Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. Robot & Frank - Absolutely adore this movie.  I am even contemplating putting it in my top 10 from 2012 when I re-evaluate my list (after I've seen everything that I want to see.  There is still so much - Les Miserable, Rust and Bone, Amour, Lincoln...).  Set in the "near future", the story is about an elderly man suffering from dementia.  The beginning we see him confused, disoriented and stubborn, but instead of focusing on the depressing facts of getting old - the story takes a twist when his son buys him a "health care aid" not in human form, but in the form of a very amusing robot.  This robot is meant to give Frank stability, ensuring his health and safety, but instead Frank uses the robot to his own advantage and they form an undeniably sweet friendship.  I was surprised by how warm and fuzzy the film is, without being overly saccharine.  I was even more surprised by the humor in it ("Warning: Do not molest me".).  Then, I was in complete shock at the surprise little revelation at the end; was not expecting that at all.  Such a refreshing story about love, family, friendship and the importance of our memories. Also, a fantastic performance by Frank Langella.

2. Nobody Walks - Completely forgettable film.  I watched it a few weeks ago and I am struggling to remember anything about it.  OH YEAH - Olivia Thirlby has a terrible haircut in it - that pretty much distracted me for the whole movie.  I like her, but she (and the rest of the cast) are much better than this movie.  I love John Krasinski but I am concerned that I still loved his character even though he was a complete asshole.  I hope it is just because I love the actor so much and not because I have a sudden affinity for assholes???  That's a scary thought.  The only other thing I remember about the movie is that there is a scorpion sighting. Absolutely terrifying.  Also, I was bored to death.

3. Safe House - Was not expecting much, but was definitely expecting more than what I got.  Denzel Washington can usually hold my interest - even in mediocre movies.  In this film, however, he really had nothing to do.  His character was described as one of the best CIA agents, with excellent interrogation and manipulation skills, however we never see any of this.  Ryan Reynolds is on my list of "terrible actors who are famous for no reason" (I don't actually have a list, but he would likely be number one if I were to make one).  I agree with several critics that this is his "best role", but that is really not saying much.  It's my way of saying "he wasn't horrific".  The film could have easily been a decent story about psychological manipulation, but instead it was just one boring action sequence after another.  We don't really know anything about either of these characters, other than Reynolds character is in love (with a very annoying girl), which I think was meant to give him some sort of emotional depth, but "love" hardly equals "depth" - at least not in my book.  I predicted the "bad guy" within the first 15 minutes of the movie, which I would like to think is impressive (I must be a GENIUS!!), but sadly, I think the film was just that predictable.  The narrative was just too cut and dry.

4. Men in Black 3 - I don't remember the second Men in Black movie.  Like at all.  Not one thing about it comes to mind.  However, the first one?? I can recite the entire thing.  Plus, anytime I hear the name Edgar, I say "Edgar, you're skin is hangin' off your bones".  It's instinctual.  I can't really say that I liked this third film, but there are two reasons that make it awesome.  First, Josh Brolin as a young Tommy Lee Jones is absolutely mesmerizing.  I actually forgot that it was Josh Brolin and not a younger Jones.  So perfect. Second, the ending actually took me by surprise. The question remains as to whether it was actually done that well, or if I was just not paying close enough attention (??). Either way, I really enjoyed the way it wraps the entire "Men in Black" story together.  If you are a fan of the first one, I think this one is worth watching.

5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower - I sort of knew that I would hate this movie, but I didn't really know how much I would hate it.  After all of the glorious reviews, I was willing to give it a chance, but it turned out to be exactly the kind of movie that I thought it would be.  If the trailer made you want to vomit, then you will likely not enjoy the movie.  It felt really inauthentic and sappy (like the trailer did).  The film deals with a million "issues" like domestic abuse, homophobia, bullying, suicide, mental illness and other things that I won't reveal.  It was like a really depressing and boring episode of Glee (I'm comparing the way it handles the "issues" not the production value).  The biggest problem with the film is that this kid is supposed to be an outcast, but he seems to make friends rather quickly - at no time did I feel bad for him.  Maybe that makes me a bit cold-hearted but honestly, I think this kid lives a rather good life.  He's got a family that cares about him (a family that seems to get along and be financially secure), he's smart, good-looking and he has friends. It could make for a great statement on mental illness and how depression can effect anyone (whether that is because of genetics, chemical imbalance, etc.), but that isn't the case here.  Instead, the character suffered from some tragedy which causes this depression - but for me, it just doesn't work.  Suffering from tragedy (or two) doesn't make ones whole life tragic.  Then we have the "profound" message from the one teacher that cares (I'm sure you are all familiar with this character) who states: "we accept the love that we think we deserve.", which is pretty fucking depressing for people who don't think they deserve love.  Then the film ends with this positive message of "it gets better".  That's a nice thought, but really?  Come on.  Do people really think it gets better?  I hate to be so negative, but I think the message should be: It will only get worse, so you have to learn how to enjoy the little moments of happiness. We need to prepare the youth for what the world is really like, instead of encouraging them to live inside this little bubble of hope.  As someone on twitter pointed out, television shows such as Freaks and Geeks and My So-called Life have done the whole coming-of-age/teenage outcast thing much better.  I do agree with the critics about the acting in the film, all 3 of the main actors were really good (although Ezra Miller is just sooooo creepy, no matter what he does).


  1. Interesting choice of movies that are definetly worth reflecting on. I was quite embarrassed looking back at my list of "Movies to look forward to 2012" because I had "Safehouse" in there. I was so convinced by how cool the trailer was, even though I am not a Ryan Reynolds fan (Blade 3 flashback), I was open minded. It turned out to be one of the worst movies of 2012. Denzel is so hot and cold these days. There was just no saving that movie.

    Perks of being a Wallflower on the other hand was one of my favourite movies of 2012. I loved it. I mean I agree that the majority of scenes were quite depresing however they really blended with such an in-depth storyline, with a touch of dark humour and fantastic performances.

    We are yet to be shown "Robot and Frank" here in Ireland but I very much look forward to seeing it.

    Good write up all the same.

    1. Thanks for reading! I think most people disagree with me on Perks of Being a Wallflower. I just thought it was such a shallow depiction of depression. I agree that the performances are fantastic.

      Robot & Frank is awesome!! I can't stop thinking about it. Definitely see it when you can.