Posts published under “Taking One for the Team”
YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER (2010/DVD) Swept away by enthusiasm for this year’s fabulous and fun Midnight in Paris, fellow SML reviewer Be and I decided to rent Woody Allen’s 2010 film offering, which features Josh Brolin as Roy Channing in the blocked writer role, Naomi Watts as Sally his unhappy wife, Freida Pinto as Dia in the writer’s beautiful muse role and Antonio Banderas as Sally’s boss in the “art gallery owner/desireable male” role. Also in the picture are Anthony Hopkins as Sally’s father in the older man foolishly chasing youth by marrying a young and sexy but dumb hooker role and Gemma Jones as his forsaken older wife Helena. Helena hooks up with Cristal (Pauline Collins) at the suggestion of her daughter who wants her mother to be happy. Cristal communes with the spirits and convinces Helena that she has experienced other lives. She also begins to counsel Helena on financial matters, all of which will come back to haunt Sally by the end while Roy commits the unthinkable by stealing a book from a dead/dying friend and publishing it as his own. The film moves along with guidance from an unseen narrator who offers us the occasional Shakespearean quote and advances the various characters and plot lines. There are shades of many other Woody Allen story lines and characters here, particularly Husbands and Wives (with Anthony Hopkins taking the role played there by Sydney Pollack) and I had hoped that we were moving in a Crimes and Misdemeanors direction regarding Roy and the stolen book when suddenly the narrator lets us know that the movie is wrapping up. What?! So much more to go and such a shame to let these characters all dangle. All except Helena who meets her “talk dark stranger” in the shape of an occult book store owner and lives happily ever after in the certain knowledge that she was Joan of Arc in a past life. Perhaps the most unsatisfactory ending of any Woody Allen film I know….check it out but don’t get your hopes up.
The title of this Serious Movie Lover series says it all—we saw it so you didn’t have to.
THE AMATEURS (2009/SHOWTIME) Remember a couple years back when it seemed like everyone and his/her hairdresser was making comedies about the trials and tribulations of (mostly) regular folks making porno flicks? I sure do. Well, those unfortunate dozens that braved Kevin Smith’s daring P.O.S. Zack & Miri Make a Porno, should take heart in knowing that the movie they watched could have been much worse. Worser, even. Cuz even that shitbox (a given, really, knowing plane-hatin’/frequent-bed-wetter KS was the auteur at the helm) looks like Boogie Nights in comparison to this notboiler.
Had you stumbled across this junk on cable (as I did, on Showtime, between SUCK airings of Nurse Jackie), your initial reaction to seeing this many of your fave TV and film actors sharing the screen would be Oh! I LOVE those actors! But in only minutes your reaction is more like Oh. I love these actors? (How embarrassing for them!) A tubby Jeff Bridges leads this bombsamble cast, with locks a-flowin’ like the Fisher King after attending one too many Lebowski Fests, mush-mouthing all over this spastic, sputtering thing like a bargain-basement Brando after a bowl or two. As Andy Sargentee, an unemployed recently divorced dad ashamed that he can’t afford to give his son stuff like the kid’s rich step-dad, an affable chap played by, uh, the funny brother from TV’s Wings, he sequesters himself in the local tavern screaming and cursing and scrunching up his face and tearing pages out of notebooks while waiting for divine inspiration to strike. As he does this very antisocial thing for which I’ve seen many a homeless men booted from my neighborhood White Castle, all of the townspeople start talking like, “OH, NO! We’ve seen that look before and we DON’T LIKE IT!” and “You know that look only leads to NO GOOD!” and “OH, I can’t believe he’s DOING IT AGAIN WITH THE LOOK!” until he finally breaks out of his trance, sufficiently inspired to make his mark and great fortune by making a porno. “OH NO!” his pals all shrug, as if to say, “This will only end in TROUBLE, but at least BOOBS will be involved this time.” Read more »
KINSEY (2004/DVD) OK, I am definitely not what you would call squeamish or uncomfortable when it comes to open discussions about sex, or the use of sexually graphic imagery to aid in dissecting the sex act like a couple of butterflies sharing the same stick pin, but somehow this dumb movie managed to really gross me out. It took me a while to figure out why, but here it is: The scenes showing Kinsey’s “crew” hanging out at a BBQ are, well, tacky. ONLY EIGHTH GRADERS rub up against their ladyfriends while chattin’ up their pals and gals about how they just “did it” and BOY, just can’t wait to DO IT again. Btw, did you hear me say “DO IT”? (HIGH FIVE!!)
Here’s the thing, though—these people were quite possibly exactly as portrayed in that scene, it would seem. Yes, Alfred Kinsey’s research on sex was revolutionary in its time—resulting in two controversial best sellers, 1948′s Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and 1953′s Sexual Behavior in the Human Female—but, in retrospect, one wonders just how interested in this field of study would an impotent Kinsey have been? To me, this is a story about dudes that sure loved doin’ it, and just wanted to keep doin’ it ALL THE TIME. With each other’s wives, girlfriends, random “subjects of study,” etc. Being a male with a boner of my own, I gotta call shenanigans on this whole op. These dudes just wanted to get laid, a LOT, while somehow legitimizing their “scientific films” and boners. And boners NEVER lie. Read more »
Grade: F (upgraded from an F- for being filmed in my hometown o’ St. Louis)