Monday, August 15, 2011
3 Movies in a Nuthsell: Apes, stupid love, all under 30 minutes or less
I've seen a few films in the last couple of weeks, but I've been too lazy to write about them, so I'll just put them all under one review.
What do Apes, Ryan Gosling's abs, and pizza have in common? Nothing much. All three movies are relatively new to the theatres, with Rise of the Planet of the Apes being the breakout hit amongst the three. The ape movie is good, not great. But it has its moments. Andy Serkis, who plays the lead chimp, Caesar, is the best actor in the entire film. He, and John Lithgow do a good job, but James Franco, the human lead, phones in his performance. I'm not sure if his eyes are stoned, or just dead. Anyway, the film is a prequel of sorts to to the planet of the apes, and it's an interesting idea. Will Rodman, played by Franco, is a scientist who is experimenting on apes with a new drug to fight alzheimer's. He creates a drug that works on chimps, making them smarter, but it might actually be a detriment to human kind. It's leaps and bounds better than the Tim Burton remake of 2001. That movie was a horrible mess with no redeeming quality. This latest installment, at least, tries to respect its audience and take itself seriously. If you're a fan of the ape movies and the book that inspired them then it's definitely a must see. I give it a solid 7 out of 10.
Crazy, Stupid, Love (which I think has an extra comma, as you can be crazy, and you can be stupid, but you can't be love, but love can be crazy and stupid, just without a comma. Confused?) is meant to be a comedy, but it comes across as a drama with comedic moment. I didn't really laugh until the end of Act Two where physical comedy takes over in a scene of chaos and twists and turns. But up until then the film is rather boring. It's not a bad boring, it's just very predictable with characters who sometimes come across as caricatures. Steve Carell is sweet in his role as a father who gets recently dumped by his wife, Julianne Moore, who is bored. They're a boring couple who got together much too young, but who may still be soulmates. Ugh. Soulmates? That word makes me cringe. It's an overused word, and theme, and it's contrived and rings false, not just in movies, but in real life too. Anyway, Ryan Gosling is good in his role as a womanizer who teaches Carell how to be a ladies' man, and who eventually falls in love with Emma Stone's character. (Stone is everywhere, see previous blog posts on her) Gosling's body is absolutely stunning. Kudos to him on making it fat free, now please go have a chocolate sundae with extra toppings. The film is harmless, but there's nothing new to discover in these relationships. A renter. 6.5 out of 10.
The latest film that I've seen is 30 Minutes or Less. A slacker, low brow type of comedy about a serious situation. A pizza delivery man (Jesse Eisenberg) is going nowhere in his life, then one night he is kidnapped and a bomb is strapped to his body and he's told to rob a bank, or else he dies. The kidnappers are two buttheads played by Nick Swardson and Danny McBride. They, too, are slackers, but slackers with a panache for bombs and violence. They need the bank money to hire a hitman to kill McBride's dad, so that they can claim a large inheritance, They want the money so that they can open a tanning salon that is a front for prostitution. Phew. Got that? The film has some funny moments, but overall, it doesn't have enough of a plot to fuel a full length film. There is a lot of talking in this film, and the kind of talking that feels like filler rather than plot driven or character revealing. I like the actors who are involved, and the Director made Zomebieland, which I enjoyed. But this time around, it just doesn't work as well. It's also loosely based on a real life event where the pizza guy was actually killed by the bomb. 6 out of 10.
And that sums up the last two weeks at the movie for me. Overall, this summer has been disappointing at the cinema.