Thanks to the heights reached by Judd Apatow’s comedy factory, the old standards no longer apply. To be a great – even good – R-rated comedy, such a movie has to have a balance between crudity and heart. Too much of one or the other and it just doesn’t work. Jake Kasdan’s Bad Teacher actually goes in a direction that’s completely unexpected: there’s neither enough heart nor enough crudity.
If all you want out of a movie is for gunplay, aliens and stuff getting blowed up real good, then Battle Los Angeles will work for you. If you’re looking for anything more – and I mean anything – then you’re S.O.L. [sorta outta luck].
The TV ad campaign for Don’t Go With It is aimed at woman, as a romantic comedy. ‘Tell him it’s a Sandler movie,’ suggests the unctuous voiceover. Well, it’s a Sandler movie that desperately wants to be a romantic comedy – and it doesn’t feature five middle-aged, arrested development twits peeing in a public pool to see if the water turns dark blue – so it’s a bit of ahead of the game there. Almost.
The closing credits list the 1930s radio plays as the source for Seth Rogen and Michel Gondry’s adaptation of The Green Hornet but the movie looks and feels like an update of the 60s TV series played as if it were adapted by Judd Apatow. It’s a mess – but it’s an often entertaining mess.
I’m not entirely sure that Country Strong omits any cliché from the plentiful pop/jazz/rock/country-artist-falls-from-grace-then-almost-magically rebounds films, but it certainly does try hard.
Despite a fine performance by Reese Witherspoon, James L. Brooks’ How Do You Know is a pretty awful movie.
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s first film, the claustrophobic The Lives of Others, won the Oscar® for Best Foreign Language Film. For only his second full-length feature, he’s chosen to do a big budget Hollywood film. Not just any old Hollywood caper/thriller/romance. No, he has taken on The Tourist, based on the French film, Anthony Zimmer. In adapting it for North American audiences, he has with his co-screenwriters [Christopher McQuarrie and Julian Fellowes created the kind of Hitchcockian romp where an average guy somehow wanders into situation that he is not the least bit qualified to handle – and somehow he must fake his way through or wind up dead.
With the launch of this weekend’s Skyline [okay cast, horrid script, brilliant CG effects – Final Grade: D] and wide open for Monsters [excellent cast, limited but brilliant CG effects: Final Grade: B+], we are at the beginning of a new wave of alien invasion movies. The first trailer for Battle: Los Angeles has just been released. It’s better than the entirety of Skyline! Battle: Los Angeles opens on March 3rd, 2011.
It’s a tale of sound and fury; friendship betrayed; money and the internet. The social Network may be the story of how Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, but it has Shakespearean range and moves like a Jason Bourne movie.
Easy A is a witty, literate [witerate?] movie that belongs to that class of teen comedies that includes Clueless and Mean Girls. Unlike Clueless and Mean Girls, it’s not, strictly-speaking, an adaptation/update of a book. Instead, it’s a funny, smart, slightly more of a smartass/wiseacre of a film that depends on aligning events in the life of its lead character with events from the novel The Scarlett Letter.