You are currently browsing the daily archive for May 24, 2011.

First, a special shoutout to Xiaoyu.  Always nice to know someone is reading these.

144. Jonah Hex

If you didn’t know me, you’d probably think I’d learn at some point that most often a flop is a flop for a reason.  Fortunately my friends here will be more than happy to tell you I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer.  Because the cast is generally pretty awesome (regardless of your opinion of Megan Fox, you can’t put this film’s faults on her), I’m placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of writers Neveldine and Taylor.  I liked Crank about as much as anyone else did, but I’ve seen Crank 2 and Gamer.  Increasingly, they are looking like one hit wonders.  I realize the whole point of Jonah Hex is the supernatural stuff, but frankly, I didn’t think it worked at all here.  I’m kinda curious how things would have played out as a more traditional Western.

143. Dorian Gray

I actually read The Picture of Dorian Gray relatively recently, maybe two or three years ago.  I’d had the book forever, but I’ve no clue from whence it came, and after three or four moves, I figured that if I was going to keep shlepping the book around, I might as well read it.  Anyway, the book, perhaps unsurprisingly, is a lot better than the movie.  The problem, I think, is that there’s really not enough action to support a feature-length film.  As a Twilight Zone episode, it would have killed.  Still, Colin Firth is in it, as is Ben Barnes (the guy from The Truth About Cats and Dogs, duh), and Bond girl Maryam d’Abo.  Don’t mind the Spanish in the poster image, I had to look extra special for one with Rebecca Hall.

142. The Freebie

I swear that having two Dax Shepard films in my bottom 15 has nothing to do with the fact that he’s with Kristen Bell.  I’m sure he’s a very lovely person.  In case you missed it, The Freebie is about a married couple who’ve become something more like platonic best friends.  With each afraid (or unwilling) to back down, they egg each other into talking about giving themselves a one night stand with a stranger.  After daring each other with the ground rules, they set a night for the fling.  It is becoming increasingly apparent that mumblecore is not for me.  Haven’t exactly figured out why, yet.  Maybe I prefer scripts with more polish?  Because the problem here, for me, was that it often felt like I was watching a normal, everyday couple.  Which I’m sure is exactly what director and co-star Katie Aselton was going for, but if I wanted boring, everyday life, I wouldn’t watch movies.

141. Due Date

Robert Downey, Jr.!  Zach Galifianakis!  From the director of The Hangover!  And yet, wow.  Forget the fact that the film isn’t funny at all.  It is so mean-spirited.  Robert Downey, Jr.’s character is a total prick.  And while it is refreshing for him not really to learn a lesson by the end of the film, it is really difficult to see him be a bastard for no apparent reason.  Galifianakis is playing his usual man-child, but the character doesn’t have any consistent character traits.  Another problem with the film is that so few of the subplots or jokes ever pay off.  I chose the poster of the dog…well, because I love doggies, but also because there’s absolutely no reason he is in the film.  Galifianakis carries him around in a couple of scenes, and that’s it.  Same thing, really, with Jamie Foxx, and it is a waste of Michelle Monaghan.  Oh, the ending scene is really worth watching, because  it sorta sums up what I’m talking about, in a very roundabout way.  But it is somewhat of a spoiler, so only watch if you don’t mind being somewhat spoiled.

140. Operation: Endgame

The week this hitman action comedy was released straight to DVD, film blogs were all atwitter about this film, with an incredibly bizarre ensemble including: Odette Annable (nee Yustman), Ellen Barkin, Rob Corddry, Zach Galifianakis, Beth Grant, Brandon T. Jackson, Maggie Q, Emilie de Ravin, Ving Rhames, Adam Scott, and Jeffrey Tambor.  The script actually won a competition or two, though (naturally) was re-written.  The film is about a covert government organization employing hitmen, who are divided into two separate teams, though they all have cubicles in the same secure facility.  For whatever reason, the building begins a countdown to self-destruction, leaving the two teams to start killing each other as they try to figure out how to survive.  Theoretically, this film should have been the greatest thing ever.  Sadly, the fight scenes are just awful (even if they did let me fulfill a dream by seeing Adam Scott fighting), as is too often the case, “dark comedy” is code for “nothing is really funny, but not quite dramatic either.”  A real letdown, given the cast and premise.

