Monday, November 28, 2011

Wet Floor: Considering The Holidays

A Very Harold And Kumar Christmas
It's silly and childish at best... but I always have fun watching a Harold and Kumar flick. It's the only franchise of this kind that still makes me laugh at all. And that earns it a special place in my heart. Sure, American Reunion may actually not suck, but that's a BIG if. In all respects, this new H+R picked up in a very surprising situation and I enjoyed watching everything unfold in its own ridiculous way. And NPH certainly helps keep the movie going in the third act.

Genre: Stoner, Holiday Comedy

Tarsem is a hard man to understand. It seems he will always put artistry before literary content. The Cell is a very questionable movie at best and The Fall is like a labour of love somehow overcoming all cinematic obstacles to make something I've never seen before. And then there comes Immortals. It was entertaining enough and I'm not gonna tell you not to see it, but something is off about the movie. The thing I can most easily pinpoint is the portrayal of the gods. They aren't interesting. They can't make decisions that should be common sense. They peeve me really and I can't say I enjoy the majority of actors playing these roles. Then the titans are a total mess. They all look the same and have no character what-so-ever, really more like the Puddy Patrol

than terrible masters of creation. But you know, the movie is still alright. And surprisingly, I will recommend the 3D iteration of this one. If you see it at all, see it in style.

Genre: Artsy, False, Greek Action

Like Crazy
I hated how this movie made me feel. It dredged up memories I never want to think of again. If you are a masochist I will recommend you see this. Otherwise, you may wanna keep away. Still, fair is fair, and I suppose Like Crazy did what it set out to do. So props to Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones. Still, I don't know why anyone would ever want to make another person feel that way. FYI Felicity Jones is wonderful.

Genre: Masochistic, Near-Chick-Flick Love Story

The Descendants
Alexander is a great filmmaker. It's that simple. In my opinion, The Descendants does not live up to the hype, but that is only because the hype was set too high. In the end it comes down to this, the movie is interesting, the performances are solid, the direction is good... I guess what's questionable is, this doesn't quite feel like an Oscar movie (whatever that means) and I'm pretty sure we will see it at the awards. It just has too much buzz to not come up in a good portion of Academy ballots. But if I compare it to a film like Win Win (which I would place in a similar category of motion picture), it really stands no shot at "Best in show."

Genre: Find-Your-Family, Dry Comedy

A Dangerous Method
David Cronenberg's latest outing is one of intrigue. There are excellent performances here, great direction, interesting script... but something about the flick doesn't quite reach the level of his last few features. I enjoyed A History Of Violence and when Eastern Promises came out I just fell in love with the way Cronenber had grown as a filmmaker (I like his old horror flicks, but he keeps switching it up these days). Well he's still growing. He proved that he can take on a completely different kind of movie. He proved that he could make it something worth talking about, and I would very much like to see it again... but it's not quite finished in my mind. The last line of the film is good, but it just feels like there should be a little bit more there. A small note but it makes a big difference in how an audience leaves the movie.

Genre: Psychological Drama

The Muppets
Now we're talking. The Muppets appeared on my Most Anticipated Films of 2011 List. And it delivers. Jason Segel keeps moving up in the world. After his success with Forgetting Sarah Marshall he has managed to write another great script (there was one small section I did not care for, but lets ignore that for now since the movie as a whole was still quite good). The Muppets turned me into a child leaving me with that giddy feeling of the old movies. The new muppet, Walter, works very well as a driving force of the plot and the songs made me happy on so many levels. Plus, I got to see some of my favorite characters in a very interesting stage of their lives. Knocked it out of the park with this one guys.

Genre: Muppets (duh)

My Week With Marilyn
Here's where I really think we're looking at an Oscar candidate: Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe. She does her job and then some capturing all of the lady's nuances in a believable way while carrying a weak-at-times film on her shoulders. Sure, there was a lot of good, but there was also a great deal of bad. Simply, I cared nothing for the characters or the situation, though on occasion something good would catch my eye. And I'm still not sure how I feel about Kenneth Branagh... surely his career is quite similar to Laurence Olivier's, but did he play the role well? I'm probably being too hard on the production, but I'm still wondering if we're going to get that perfect Oscar flick this year (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy please?).

Genre: Historical Fanfare

Scorsese thinks he's made a masterpiece here. Well it's a love-letter to masterpieces anyway. But I could never put it in that category. The pacing of this film is just off in every way I can imagine. Sacha Baron Cohen is quite good and deserves an Oscar nod though I sort of doubt we'll see that (he is mostly the comic relief of the film and boy did we need comic relief). I love Chloe Grace Moretz. Everything she's done in the last three years has just been excellent... her performances anyway. Now I'm a cinephile and a huge fan of classic cinema. So I totally get where Scorsese's coming from here. And at times I wanted to cheer the film on, but the majority of Hugo was a cookie-cut and spelled out, directionless (or too many directioned), overly sentimental, solitaire pissing contest. Worth a view, but every once and a while Martin Scorsese decides he's a "Genre" filmmaker and sadly he's usually not.

Genre: Mishmash, Adult Fairy Tale for Kids or something... I don't really know.

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