Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. Man on a Ledge - I was in the mood to watch a mindless but fun action movie.  Man on a Ledge certainly filled the "mindless" quota but it was not nearly as fun or action-filled as it should have been.  The plot is incredibly lacking of any suspense, intensity and believability. The worst part is that it is really predictable, which turns the "mindless" aspect to "boring". I really, really, really want to like Sam Worthington.  I thought that I did after Terminator Salvation, but he has been increasingly more awful with each film he does.  The unnecessarily large supporting cast was hit or miss. The men: Anthony Mackie, Ed Harris, Ed Burns, Jamie Bell = hit.  The women: Elizabeth Banks, Kyra Sedgwick = miss.

2. Just Go With It - I went with it, I really did.  It just wasn't funny. At all.  Quite lifeless, actually.  The plot is probably one of the dumbest plots of recent memory, but it has potential for some humorous situations.  Too bad the film doesn't present any of them.  Jennifer Aniston is one of those lucky women that just gets more beautiful with every year that goes by.  To pretend that she is anything less than stunning is ridiculous, which is what we are meant to do for this film.  We are supposed to see her as an average, plain-Jane kind of gal, which just makes insecure girls everywhere want to hide under the covers.  The scene where someone mistakes Brooklyn Decker's character as her daughter made me actually shout "OH COME ON!" out loud in disbelief.  While it technically can be true based on age, physically they practically look the same age.  Both of these women are sexy, but when Nicole Kidman appears on the screen, they both become ridiculously orange looking.  Speaking of, why on Earth was Nicole Kidman in this movie?? She was so out of place with the rest of the cast. Brooklyn did a decent job with her first "real" acting gig, but she needs to take on a role that doesn't rely on her looks to impress me.  Jen needs to go back to television (I can't say this enough).  Nicole needs to stay away from comedy. Adam Sandler needs to be stopped. 

3. Incendies - Be prepared: the film is very long (and feels about an hour longer than it actually is), the narrative is a tad confusing and it takes a lot of energy to follow, but in the end, it is worth it. The story of two siblings forced to discover their family's tragic past is rightfully devastating, but it is also surprisingly intense and memorable. The Greek tragedy type twist in the film blew my mind, mostly because I wasn't really expecting a twist at all. In retrospect, it's a very obvious conclusion, which makes me think that maybe I wasn't paying as much attention as I should have, but it is much too exhausting and brutal to watch again. 

4. Machine Gun Preacher - Solid story about a complicated man based on real-life events, Machine Gun Preacher should have been powerful, inspiring and resonating.  Instead, it was mediocre, frustrating and forgettable. I like Gerard Butler for the most part, but I don't think he did this role any justice at all. Also, who is the woman who played the doctor?  I can't find her name on IMDB, but she was absolutely awful. When she delivered that line "That's how Kony started", I actually cringed. My biggest problem with the film is that it felt too self-congratulatory - it's just a big ego trip about one man fighting against evil, while everyone else in the world sits on their ass. It's an impossible task for one man, who desperately needs to be saved himself.   He is so desperate for salvation, in fact, that he builds his own church and declares himself to be a preacher (part of the story that should have been elaborated).  The film is designed to make the person watching it feel guilty for doing something as mundane and unimportant as watching a movie instead of helping those in need.  The problem with that is that people don't respond to guilt, they respond to inspiration and passion.   I, personally, don't want to watch a film that is going to make me feel bad about myself. It's ironic that at the end of the film, pictures of the real people that are involved in the story appear, all with their names labeled for a "who's who" effect, except, of course, the Sudanese children.  If this was, indeed, a story about saving these helpless victims of unspeakable crimes, shouldn't you give the audience their names? 

5. Cedar Rapids - Cute story. A bit dull, but still cute.  There were some funny and interesting moments dispersed throughout to keep it interesting.  Ed Helms was perfect but he really should move on to more complicated roles.  It was distressing to see Alia Shawkat as a hooker (NO, Maeby. Just No).  Other than that, the supporting cast was sufficient - even Anne Heche (normally don't like her).  It could have used some more laugh out loud moments and really only one reference to The Wire would have been satisfying enough. 

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