Monthly Archives: July 2011

//July

Friends With Benefits – 3

July 30th, 2011|

This was about as real as a $3 bill. Aside from Jenna Elfman, I can think of no character or scene that could exist outside the hackneyed imagination of a fledgling Hollywood sitcom writer. And as for the buzz that Justin Timberlake can act, don’t believe that, either.

Page One – 6

July 30th, 2011|

Even Impressionist paintings have a subject, but this collection of vignettes about the New York Times went all over the place. Was this film about how the Times now covers the media? about the Times’s uneasy relationship with new media? about the troubling economics of print journalism? how a story – e.g., the rise of […]

The Trip – 7

July 29th, 2011|

One’s appreciation of this film surely depends on one’s interest in, or tolerance for, Steve Coogan. To his credit, he has taken the role of the successful loser, less funny than his sidekick Rob Brydon and more at sea in his personal life. Because of his conceit, however, we don’t enjoy the time spent alone […]

Buck – 5

July 29th, 2011|

When a documentary maker sets out to chronicle someone’s life, he or she never knows if something dramatic will occur that will make the finished documentary exciting, emotional, or at least interesting. In this case, the story of horse trainer Buck Branaman, nothing happened and the result is, frankly, boring. If watching horses in a […]

Tree of Life – 5

July 12th, 2011|

There was no shortage of ambition, or pretension, in Terrence Malick’s fifth opus, which complements, for some reason, the evolution of the universe with the arc of one average man’s (Malick’s?) life in Waco, Texas. Young Jack has steely eyes, and his bildungsroman might have made a good story, although how he morphs into the […]

13 Assassins – 7

July 11th, 2011|

A quintessential samurai movie (I forget the Japanese word for this genre), replete with the gathering of ronin, the revenge motive, the uncouth jester, and the bloody battle at the end. There is a hint, maybe more, of a larger message: what a waste this is, wouldn’t it be better if we devoted our energies […]

Super 8 – 7.5

July 2nd, 2011|

After wandering out of Bad Teacher, I dropped in to the adjoining theater to see why the local paper had given this movie four stars. Accordingly, I didn’t see the first twenty minutes, but I sort of think that any “explanation” I missed is beside the point. This was E.T. for the age of video games, and […]

Bad Teacher – 1

July 2nd, 2011|

A vile movie. If the moviemakers’ idea of fun is mocking public school teachers as fat, naive and overly conscientious and contrasting them with a glib, irresponsible gold-digging character played by glamorous Cameron Diaz, then my audience didn’t get it. After fifteen minutes of buffoonery producing nary a laugh, I quit the theater, not wishing to […]