Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

WANDERLUST (2012)
Anyone else as bored with these new comedies as I am? Some interesting themes to explore about the American dream, but it pretty quickly devolves into overly familiar cartoon hippie stereotypes mined for stale comedy by an overly familiar group of comedians that I'm pretty tired of. They're trying to make each other laugh, and to hell with the plot, which is only arbitrarily given attention (and one character is suddenly made a villain for seemingly no reason other than to further the needs of the plot, anyway). Paul Rudd is effortlessly funny and charming, but the film is too cute and too in love with itself to work. **1/2

21 JUMP STREET (2012)
Surprisingly enjoyable action comedy manages to spoof action movies, the TV show it came from, and high school comedies, while still being all three of those things. I don't know how they pulled it off, but it's a fun movie that doesn't indulge itself too much at the expense of character integrity (though there are times). I like that the flick knows it's recycling a hoary old TV series and makes no attempt to hide it. There's an air of "Well, someone's going to do it, so let's just have a laugh with it." Consistently funny and entertaining, more so than the series ever was. ***1/2

(Note: I see now why Paramount would want to delay GI Joe: Retaliation for more Channing Tatum, who is charming and funny in this movie, very likable and genuine while the film smartly plays on his meathead persona. I still think it's a mistake, but I can see why Paramount would do it.)

WORLD WITHOUT END (1956)
A bunch of astronauts wind up in a time distortion and return to Earth in the 25th century, only to find a race of mutated cyclopes and an underground society of smart but gentle human beings. This being the 1950s, the manly astronauts have to teach mankind to be manly hunters and take the surface away from the "savages" already living there. Oh, and teach women to love, of course. Boring. *

TALL HOT BLONDE (2012)
Courteney Cox made this Lifetime movie based on a true story about a man whose obsession with a high school girl on the internet eventually drove him to murder. A little cliched and too full of tics, it nevertheless is a surprisingly well-directed and involving movie. Cox manages to pull you in to the drama and the depths of the main character's fantasy life, somehow making a guy sitting at a computer talking into the most dramatic thing in the world (the editor really helps, here, too). Not a great movie, but top tier for Lifetime (meaning better than I expected it would be as an actual movie and not as something fun to laugh at--though it is that, too). ***

ANONYMOUS (2011)
One of the worst, most poorly-made, poorly-acted, poorly-conceived... things... I've ever seen in my life. To call this a bad film would be to dignify it. Utterly nonsensical and frankly offensive. Zero stars.

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