A Meth Addict and Trashing 'Sex and the City'

Just in time to rescue us from another week of safe, reheated Hollywood product (yes, I'm referring to you, Sex and the City 2), a locally produced film gets its local debut at 8 p.m. tonight at Cincinnati State's ATLC Auditorium (3520 Central Pwky., Clifton).

Meth, the latest short from Cincinnati filmmaker Michael Maney, centers its fast-paced 20-minute story on a meth addict (played by CCM-trained local actress Stephanie Brait) who, in an effort to score her habit of choice, crosses paths with a tweaked-out drug dealer (Dan Davidson), a pawn-shop operator (Nick Rose), a talking mannequin (voiced by Robert Pavlovich) and a guy who might be the victim of a conspiracy to exterminate wrongdoers via vigilante justice.—-

Written, directed and edited by Maney and photographed by Ryan Lewis and Brad Hollman, Meth is a deft, stylish effort that seamlessly employs a host of special effects — from faux-scratched film stock to immersive, disorienting sound design — and includes a crafty use of gritty local locations like the Brighton District.

Don't be surprised if this slickly produced short, which debuted at the Newport Beach Film Festival in late April, eventually leads to a full-length feature project for Maney and co. For more information, click here.

Back to Sex and the City 2 for a minute. No high-profile movie in recent memory has garnered as much critical venom as this sequel to its tedious 2008 cinematic precursor, itself an adaptation of a television series that seemed to lose steam by the time its six-year run ended in 2004. (Read tt stern-enzi's equally damning review below.)

I'll reserve judgment until I actually see Sex and the City 2, but reading through some of the review blurbs on Metacritic.com is pretty funny. Here are a few of the choice vitriol-laced comments:

• “Hits a new low for idiocy and crassness.”

• “Thanks to writer-director Michael Patrick King, I now have a fair idea how it might feel to be stoned to death with scented candles.”

• “The ugly smell of unexamined privilege hangs over this film like the smoke from cheap incense.”

• And, finally, this from Roger Ebert: “Some of these people make my skin crawl. The characters of Sex and the City 2 are flyweight bubbleheads living in a world which rarely requires three sentences in a row.”

Of course, critical negativity alone is rarely enough to stop the moviegoing public from turning terrible movies into box-office smashes (see the career of Michael Bay). But it should be interesting to see how this latest (and probably last) Sex and the City movie foray fares. Could it again transcend its flaws and serve as a balm for moviegoers seeking a dose of lightweight fluff to combat our depressing, ever-darkening era? I wouldn't bet against it.

Opening films:

PRINCE OF PERSIA — Based on a video game and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (could it have a less appealing pedigree?), Prince of Persia features a buffed-up Jake Gyllenhaal as the title character in an adventure film that’s heavy on special effects. The saving grace could be Mike Newell, a savvy and versatile director who has guided everything from Four Weddings and a Funeral and Enchanted April to Donnie Brasco and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The cast also includes Gemma Arterton, Alfred Molina and Ben Kingsley. (Opens wide today.) — Jason Gargano (Rated PG-13.) Review coming soon.

SEX AND THE CITY 2 — What writer/director Michael Patrick King and his cast and crew have created here is as cheap an imitation of the HBO series as the knock-off dresses and shoes likely to be on parade for this tawdry affair. And that’s a real shame. (Read full-length review here.) (Opened wide Thursday.) — tt stern-enzi (Rated R.) Grade: F

THE YELLOW HANDKERCHIEF — With a guiding title premise that has little to no bearing on the story, The Yellow Handkerchief is little more than a glorified student film. Stars William Hurt, Kristen Stewart and Maria Bello. Read full review here.) (Opens today at Esquire Theatre.) — Cole Smithey (Rated PG-13.) Grade: C-