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Movie Reviews: Jonas Brothers: The 3-D Concert Experience, Must Read After My Death, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li 

Also, Dog Eat Dog, Echelon Conspiracy and more

Wednesday, Feb 25 2009
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JONAS BROTHERS: THE 3-D CONCERT EXPERIENCE Following the franchise template of fellow Hollywood Records–Disney property Miley Cyrus, here’s a dose of America’s favorite soft-serve rockers for the local pubescents. Between 3-D concert clips, the Jonas boys gallivant about Manhattan; thank this movie for NYU’s horrible incoming freshmen girls, circa 2016. Reiterating Hard Day’s Night nods, an incidental montage connects the brothers to a lineage of adolescent heartthrobs. Even in the context of pop-to-statutorily-rape-virgin-eardrums, it’s difficult to rate the Jonases. The tunes are no-stick. Presuming the brothers have distinct personalities, they don’t shine in the “casual” filler; at best, they’re an all–Davy Jones Monkees with varsity soccer co-captain good looks. The chaste Jonases sport promise rings and keep the trouser bulge under control, but some subconscious lasciviousness bubbles up as they jut their microphones out of the screen — and then there’s the bit where they hose down the crowd with (and this actually happens) fountains of sticky white goo. Taking the stage, alongside a platoon of session men riffing for their supper while the boys do their tumbling act, are walk-ons like grinning, dusted sugarplum Demi Lovato and Miss Taylor Swift, singing her jilted, avenging-angel “Should’ve Said No.” Thanks to intrusive dueting, Swift doesn’t top the barnburning theatrics of her CMA performance, but amid such company she’s positively hardcore. (Citywide) (Nick Pinkerton)

MADEA GOES TO JAIL When we last saw Tyler Perry’s signature character — the bosomy, blunt-smoking, Glock-yielding Georgia granny — she and her brother, Joe (also Perry), were being pulled over by the po-po in a cameo in last March’s Meet the Browns (this is Perry’s third film in 11 months). Wearing a fat suit and earrings for more than two minutes for the first time since Madea’s Family Reunion (2006), Perry isn’t content to operate in one genre when he can stuff in at least three. He leavens — not altogether seamlessly — his ludicrous fallen-woman melodrama (Assistant D.A. Derek Luke is determined to save crazy-wigged prostitute Keshia Knight Pulliam, a childhood friend who took a bad turn after two years in college) with Madea’s broad humor: “I’ll rip out your urethra tube!” Check off all of Perry’s motifs: vilification of the black bourgie princess, tough-love Christian messages, Academy Award–nominated actresses (Viola Davis, this time) managing to maintain their dignity. As ridiculous as his films frequently are, Perry, a shrewd yet benevolent showman, knows and loves his audience. And 2009 is a particularly resonant year for Madea, who, though she out-bullies Dr. Phil and beats a butch blonde yard bird into submission, still isn’t as tough as the grandma now living in the White House. (Citywide) (Melissa Anderson)

GO  MUST READ AFTER MY DEATH Who owns this devastating documentary portrait of domestic misery in early-1960s suburban America? Charley, the angry, tidiness-obsessed father whose careless updates about his multiple infidelities to his wife, Allis, sound less like confessions than salt rubbed carefully into the wounds of her alleged insufficiencies? Allis, who is heard confiding her escalating unhappiness into a crackly Dictaphone originally purchased to narrow the gulf between her and the husband whose work took him away from home for long stretches? The shrink, who bullied and tranquilized her into taking the blame for her husband’s peccadilloes and her children’s difficulties? Or the couple’s grandson, filmmaker Morgan Dews, who juxtaposes Allis’ high, querulous and increasingly desperate recorded voice with the pitifully banal home movies that show Charley, an unlikely Lothario in specs and a bald pate, posing or roughhousing with the grinning kids we know to be sliding into depression and dysfunction? An artful arranger of evidence, Dews tacitly shifts the balance of domestic power to his grandmother. Honoring both her shocking vulnerability and the rebellious spirit that her domineering spouse never fully quashed, Dews helps Allis hold out a gendered posthumous snapshot of an era whose smug surface, barely masking oceans of suffering, makes Revolutionary Road look like a tea party. (Sunset 5) (Ella Taylor)

click to enlarge 30 Century Man
  • 30 Century Man

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