic-turned-actor Kevin Hart. After all, his character, Bernie, the sidekick in the source material, is now the leading man. Furthermore, the setting has been shifted toL.A., where much of the humor caters to the African-American palate, since the principal cast members are now all black.
The film happens to be at its best when over-the-top Bernie’s talking trash. For instance, he brags about leaving a recent sexual conquest’s “edges nappy,” an inside joke insinuating that the session was so steamy it had literally uncurled his partner’s straightened hair.
Directed by Steven Pink (Hot Tub Time Machine), the picture co-stars Regina Hall opposite Hart as his love interest, Joan. Rounding out the principal cast are Michael Ealy and Joy Bryant as Danny and Debbie, the aforementioned twosome who decide to give serious commitment a go.
At the point of departure, we are introduced to Bernie and Danny, best friends and co-workers at a restaurant supply company. The former recounts a purely lustful escapade he shared with Joan, prior to introducing the latter to her roommate. Danny goes gaga over Debbie, and the cinematic table is set.
Bernie and Joan remain incessantly in heat, and can’t keep their hands off each other. By contrast, Danny and Debbie prove to be introspective enough to move in together, buy furniture, adopt a pet, and generally map out a future.
The plot thickens when Danny loses his job and ends up tending bar at Casey’s, a saloon frequented by his stalker ex-girlfriend (Paula Patton). It doesn’t help that Bernie’s already been pressuring his suddenly-domesticated pal to revert to sowing his wild oats.
Regardless, the resulting relationship tensions still take a back seat to lighthearted banter in this superficial adventure laced with one-liners like, “If this bitch were any dumber, you’d have to water her.” Look for quickie cameos by NFL great Terrell Owens as well as by Rob Lowe and Demi Moore courtesy of a clip from original.
ALN 2.0, a bawdy variation on the theme establishing Kevin Hart as a bona fide box-office attraction.
Very Good (3 stars)
Running time: 110 minutes
Holy Ghost People
Rated R for violence, sexuality, profanity, brief nudity and drug use
Teen Seeks To Save Sister From Cult In Riveting Thriller
In 1967, Peter Adair shot an eye-opening documentary in the backwoods of West Virginiawhere he found a Pentecostal congregation conducting services that included such bizarre practices as snake handling and speaking in tongues. That exposé, Holy Ghost People, ostensibly now serves as the inspiration for this identically-titled thriller about a daring attempt to rescue a woman ensnared in a dangerous cult on a compound hidden deep in the Appalachian Mountains.
During the haunting flick’s opening tableau, we are introduced to Charlotte (Emma Greenwell), the film’s 19-year-old narrator. We find her working as a bartender at Saints And Sinners, a seedy dive catering to a blue-collar clientele.
At the end of her shift, she takes a hunky ex-Marine home with her. But it’s not what you’re thinking; she scraped the drunk vet off the ground in the wake of a brutal beating by bouncers outside the nightclub.
After Wayne’s (Brendan McCarthy) hangover wears off, she nurses him back to health while simultaneously confiding, “I need some help. My sister’s in trouble, real trouble.”
Charlottefurther explains that Liz (Buffy Charlet) has come under the spell of Brother Billy (Joe Egender), the charismatic pastor of the Church of One Accord. She seals the deal by letting him know that she has nowhere to turn for help, since she and her sibling are orphans with no other relatives.
That desperate plea works, and soon the two undertake the scary trek upSugarMountain. En route, they pass religious billboards emblazoned with Christian scriptures and sayings like “Jesus Saves” and “Repent Or Perish.”
Upon arriving, rather than owning up about their true intentions, they feign being heathens in need of redemption in order to infiltrate the congregation. However, suspicious Brother Billy warns them about the dire fate which awaits anyone who speaks with forked tongue, before pressuringWayneto play with a deadly serpent as proof of his faith.
