Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

August 20, 2013

CALLERI: 'The Spectacular Now' is a small picture with large potential

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Woody Allen’s outstanding “Blue Jasmine,” has quickly become a hit. Moviegoers are eager to see Cate Blanchett’s Oscar-worthy performance as a wealthy woman who has re-written her life history and finds herself, because of financial circumstances, compelled to invent yet another new persona.

Extremely popular is “We’re The Millers,” a crass and weak comedy about a fake family that has to smuggle marijuana, the appeal of which will depend on your tolerance for raunchy humor and very familiar pot jokes. It’s Cheech and Chong meets a stripper pole.

“Lee Daniels’ The Butler” is a well-made history lesson about an African-American White House butler who served Presidents of the United States for decades. The film is beautifully acted by Forest Whitaker as the servant, but the stunt casting of so many notable actors playing different presidents slows down the movie. “The Butler,” based on the life of an actual person, fictionalizes everything, and therefore rings false when it makes it seem as if each president was only concerned with Civil Rights. It becomes less about the butler and more about audience manipulation.

“Jobs” is a dull and shallow exploration of the life of Apple computer genius Steve Jobs. You sit and watch the air go out of what should have been an engaging picture about the inventor who changed the way we communicate. The film lacks passion. Jobs comes across as a smirking guru thanks to a listless performance by Ashton Kutcher, who mumbles and whispers and never lets us feel Jobs’s emotional intensity.

“The Spectacular Now” is a movie about teenagers but with a major difference. It’s good. This is not your typical, silly, party animal picture.

Sutter, well acted by relative newcomer Miles Teller, is a high school senior drifting along with a hail-fellow-well-met attitude. He’s absent a father and his mother won’t tell him where he is. His girlfriend dumps him because she doesn’t see a future together. Smart girl. Depending on how you feel about such things, Sutter is already an alcoholic or is on the cusp of becoming one. His ever-present flask of whiskey holds the glue that keeps him on an even keel.

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Night & Day
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  • NAD Jennings column art 072414 Trio of acts make their triumphant returns They say all good things come in threes so we will be looking at three shows coming to the region this weekend, including a supergroup trio, a band out of Denver and a guy that has Carolina on his mind.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • NAD temptations 072414 art 1 Temptations set to play Riviera Theatre Even those who are young enough to not have grown up in the Temptations' heyday are still likely to be able to identify one of their hits. Even if they can't say that it was the Temptations who wrote the song, most people know at least some of the words to "My Girl."

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Early tickets for Buffalo Philharmonic concerts now available The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is offering a chance to lock in your favorite seats to six of the season's highlights.

    July 24, 2014

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    In the truly great classic "Sunset Boulevard," the character of Norma Desmond, a faded silent film star, says in reference to her former fame: "I am big, it's the pictures that got small."

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Artpark advance art 072114 3 Doors Down close out Wednesday series at Artpark Wednesday Night's 3 Doors Down concert is the final in the 2014 Coors Light Wednesday series, the younger counterpart to the popular Tuesday night series that continues through August.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NAD Artpark review art 071714 Megadeth brings the metal to fans at Artpark It was mega-loud and mega-fast at Artpark Tuesday night as soon as thrash metal pioneers Megadeth hit the stage for a 90-minute set. Dave Mustaine and crew performed to an enthusiastic albeit smaller than usual crowd mostly clad in black clothing.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sara Bareilles 1 SLIDESHOW: Sara Bareilles takes the Artpark stage

    Pop diva Sara Bareilles was so good that even an hour long rainstorm couldn't drive her fans away. 

    July 17, 2014 6 Photos

  • NAD Jennings column art 071714 JENNINGS: Aretha Franklin, Tom Cochrane coming to town this week This week's column will focus on three shows coming to the Niagara region this week, all artists I am very familiar with so this offering will be a bit more on the personal side than usual. Those three shows are, Tom Cochrane with Kim Mitchell, Aretha Franklin and Theory of a Deadman.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 'Philadelphia Story' takes its act up north Before there was "E!" there was "Philadelphia Story," the big romantic comedy (emphasis romantic) in the Shaw's Festival Theater.

    July 17, 2014

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