139. The Last Song

I saw The Last Song on an airplane, so shut up.  For a Nicholas Sparks movie, I didn’t really get that emotional.  And, I mean, there were dying characters and tragedy and heartbreak and all sorts of stuff that theoretically should have been moving, but just wasn’t.  A lot of that is Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth being asked to carry more than they should, sure.  But if Greg Kinnear’s part didn’t do anything for me, that’s clearly a script thing.  Raylan’s boss from Justified (Nick Searcy) shows up, which is cool.  Someone in the production did have a sense of humor, though.  There’s a scene where Miley Cyrus is cruising in the car, listening to Maroon 5’s “She Will Be Loved”.  In that song’s music video, Kelly Preston plays the mother of Adam Levine’s ridiculous good-looking girlfriend (I won’t spoil the plot, the video is good, you should check it out.) and she plays Cyrus’s mother in this film.

138. Solitary Man

There was a brief moment where Michael Douglas was getting some Oscar buzz for his role in this film, and I was predicting it to nab him an Independent Spirit nomination.  But then everything sorta fizzled out, which is probably for the best.  In the film, Douglas plays a former car dealership magnate, who was ruined after some of his shady dealing came to light, and threw over his family in order to chase after much younger women (successfully, come on, he is Michael Douglas).  Solitary Man, which is by Koppelman and Levien (the Rounders guys, and we pretend they stopped making movies after that), doesn’t really add anything new to the older playboy who lost his way character.  Though it does get a little bit darker than I was expecting, which was nice.  The film boasts a rather fun supporting cast, not the least of which is Oscar nominee Jesse Eisenberg.  Also Imogen Poots, who I had refused to believe was real, because really?  That’s not a name.  But nope, she’s real and she’s fantastic.

137. Edge of Darkness

The film that was supposed to rehabilitate Mel Gibson’s image before The Beaver didn’t.  And theoretically, with a script co-written by William Monahan (The Departed) and directed by Martin Campbell (Goldeneye, The Mask of Zorro, Casino Royale), it really should have.  My opinion, though, is that Gibson only gets back on track with an action comedy that has broad appeal.  Anyway, Edge of Darkness was a muddled mess about Gibson investigating the murder of his daughter.  Turns out there was a conspiracy behind her killing.  Oh, whoops, should have put a spoiler alert there.  I think Gibson’s “Boston” accent moves around more than the plot does.

136. Biutiful

John did an excellent job summarizing our thoughts on the film.  Let’s face it, if John is bored by a film, there’s no hope for the rest of us.  As John mentions, there are three four disparate threads of Bardem’s life that never really go anywhere on their own, and certainly don’t tie up together.  I think a more successful film could have dealt with one of them.  Instead, we get the illegal immigrant employer, the guy with the crazy ex-wife, the dying family man, and the guy who can communicate with the dead.  All filtered through a lens of gray.  I know some people were blown away by Bardem’s performance, and maybe, but it was hard to tell through my drooping eyelids.

135. Leap Year

Actually the first 2010 movie I saw in theaters, if I remember correctly.  Saw it with my family in Florida during a comically ill-fated vacation.  The plot is chock full of classic romcom tropes: Amy Adams really wants to get married so she’s going to propose to her boyfriend (Adam Scott (really, Adam?  Two movies in my bottom 20?  Tsk.)) in Ireland, but through whatever plot contrivances, is forced to go on a road trip with the incredibly handsome Irishman (Matthew Goode) who is horribly mean to her at first, so you know they totally belong together.  Frankly, it is movie like this one that give romcoms a bad name.  It isn’t even how the plot is blindingly obvious, I don’t think.  It is that you have a characters who aren’t very nice, especially not to each other, falling in love for no particular reason other than maybe they are into some sort of bizarre mental S&M where they berate each other all night.  Also, the end, when she realizes Adam Scott doesn’t love her how she wants to be loved was pretty bogus.

May 2011
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