Since the stated mission on this blog is to write about every single film I see, every once in awhile I’m bound to have a post like this one: where I write about a lot of films at once – generally ones that I don’t have a ton to say about – and in brief terms. So, without further ado as you all wait with bated breath…here we go:
Game Change (Roach, 2012)
Probably better known as “that Sarah Palin movie,” the film is an entertaining – and frequently maddening – look at the 2008 presidential campaign and Palin’s rise to stardom (power?). Julianne Moore and Ed Harris give eerily spot-on performances as VP and PotUS-wannabe respectively, and Woody Harrelson continues to show his range with a strong turn as strategist Steve Schmidt. It’s not an out-and-out left-leaning, flick – McCain doesn’t come off so poorly, but it’s certainly not the most flattering of Ms. Palin (something that this “reviewer” won’t argue with).
Heathers (Lehmann, 1988)
One of the two best in this post, I watched this after a friend pushed when I admitted having not seen it on my “Blind Spots” list. Heathers is fun, goofy, and in some ways prescient (high-school gun violence, anyone?). It takes its Harold and Maude-styled dark humor seriously enough to make the plot tick, but is also a strong foreshadow to the Clueless-era of satire. Slater puts in strong work with his trademark drawl (is that what it is…or is it a purr?), and director Michael Lehmann (who also made Airheads!) makes good use of wide angle photography.
Anthony Zimmer (Salle, 2005)
Anthony Zimmer was remade as The Tourist in the US, and though the latter was a painfully horrific piece of filmmaking, the former is far too slick and glossy for its own good, wasting a good turn by Sophie Marceau. The case of mistaken identity and lost love gets boring quickly and the various twists and turns are unbelievable (in the “illogical” sense of the word) when they happen, and continue to be so after the final twist is revealed.
The Hangover, Part II (Phillips, 2011)
I never even saw the first one. I laughed a few times. I mostly got annoyed at what felt redundant without seeing the precursor. Not a fan of most of the actors involved with the exception of Ed Helms, the ending is – surprisingly, when it involves tattoos, guns, the FBI and boats – too easy, and the flashback structure is too easily revealed. In short, I was able to turn my head off and watch, but really could care less what happened.
Savages (Stone, 2012)
This is the first film I’ve ever snuck into! And I almost snuck out of it. What a bore. I wanted straight-up action to (see above) turn my head off and watch. And it just dragged. Also, the performances from the three leads – Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively and Aaron Johnson – are incredibly bad. I’m talking cardboard cutout, wooden emotion, sloppy delivery…the works. What a load of crap. Stone relies on a voiceover that disappears and reappears as convenient, and has odd and ill-conceived “foreshadow” moments (Salma Hayek’s daughter in the mall?). At least Benicio Del Toro is fun and manic. And there is at least one nice change for Johnson’s Ben character, when he becomes the violent person he’s always tried to avoid being. But otherwise, pretty rough.
Five Miles to Midnight (Litvak, 1962)
I think you either like Anthony Perkins or you don’t. I just watched another 1962 film with him (Phaedra), where he oscillated between awesome and awful. In Litvak’s 1962 thriller (the other really good one on this list), he’s mostly awesome. As is Sophia Loren as Lisa Macklin, his wife who no longer wants to be his wife. There are some great set pieces (including a beautifully tense party scene), and the car ride towards the end is white-knuckle stuff. Litvak (who also did Sorry, Wrong Number) blocks classically, but is mostly pretty sparing with his coverage. I also quite liked Mikis Theodorakis’ score (who actually also scored Phaedra…a better score in that one).