Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Help

Full disclosure: I lived in Jackson MS for 2 years. I loved Jackson. But if you weren't in the Junior League, and if you weren't from MS, there was no way you could go to a fancy tea with cucumber sandwiches and servants. 
The Help was a rather badly written book that was turned into a much better film. The "spoiled rich white girl" is played up rather nicely (and over the top)  by Ron Howard's talented daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard, and the "victimized" help is played rather nicely by every single person cast in their roles.  Emma Stone plays the writer of a "fictional" book written from interviews of The Help. Stone is aptly named since her face appears frozen and bizarrely fixed in a stare (botox?). She appears unnatural and creepy. It's too bad, because she is charming in other movies. Maybe she needs her thyroid checked? I don't know, but the result is not easy to watch.  However, the acid test was bringing along my husband. He was all ready to take a 2 hour nap but then he actually started to like the movie. So it must be okay. I am going to give it 3 stars despite the obvious message it sends that southerners are bad people.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Wohoo! James Franco, John Lithgow and Andy Serkis (Gollum) create a rather touching film that absolutely creates audience involvement. Evil animal experimenters were booed, and escaped chimps were cheered, and the audience had a very good time. Especially when the humans die.  It is a movie in three parts- and the best part is the time with the chimp as a baby. When the chimp speaks, our audience acted as if a miracle had actually occurred.  Of course, the usual bad guy is the pharmaceutical industry that tests on animals- it's evidently lost on people that without animal testing, it would have to be tested on their children or parents. Anyhoo, throwing realism to the wind, the theme is not as important as you might think. (Perhaps the real problem is that people raise predatory primates as pets. Want your face or someone's testicles quickly removed- then go piss off a chimp).  The CGI is great- almost seamless. When the primates move in a huge group, the CGI fails at times.  But for a good time, it is something to see. It isn't a very deep movie, and it isn't really very moving. But it is fun. That is enough.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love

I have moments where I think I have turned into the Grinch with a mere dash of kindness. Oh, I know, there are truckloads of people who think this is the best movie they've ever seen. I saw this at our IPic theater- you know, the recliner chairs, complimentary popcorn (sort of), reserved seats, no kids under 21. That alone should have softened up my black heart. But it didn't. Maybe it made it worse- because I expected SO much more. It is a comedy- except when it is pathetic and manipulative. I laughed. I got through it. It wasn't a BAD movie. I try not to judge the people who think it was great- but that doesn't mean it was great. It has very slow moments, and it is NOT sweet. There is a sadness throughout it- the people are relatively pathetic. Their relationships are sort of pathetic. Covering it up with a few jokes and sight gags doesn't change the story line. But since most people obviously don't feel like I do, and if you can take Julianne Moore's usual schtick (weep and laugh, weep and laugh), then go see it. You can read the summary anywhere online. This is the only review that should serve as fair warning- I told you so.