Directed by Mitchell Altieri, Holy Ghost People is an edge-of-your-seat thriller which proves to be surprisingly absorbing for a production mounted on a modest budget. Credit a cleverly-concealed script with a few surprising twists that I dare not divulge. The picture also features some great acting by a talented cast which threw itself into the project with praiseworthy abandon.
A faith-based answer to Snakes On A Plane. Snakes In The Pulpit!
Very Good (3 stars)
Running time: 92 minutes
OPENING THIS WEEK
For movies opening February 21, 2014
3 Days To Kill (PG-13 for sensuality, profanity and intense violence) McG directs this espionage thriller by Luc Besson about an ailing spy (Kevin Costner) who grudgingly agrees to crack a terrorist plot when he’d rather retire to spend some quality time with his teenage daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) and estranged wife (Connie Nielsen). Cast includes Amber Heard, Eriq Ebouaney and Richard Sammel.
Pompeii (PG-13 for intense violence, disaster scenes and brief sexuality) Romance drama, set in 79 A.D. against the backdrop of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, revolving around the efforts of a slave-turned-gladiator (Kit Harrington) to rescue his soul mate (Emily Browning) before she is forced by her wealthy father (Jared Harris) into an arranged marriage to a crooked politician (Kiefer Sutherland). With Rebecca Eady, Carrie-Anne Moss, Sasha Roiz and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
Almost Human (Unrated) Sci-fi horror flick about a guy (Josh Ethier) who disappears in a flash of bright light only to return to town just as mysteriously two years later right before the start of a string of grisly murders. With Graham Skipper, Vanessa Leigh and Susan T. Travers.
Barefoot (PG-13 for violence, sexuality, partial nudity and brief profanity) Romantic dramedy about a family’s Black Sheep (Scott Speedman) who brings his charming, free-spirited girlfriend (Evan Rachel Wood) home to prove that he’s turned a new leaf. Co-starring Kate Burton (Richard’s daughter), Rex Baker and Ashleigh Borman.
Bethlehem (Unrated) Middle East drama about an Israeli Secret Service agent (Tsahi Halevi) who induces a Palestinian teenager (Shadi Mar’i) to snitch on his terrorist brother (Tarik Kopty). With Hitham Omari, Michal Shtamler and George Iskandar (In Hebrew and Arabic with subtitles)
Black Out (Unrated) Shades of The Hangover in this Dutch crime comedy about a groom-to-be (Raymond Thiry) who becomes the prime suspect in a murder case when he wakes up with amnesia on the eve of his wedding lying in bed next to a corpse. Cast includes Kim van Kooten, Bas Keijzer and Renee Fokker. (In Dutch for subtitles)
Child’s Pose (Unrated) Crime drama about a wealthy socialite’s (Luminita Gheorghiu) attempt to manipulate the legal system to prevent her son (Bogdan Dumitrache) from being brought to justice after he’s arrested for manslaughter. With Vlad Ivanov,Florin Zamfirescu and Natasa Raab. (In Romanian with subtitles)
In Secret (R for sexuality and violent images) Romance drama, set inParis in the 1860s, about a young woman (Elizabeth Olsen) forced by her domineering aunt (Jessica Lange) into a loveless marriage with her own cousin (Tom Felton), who embarks on an illicit affair with a friend (Oscar Isaac) of her husband. With Mackenzie Crook, Matt Devere and Lily Laight.
One Candle, Two Candle (Unrated) Iraqi comedy about a teenager (Katrin Ender) who runs away to the arms of an artist (Perwar Tariq) her own age rather than consummate her arranged marriage to an elderly businessman (Kurdo Galali). With Nalin Kobani, Dilsoz Maweti and Heyder Behcet. (In Kurdish with subtitles)
The Wind Rises (PG-13 for smoking and some disturbing images) Animated biopic recounting the life and career of Jiro Horikoshi (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the aeronautical engineer who designed the Zero and other fighter planes for Japan during World War II. Voice cast includes Emily Blunt, Jennifer Grey, Stanley Tucci, William H. Macy, Mandy Patinkin, Elijah Wood and Ronan Farrow (son of Mia and Woody Allen).