The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By D.K. Holm
For The Courier 

Film Shorts: Valley Cinemas, Streaming, The Worx

 


The third Kung Fu Panda prevails at Valley Cinemas this week, with the theater adding Sisters. This is a Tina Fey and Amy Pohler comedy that flips the usual expectation that Ms Pohler would be the messy, drunken, white trash sister, with Ms Fey playing as usual the uptight square. Its slim premise has the two sisters in Florida dealing with their childhood home, which their aging parents (James Brolin, Dianne Wiest) are selling off. A house party ensues, among other tedious things. The large cast is padded out with Saturday Night Live staffers past and present (Maya Rudolph, Bobby Moynihan, Rachel Dratch, Kate McKinnon) who do memorably unfunny work, as they did and do on the show. Not to be confused with then Brian DePalma horror masterpiece of the same title.

At The Worx (700 1/2 1st Ave N, 228-4474), it’s the best of times, and – in one case – the worst of times. The worst is represented by The Last Witch Hunter, a Vin Diesel vehicle that was practically laughed off then big screen last October. But happily it is joined by three successes: Bridge of Spies is the taut Cold War spy story with Tom Hanks as a New York insurance lawyer press ganged into handling the trial of a captured Soviet spy, then using him as a bartering chip to get U-2 pilot Gary Powers home. It’s a clever script, partly written by the Coen Brothers, so notice how Hanks adapts one of his legal ploys in insurance disputes to his negotiations with East Berlin operatives. Next is Our Brand is Crisis, with Sandra Bullock as a disgraced political consultant who is inveigled to help re-elect a “no friend to the people” president in Bolivia. Rock the Kasbah is a surprisingly funny Bill Murray film about a failed rock promoter who ends up in Afghanistan where he discovers a beautifully voiced young Muslim girl. Loosely based on a true story, Rock the Kasbah finds Murray at his irascible, authority-thumbing best, at least since the old days of Meatballs and Stripes.

Over at the Glasgow City-County Library (408 3rd Ave S, 228-2731) comes A Few Good Men, based on a legal drama by TV’s Aaron Sorkin, and featuring one of the best of Tom Cruise’s populist performances. Also on hand is Michael Clayton, a political thriller with George Clooney as a fixer who ends up on the wrong end of a scandal, a film that evokes those great, contemplative paranoia movies of the 1970s.

Coming up on Netflix in February is Better Call Saul. This spin off from Breaking Bad proved to be an immersive character study, going back into the past or the roots of BB’s compromised ambulance-chasing attorney, played by Bob Odenkirk, from Chicago con man Jimmy McGill, to bar exam success, to unrespected associate in his older brother’s New Mexico law firm. Along for the ride is Jonathan Banks as enforcer Mike Ehrmantraut, who started out as a cop but ended up in Albuquerque, too. We know where they are all going if we’ve seen BB (though we don’t need to have seen it), so the show concentrates on the intricacies of how they got there. Because the early episodes are on the slow (though funny) side, Better Call Saul is perfect for binging in one day because the viewer is rewarded with a late episode featuring an encounter between the McGill brothers that boils with the force of a Mahler symphony – or a train wreck.

 

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