Yessir, I’ve missed posting on a ton of movies this year. So here’s a few microreviews, in case you’re wondering what’s good to see (and use my opinion to make your decision… probably not a good idea.) And no, I’m not going to see 2012.
It Happened One Night (playing this weekend at the Trylon!): One of the greatest movies of all time, hilarious, rapid-fire dialogue, with Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable duking it out on the bus. Watch for Shapley’s come-uppance. A masterpiece.
Inglorious Basterds: Insane and totally entertaining Tarantino flick that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. I remain amazed that someone can make a 2 1/2 hour movie in four languages and with a fifteen minute discussion about silent film director G. W. Pabst and gross in excess of 100 million clams. My favorite film of the year so far.
Paranormal Activity: Liked Blair Witch? You’ll like this. I grew tired of a routine (going to bed in the same place every damn night) that no one in their right fucking mind would do when being attacked by an invisible demon. Gotta give the director credit for sticking to his guns and forcing Paramount to release the original (instead of remaking it as they wanted.) Goes to show what a bit of ingenuity will get you…
An Education: Loved it. Absolutely loved An Education. Sweet and romantic (right up my alley) about a deeply intelligent young woman and the rogue who is both charmed by her and by the pursuit of the finer things. Carey Mulligan reminds me of Audrey in Roman Holiday. The best date movie of the year, hands down.
Where the Wild Things Are: What a huge disappointment. Wastes the talents of Catherine Keener and Mark Ruffalo (the latter is given literally fifteen seconds of screen time… huh?) and makes Max out to be a spoiled brat. Petulant, irritating, mumblecore monsters make this a tedious movie that wastes the film’s visual beauty. Urges children to whine and act horribly, with the punishment being cake and love. Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers can stop navel-gazing and feeling sorry for themselves any minute now.
Zombieland: Funny, slam-bang, yet strangely tension-free popcorn film that is worth seeing for the fine performances and tight script. Never derails from its premise, which is that zombie killing is a blast. Sure is. Boasts the best cameo in a movie I’ve seen in… forever?
The Informant!: It was OK. Matt Damon is really likeable, the story is fascinating, but as it unwinds you start to get the feeling that… well, that a serious take on this would have made for an amazing film. Instead, you get a slight movie, filled with crazy cameos of stand-up comedians (Patton Oswalt, the Smothers Brothers, and many, many more), bizarre music from Marvin Hamlisch, and for what? Beats me. Check it out at the cheap theaters or on DVD or… don’t.
Julie & Julia: The most frustrating film of the year. I fully expected yet another Nora Ephron shit-fest, but what makes this actually worse is that the Julia Child sections are well done. Beautiful cinematography, intriguing shots, nimble editing, and performances from Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci that are so sweet and sad and touching and hilarious, I would have utterly swooned for this movie… were it not for the fact that Ephron, in her ever-astounding idiocy, chose to jump between Child’s story and that of the woman who wrote “The Julie/Julia Project”. That part, with Amy Adams, is awful. Worse than awful. And made even more so by the fact that they take us from the great Julia Child sections. Worse, it turns out that the “Julie/Julia Project” is actually a beautiful book, which Ephron ruined. Fuck you, girl. Please never make a movie again.
Bronson: Holy living sweet mother of fuck, the best movie never coming anywhere near you that maybe you’ll see if you think about my review and glom it on Netflix. Tom Hardy plays Charlie Bronson, Britain’s most violent criminal. Bronson is sentenced to seven years for robbing a post office, but has now spent the last 34 years in the lockup, 30 of those in solitary. The movie, which epitomizes bravura, takes place partially in Bronson’s head, as he entertains a packed theater of Brits. Hardy is just astounding, so riveting my wife and I couldn’t take our eyes off him (and the wife off his… uh, reckless nude body.) Wow. Really, wow.
World’s Greatest Dad: I still can’t believe this weird comedy, directed by Bobcat Goldthwait and starring Robin Williams, was any good. But it is. It’s funny. It’s creepy. It’s interesting and well-written. The ending is not a cop-out. The story of a shlep of a high school teacher (Williams) and his son, Kyle (Daryl Sabara), one of the most odious characters to walk the silver screen. Kyle hates everything and everybody, is an idiot, watches German porn involving feces, and ends up killing himself accidentally during auto-erotic asphyxiation. Don’t know why they didn’t release this wider, but then again, maybe it wouldn’t play in the heartland. See it if you can. Or rent it.