Slate's Summary Judgment: 'Last Holiday,' 'Hoodwinked,' 'Glory Road'
MADELEINE BRAND, host:
And now it's time for our regular look at the reviews of this weekend's new movies. Each Friday we bring you a digest of those reviews compiled by the online magazine Slate. Here's Mark Jordan Legan with Summary Judgment.
MARK JORDAN LEGAN reporting:
First up in wide release, we have the sports drama "Glory Road," which is based on a true story. In 1966, a young college basketball coach, played by Josh Lucas, leads his team to victory while fielding the first all-African-American starting lineup in the history of the NCAA finals. Jon Voight and Derek Luke also star.
(Soundbite of "Glory Road")
Mr. JOSH LUCAS: (As Coach Haskins) What do you want to do? You want to quit?
Unidentified Man: They're trying to take our dignity away from us.
Mr. LUCAS: (As Coach Haskins) Your dignity's inside you.
LEGAN: The nation's critics are split on this one. Many compliment the power of the subject matter but complain of the typical sports movie cliches. The Philadelphia Inquirer says, `Viewed as a re-creation of a watershed moment, "Glory Road" is sturdy, efficient, perhaps even worthy. Taken as cinema, however, it falls far short of inspiring.' The New York Times adds that the film is satisfying less for virtuosity than for its sincerity. But The Arizona Daily Star cheers, `"Glory Road" rages with bleacher-stomping, fist-pumping thrills you'd expect from an underdog sports movie.'
Next up is the comedy "Last Holiday" starring Queen Latifah as a hard-working woman who goes on a wild European vacation after she finds she only has a short time to live. This is a remake of a 1950 British comedy that starred Sir Alec Guinness. That's right. Now Guinness was an amazing actor, but I'd like to see him play the lead in "Beauty Shop." Timothy Hutton and LL Cool J also star.
(Soundbite of "Last Holiday")
Ms. QUEEN LATIFAH: (As Georgia Byrd) Next time, we'll do things different. I just won't be so afraid.
LEGAN: The critics all praise Latifah but have some problems with the movie itself. Even though the L.A. Weekly shouts, `Latifah gives a spectacular performance in this hugely enjoyable wish-fulfillment fantasy,' The New York Times sniffs, `as witless as it is formulaic,' and The Wall Street Journal coughs, `Once again, Queen Latifah survives some remarkably clumsy filmmaking.' More than survives, she manages to prevail.
And we close with the computer-animated comedy "Hoodwinked." This new take on the classic bedtime story "Little Red Riding Hood" features the voice talents of Glenn Close, Jim Belushi and Anne Hathaway.
(Soundbite of "Hoodwinked")
Ms. ANNE HATHAWAY: (As Red) So, what's going on, Grandma?
Mr. PATRICK WARBURTON: (As The Wolf) Oh, this and that, doing a lot of quilting. So you got the loot?
LEGAN: Overall, the critics say the little ones should enjoy it. The LA Times finds "Hoodwinked" to be high-energy, imaginative entertainment. The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel raves, `A delicious basket of goodies from its quick-witted humor to its colorful animation.' But many of the detractors agree with The Village Voice, which growls, `Finally a Rashomon for the whole family. This cartoon version of "Red Riding Hood" tells and retells its story from a variety of perspectives, all of them boring.' If "Hoodwinked" does well, look for other 21st century takes on classic fairy tales. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are Jack and Jill. See what really happens when Jill comes tumbling after.
BRAND: Mark Jordan Legan is a writer living in Los Angeles.
BRAND: DAY TO DAY is a production of NPR News with contributions from slate.com. I'm Madeleine Brand. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.