Monday, October 24, 2011

Thoughts on 4 Films

1. Hesher - This is a perfect example of why I describe JGL as a "fearless" actor. He's always done a lot of independent films that some would describe as "odd" (Brick, Mysterious Skin and Manic come to mind) but after some career highs like Inception and 500 Days of Summer - he still chooses to pursue complicated, less-flashier roles like this one. Hesher took me by surprise because I thought it would be sort of a "stoner" type dramedy that would have very little impact or point - but instead it was an oddly compelling tale of a young boy, TJ, who is trying to cope with the death of his mother. His father (played by Rainn Wilson) is dealing with the situation via self-medication - he sleeps all day and ignores the fact that his son is bullied at school. Then comes Hesher, who is the oddest "hero" type character to ever appear on film - due mostly to the likeability of JGL as an actor. As awful as Hesher is, you can't really hate him - instead it just makes you curious as to who this guy is (we never get the answer, which is brilliant and frustrating at the same time). He invites himself into the family and looks out for TJ but he also gets him into more trouble - which inevitably makes TJ stronger. The ending to the film is really brilliant - it is refreshingly rebellious on all levels.

2. Last Night - Hollow story. Hollow acting. Hollow film. The film is about the complications of a monogamous relationship - the temptations, the lies etc. However, the film Closer did it a million times better - so the point of the film is sort of wasted. There is no depth or chemistry between the main couple (Sam Worthington and Kiera Knightley), so there is no reason to root for them as a couple. For me, the film quickly became about who was hotter - Kiera or Eva Mendes (Seriously, does anyone feel bad for this guy choosing between these two?). The funny part was that I started to lose interest about 1/2 way through (I blame twitter for the distraction) - so I'm not even sure if either of them actually followed through with adultery. I was going to rewind, but I decided that I kind of like the "not knowing" - I don't think it was the point of the film anyway.

3. Scre4m - I watched the film with super low expectations - having loved all 3 Scream films (yes, even the 3rd one...), I had mixed emotion about an unnecessary addition to what felt like a complete trilogy. I was excited by the cast - Emma Roberts, Allison Brie, Adam Brody - but once the awful reviews came out, I decided to skip it in theaters. I admit, it was better than I was expecting - but it still doesn't compare to the other films in the series. I hated the beginning - I enjoy the comedy in these films, but usually the beginning sets up the "horror". This one was just plain stupid. Then, the film continues by way of "remake" over "sequel" - with it's usual self-aware characters discussing how "meta" they are. The redeeming quality of the film was the ending (the first ending, not the silly "alternate ending") - I was actually surprised by who the "killer/s" turned out to be. Although, the only reason it was "surprising" was because of how utterly ridiculous it is.

4. Hanna - The cinematography of the film was breathtaking, the rest of the film was decent but also annoyingly predictable. Saoirse Ronan is one of my favorite young actresses - her performance in Atonement was mesmerizing. In this film, she was just as brilliant - cold and unfeeling yet her emotions were just sitting right below the surface waiting to explode. I would have loved to see more from Eric Bana and Cate Blanchette - both are great actors but just underused. The story was also a little bland and not very original - the only parts that were interesting were watching Hanna interact with a "normal" teenager. I can't say that I was bored at all, but I don't think I will remember the film a year from now.

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