Sunday, July 31, 2011


            With Somewhere, Sofia Coppola took a not very complex story and tried to pretend it was some deep, insightful masterpiece.  She did this by dragging out shots to nearly unbearable lengths, and made the bold move of not ever really having anything happening in the movie.  She tried to make her own little 2001: A Space Odyssey.  The problem was, she just didn’t have as much to say as Kubrick did.  With Odyssey, Kubrick would place an image on the screen, leave it their long enough for the audience to think about it, and then he would move on.  Coppola tried to do this too, but missed the part where you show something worth thinking about for ten minutes. 
            Take the opening shot of the movie:  A black Ferrari drives laps on a dirt course in the middle of nowhere.  Each lap takes a long time, as most of the track is off screen.  After about the second lap, the audience understands that this is probably a metaphor for the main character’s life; how he is “going around in circles”, and that despite his obvious financial success, he’s still left unfulfilled and bored in his life.  Then Coppola lets the shot go on for about another nine laps.
            She uses these excruciatingly long sequences of monotony throughout the film regularly.  I realize she did this to make the audience see just how dull and tedious the protagonist’s life is, but she could have done this in about four minutes and then moved on with the story.  Instead, we’re left with the feeling that she just needed to pad out the film’s running time.
            The fact is the story itself just wasn’t new or interesting enough to warrant such ballsy moves on the part of the filmmaker’s.  Stephen Dorff plays a guy who, despite his riches and numerous women, is left unfulfilled in life due to his lack of meaningful relationships.  This isn’t exactly a groundbreaking concept.  In fact, Crazy Stupid Love, which I just saw last night, deals with this same exact concept with a secondary character, and still manages to be entertaining and funny and dramatic, and doesn’t feel the need to torture the audience into understanding the point. 
            All this being said, I didn’t hate this movie.  I realized all the reasons that I should have hated it, but for some mysterious reason, I just didn’t.  It could be Elle Fanning as the protagonist’s daughter, who shines brilliantly and injects the film with a very intentional jolt of energy.  It could be the music, which I really dug.  But I think the reason I couldn’t hate this movie is that it actually tried to be something.  I would much rather see a movie that tried to be great and wound up being mediocre than a movie that tried to be mediocre and succeeded, (Green Lantern, Transformers, Thor, Captain America, which was so mediocre I couldn’t even think of enough things to write about it to warrant writing a full review).  This is the first time all summer that I’ve been able write a lot about a movie I’d seen, and for that, I’m grateful.  It feels good having a lot to say about a movie, even if most of those things aren’t positive. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Horrible Bosses

Horrible Bosses is hilarious.  Seriously.  Go see it.  You’ll like it.  I promise.
            And don’t worry. This isn’t one of those comedies that shows all the best jokes  in the trailers, which is what I was afraid of, since those were some damn funny trailers.  Don’t get me wrong, they showed some great moments, but there are many more to be had in this movie.  And it’s probably for the best that they showed such funny stuff in the trailers, since I actually wasn’t planning on seeing this until I watched the full trailer and laughed my caboose off.
            This is an unparalleled comedic ensemble cast, and each of the seven, yes seven, lead actors gets to have his/her moment in the sun.  That being said, Charlie Day is the best.  This will be the film to propel him to stardom.  Every line he said was met with uproarious laughter by my theater, and more importantly, he just portrayed an extremely likable guy.  Mark my words, Horrible Bosses will do for Charlie Day what The Hangover did for Zach Galifianakis.  Let’s just pray Day handles it better than Galifianakis did.  
            Like I said, the remaining six cast members are also hilarious, especially Kevin Spacey.  Jason Sudeikis had the toughest sell in front of him, as he was the only cast member I wasn’t partial to before the film.  Also, his character causes the most trouble for the protagonists, so he could have easily come off very irritating.  I’m happy to say he wound up being just as likable and funny the rest of the cast.
            It’s hard to discuss this movie without spoiling too much, as much of the enjoyment stems from the shocking and unexpected twists the plot takes.  For a comedy, this movie was surprisingly intense.  I jumped at a few parts, and was really concerned about what would happen to the main characters.  I guess that just goes to show how far good, likable protagonists can go.  Even if it hadn’t been funny, this would have made for a very interesting film.  The pants pooping hysterics are just a bonus.
            So seriously, just go see it.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Transformers: The Dark of the Moon

            It doesn’t make sense to rate Transformers: The Dark of the Moon.  This isn’t a movie that deserves to be described as “good” or “bad”.  The only way to describe it would be to call it “a Transformers movie”.
            That being said, this movie is bad.  It wasn’t as goddamn painful as Revenge of the Fallen was, but it was still bad.  To be honest, I have a hard time remembering anything from any of the Transformers movies.  They’re all just a blur.  But I do remember my reactions to them, and my reaction to this one was far less severe than my reaction to the second one.  So kudos on that Michael Bay.
            As with both the other Transformers movies, the only parts that I really found interesting were the scenes before the giant robots show up.  I enjoy seeing Shia LaBeouf’s crazy antics as he tries to get with a hot girl.  It’s entertaining to me.  I might even watch a whole movie of that.  Especially if you add an over the top John Malkovich.  Then the giant robots showed up and completely ruined everything.
            I’ve noticed with huge, CGI driven movies like these, my mind turns off as soon as the action starts.  When I see giant robots and aliens fighting in a big city, my eyes immediately glaze over, my brain turns off, and I don’t switch it back on until real people show up again and start talking.  This isn’t intentional, it’s just that it is very difficult to relate and be emotionally involved in scenes that you know were created in somebody’s computer.  That is why I was a little more pleased with this Transformers movie.  There was actually an action scene that I didn’t zone out on.  The scene in question is the one where the team of humans is inside the building that is being tipped over by a big worm transformer.  For the first time in this series, I actually was interested in one of the action scenes, which is a big deal.
            That’s really all I have to say about this movie.  It wasn’t as horrible as the second one, but it still wasn’t any better than getting punched in the head.  I’m looking forward to next week when I get to review Horrible Bosses, since for the first time this summer, I don’t already know if that movie is going to be good or not. It’s hard to complain too much about Transformers or Green Lantern, since you know what you are getting when you buy your ticket.  I’m excited for a surprise.