87.  The Ides of March

I wrote a long post this one, entitled “The Ides Don’t Have It”.  I’m probably not as clever as I think I am.

86.  Sympathy for Delicious

A challenging movie written by star Christopher Thornton and directed by co-star Mark Ruffalo, this film is nothing like what I was expecting.  Thornton plays a paralyzed, bitter, angry, shell of a man who used to be a DJ but now just sort of wallows.  Ruffalo is a priest who works with the homeless, feeding them and trying to give them support and hope.  Anyway, it soon becomes apparent that Thornton has the ability to heal people just by touching them (though he can’t heal himself).  The film then becomes about people trying to use Thornton’s powers or use him for his powers.  Meanwhile, he just wants to be a musician, and gets hooked up with a rock band fronted by Orlando Bloom with Juliette Lewis on bass.  The film does have some interesting ideas about fame and celebrity, and I like that the plot went in unexpected directions.  But I wished the movie went a little deeper, it felt like it was just scratching the surface of what it wanted to say.

85.  A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas

Like Neil Patrick Harris, because the first one was so good (and perhaps unlike NPH, saw me pulled over by the cops and lectured about how disgusting White Castle was) I’ll keep showing up for however many crappy sequels they make.  NPH’s bit was actually pretty funny.  And the waffle bot was probably one of the most brilliant characters I saw this year.  But I’m sad to say the movie just didn’t seem to capture the spirit of the original.

84.  Attack the Block

This film is at 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a number of online writer-type people whose opinions I generally respect couldn’t stop talking about the movie.   A well-review action/alien invasion movie?!  I was in.  So in, in fact, that I invited people over to watch the movie with me, talking it up as a little-known gem.  I was, as my friends were more than happy to tell me, a little bit wrong.  The movie was OK, but not really exceptional on any level.  I liked the premise well enough: aliens invade a certain part of London and a group of kids defend their apartment building against them.  But I dunno, the action was never that exciting.

83.  In Time

Takes place in a world where currency is minutes of life.  Everyone has a clock on their arm that’s starts counting down when they turn 21 (if I remember correctly) and when it hits 0, they die.  Your salary is in minutes, food costs minutes, you can transfer minutes from your arm to someone else’s by touching it.  The Philip K. Dick fan and economist in me are both pretty excited by that premise.  Justin Timberlake is our hero, a working stiff living week to week who gets gifted hundreds of years by Matt Bomer.  He then crashes the rich part of town, kinda kidnaps Amanda Seyfried, and they turn into Bonnie and Clyde.  I would have liked to see a deeper exploration of the story, the actual plot is fairly thin.

82.  Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The Grouches did a chat about this one, but I don’t think we ended up posting it because the chat pretty quickly devolved into everyone making fun of John.  Also, I think I was the one who liked the movie the most and so ended up having to defend a film that I thought was just OK.  I disagree with a lot of criticisms (Grouches or otherwise) I’ve seen about the film, many of which revolve around the involvement of 9/11, which I thought was handled fairly well.  I’m just not sure there was much of an impactful story beyond that.  I read the book, thought they did a decent job adapting it.  Was surprised about von Sydow’s nomination because it felt like they cut out a lot of his character’s story.

81.  We Bought a Zoo

The latest Cameron Crowe movie in his descent toward irrelevance.  Matt Damon plays a dad whose wife recently passed.  An adventure writer, he decides to buy a zoo, against the advice of his brother, Thomas Haden Church.  The movie then segues into more or less your underdog team tropes as the zoo’s staff, led by Scarlett Johansson, desperately tries to get the place ready in time to pass inspection by the strict John Michael Higgins.  There were a few dramatic moments that felt like they should have been meaningful, but Crowe seems to have lost his touch for building to emotional climaxes.  We’ll get into this a little bit later, but Elle Fanning is absolutely riveting on screen, even in a small role like this one.

80.  I Am Number Four

The third Alex Pettyfer movie between this post and the last one.  Here, he learns he is one of the last remaining survivors of an alien race sent to live on Earth, but is being hunted by these other aliens.  He is given a bodyguard/protector guy who poses as his dad.  Who happens to be Timothy Olyphant and therefore is awesome.  The bulk of the movie is a typical high school new kid in town kinda deal, with Dianna Agron (who I heart a lot) as the love interest.  Later on, Teresa Palmer shows up as another one of the hunter race and teams up with Pettyfer to fight the bad guys in some pretty solid fight scenes.  The movie’s big problem is that it feels like it is spending too much time laying the groundwork for sequels.  But it is hard to justify a franchise without making the first movie interesting by itself.

79.  Ironclad

So King John (Paul Giamatti) signs the Magna Carta.  Yay!  But it was sort of done under duress and he is evil and wants to do nothing but chew scenery and kill freedom.  Boo!  He starts going all medieval on the former rebels (and yes if you are just catching it that joke was intended) and wants to destroy this one castle that a few Knights Templar have gone to protect.  Really, the film doesn’t particularly care about anything until it gets to the part where Paul Giamatti’s army starts fighting James Purefoy’s band.  The action was decent, but kinda bizarre in that every four or five deaths got really gruesome.  It would just be stabbing…stabbing…quick slice…stabbing….BLOOD EVERYWHERE AS ONE GUY IS DISMEMBERED.  Which was kinda cool and pretty jarring.  Story coulda used some work.  And more Kate Mara.  Which, admittedly, is true for every movie, but if she’s already in it to begin with, might as well use her a little more, though she did have a decent role.

78.  The Green Hornet

So this movie seems to have faded from memory, huh?  Certainly mine, at least.  I seem to recall that the film had some funny bits.  Rogen and Chou worked really well together.  Don’t really have any idea why Cameron Diaz was in the movie, though.  Her character seemed woefully underserviced.  Christoph Waltz could be the bad guy in every movie made over the next five years and I’m not sure I’d get tired of him being evil.  I also noted that the Johnny Cash cover of  the haunting Sting-penned “I Hung My Head” was on the soundtrack, which is one of my favorite Sting songs and really both versions are worth listening to.

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