Friday, March 1, 2013

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Some February thoughts

There were not that many releases worthy of attention in February.

Identity Thief opened to start the month.  The road trip identity-stealing comedy, starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy started off the month.  This was McCarthy's first leading big screen role.

Seth Gordon directed the film from a script by Craig Mazin.  Mazin co-wrote The Hangover: Part 2 so it should come at no surprise that this film was a letdown.  There were funny jokes, don't get me wrong, but I felt that the film, overall, just didn't reach the level that it should have reached.

This was Gordon's first feature since the release of the 2011 hit comedy Horrible Bosses, also starring Bateman.

Running just shy of 2 hours, the film is closing in on $100 million at the domestic box office.

I'd say that I would give it a C-.

*****

Side Effects was the other film that I saw in February.  This says something about the films released in February.

Side Effects stars Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Channing Tatum.  Mara shows that she can, indeed, lead a film.

Mara's character is prescribed a new drug that is intended to treat anxiety.  There's a lot that happens but I can't divulge too much without giving away the plot.  The drug has side effects, or there would be no film.

The psychological thriller-neo-noir film directed by Steven Soderbergh, who is supposedly retiring after the release of this film.  Soderbergh directs from a screenplay by Scott Z. Burns (Contagion, The Informant!, The Bourne Ultimatum).

The thriller is Hitchcockian in nature.  It's smart and clever, too.  There is a twist, too, that you never see coming.  I know that I didn't.

Here's for hoping that March is a better month for movies.  Lord knows that February wasn't.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

January Dump Month

As many movies as I see, I should keep this more active.  Instead of writing reviews per se, this may be more of movie commentary on films being released (and I opt to see)

The months of January and February, historically, have seen movies being released that are not that great.  Except for those December releases that finally go wide.

Aside from the expanding releases in January of The Impossible and Zero Dark Thirty, there were really no films that stood out to me.  While Movie 43 featured an all-star cast, the gross-out comedy was widely panned by critics.

I'm a big fan of Billy Crystal.  I waited until New Year's Day to see his newest film, Parental Guidance, and I was very surprised to see it being widely panned as well.  The film features one of the best calls in all of baseball history for Pete's sake!

The Impossible, an emotionally powerful film, featured a very strong performance from Naomi Watts.  I thought she would have been considered for an Oscar nomination a few years prior for her performance as Valerie Plame but that just wasn't meant to be.  I do agree, however, that she had one of the best performances for a female actor in a leading role in all of 2012.

I saw Zero Dark Thirty on the same day that the nominations came out.  While I was glad to see the film get nominations for Jessica Chastain and Mark Boal, I was very surprised to see that Kathryn Bigelow was snubbed in the category of directing--after she received a nomination from the Directors Guild of America.  While the torture scenes might not be for the squeamish or faint of heart, the final half hour of the film is probably the best last 30 minutes of a film since who knows when.  Chastain had one of the best lines of the film, too: "I'm the mother fucker who found this place!"

The only other film I saw during the month was Hitchcock.  Nominated for best makeup and hair styling, I made sure to see it before it left theaters.  I'm not a horror film type of guy but I have seen a few Hitchcock movies.  Helen Mirren's performance was impressive and worthy of a best actress nomination.  I thought that Anthony Hopkins, for his work as the late director, would have at least been considered but as 2011 was a great year for actresses, 2012 was very similar for actors.  As such, while Hopkins was in the top ten acting performances, it just wasn't enough to get in the five slots on Oscar Sunday.