Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thoughts on 7 Films

1. Super – The "average man turned superhero" story has been done quite a few times in the past few years (Defendor, Kick-Ass) but I think I enjoyed this one more than the rest. Rainn Wilson was really awesome in this role - his character is funny yet sympathetic. From the trailer, I was led to believe that this was a comedy (the tag line is "shut up crime!") but the story turned much darker than I expected - and actually became quite violent (and therefore AWESOME!!). I sat in shock after the whole 'guy cuts in line so he gets his head cracked open with a wrench' part and then never recovered. At first, Ellen Page and her fast-talking awkwardness just made me want to watch Juno again. But then, her character became somewhat demented and about as far from Juno as one can get - watching her laugh while slicing people open was hilarious and disturbing at the same time. No, it wasn't a spectacular film but it was unexpected and that is always welcome.

2. Bad Teacher – So, I’m pretty sure they copied Cameron’s 'bad teacher' character from Monica Potter in Lower Learning. I know no one has every heard of it...right? (well, it was a terrible film, but I was a production intern on it and I have to say that the character resemblance is really offensive). While, Potter's 'bad teacher' was just depressed over a recent breakup, Diaz is also getting over a recent break-up but is hardly heartbroken (she was just obsessed with his money). Newly single, she sets her sights on the new geeky teacher (played by the oddly miscast Justin Timberlake) and decides that she needs breast implants to get his attention. So to sum it up - our main character is a materialistic, selfish and insecure bitch and worst of all not the least bit likeable. I am a fan of Timberlake but it was a bit awkward to watch him play 'awkward' because he is just naturally sexy and confident - dude can't help it. The whole film was far from entertaining and flawed (like how in the world did this woman become a teacher to begin with?), but my biggest problem with the film is that this woman didn't end up in prison - instead she pretty much got everything that she (didn't know that she) wanted. Jason Segel was underused (he didn't have one funny line in the whole film). The best part of the film was Eric Stonestreet from Modern Family only because you can truly appreciate how great of an actor he is.

3. Hall Pass – Film stereotype that I hate: Marriage sucks. It is an overused and cliched plot device - most of the time the women are portrayed as evil shrews that suck the life force out of a guys having any sort of fun whatsoever. Personally, I think getting married is an archaic tradition that just doesn't work in our world anymore - but a lot of people still do it so it must have some appeal right? I just find it weird that movies and tv shows portray marriage so badly, but then we are supposed to root for them to stay together. The plot of Hall Pass is that the guys moan and complain about how awful their life is because they are married so the girls find the most passive-aggressive way to handle it by giving them a week off from marriage. In this week, they realize that life isn't much better without their wives (which is really just sad right?). The movie does attempt to give the female perspective by showing what the girls do during their week off as well, but it wasn't all that interesting. Anyway, I think I am philosophising too much about a film that is just meant to be fun but the problem is that is wasn't fun - at all. It was pretty stupid, predictable and unfunny - I was expecting more gross-out humor from the Farrelly brothers but overall it was pretty tame. Again, I don't see the appeal of Jason Sudekis – he is sort of a boring “everyman” character in my eyes.

4. Attack the Block – I love Edgar Wright (writer/director of Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim Vs The World). When this film was in theaters, he tweeted constantly how amazing it is (I'm sure he was being a bit bias since he is a producer on it- but I still trust his judgement). I was disappointed that the film was never released near me. Finally, I was able to watch it on DVD and just like I was expecting - I loved every minute of it. It starts with a group of teenage thugs who mug a woman walking to her car (a woman they will later rely on). Quickly, the film jumps right into the action with mysterious asteroid-like collisions of aliens landing on Earth. Really big, really fast, really cool aliens with glow-in-the-dark teeth. At first, the gang thinks it is all fun and games when they kill one of them and brag to everyone in their neighborhood but it becomes apparent that now the rest of the aliens are after them (and more specifically their leader, Moses) and it is up to them to protect and defend their block. The film is perfect on many levels - the acting, the plot, the pace, the humor, the blatant social commentary. It's just really fun and it will likely make it into my top 10 films of this year.

5. Country Strong- I am not a fan of country music – like at all - so I knew this film would be hard for me to watch, but I heard that it had an ending that I would enjoy so I decided to give it a try. The story follows a country star (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) - basically, she’s like the Lindsey Lohan of country music (tabloid queen, in and out of rehab, etc – although getting arrested for being drunk and disorderly while she was 5 months preggo might beat out anything Lindsey has done…at least that we know of). It takes place after she is released from her latest rehab stint (too early) in order to perform in a sold out "comeback" tour. Her manager-slash-boyfriend insists that she is ready even though she is clearly not. The film was steadily boring and predictable (her jealousy over her opening act, her breakdown after she is criticized for ultimately killing her unborn child) but somehow entertaining enough to hold my attention. The cast was pretty good (Leighton Meester was an awesome beauty queen turned country starlet and Garrett Hedlund was charismatic enough for me to root for him). I wouldn't recommend this film to anyone I know, but I truly did love the ending - ****Spoiler Alert**** She kills herself, which is really the only option she has. I enjoy a miserable ending and appreciate when stories like this don't sugarcoat things. How could she possibly live with herself? I know people think of suicide as an act of weakness but she is absolutely correct that she has "the right to disappear”.

6. Tree of Life – My brain's reaction after watching this film: "what the fuck did I just watch?". I hadn't read any full reviews of this film, because I didn't want to be spoiled but I did read a few things about how complicated, abstract and frustrating it was. I don't think the film was any of those things. It was actually a simple but compelling story of a family in the 1950’s intertwined with a very artistic take on the creation of the universe. Some of it worked; The film's combination of both scientific/Atheist thought and the idea of God was done beautifully – but I would have appreciated a stronger stance on the matter. I feel as if Terrence avoided the big questions and simplified everything to “Love” and “Death”. Some of it didn't work; The actors were used more as props staring off into space, the whispers of poetic lines were downright mind-numbing and the cosmic shots of the Big Bang were a wonder at first, but after 5 minutes my brain shut off. The film, while simple and beautiful was pretentious and overtly "artistic".

7. Green Lantern - This movie was really ridiculous and incomprehensible - I had no idea that the flick was about aliens and such. The film was not properly set-up at all with a quick intro about a group of "Green Lanterns" that wear magical rings and therefore protect the world (that is all I got out of it). Then we are introduced to Hal, a fighter pilot who is reckless and irresponsible (and therefore a perfect superhero!). Bradley Cooper would have been better in this role (or at the very least, better to look at). Although, I am glad that he didn't get the part as this would be a bad career move for any actor. So Green Lantern's power is that his "will is as big as his imagination" - meaning that all he has to do is think about something and it will happen. His body turns green (along with a green eye mask) in order to keep him in disguise (cause you really can't tell who someone is if you cover their eyes...). He fights some big alien from destroying the Green Lantern Corps and that is the end. It's silly and unnecessarily complicated with a thin plot and some really cheesy CGI thrown in. What a waste of money.

No comments:

Post a Comment