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Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery, Iron Man 2, No Reservations, The Social Network, Winnie The Pooh

AUSTIN POWERS: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY

Here Mike Myers steps into the shoes of Austin Powers, a swingin’ ’60s groove monster who is cryogenically frozen and then reanimated in the ’90s. Austin Powers is obviously aimed at a generation of moviegoers who have watched too much TV and too many videos; it spoofs James Bond flicks, The Avengers, Quadrophenia, and ‘60s art films such as Blow-Up, with a little Laugh-In thrown in for good measure. Powers, a spy/photographer/rock star/Carnaby Street hipster, chases the villainous Dr. Evil (also played by Myers). The ensuing erratic comedy doesn’t exactly reach the heights of sophistication—lots of bathroom humor, penis jokes, villains called Alotta Fagina (remember Pussy Galore?) and a shoe-throwing Random Task (remember Odd Job?)—but you often have to laugh in spite of yourself. Elizabeth Hurley does a merely adequate job as the babe, but Carrie Fisher does a funny turn as a therapist leading a group attended by Dr. Evil and his rebellious Gen X son. The mod costumes and psychedelic styling alone are almost worth the price of admission. (Sono Motoyama)

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IRON MAN 2

Director Jon Favreau and screenwriter Justin Theroux offer more, more,

more!

in this sequel, 124 minutes of comic-book insider baseball plotting, Mickey Rourke doing a passable Russian accent, and making you wait nearly two hours to watch Scarlett Johansson kung-fu fight in a skintight catsuit. Robert Downey Jr. returns as Tony Stark, the self-centered head of a gazillion-dollar defense contractor who very publicly moonlights as Iron Man, protector of American life and liberty. Stark soon finds himself feeling very exposed once defense competitor Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) enlists the help of Ivan Vanko (Rourke), a Russian physics whiz/thug with a poet’s soul who wants to expose Stark/Iron Man as just another vulnerable American man who happens to have a really bitching metal suit. A little overstuffed with subplots,

IM2

at least keeps everything moving along at a frenetic pace. What’s missing is the first installment’s kinda/sorta subversive mirth, which made you care about—and root for—an egomaniacal playboy who makes obscene bank arming the highest-bidding mercenaries. You know, because it’s so much easier to like a Dick Cheney-ish figure when he looks like Robert Downey Jr. (Bret McCabe)

NO RESERVATIONS

Adapted from the 2001 German movie Mostly Martha, Catherine Zeta-Jones plays Kate, workaholic head chef of a chichi Greenwich Village restaurant who, after inheriting her 9-year-old niece Zoe (Abigail Breslin) when Zoe’s mother dies suddenly, must deal with her new assistant chef Nick (Aaron Eckhart)—who, as the stars would have it, must, along with Zoe, show her how to enjoy the life she’s been given. Unfortunately, director Scott Hicks’ No Reservations abuses the screwball-comedy formula, instead offering one likable character (Nick) and one unlikable one (Kate) and expecting you to want Nick to get the girl. Fortunately, Breslin comes through in her big follow-up to Little Miss Sunshine, lending some dramatic credibility to an otherwise terrible script that should’ve starred Kate Hudson and an equally forgettable male counterpart. (Cole Haddon)

THE SOCIAL NETWORK

The basic story is well documented: Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) creates Facebook as a Harvard undergraduate. It gains instant success on campus, spreads around the country and the world, and soon enough he’s a gazillionaire. Less familiar are Facebook’s subplots: at least one lawsuit, a friend who claims to have been screwed, and some other guys claiming intellectual theft.

The Social Network

wants to show “what really happened.” The problem is parsing out what’s real and what’s convenient—though the plot is the movie’s only weakness. As a composition, it works, largely because of how director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin handle it. They capture all the college stuff, Hollywood stuff, and nerd stuff in stinging dialogue that’s quick, consistent, and surprisingly funny. The weirdly artistic soundtrack augments some excellent camerawork, and it all pulls together to create a slickly intriguing ride that is undermined only by its artifices. (Laura Dattaro)

WINNIE THE POOH

Pooh and friends’ first big screen adventure in over 35 years, isn’t a game changer. Winnie the Pooh lacks honey, shenanigans ensue. Opens July 15

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