I know…I know. I am falling behind. Between being extra busy at work and illness, my movie watching and posting have suffered. So, I decided the best way to catch-up is to create a compilation post with only a short review for each, that way I can get back on track.
Here we go:
Wow! This is exactly what the poster states…twisted. The lowdown? The label of Southern Gothic is perfect. Playwright/screenwriter Tracy Letts has a dark sense of humor and a great talent of capturing the absurd while grounding it. Director William Friedkin still has it (even a 77 years of age) and can create a tight, well paced story. Matthew McConaughey is having an incredible year and he knocks this performance out of the park. The cast is first-rate and all deliver strong performances. I have a strong constitution and yet, there were some awkward, disturbing moments where I truly found myself asking, “Should I be laughing or seriously disgusted?” I believe it is supposed to be a little of both.
End of Watch
I could watch two hours of Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena patrolling the streets of South Central Los Angeles just shooting the breeze, ragging on each other and doing some good. That in itself was entertaining, thought-provoking and heartfelt. The chemistry of Gyllenhaal and Pena is electric! The problem I had with End of Watch is that it tried to be a much bigger movie than it needed to be. They incorporated drug cartels and criminal agendas that were unnecessary when the story of these LAPD partners was interesting already. And I was disappointed in the ending–the tonal shift was distracting for me and made me feel cheated after, what was an emotional finale. Still worth the time to check out.
I liked it. It is not my favorite Paul Thomas Anderson film, but I appreciated what he was doing with this narrative. And the acting is phenomenal! Joaquin Phoenix, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams are at the top of the craft here. PTA seems to bring out the best in his actors and The Master follows suit. The pace is still and steady, which allows the characters to evolve organically The themes that permeated were that of father and son, as well as master to pupil or as I felt master to dog. I could not help but see correlations between Hoffman’s Master and Phoenix’s student and that between a dog and his master. Everything…physical actions (playing in the yard) and in tone (verbal reprimands). For some reason I could not shake that analogy. Oh well. So, if you go–be ready for a beautifully crafted film that takes its time and showcases some of the top talent in Hollywood today.
YAY!! Tim Burton is back!! And in fine form. Frankenweenie is exactly what I hoped it would be…the return of Burton’s quirky style and heartfelt storytelling. The fact that it is in fantastic Stop-Action only heightens my satisfaction and enjoyment of the wonderfully told story. It’s truly lovely. A tale of love and individuality that will stand the test of time. Classic, yet unique. Awesome. Nice to have you back, Mr. Burton. I hope you stay for a while.
Butter?! I had never heard of this film. Really. So, when I came across it I was curious. It had some people I enjoy, so why not check it out. I am so glad I did! What a nice surprise. A film centered around Butter sculpting sounds weird and funny and that is what you get. A very human story that just happens to be surrounded by oddities–from characters to circumstances–and yet, it works. It is funny and heartwarming, even if at times it can be silly and over the top. Overall, not a bad movie to stumble upon.
Friends With Kids
You guys know I like my Rom-Com realistic–right? Well, I do. And Friends with Kids is very realistic and I enjoyed it. Written/Directed and starring Jennifer Westfeldt, she smartly creates a world where you believe all these characters and the environment they are in. (It also helps that she surrounds herself with some strong talent.) Except for a typical “a-ha” moment towards the end, I enjoyed this story and found myself rooting for a “happy ever after”, which of course, was always the way it was going to end. Duh!
Oh, Adam Sandler! Even animated you seem to be stuck in kitschy territory. Sigh. This is a safe, VERY kid friendly animated film. It is not awful. But, it is not brilliant. It lingers in the “meh” of mediocrity. Not dumb enough to be garbage, but never clever enough to be called good. I chuckled a few times–mostly at the zombies (cute gags) and Wayne the Werewolf (Steve Buscemi rocks!), but overall was under impressed.
HILARIOUS! I laughed a lot in this version of the Dredd universe. Now, I do not believe that was the intention..but it was funny! Comical villains (with bad teeth, that had to be on display all the time)–comical one-liners (shakes head dramatically and then…”Yeah.”)–and lame action (not funny -_-). There was potential for badassery, but it was lost when they allowed the slow-mo sequences to lasts forever. So, if you wanna have a fun time and laugh at some incredibly bad, expense cinema–get together with some of your favorite peeps (like I did) and have a blast. Otherwise…skip it.
I heard some buzz about Arbitrage and thought I was in for a first-rate financial thriller (if there is such a category). Well, what I ended up with was a recycled narrative that has been done (better) before. Rich man. Mishandling of large sums of money. Death of a mistress. Lies. Cover-ups. More lies. Family drama. Even more lies. Stop me if you heard this before. Nothing elevates this very familiar story to the next level. Performances? Okay. Plot? Old. I ended up disinterested and bored. You might feel differently–because it seems to have others praising it. Guess it wasn’t for me.
WHEW! That’s it!
I plan to give Argo its own post–because it’s really good! 🙂 And I will be writing up Cloud Atlas, which was amazing! Until then…