Archive for November, 2011


Amer, a Belgian/French co-production written and directed by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, has been sold as a love letter to the Italian “giallo ” films of the ’70s, and so as a huge fan of that genre I had really been looking forward to seeing this one. But be forewarned – although the giallo influence is obvious, it is more in terms of style and atmosphere than it is actual structure. Anyone hoping for a giallo-esque murder mystery will be very disappointed. Heck, anyone expecting a plot will be disappointed. Since most giallo films are remembered more for their style than for their often overly-convoluted plots, it wasn’t necessarily a bad idea for Amer‘s filmmakers to concentrate their tribute on the visuals, music and mood. But there’s a point where “tribute” goes a little too far and crosses into over-the-top parody. Amer crosses that point…and then keeps driving for like ten more miles.

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It seems strange to think that a movie actually needed to be made to re-introduce the Muppets to a new generation of kids. For those of us who did grow up with Henson’s creation, it often feels like the Muppets should just be one of those things that you are born with an instinctual knowledge of. You know – “fire is bad, the Muppets are good.” But I guess it makes sense. Although acquiring the Muppets in 2004 was an obvious coup for Disney (in terms of merchandising money alone), the company has never seemed quite sure what to do with them, and in recent years they have been relegated to forgettable TV movies and a number of excellent YouTube videos.

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Here’s a sentence I never once uttered: “Boy, I sure can’t wait for a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie!” But, as I long ago realized, my opinions do not necessarily reflect the millions of other paying moviegoers. You know, the ones that the studios actually give a damn about. And so here we are, with yet another entry in the incredibly popular franchise based on a theme-park ride. Not too shabby for a series that many were predicting as DOA even before the first film was released.

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The Rum Diary, which could just as easily be titled “Hunter S. Thompson Begins,” is an adaptation of the famous Gonzo journalist’s semi-autobiographical novel about a young American reporter named Paul Kemp, who goes to work for a struggling newspaper in Puerto Rico, only to soon find himself embroiled in a love triangle, a political conspiracy, AND battling a near constant state of chemically-induced mind alteration. The movie holds two exciting prospects for fans of Johnny Depp – to see him once again play one of Thompson’s kinda-fictional alter-egos (as he did so memorably in the great Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas), and to finally see him in a real adult movie again, after what feels like years of family-friendly fare (I guess you could point to The Tourist, but why bother?).

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I’ve never been a member of the “women aren’t as funny as men” camp, so I don’t really feel the need to celebrate Bridesmaids with the same exuberance I’ve seen from many others. Of course Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph can headline a comedy just as successfully as their male counterparts – anyone who thought otherwise hasn’t been paying attention to comedy for quite some time, and their opinion should hardly matter anyway.

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Three friends (Jason Bateman, Jason Sudekis and Charlie Day) decide that the best way to deal with their respective horrible bosses (Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston) is to bump them off. Seeing as how they’re just three regular guys with no idea how to actually go about such a thing, they hire a “murder consultant” (Jamie Foxx) to mentor them. Hilarity ensues. Or, at least, it SHOULD have.

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Moneyball is a movie based on two things I can’t stand – baseball and math. Needless to say, I loved it.

No, really, I did.

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After an unfortunate misstep with Leatherheads, George Clooney the director is back with a new movie that once again suggests he should be included in the discussion about the most talented filmmakers on the current scene. This, of course, in addition to also being a very good actor, unfairly handsome and seemingly an incredibly cool guy. Alright, George, we get it! You’re good at everything! Geez, don’t you just hate the guy? What’s that? You like him him a lot, actually? Yeah…me too. Damn Clooney and his charm.

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The Scream series started back when I was in high school, and was obviously a pretty big deal for me given my love of horror (then again, Scream seemed to be a big deal for everyone, as it was that rare horror series that actually managed to suck in a lot of non-horror fans as well). And so watching a new Scream movie, now eleven years(!) since the last one sort of feels like visiting an old friend you haven’t seen in a long time. Of course, visiting an old friend can go a lot of ways – sometimes you have a blast and remember what it is you liked so much about hanging out with the friend, other times you realize that in the intervening years one or both of you has changed, and you don’t really have too much in common anymore. Scream 4 is kind of a mixture of the two.

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You know how sometimes you see a movie with a great concept so obvious that you can’t believe no one thought of it before (and feel like kicking yourself for not being the one that did)? Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil is that kind of movie.

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