true friends stab you in the front \\ attempting to say something, and end up saying what amounts to basically nothing. \\ IF IT HURTS, PUSH HARDER. \\ in these times, we are in actuality communicating less than ever … don’t u see?! \\ ANGER IS AN ENERGY \\ England my country the home of the free, such miserable weather, but England’s as happy as England can be, why cry? says HARRIET \\ Oh baby just go slower, Oh baby just go lower \\ like yourself so others don’t have to \\ i’ve forgotten more than you’ll ever know
BAD WORDS | C+
This is one of those cases where the majority of what’s good about the film is presented in the trailer. I thought the premise for this as a comedy was actually quite good and it was executed well enough, but really it didn’t “push the boundaries” like I was expecting it to. Usually with these kind of films it’s obvious there isn’t much going for it other than the few moments here and there that are packed into the trailer to get people into the seats, so I guess I fell for it this time. It’s a decent enough film, it just wasn’t full of the additional “belly laughs” beyond what you see in the preview. Mr Jason Bateman actually does a good job with the role – playing a cranky, miserly gentleman who does actually have a reason for taking advantage of loopholes in the rules of the regional and national spelling bees in order to get himself in. He finds a way of performing the role without being obnoxious and overbearing, he’s a quiet guy who just wants to be left alone. He’s not mad at the world – he just wants his peace and quiet. Obviously he doesn’t go about it in nicest ways at times, but he’s not a bad guy (I say that lightly), which I think was the right approach for this. Of course it’s probably the only way to make the relationship with the 10 year old (the insanely adorable Rohan Chand) believable by the end, but regardless that friendship instead of being cheesy is actually quite believable, and sweet, and what makes the film redeem itself for it’s lack of laughs by the end. Credit for this must go to Bateman for his performance, and for his direction. It’s clearly a first directorial effort, but he has the chops and I would expect bigger things from him down the road. All in all, forgettable, and lacking as many laughs as one would hope, but its funny enough, enjoyable, and despite the premise, strangely believable, especially by the end. So, put that in your pipe and smoke it!
DIVERGENT | B
I can’t grade this one too harshly because it was clear that the film was directed towards that same teenage/young adult audience that the book was written for. I’ve not read the books, but I think based on the presentation this WAS, how do I say it, “de-teened” a bit, as in elements were added and the script was spruced up a bit to try and reach out to an older crowd (adults and/or those of any age group for whom a complete lack of nuance at times make the eyes start rolling). But I don’t think it was ENOUGH to really make this the really special film for all age groups that it could have been; they could have pushed a bit further and still made this as equally appealing to the younger set, possibly even more so. Examples would be let’s say removing those absolutely horrible “radio-friendly” pop hits that were peppered about, or presenting the inevitable relationship between the lead and “the hot guy” in a way that felt like it hadn’t jumped off the cover of Teen Beat. But considering it’s intended audience, it’s a strong piece of entertainment. Fluff at times, sure, but it was highly entertaining, strangely effective, and though thematically it was quite similar to ‘The Hunger Games’, it’s story was engaging, and the performances made this film. Specifically Shailene Woodley who I raved about in 2011’s ‘The Descendants’, was equally fantastic in ‘The Spectactular Now’ (whose fellow lead in that, Miles Teller, appears in this film) and continues to prove she has quite a career ahead of her. She brings the film up another level, even giving it credence, considering the material she is working with. And Kate Winslet’s very quiet command as the story’s villain – the type role you normally don’t see her chosen for – was a strangely good showcase for the range she has as an actress. All in all, despite it’s obvious faults here and there, it overall appears to succeed in its goals, and I was surprisingly entertained from beginning to end, so …. put that in your pipe and smoke it!
NEBRASKA | B+
The latest flick from Alexander Payne (The Descendants, Election, About Schmidt) is another achievement in sweet sentimentality without being overly schmaltzy. His love for people and the good that lies within is Payne’s real talent, and is what carries this otherwise by the books road movie. Its hard to have a full opinion about this one – or really a decisive opinion – when just looking at this as a FILM. Take the black & white for example. So much of the film is beautiful to look at, and matches the setting of a midwest America that appears to be in decay. But on the other hand, is it an easy gimmick? As I watched the movie I tried to picture a lot of the same scenes in color and it made me wonder if the movie was half as interesting. So, smart move with the black & white? Or is it covering up an otherwise potentially empty film? I still can’t come to a conclusion. Regardless, take it for what it is, and it’s the human story that is strong and propels this to one of the best of the year. Will Forte (Saturday Night Live) does a great turn as the son who just wants to make his father happy in his remaining years, and though I didn’t see Bruce Dern in most of the film as the potential Oscar nominee that many are saying is inevitable, a few scenes towards the end – so subtle, but had me in tears – showed why a nomination is inevitable and deserved – and why this is yet another example of how Payne is able to tap into the best of the human spirit.
MOVIE 43 | F
Anything that is being called one of the worst movies ever made is something that will definitely get me to the theater. That’s an opportunity I will not pass up. But wow was this movie even worse than the reviews. There needs to be an article on how such a perfect storm developed. By this I mean how on Earth did Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman agree to star in a movie where he has testicles hanging from his neck? A movie where Halle Berry attempts to make guacamole with one of her boobs. A movie where Elizabeth Banks directs a segment where a young girl is made fun of and humiliated for getting her period for the first time – like blood smearing on the walls kind of humiliation. Rarely does my jaw drop in a movie from disillusionment, but this was it. I will say there was one segment with Naomi Watts and Liev Schreieber that I thought was pretty funny and almost inspired, but the rest was so atrociously bad – so cruelly and most offensive of all – completely unfunny – that it doesn’t help save this in anyway. As Richard Roeper said in his review, I wish there was a little blue pill I could take that would wipe all memories I have of this film. Holy shit what a mess. But seriously, how did ALL those HUGE and respected starts get coaxed into this (and I only mentioned a few of them)? BIZARRE BEYOND WORDS.
ZERO DARK THIRTY | B-
This was good, and executed well, but it was just unremarkable and doesn’t really deserve all the praise it’s getting from some corners. For a movie about this subject, to not have me feel emotionally invested for the majority of the time – something’s not completely right. The raid itself was riveting (an excellent score added to it) – Kathryn ‘Electric’ Bigelow really displayed her directing chops there – but a lot of this just fell flat. Trimming down and beefing up that script somehow, despite still feeling fast paced during its 2 1/2 hour running time, really would have helped on numerous levels. And what’s with all the chatter about Jessica Chastain? She was fine – but Best Actress? Come on now.