January 8, 2010, - 4:03 pm
There’s nothing particularly spectacular at the movie theater, this weekend. Not even close. In fact, they’re pretty much all skipworthy. “Daybreakers” was not screened for Detroit-area movie critics, so I didn’t see it (thus, no review).
* “Leap Year“: This formulaic, predictable rom-com (romantic comedy) stars Amy Adams as a professional Boston woman, who has been dating a weaselly-looking cardiologist (Adam Scott, who weirdly looks like Liza Minnelli) for four years without getting a marriage proposal. Frustrated by that, she plans to travel to meet him in Dublin, Ireland, where there is a tradition of women proposing to their men on a leap year’s February 29th.
Most of the rest of the movie is Adams engaged in a “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” style odyssey to get to Dublin amidst bad weather, missed trains, cows blocking the road, and a car that drives into a lake. Adams hires a struggling small town Irish bar owner (Matthew Goode) to drive her to Dublin and is constantly fighting with him, but soon, they become attracted to each other, and you can guess the rest.
I was surprised to see Ireland portrayed as such a backward place without cell phones, computers, or much in the way of advancing beyond 1970. Even people in small towns there have cell phones today, but not in this movie, where characters rely on payphones and the kindness of strangers. Plus, scenes of old Irish men telling corny jokes also seemed dated.
I guess it doesn’t really matter, since the movie–while not offensive in any way–was kind of silly and slow. Still, it was mildly–very mildly–entertaining, while mostly lame.
HALF A REAGAN
* “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus“: This was Heath Ledger’s last movie, or, rather, he died in the middle of making it, which adds to its messiness. This Terry Gilliam film is not his greatest, but it has his hallmarks–fantasy and fantastic, magical images and scenes. But, unlike his other films with these, this wasn’t a tight story, like, say, the far superior “Brazil.” Instead it was just aimless, with too many stories, dead ends, and tangents. Having two other actors–Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law–play Ledger’s character adds to the aimlessness and confusion here.
The movie is about a former monk (Christopher Plummer) who is now a wizard of sorts, traveling around modern-day London, performing his sideshow with his teen daughter and a midget (Verne Troyer, who isn’t bad here). But, soon, we learn that the wizard is an ageless man from hundreds of years ago how made a deal with the devil. He lives forever, but when his daughter turns 16, she becomes the property of the devil.
While traveling, his daughter and the two others in his show see a man hanging from a bridge (Ledger). They rescue him, and he helps them fight the devil and gain a larger audience for their show. He is mysterious, and they are suspicious of him. The show has a mysterious mirror, a portal to a fantasy world (the “imaginarium”), which plays out audience members’ fantasies and fears and gives them a moral choice to make that could decide their fate.
Like I said, the movie–while entertaining and visually fantastic–is too messy, has too much going on, and doesn’t have a tight or even minimally interesting story to tell. Mildly entertaining.
HALF A REAGAN
* “Youth in Revolt“: This dark comedy mocks religious Christians, so it lost me. Michael Cera plays a teen nerd obsessed with a girl who lives nearby. Her parents, religious Christians, are morons–yup, typical Hollywood anti-religious propaganda. Cera has an alter ego, Francois, who convinces him to engage in all form of chicanery, mischief, and bad deeds, to get the girl’s attention. He burns and destroys his mother’s trailer home, breaks into a girls school, and otherwise acts foolish. And I’m making it sound way better than it is. Plus, the dialogue is filthy.
* “Broken Embraces“: This arthouse film, starring Penelope Cruz, is in Spanish with English subtitles. While it is visually beautiful and stylistically stunning, the story isn’t that great, and it’s slow. Plus, I must mention the exception to the “visually beautiful” description. I really didn’t need to see an 80-something man have sex with Cruz. Gross. Figures, since it’s directed by Roman Polanski apologist Pedro Almodovar.
Cruz plays a working class secretary who marries a much older, very wealthy industrialist. He funds a movie production to satisfy her desire to become an actress, but she soon falls in love with the director and begins an affair. The industrialist gets his gay son to spy on them and take videos. Cruz and the director escape to a weekend at a resort, where extremely depressing, bad things happen to them. The movie is told by the director, who is telling a 20-something man about his mother, who also worked on the film in which the industrialist’s wife starred. He is spurred to tell it, years later, upon news of the industrialist’s death.
HALF A MARX
Tags: Amy Adams, Broken Embraces, Christopher Plummer, Colin Farrell, Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Leap Year, Matthew Goode, Michael Cera, Movie Reviews, Pedro Almodovar, Penelope Cruz, Terry Gilliam, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Verne Troyer, Youth in Revolt