Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Man on Film: Crazy, Stupid, Love.

As we were trying to choose which movie to head out to over the weekend, our choices narrowed down to a few films. When Crazy, Stupid, Love. came up, TSLF made a comment that rings truer than any positive buzz could have:
It's weird, but I sort of trust Ryan Gosling's choices.
She is right. Half Nelson, Lars and the Real Girl, and Blue Valentine were all great. The decisions to sign on to Stay and All Good Things (neither of which I've seen, but both of which were poorly received) were clearly defensible, as he was working with the man coming off of Monster's Ball and Finding Neverland on the former and Capturing the Friedman's on the latter. For what it was, The Notebook is fairly good. And as far as what's coming up for Gosling, Drive and The Ides of March both look to be promising if judged by the trailers.

As for Crazy, Stupid, Love., it seemed as though everyone who saw it came out loving it. Given that and Gosling's trustworthiness, it seemed like Crazy, Stupid, Love. could very conceivably overcome its awkward/awful title and lackluster trailer and actually be a decent flick.

For the most part, it was.

Sure, it is a romantic comedy, generally the kiss of death for dudes. Its trailer doesn't do it any favors on that front either. Somehow this film doesn't feel like a rom-com. Maybe it's the emotional rawness at its center as its protagonist has been cuckolded. The destruction of a marriage is not often at the center of a rom-com. In a world that deals almost exclusively with two singles who aren't supposed to be together getting together, seeing a separated couple trying to piece together their lives after one's infidelity tears them both apart is refreshing in a world other than that of the tiresome adult-oriented family melodrama.

Honestly, the film is just entertaining. The potential liability, Julianne Moore, has been cast in the only sort of role that she can actually pull off: the woman whose marriage is falling apart. While one has to wonder what this says about her own marriage, she is not thrust into the authoritarian roles that she is so ill-suited for like in Next or Children of Men where her inability to match the tone of the film grates one's nerves for every second that she's on screen. Past her, Carell is typically likeable, Gosling owns the role of lothario, Emma Stone gets to play an adult, and Marissa Tomei gets a great cameo. The narrative is well-crafted.

If Crazy, Stupid, Love. has a fault (other than that goddamn name), it is that its climax is too schmaltzy. It probably could have done without the About a Boy ending with a graduation speech supplanting the talent show performance, and the soul mate shit didn't work, but you can only punish a film so much for this. When a film is genuinely surprising for 110 minutes, an unsurprising eight minutes at the end don't necessarily sink the ship.

(After talking about how crappy the trailer was, you didn't think I was gonna put that up, did you?)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Man on Film: Horrible Bosses

Before the film had even begun production, Horrible Bosses had a lot going for it. Conceptually, its three-headed protagonists' goal should have sated a cathartic yearning for the majority of the audience. The three stars, Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis, are all immensely likeable. Their foils, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, and Colin Farrell, are easy to dislike. The only potential problem in the bunch, Aniston, was playing against type--the only way any of her filmic endeavors have ever proven successful.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that it had all these things going for it from Jump Street, Horrible Bosses didn't manage to distinguish itself as anything more than a pretty good R-rated romp. Whether it was the screenplay (co-written by John Francis Daley, who played Sam Weir on the beloved classic Freaks and Geeks) or the direction (Four Christmases and King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters auteur Seth Gordon was at the helm here), something about the film fell short of what it could have been.

That isn't to say Horrible Bosses was bad. Again, it was pretty good. It's just with such a strong concept, a three-way Strangers on a Train scenario played out to comedic effect, one has to be a bit disappointed that the concept's potential isn't fully actualized*.

*Quite like the disappointment that set in upon having seen Bowfinger, another film in which the idea of the film is better than the film itself. 

Where the fault lies, I cannot be sure. It does seem like the titular characters are not quite horrible enough. Yes, they're loathesome, but in rooting for their demise, the audience truly has to hate them. This can still be done comedically, but the laughs and build up of animus don't quite meet a level necessary to make this a great comedy.

The bottom line is that Horrible Bosses is a funny movie. It will be easy to watch again as it makes the rounds of the premium cable networks. The disappointment lies in its failure to meet expectations.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Queue Continuum: I Think We're Alone Now

Hot off the heels of watching Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid, there was clearly an itch that needed scratching.

That scratching came via the 2008 documentary I Think We're Alone Now.

Really, a simple synopsis should sell each and every one of you readers as to why you should watch it.

This is the story of two obsessive Tiffany fans--one an intersexual 38-year-old and self-proclaimed "athletic machine," the other a 50-year-old male with Asperger's syndrome who at one point had been court-ordered to stay away from the 80s teen idol for three years.

Does that not speak for itself?

It takes a weird cat to be obsessed with Tiffany that late in the game. While these cats do not let you down, it also isn't a mean-spirited documentary poking fun at those unable to defend themselves.

Weird Tiffany factoid of the day: She was once stalked by Robert John Bardo, who eventually stalked and killed Rebecca Shaeffer (star of My Sister Sam), whose death served as inspiration for the film Moonlight Mile.

Obviously stalking is no laughing matter, and Jeff Turner has scared the shit out of Alyssa Milano upon setting his sights on her, but these two seem relatively harmless.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Man on Film: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

There's a ton of catching up that needs to be done here, so some of the coming posts might be half-assed.

This is one of the half-assed entries.

I've seen all of these movies. I do not really give a shit about any of them. They're OK for what they are I guess, but I have a hard time caring about the series.

I do feel bad for Daniel Radcliffe because it seems like he is on the fast-track to becoming the next Elijah Wood. Maybe this means he'll get his Wilfred someday. Maybe it will mean stunt casting on Law & Order: UK in ten years.

Oh, I'm supposed to talk about the movie here aren't I? Sorry. So it was all right I guess. People who have read the book recently seemed upset about the movie not doing the book justice. This couldn't matter any less to me.

What does matter to me is how ridiculous the "19 Years Later" sequence was. Ho. Ly. Shit. I guess this was bound to happen if they were dead-set on using the extremely young-looking actors to play themselves as almost-40-year-olds. If ever there were a case to be made for hiring other actors to play characters as adults rather than trying to age them through the magic of the cinema, this would be the closing argument. Fuck me these kids can't be made up to look like 40-year-olds.

The rest of the movie is fine, I suppose. Perhaps eight films worth of build-up isn't capitalized upon in the climactic face-off. There is certainly a sour taste left after that and the "19 years later" nonsense.


Here's the trailer.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...