You are currently browsing the daily archive for June 28, 2012.

117.  Waiting for Forever

An oddball romance with somewhat questionable morals.  Rachel Bilson plays a Hollywood starlet who comes back home to her parents (Blythe Danner and Richard Jenkins) after going through some tough times.  Tom Sturridge is our main character, though I’m not quite sure if I’d go so far as to say our hero.  He was childhood friends with Bilson and has been obsessed with her every since.  Like, stalker-level obsessed.  I won’t spoil the ending, but it is…um…not quite the direction I would have liked the film to go.

116.  Killer Elite

I’m still not quite sure how they made a movie about assassins starring Robert De Niro, Clive Owen, and Jason Statham (with Yvonne Strahovski for eye candy) so boring.  There are some cool kills and escapes, but not nearly enough action and way too much of people just yelling at each other.  And not a great use of the cast.  Strahovski clearly has the chopsto match these guys in physical combat, so it was a little disheartening to see her just shuffled along.

115.  The Robber

Copying from my film festival writeup:

Honestly, I didn’t even think the action scenes were all that great.  An interesting premise, to be sure, but it never gets beyond that.  As John pointed out, we never really get to know the main character’s motivations.  Which was a problem to me, since finding out why and how he became a world class marathoner and bank robber were the primary things I wanted to know as the film played on.  I’m not saying this needs a Michael Bay remake or anything, but I could see the film being a lot more successful when done by an American writer and director who could put in some more interesting heist scenes and trim out the German nihilism.

114.  Prom

There’s a pretty standard scene in high school movies, where the new kid in town is at the school for the first time and as he’s walking into the building, he notices all the various cliques in the school.  Which are denoted by groups of ten or so people standing close together and dressed nearly identically.  Prom assumes that people want to see an entire movie populated by these high school stereotypes.  As the box office or nearly any successful movie about high schoolers shows, that’s pretty clearly not true.  Aimee Teegarden is perhaps the lone bright spot in the film, but I’m not sure she can quite carry a movie as mediocre as this one.

113.  Larry Crowne

We’ve all agreed to forget this Tom Hanks-Julia Roberts movie ever existed, yes?  I saw the film in theaters with my grandmas, which probably is the optimal use of the movie.  In my notes I wrote: “Never commits to anything.”  Which I’m sure meant something at the time.  I think what past Jared meant is that the film starts down a few different paths, but never really follows anything to completion, so it feels like a draft of a film.  It is also a reminder that Gugu Mbatha-Raw is so much more than a totally awesome name.

112.  Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

I wrote a whole long post on this one.  Which I titled “The Spy Who Bored Me”.

111.  Think of Me

Lauren Ambrose garnered a Spirit Awards nomination for her portrayal of a single mother in Las Vegas trying to provide for her kid.  I’m a big fan of hers, but Ambrose was absolutely deserving of the nomination here as someone at her wits end, increasingly backed into an unthinkable corner.  Dylan Baker also does a superb job in a supporting role as a creepy co-worker.  Because Dylan Baker is friggin’ creepy.  I thought the film did a good job not painting anything in extremes, so Ambrose is poor, but not destitute.

110.  Source Code

Duncan Jones and I clearly have some fundamental disconnect.  Because both this and Moon sounded like absolutely fantastic ideas for movies, and I found myself shaking my head in disappointment at both.  I’m having trouble putting my finger on exactly what it is, but I think maybe I keep expecting Twilight Zone and getting, I dunno, Blade Runner instead.  Actually a better analogy is that, for me, Duncan Jones : sci-fi :: Michael Mann: action.

109.  Retreat

Thandie Newton and Cillian Murphy are a married couple going through a rough patch staying at a cabin on an island a ferry-ride away from civilization.  Suddenly a severely injured Jamie Bell shows up claiming to be a member of the army and say that a deadly virus has started to spread and they need to hole up in the cabin and not let anyone in.  That’s something I’m going to watch regardless of box office or reviews.  I liked the power struggle between the three, but would have loved more of it.  The ending is a little bleak, but also someone how terribly satisfying, though it is hard to tell if the filmmakers just backed themselves into a corner or if there was a good way out.

108.  Tower Heist

The film that was supposed to herald the triumphant return of Eddie Murphy and had Brett Ratner set to produce the Oscars.  Such is Hollywood.  The immediately obvious comparison here are the Ocean’s movies.  An ensemble comedy caper succeeds when it has a cleverly-plotted heist, an ensemble where if everyone isn’t clearly defined they at least have clear roles in the crime, and ideally gives off the impression that the actors are having fun.  So, Ocean’s 11.  When the heist is poorly described or the cast becomes bloated for no reason (including a love interest that really should have just been cut from the movie), then the movie just isn’t really fun to watch (Ocean’s 12, 13, and this movie).

June 2012