March 4, 2011, - 3:23 pm
**** UPDATE: Scroll Down for Review of Beastly ****
I did not see “Rango” or “Vanishing on 7th Street,” because they were either on the Jewish Sabbath (Rango) or weren’t screened (Vanishing). However, I will try to see them over the weekend and provide updates. Here’s what I saw:
* “The Adjustment Bureau“: Matt Damon plays a rising political star, a Congressman from New York, who is running for U.S. Senate. And, of course, all promising, rising political stars hang out with Jesse Jackson and Madeleine Albright (or, at least, they do in Hollywood’s version of things). Other than that, the movie is not political and doesn’t have an agenda.
This movie was mildly entertaining and wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t “great,” and had a lot of holes and loose ends, in a very messy last third with a predictable ending. It was sorta cockamamie and convoluted. Still, if you like science fiction and “Twilight Zone” types of entertainment–as I do–you will probably like this (though this is Twilight Zone lite–very, very lite, and Rod Serling is probably turning over in his grave by the comparison).
Damon has his whole future planned out for him by a mysterious group of people with special powers, the “Adjustment Bureau,” which is sort of like a corporation. They follow people around the world and make sure that they don’t deviate from the plan set out for them. When they do, the Adjustment Bureau comes in to secretly make adjustments to correct the deviation and put them back on course.
In Damon’s case, he deviates from the plan by meeting and trying to find and romance the woman of his dreams, Emily Blunt, whom he meets on election night in his first try for the U.S. Senate. He’s in the men’s room preparing his concession speech. Thereafter, we watch him try to find this woman–and each time he finds her, get thwarted by the Adjustment Bureau.
The part that is silly are the “rules” of the Adjustment Bureau. They wear hats, and if you wear a hat, you could throw them off. They are omniscient, in that they can hear and know what you are saying and thinking, but if you’re on water (like on a New York Ferry) or in the middle of rainy weather, they can’t. Huh? It’s kind of like a bedtime story my father used to ad-lib in trying to lull me to sleep as a kid (except my brilliant father was far more creative).
Still, I really had no objections to the movie, other than the completely frustrating mess it was in the last third and the in-your-face shots of Jackson and dimwit Albright, which were unnecessary and irksome. We know, though, that if uber-liberal, neo-Marxist Matt Damon were to run for office, he’d be hanging with these far-left frauds. And, in watching him give political speeches in this movie, it’s almost as if he’s auditioning for a real-life run, something his equally loathsome close pal, Ben Affleck has often expressed a desire to do. In an appearance, this week, on CNN, Damon let us all know that he’s far, far to the left of Barack Obama. He said we need to strangle Wall Street and the bankers because they’re so wealthy, yet, “they don’t make anything. They don’t build anything.” Hey, Matt, POT. KETTLE. BLACK.
Whenever I review a Matt Damon movie, some readers say they will not go to his movies or give him a penny because he helped fund and promote the Marxist, anti-American version of history put forth by his late friend, Howard Zinn. To those readers, I hear ya. But I’m critiquing this movie on its face, and it was okay (but just okay), so I’m giving it . . .
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Take Me Home Tonight“: More like, Stay Home Tonight and away from this awful movie. This is one of the many pieces of dung that Michigan taxpayers subsidized via the Michigan Film Tax Credit, as part of the movie was shot in the state in exchange for a 42% rebate. In the 1980’s I sat through a lot of bad movies set in the ’80s. So, why do I have to sit through another bad movie set in the ’80s in the 2010s?
Topher (his pretentious abbreviation of his real name, Christopher) Grace co-wrote, co-produced, and stars in this absolutely awful, over-sexed, drug-addled B-movie. He told film critic Tom Long, “We wanted it to be like we just went back in a time machine to the ’80s.” Um, here’s a tip, been there, seen that. It was just as awful, and it’s called, “Hot Tub Time Machine” (read my review). It’s like bad food flatulence repeating the bad repeat. If I can say one good thing–the only good thing–about this movie (and it’s not a good thing for us, just for somebody else), it’s that all the one-hit wonders from the ’80s will get a much-needed royalty check for their songs on the movie’s soundtrack.
The story: an MIT grad (Grace) is working at a video store because he can’t decide what to do with his life. His high school crush enters the video store and he pretends he works at Goldman Sachs, so that she’ll be interested in him. He and his best friend, a crazy fat guy, go to parties that night, and the whole night is a messy attempt for Grace to get the girl. The night goes from topless women, cocaine, and a weird voyeur sex scene to even worse. Vile, vulgar, and it’s just stupid garbage. And, believe me, I’m making it sound far better than the utter trash that it is.
FOUR MARXES PLUS
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Beastly“: This is a modern update of “Beauty and the Beast,” or is supposed to be. But, even though the message and moral of the story is a good one–against vanity and unkindness, this movie is chock full of a whole lot of bad acting and is mostly just plain annoying. It lacks the magic and charm that is the spark of previous silver screen incarnations of this story.
A vain, wealthy, popular high school teen is mean to his Black housekeeper (aren’t all rich White people rude to their Black housekeeper? they are in Hollywood) and his fellow students, including and especially a girl who thinks she’s a witch (one of the Olson twin bagladies). She apparently is really a witch and puts a curse on him. She turns him into a very hideous-looking person. He must make someone love him within a year, or he will remain permanently ugly. He cooks up a scheme to get his fellow student, Vanessa Hudgens (who is from a poor family and who is threatened with death by her addict father’s drug dealer), to stay with him in the house where his father put him when he turned ugly. He tries to get her to fall in love with him so he can change back. He does this–and learns humility and kindness–with the advice of the Black housekeeper and his blind tutor (Neil Patrick Harris).
Like I said, very bad acting. Also very predictable. But not the worst movie I’ve seen. It’s aimed at teens and 20-somethings, so for them it’s fine.
Watch the trailer . . .
Tags: Adjustment Bureau, Alex Pettyfer, Beastly, Christopher "Topher" Grace, Christopher Grace, Emily Blunt, Jesse Jackson, Madeleine Albright, Matt Damon, Michigan Film Tax Credit, movie, movie review, Movie Reviews, Take Me Home Tonight, The Adjustment Bureau, Topher Grace, Vanessa Hudgens