Friday, December 21, 2012

This is 40

Well,"This is 40" could be called a number of things. I suggest "This is Depressing", "This Couple is Awful" or maybe "This is Not That Funny".  We were really looking forward to this movie- which is branded a "comedy" and is supposed to be about the mid-life crises that arise. The previews showed a couple who approached it with humor, or at least togetherness. Oh no- don't go down that path. There are serious control issues, serious abandonment issues, a jillion plot contrivances, immaturity, communication problems - and in fact, a total disbelief that these two (Paul Rudd and the director Apatow's wife, Leslie Mann) would even be together for more than ten minutes on a blind date. The talent tries their best to make it work- Rudd, Mann, the child actors, Lithgow and a really pathetic role for Albert Brooks- and the trying is very obvious. The key problem is the script- it is just all OVER the place. There is no depth- and even a comedy needs a real premise and some depth. Not here. The only role that is believable is Megan Fox as an "escort" with no brains. That I believe. There is almost ugliness in the way people treat one another. And that only makes the audience squirm. Sure- it is funny in parts, but that isn't enough to save the movie. Stay for the final credits for a few minutes to watch Melissa McCarthy adlib a scene in the movie - too bad there wasn't more of her in this.  I'd prefer not to give it 2 stars, but well, maybe nasty arguments and ridiculous kiss and makeups over and over are somebody's cup of tea.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Hobbit (3D 48 fps)

Well, I can't much criticize the storyline, though some things have been added that were not in the book but rather in Tolkein's notes after the book was written. If you haven't read it, now would be a good time so you know who everyone is. I will caution parents that it is certainly scary and gory with very graphic beheadings and mutilations and, of course, Golum. Even Gandalf has some scary moments. So I'd say, a savvy 8 year old might make it through without nightmares. Now on to the rest- IF you see this in 3D, it will damn near do you in. First of all, the depth of field of the film feels BEHIND the actors. There is a hyperrealism to the faces that is strange and feels too close for comfort. There is a blurriness to the action and sometimes the action outruns the 3D effect- thus producing momentary fuzz around a face or character- stuff you just don't see in most 3D movies. I was driven to the optical brink and actually had an eye strain headache the next day. That said, I'd say try it yourself and see. Maybe we all need to get custom made 3D glasses rather than those glossy, glarey 3D movie pass outs.  The movie is also stunningly long- with battle scene after battle scene against goblins and dwarves, etc.  The hyperrealism didn't make it seem scarier - just weirder. Almost video game cartoonish.  If it weren't so long, I'd sit through it again without the 3D and see if it was better. I know, a lot of criticism of the technology doesn't tell you much about the book. This is NOT Lord of the Rings- which was a beautiful epic. I have no idea why Hollyweird goes and spits on their own cake like this- audiences proved that the original technique was well liked. It will be interesting to see how others feel about this. Most of the time, the film editor is the director's best friend. Should you see it? Well, two more are coming out and maybe they'll do a better job, so yeah, I guess so. But people want the illusion and they don't want a visual distraction to keep interupting it. Sigh.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Killing Them Softly

Well, let's just say that Brad Pitt owes me money. This movie is no fun at all. The stylized, graphic to the point of disgusting, plot eating gun violence and beatings are so overwhelming that you expect Quentin Tarantino to show up with a $5 milkshake in his hands.  There is plenty of talking between the scenes of raw violence- PLENTY.  yak yak yak. The first 20 minutes you think, well, this must be an art film because everybody is TALKING my ear off.  Then when the body count brutally adds up, well, you think this must be a sort of twisted art film. Obviously, "art film" means a bunch of pretentious reviewers are going to tell you to go see it. I say punish them all for making this crap. Last time I was roped in by star power, it was Clooney in "the American"- one of the worst movies ever made. Yet the reviews were fawning. Aside from Pitt looking like he is trying too hard to be a real character, there is also the city of New Orleans (post katrina) as a backdrop. He does the city no favors with constant police sirens and casual crime that no one cares about- including a random shooting that isn't part of the plot. It is actually shameful how he depicts his adopted city. This genre is dead and no one told the producers and directors- and I will never go to another one like it. Don't go see it. It is a rip off of your time and money. Hey Pitt- gimme back my money.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


You  know how there is always a Bond girl? I say that the Bond girl of this film is M. She has a special relationship with Bond. And as an homage to her, this film brings back nostalgic pieces of Bond-ism. This intricate dance of emotional time is acted by the combo Daniel Craig/Judi Dench. There is the usual chase at the beginning of the film, then the usual mission impossible scenario or two- but the story is Bond/M.  M proves that she, too, can fight even in her dotage.  There are complaints that this one is too easy and too without gadgets and special spy doodads- I would say that is the charm of this one.  Finally, Bond is not just playing poker in Monte Carlo and sleeping with anatomically named women.  Here we meet James Bond, and we also meet M- the people inhabiting the bodies. I really liked it.


Daniel Day Lewis channels Lincoln in the time leading up to the end of the Civil War and to his inevitable end. Speilberg directs and finally doesn't screw it up with some ridiculous plot twist because he CAN'T- heh, we all know where this story is headed. If you've read some Lincoln biographies, you know a lot about Lincoln. Of course, you might not know that Lincoln really loved a different woman and settled for crazy Mary Todd, or that Lincoln was severely depressed and struggled to stay mentally afloat. Not much is mentioned about Lincoln initially supporting only the end of slavery in new states- but I digress. Fact is, Lincoln did his best. Had he not succeeded in keeping the union together, well, who knows. The fact that he (well not HIM exactly) went on to fight a war that killed 62,000- that must have weighed heavily on his shoulders- and it should have.  The north benefitted mightily from slavery while pretending not to notice where their food and cotton came from. I digress again.  Certainly, the viewer will learn that Congress has always been composed of verbose and insulting people. Why stop it now? See it- of course. But you shouldn't let Hollywood tell you a story you should all ready know.