Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weekly Round-Up (3/4/12 - 3/10/12)

The Help (Tate Taylor) ** - I was dreading watching this film. Though it's nowhere near as offensively bad as I thought it would be, it's still a bland cookie-cutter film that tackles the troubling, disturbing and rather complex subject of racism in a safe, simplistic, obvious way. The film's tone and performances are all over the place. Viola Davis is terrific and makes the film watchable but her performance belongs to a different, better film. Bryce Dallas Howard, on the other hand, is such a shrill over-the-top broad caricature that I feel it belongs in a John Waters movie. Jessica Chastain manages to make an impression and create an actual character with her limited screen time but frankly, I don't get the appeal of Octavia Spencer. Cinematography, costumes and sets are strictly perfunctory. Overall, the film gets an A for good intentions but a D in filmmaking.

Moneyball (Bennett Miller) ***1/2 - Now if there are two things I'm TOTALLY and COMPLETELY not interested in at all, it's sports and math (sports more than math). This film has plenty of both but is so well-made, well-written, well-directed and well-acted that I was totally and completely swept up and intrigued by it. (According to a friend of mine, it plays more like a heist film than a baseball film, I agree). Based on a true story about how ex-baseball player turned manager Billy Beane took his losing baseball team and using a unique method using stats gave the team a 20-game winning streak. The film is about underdogs and the importance of outside-the-box thinking and new ideas. You don't need to be a sports fan to be able to relate that that.

John Carter (Andrew Stanton) ** - It hurts me to write this review because I do greatly admire director Andrew Stanton. This is his live-action feature debut, an adaptation of an Edgar Rice Burroughs' sci-fi novel. It's got a lot of things going for it. Taylor Kitsch is a great find and makes a very charismatic lead, there are great visuals and some really good action scenes here but unfortunately everything that is good about it is all mixed up in a huge mess of a film which really could have used an editor with a better sense of pacing.

5 comments:

Mark said...

Here's hoping next week brings better movies.

YeamieWaffles said...

Cheers for the round-up mate. Some of these sound disappointing to say the very least.

That Bastard From Bellingham said...

Well.

The Help I was expecting to bomb. Or I at least WANTED it to bomb. I can't even put my finger on it, just something about it warns my intuition that I'll probably find something about it that...ahem...colors the entire movie as crap.

HAH, didja see that pun? Didja?

Moneyball I was kinda-hoping would do well. Even though I dislike Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, and Michael Cera on principle, I guess Brad Pitts' presence was one that swayed my knee-jerk bias towards wanting this film to be good.

My knee-jerk reaction is to immediately hate, and I mean mad-as-bulls-balls, freakin' thrown-folded-chair-mad-hate, any book to movie translation. It's damn near going to almost always suck, at least if done nowadays.

Hey, Roots and Dune (even the remake) were killer by my lights.

Besides, can you imagine if they tried to make a Gor movie today? Good god, it would suck so freakin' bad...

Anyway. Your review has at least given me the impetus to give it a shot, y'know? I mean it SOUNDS like fun, in the very least.

G said...

I so wanted John Carter to be awesome...I'll still watch it but I've heard too many bad things about it now

G said...

Sad that these were disappointing...