You are currently browsing the daily archive for June 14, 2012.

147.  Swinging with the Finkels

Won’t somebody please put Mandy Moore in a good movie?!  For me, this was When Harry Met Sally meets Humpday.  Moore and Martin Freeman (who is also great) are a married couple who have lost their spark, so they decide to give swinging a try.  The film’s only funny scene involves Moore and Freeman interviewing potential couples though tonally it is completely different from the rest of the movie.  There’s also a scene with Moore, a cucumber, and her grandparents that is exactly as uncomfortable as it sounds.

146.  Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

Dylan Dog

I have a mild obsession with Brandon Routh and his complete inability to emote.  I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has noticed this, and yet he keeps getting cast in roles where, eventually, he has to show some sort of emotion.  And always with hilarious results.  But that can’t sustain my interest over the course of a whole movie, unfortunately.  The film had some interesting horror/comedy aspects, but mostly was supernatural mumbo jumbo that wasn’t terribly interesting.  Poor Taye Diggs, something went really wrong for him to be taking supporting roles in a clunker like this.

145.  Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune

Two relevant pieces of information here.  I have trouble appreciating documentaries.  Haven’t quite figured out why, I think it has something to do with me being so willing to suspend disbelief for films that maybe the opposite is true for documentaries.  And my dad is a huge Phil Ochs fan, so I was fairly familiar with Ochs’s story and music.  And, I should clarify, I’m also a fan.  His lyrics are witty, of course, but the music is disarmingly catchy.  And “Changes” is one of the prettiest songs ever recorded.  Anyway, I didn’t think the film did a good job telling a cohesive story.  If anything, I came away more confused as to what, exactly was Phil Ochs’s place in the folk scene.  The talking heads often seemed more interested in reminiscing about how great the time was and less about Ochs specifically.

144.  Rampart

Oren Moverman’s followup to The Messenger generated some Oscar buzz, but ultimately fell short, settling for a Spirit Awards nomination for lead actor Woody Harrelson.  Who is great, of course.  And his character is kinda interesting.  But the film seems like it is going more for shock than substance, from the nearly recognizable Ben Foster in a wheelchair to whatever the domestic situation was with Cynthia Nixon and Anne Heche to Harrelson’s character’s nickname (Date Rape Dave).  Not to mention stunt casting Sigourney Weaver, Steve Buscemi, and Robin Wright in glorified cameos.

143.  Hobo with a Shotgun

Watched this with Adam.  I’m reasonably certain alcohol was involved.  In some sense the movie delivered exactly what it promised: Rutger Hauer plays a hobo.  With a shotgun.  So maybe my expectations were too high.  Or maybe the filmmakers focused too much on the premise and ensuing ridiculousness (this is a messed up movie) and not enough on coming up with an actual story to last the whole movie.

142.  Texas Killing Fields

One of the hundreds of movies released in 2011 that featured Jessica Chastain.  To me, this was a police procedural (not a compliment) with seemingly arbitrary pieces missing.  The comparison is unfair because I knew heading in that the movie was directed by Ami Mann, Michael’s daughter (though both are unrelated to Aimee Mann), but like father like daughter.  I don’t know what is with the Mann family that they feel compelled to make interesting premises as boring as possible.  A stellar cast, though, with Chastain, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Grace Moretz, and Sam Worthington.

141.  A Dangerous Method

The film enjoyed Oscar buzz pre-release, but ultimately settled for a single Golden Globe nomination for Viggo Mortensen.  Whose facial hair certainly deserved awards consideration.  The cast, which also includes Keira Knightley, Michael Fassbender, and Vincent Cassel is top notch, the script just can’t pass muster.  Unless nonstop psychological mumbo-jumbo punctuated only by someone spanking Knightley is your thing.

140.  Anonymous

Roland Emmerich is way better when he gets to destroy the world.  Here, he treats the theory that Edward De Vere actually wrote the works attributed to William Shakespeare in his typical grandiose manner.  But the story is much more intimate.  Rhys Ifans, playing De Vere gets that.  Shakespeare’s works may have shaped the course of the English language, not being able to take credit for them isn’t the kind of thing that affects the fate of nations.  But it is a terrible price to pay for De Vere, and Ifans is great fun to watch as he sees his works go over so huge but can’t tell anyone about it.

139.  What’s Your Number?

The premise is everything that’s wrong about romcoms: Anna Faris reads some article in a magazine about how women aren’t supposed to sleep with more than 20 guys (or whatever), which happens to be the same number she’s hit, so she starts looking up old boyfriends to see if one of them is actually the one.  Meanwhile, her attractive, unattached neighbor who is totally wrong and yet totally right for her (Chris Evans) helps her on her quest.  To the movie’s credit, it tries to get away from that premise as much as possible, but it really shouldn’t be framing the movie at all.  It has a few funny scenes, like Anna Faris’s slipping British accent as she re-connects with Martin Freeman and little kids cursing, and a great supporting cast, but ultimately it isn’t enough.

138.  Season of the Witch

So when Ian and I were doing our baseball road trip through the Rust Belt, we found a local video rental store that proudly proclaimed on its sign outside: “We have Season of the Witch”.  So I had to watch.  It didn’t hurt that the movie stars Nicholas Cage, of course.  The first two acts aren’t terrible.  Cage and Ron Perlman are two knights in the Middle Ages who end up transporting an accused witch to some far away place.  The first part is mostly mind games, you know, is the girl actually a witch, is she screwing with the minds of the people in the traveling party, that sort of thing.  The last act of the movie, though, is just nuts.  I found it jarring and unnecessary, but I can see how they thought there’d be no way to sell the movie if that bit (which does have more action) didn’t make the final cut.

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