August 4, 2011
If given the choice between seeing a mediocre action film and a mediocre romantic comedy, nine times out of ten I’ll pick the latter. Both can be terrible, but while the former will probably be a boring dirge through mindlessness, the rom-com has the ability to transcend the rigid demands of the genre through occasional subversion of societal expectations, a few witty scenes, and perhaps most commonly, some good performances that can truly elevate the middling material. After all, these films are mostly about dialogue and character interaction, and the general simplicity of the filmmaking (no elaborate special effects sequences, less time devoted to making something ‘awesome’) allows for the actors to find rhythms and beats that give a scene much more punch than it should have. This is not to say that a majority of Hollywood rom-coms aren’t absolutely dreadful – they are – but there’s more of a chance there will be something to make the time spent watching them not totally intolerable. Read the rest of this entry »
September 1, 2010
A teenage boy, Laser (Josh Hutchinson), has been hanging around a new friend quite a bit recently. His friend, an unbelievable (literally, he’s so one-dimensional it is almost offensive) douche named Clay (Eddie Hassell) convinces him to look through Laser’s mothers’ bedroom for weed. They find a vibrator and a porn DVD, and quickly pop it in the laptop to watch it. For reasons unbeknownst to anyone, the mothers, Nic and Jules (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore), have it in their heads that their son might be exploring his sexuality with his friend. Jules, right on cue, barges into Laser’s room to find them watching the porno, which features man-on-man sex. The mothers sit Laser down, and attempt to broach the subject of his sexuality by asking him if he has anything he wants to ask them. He asks, quite reasonably, why they watch gay porn. Nic, the Type A controlling mother tells him that, firstly, they don’t watch it very often, and secondly, he shouldn’t be snooping around their room. Jules, the more wayward and intuitive mother, weighs in with an amusing and complicated explanation of the sometimes counter-intuitive nature of human sexuality, and that as a lesbian couple they are focused on the ‘inward’ and sometimes get turned on by the ‘outward’. They resume hinting that he is hiding something, to which he relents and admits that he has met the sperm donor from which he and his sister were conceived. Responding to the visibly shocked reaction of his mothers, he asks if they thought he was gay. “No, no, of course not!” they respond. Read the rest of this entry »
April 1, 2010
I’ve said this about Avatar and I’ll say it again about Atom Egoyan’s psychological/erotic thriller Chloe: In general, all the reviews you read will be the same. Or, at least, they’ll hit the same basic conclusion that whatever the merits of the first hour, the final third loses the plot and either almost or completely does derail the picture. They might not like the film at all, or they might defend it as mostly good, but they’ll pretty much all agree on that one point. I, for one, do not feel compelled to disagree. For the first hour features some truly excellent elements, and they work together very well to create a solid if, in some ways, rather minor work in the Egoyan’s oeuvre, and the final third does, indeed, disappoint. I do not think, however, that climax is completely devoid of value, nor do I think it feels like a completely separate film from the first part.