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|5 reviews in total|
I consider a film like War Horse a refreshing alternative to the dark, dreary, and soul-crushing art films that seem to define this season of adult entertainments. Steven Spielberg returns to the family film genre with this beautiful story of friendship amidst the horrors of World War I. The depiction of war is tasteful and harks back to the golden age of filmmaking when suggestive rather than graphic was order of the day. I was surprised to find myself weeping numerous times throughout the picture, a Spielberg picture hasn't had that kind of effect on me since Schindler's List. Clearly, I've been starving for a movie about miracles, the ability to find peace (even if only for a moment) with enemies during wartime, the strength and beauty in love and family, and so forth. Spielberg has crafted one of the finest films of 2011.
Extremely unpleasant and pointless film that seems to have no other purpose than to subject its star Emily Browning to countless humiliations both emotional and sexual. All of the scenes involving the elderly clients made me cringe, which is what I suppose the filmmakers intended, but I also have the sick feeling that there was no other point to this film but to shock its audience, disgust them, and then end. Lucy is an unsympathetic character because she clearly has no self-respect or sense of worth. There is no story, just a lot of off-putting material crammed into its brief yet protracted running time. Sleeping Beauty is the kind of film that gives art house cinema a bad name. Mainstream audiences may be on to something when they avoid movies like this and see War Horse instead. I wish I had done the same.
This is a well made film, finely crafted by its director Jason Reitman and featuring stellar performances by Charlize Theron and Patton Oswald. Unfortunately, my admiration for the film stops at the technical level. The experience of sitting through Young Adult is so unpleasant and the final act is so unsatisfying that you become angry and feel like the filmmakers have cheated you in some way. As inevitable as the concluding scenes feel, you're still left wondering what the experience was all about. The film is advertised as dark comedy, so is it funny? No, it's not. I wasn't laughing because I didn't care enough about any of the film's characters or what happened to them. For all of my complaints, I can't deny that the film does have staying power, you'll be thinking about it long after seeing it. The only problem is that the memories won't be fond ones, they'll be bitter, angry, frustrated ones. I suppose that was the whole point, the filmmakers clearly want the viewers to feel bitter, angry, and frustrated by people like Charlize's Mavis. It's a difficult film to recommend because of how negative it made me feel, but that only means it accomplished its goal.
This is a remake of a 1950s screwball political satire and in some ways it is both stronger and weaker than the original. First, the weaknesses: the main problem with this remake of Born Yesterday is the plot. All they've done here is copied and pasted the original screenplay and shoehorned into a time frame where the material seems out of date. When we see Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith walking out on the streets of 1990s Washington, D.C., we hear their dialogue and somehow it doesn't jive with the world around them. We feel the presence of the film crew standing behind the camera capturing this "cute" moment between a pair of movie stars. It's like we're observing a big high school play performed for an audience in the park and it just feels awkward. There isn't much chemistry between Johnson and Griffith and that's another part of the problem. Griffith is fine as the ditz with hidden depth and definitely did not deserve her Razzie nomination in 1993. In fact, she's one of the best things about the remake and I liked her in the role. Don Johnson feels out of place as the smart guy teaching her how to be an intellectual. He just doesn't seem the type and seems terribly miscast. John Goodman is the perfect combo of sweet and tough as Harry, the corrupt businessman pulling the strings of senators. Born Yesterday is a flawed remake but the stuff that's good is really good and makes me wish more effort had been put into updating the material to fit present day sensibilities.
If you're at all familiar with Brad Jones' Cinema Snob program you'll have a blast recognizing faces in the cast. If you're unfamiliar with The Cinema Snob program or its cast you're less likely to consider this a satisfying film. Writer-director Brad Jones is clearly trying to emulate the great film noir classics with this would-be thriller but he lacks the experience to elevate this film above its numerous clichés. Brad Jones has an appealing screen presence as proved on his show The Cinema Snob but the rest of the cast might as well be cardboard cutouts. The only other performer in the cast that manages to make anything happen with her scenes is Brad's real-life wife, Jillian, who plays the waitress Claire. I'd personally like to see Brad attempt something outside of the thriller genre, he does a splendid job with comedy (something I felt this film could have used more of). This film takes itself far too seriously when a more ironic approach might have resulted in a fresher product. I can't completely write off "Paranoia" as it features excellent production values considering its limited budget. The cinematography, locations, costuming, and scoring are all convincing and the craftsmen behind the scenes are clearly a talented group. My fingers are crossed for something better in the future from Brad Jones and Company.