Friday, May 24, 2013

Fool's Views (4/22 – 5/19)

Howdy folks,

Nope, you’re reading that correctly. This entry covers four weeks of flickage, even though it barely matches most one week totals for the good doctor. This is what intercontinental travel and early rehearsal processes will do for one’s viewing habits. In fact, truth be told, seven of the nine flicks (all the civilian ones, to be exact) were viewed mid-flight to and from the sunny climes of Barcelona, which means I only saw the two horror offerings in a conventional home viewing setting (withNo One Lives viewed via laptop, not my preferred mode of intake). Strange days indeed.

That said, I’d like to throw a word of thanks out to US Airways for their outstanding in-flight entertainment offerings, which really should serve as the template for all airlines. Rather than the standard “here are the films available while traveling east, here are the ones for westbound travel,” you are presented with a virtual library of viewing selections for TV, film and music. (I think there were 160 films to choose from, ranging from new releases to classics.) This gave me a chance to sample a few flicks that had eluded me or that I’d been mildly curious about but hadn’t been willing to shell out the cash for. Free movies are my favorite kind (and all first time views at that).

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.



Bay, The
(1st viewing) d. Levinson, Barry (USA)


No One Lives
(1st viewing) d. Kitamura, Ryuhei (USA)



Cloud Atlas (2012) (1st viewing) d. Tywker, Tom / Wachowski, Andy / Wachowski, Lana (Germany/USA)

I’ve not read David Mitchell’s source novel, so I can’t speak to how faithful an adaptation this is. But Tywker and the Wachowski’s device of having the principle roles in the six different storylines – divided by place and time ranging from the early 1850s to a futuristic New Seoul – played by an interchangeable ensemble of performers is likely the most striking and similarly rewarding innovation of the venture. Hugh Grant, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Susan Sarandon, Keith David, Hugo Weaving, Ben Wishaw, Jim Sturgess and Doona Bae do some heavy lifting indeed over the three-hour running time, but thanks to the interlocking storylines and the treat of seeing them plays numerous characters within the same film has its rewards.

Three Stooges, The (2012) (1st viewing) d. Farrelly, Bobby / Farrelly, Peter (USA)

Trust me, I thought it sounded like a horrible idea on paper as well. But I gotta say, as someone who genuinely enjoys the classic b/w antics of Moe, Larry and Curly Fine, the Farrelly boys do a pretty solid job of updating the characters without losing too much of their trademark flavor, and the overall story arc is handled through chapters in the trio’s lives, much like the short subjects that made their names in the 30s and 40s. Chris Diamantopoulos (Moe), Sean Hayes (Larry) and Will Sasso (Curly) all tender “fine” impersonations, the physical comedy is effective (although the occasional bouts of toilet humor feel wildly out of place – ditto the Jersey Shore subplot) and Sofia Vergara, Jane Lynch, Stephen Collins and Larry David provide ample support. In short, it’s about as good a modern day Three Stooges movie as could have been hoped for.

Simpsons Movie, The (2007) (1st viewing) d. Silverman, David (USA)

Did we need a Simpsons movie? Did it go anywhere that the TV show couldn’t have gone? No and no, and for this I’ll admit to being slightly disappointed. While the Springfield ecological meltdown and giant biodome narrative was entertaining enough, I’m glad that I didn’t shell out the bones to see it in the cinema.

Do-Deca Pentathalon, The (2012) (1st viewing) d. Duplass, Jay / Duplass, Mark (USA)

Mark Kelly and Steve Zissis star as two estranged brothers whose ongoing friction is epitomized by an incomplete 25-event childhood competition. When Kelly drops in uninvited to Zissis’ birthday party, the sibling rivalry is sparked anew with a frantic, no-holds-barred (and secret) rematch. The Duplass Brothers mine this ridiculous if slight material for ample comic payoffs, with solid performances from all involved. Doesn’t sustain a lasting impact, but it’s enjoyable enough in the moment.

Marley & Me (2008) (1st viewing) d. Frankel, David (USA)

I’m not sure who told me this was more than just a sentimental dog flick, but they were wrong. Truth be told, it’s even less than that, since the big sloppy yellow Lab is merely a supporting character to Owen Wilson’s mopey reluctant columnist and Jennifer Aniston’s impossibly perky and supportive bride and their ever-growing brood. Yawn.


Date Night (2010) (1st viewing) d. Levy, Shawn (USA)

Steve Carell + Tina Fey + madcap misadventures of mistaken identity x Hollywood cameos (James Franco, Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Mark Ruffalo, Kristen Wiig) = a enjoyable but manufactured big-bang-boom comedy that survives primarily on its stars’ natural chemistry and charisma. I’ve not seen any of Levy’s other films, but I have to admit that his career is the kind that baffles me since he seems to only direct movies (Big Fat Liar, the Cheaper by the Dozen remake, The Pink Panther remake, Night at the Museum, Real Steel) that make money without ever achieving any lasting impact.

In Time (2011) (1st viewing) d. Niccol, Andrew (USA)

High concept sci-fi/thriller (people are genetically engineered to live to the age of 25, then have to earn the rest of their lives through the monetary equivalent of time blocks) offers little in the way of deep thought but serves as a solid diversion. Justin Timberlake stars as a young struggling projects resident who crosses paths with suicidal millionaire Matt Bomer, a chance encounter that leads to a major lifestyle change and eventually brings him into the sphere of sheltered rich girl Amanda Seyfried. Romance and revolution ensue, while timecop Cillian Murphy attempts to track the stolen years. Not bad.

2013 Totals to date: 143 films, 136 1st time views, 75 horror, 48 cinema

1 comment:

  1. I really don't understand the love for Marley & Me. As I said to people, imagine a remake of Problem Child with the child being played by a puppy. I hated the kid in Problem Child and I damn sure didn't like that puppy (undeniably cute as golden labrador puppies are).