January 26, 2009
A quick note: I bashed this out pretty fast one evening, still fresh from the simmering rage of sitting through the film. I sat down this evening intending to re-write it, or at least reformat it to a large degree, but then realized that, quite frankly, this film doesn’t deserve anymore of my time. I’m not making excuses for the writing (though I probably should), but I will warn that, while an effort was made to scale back and not give out spoilers, I probably talk too much about the plot. If you’ve seen the film, my condolences, and please read on. If you haven’t, don’t see it in the first place.
As soon as the trailer appeared, the spectre of Liar Liar loomed large over the latest Jim Carrey vehicle. After his latest stab at a ‘serious’ project (the unbelievably awful Number 23), Jim was back to what pays the bills: a straightforward high-concept comedy about a man ‘forced’ to change his ways for the better. Liar Liar was the launching point, Bruce Almighty followed this well enough, and while Fun with Dick and Jane is largely forgettable, it was agreeable enough when watching (though one can’t ignore the diminishing returns). With these films in mind, it was quite surprising how astonishingly bad Yes Man turned out to be. All the elements were there: the concept, a supporting cast that wouldn’t bother to compete with the lead, a journeyman director. Somewhere it all went terribly wrong, as this film is not funny in the slightest, and without the comedy, all that’s left are the dull, lifeless components whose very purpose is to not get in the way. Read the rest of this entry »
January 22, 2009
“How many more movies do we need about the Holocaust? I mean, we get it, it was grim.” – Kate Winslet, “Extras”
A cheap shot to start with, I know, but on the one hand, I couldn’t help myself, and on the other, it is pretty apt. Every year sees the release of a slew of Oscar-baiting, ‘worthy’ films, which have become about as difficult to sludge through as your standard Hollywood rom-com crop or summer action spectacles. They tend to be visually bland, but still “moving” and “serious” in a way only an audience who doesn’t know the difference between those words and “self-important tripe” can understand. And so, from Stephen Daldry, the director of Billy Elliot and The Hours, comes The Reader, just in time for awards season. How fortuitous.
January 19, 2009
4 Golden Globes for best film, director, screenplay and music. My initial reservations regarding the potentially saccharine-saturated premise behind Slumdog Millionaire gave way to curiosity. What was getting the critics so excited? I wanted to know.
Post-viewing, I still want to know.
Should I be questioning the very integrity of my being that I wasn’t further moved by this rags to riches tale? Am I a steely cynic with a vacant space where my heart should be? (Some may feel inclined to agree in light of my vehement loathing of Richard Curtis’ Love Actually) Yet I feel there are many points which disqualify this theory. Watching Mickey Rourke cry during the pre-feature film trailer for The Wrestler brought a genuine lump to my throat. True, trailers are created to leave a lasting impression in the hope you’ll come back for the real thing. Thus, a concentrated selection of some of the best scenes and a powerful piece of music tends to do the job nicely. Nevertheless I did have a capacity for emotion prior to the film beginning. What then, happened? Read the rest of this entry »
January 16, 2009
Coming soon…opinions you most certainly did not ask for, and definitely do not need.