Peter Bogdanovich's Mask tells the moving story of Rocky Dennis (Eric Stoltz), a teenage boy suffering from craniodiaphyseal dysplasia, a condition that results in facial disfiguration, and his struggle to be accepted by those outside his immediate social and family circles. Stoltz, Cher (as Rocky's mother Rusty), and Sam Elliott (as Rusty's boyfriend) are all fantastic in the lead roles, but the film is hindered by a seemingly endless number of secondary characters, whose presence seem to clutter the story with needless side issues, causing the plot to stall at times. Despite this, the film is rewarding with its message of acceptance and will no doubt draw some tears by the time things wrap up.
In Todd Haynes I'm Not There, six different actors play characters based on different periods in Bob Dylan's evolution as an artist and a human being, among them Richard Gere as Billy the Kid (referencing Dylan's role in Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid) and Cate Blanchett as Jude Quinn (referencing when Dylan went from acoustic to electric). This avant-garde, non-linear puzzle of a film with be equally revered and reviled, depending on the viewer, but has to be recognized for its passion about Dylan and Haynes mastery of the material. It is not an easy watch, but is rewarding for those who stick with it. And the music, as would be expected, is fantastic.
Bad Grandpa is basically a string of Jackass hidden camera stunts strung together by a threadbare plot about grandfather Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) taking his grandson Billy (Jackson Nicoll) on a road trip from Nebraska to North Carolina to reunite the boy with his father. This is low brow humor at its worst (or best, depending on your perspective), but that doesn't mean that it isn't funny. Just when you think things have sunken to a new low (or a new high, again depending on your perspective), another hysterically funny horror is presented. If you love Jackass, you'll love this. If you hate Jackass, don't even think about watching.
In Woody Allen's mockumentary Zelig, set during America's Jazz Age, Leonard Zelig (Allen) captures the nation's attention with his ability to become a human chameleon, changing his physical appearance depending on his environment in order to assimilate, conform, and be accepted. Stylistically, the film is unlike anything else found in Allen's expansive oeuvre. Shot to mimic aged film, it is scratchy and shaky and tinny and totally effective. The film itself is funny, insightful, endlessly fascinating, and immensely entertaining. Despite its brief running time, this may be Allen's most wildly ambitious film.
If a movie is to be judged based on whether or not it accomplishes its intended goal, then Pineapple Express is a success. Laughs are plentiful in this stoner comedy, as Dale (Seth Rogan) and Saul (James Franco) do their best to evade killers after Dale inadvertently witnesses a murder. As would be expected, Franco and Rogan have great chemistry together and the supporting cast (Danny McBride, Gary Cole, Rosie Perez, Craig Robinson, etc) are all fantastic. The movie degenerates, unfortunately, into an action picture over the last twenty minutes or so, but that's a small price to pay considering the number of laughs dished out earlier in the film.