Archive for February, 2012

Is The Artist Worth Seeing?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 27, 2012 by illwatchanything

The Artist took home Best Picture last night. Here’s contributor Daniel Picker’s take:

The Artist starring Jean Dujardin, and Berenice Bego, also stars Uggie, a Jack Russell Terrier and scene stealer.  This trio trumps a supporting cast which includes the larger – than – life John Goodman as the demonstrative Al Zimmer, the capable James Cromwell as Clifton, the Valet, and the able Ed Lauter as Peppy’s Initial Chauffeur, along with Malcolm McDowell as The Butler.

But this silent, black & white film belongs to the eponymous “Artist” George Valentin as portrayed by Jean Dujardin.  Dujardin’s performance exhibits brilliance, and he, along with Berenice Bejo as Peppy, and the dog, should be sufficient inspiration for delinquent film lovers as Oscar season approaches.  A mirror, and a large plate – glass shop window figure prominently in “The Artist.”  Early on in the film Valentin faces a mirror and his subtle and brief shift in facial expression illuminates the dilemma of the artist: am I myself or the character I portray? And is either sufficient?  And for whom?  While Valentin silently meditates on his fate a filmgoer cannot help but be drawn into this motion picture. Continue reading

Catch-up: The Interrupters (2011)

Posted in New Classic, Review with tags , , on February 27, 2012 by Timothy Parfitt

PBS’ Frontline showed the documentary The Interrupters recently. It’s a movie that I’ve been trying to see since it premiered earlier in the year. The film focuses on Ceasefire, and Chicago organization that tries to intercede and prevent intercity violence. They do so by dispatching “Interrupters,” former gang members with street cred to spare, to talk to family and friends of victims to prevent them from retaliating. It’s dangerous and controversial work, and makes for compelling cinema. Continue reading

Out of Haywire and into Dolly: Double Dipping pt. Deux

Posted in Review with tags , , , on February 8, 2012 by sdoob

Joyful Noise is a terrible title for a movie.  And god I love Dolly Parton.

I walked out of Haywire after about seven minutes, made a phone call, came back in, saw that my friend had passed out, and I left again.  I walked into Joyful Noise and I watched the middle of the movie.  So this is not such a solid review.  I don’t know what happened at the beginning, or at the end.  I can guess things weren’t so great at the beginning, and by the end, they were better.  Like a Shakespearean comedy.  But who knows? Continue reading

A Movie-Hopping Failure starring One for the Money and They Grey

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on February 7, 2012 by sdoob

 

Like Timmy’s experience with Contraband, mine was similar with One for the Money.  I was so excited after seeing the trailer, I invited friends to go see an afternoon matinee.  It was a failure.  I really want to dig into One for the Money but there’s not much to say.  It is not only not good, it is clear from the start director Julie Anne Anderson cannot make it happen on any level.  In short, we left.  When we were seated in the adjacent theater, my friend said, “That may have been the flattest movie I’ve ever seen.” 

A month and a half ago, I realized my Xmas spirit was lacking as usual.  So I took out Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich from the library.  A book on tape, ready by Lorelei King.  It was an Xmas story and it introduced me to all the characters of the world of Stephanie Plum, who is the narrator and protagonist of many Evanovich novels.  Lorelei King, the reader of the book, was completely over the top and hilarious.  She did a much better job with Evanovich’s style and zany characters than the millions of dollars and hundreds of people who were involved in the feature film.  Heigl, by the way, was one of the executive producers of One for the Money.

And one other thing about the movie: the voiceover.  The only explanation I can come up with is they were trying to be so faithful to Evanovich the screenwriters wrote in all the non-dialogue parts from the book as voiceover for Heigl.  But it’s a movie.  We don’t need to hear visual descriptions.  It is no longer necessary for the author to help us visualize the scene.  Apparently when I left to get more popcorn, Stephanie Plum told the audience more than once that an onscreen car was yellow.

Before we move on to The Grey, let’s talk about previews, because I feel like a fool for getting so excited about movies that are obviously going to be bad.  Who are these genius editors?  They construct preview after preview that are almost always better than their longer counterparts.  Why aren’t they editing features?  Or directing them?  Or starring in them?  Can they function – and function is a giant understatement – only in the two and a half minute trailer medium?  Because so many movies – One for the Money and Contraband most definitely included – are worse than their previews.  In both aforementioned titles, the one liners land better, the sexual tension exists, and the movie stars’ smiles and mannerisms are magic – except that only exists in the preview, not in the actual movie.  But what am I going to rely on if not the previews?  Movie reviews?  No.  That was a joke.

 

So The Grey.  Let’s see.  Well first of all, it seemed like a masterpiece after thirty minutes of One for the Money.  But anything would have. Continue reading

Abs and Angst: Warrior

Posted in Catch-up with tags , , on February 3, 2012 by Timothy Parfitt

Yesterday, I watched Warrior on-demand. I had heard from several reputable sources that the movie was solid, plus I love Nick Nolte, so the decision wasn’t that hard. And as it turns out, Warrior is totally solid, a predictable-yet-endearing reimagining of Rocky for the Great Recession.

The film follows two brothers, Brendan (Joel Edgarton) and Tommy (Tom Hardy), who were separated 15 years earlier upon their parents’ divorce. Both have fallen on tough times, with high-school physics teacher Brendan facing foreclosure and Tommy struggling with daddy-issues and pills. So, they turn to the most obvious way to improve their stations in life: cage fighting! Continue reading