Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Movie Potpourri V

Four Lions:  I’m not sure how much this movie actually teaches us about British-born jihadists; indeed, it would give us false comfort to think that they are all quite this incompetent.  But this movie had me in stitches almost the entire time.  A must see.

Dinner for Schmucks:  Pretty typical Steve Carell movie.

Eclipse:  Considering how often the mannerisms that defined Kristen Stewart’s Bella have been parodied, I can understand why she felt she had to drop them.  I’m disappointed, though.  I liked those mannerisms.  But the problem is that Stewart didn’t really replace them with anything, leaving her performance feeling flat.  Plus her hair looked . . . weird.  Artificial, like she was wearing a wig or something.

The Switch:  Jennifer Aniston is plenty attractive for her age (mine, FWIW), and she’s a good-enough actress for the roles she takes.  But what is it about her on-screen presence that I find so . . . annoying?

He’s Just Not That Into You:  This movie was painful to watch.  I just don’t have much of a stomach for watching people be mean to each other, even when they deserve it.  And . . . come on, Ginnifer Goodwin’s Gigi is too cute in both her personality and appearance to have been left out in the cold by as many guys in real life as she was in the film.  (That said, the real-life Ginnifer Goodwin looks kinda scary when she’s not in character.)

The King’s Speech:  A born beta forced by circumstances to alpha-up, George VI learns game from a guru.

Seriously, this was the best movie I’ve seen from last year (and I’ve seen a lot).  Notwithstanding its liberties with the historical record, dramatically it nonetheless gets both the little things and the big things almost perfect.  A scene that got to me:  George comes home after his accession, and his daughters come running towards him and then freeze in front of him, and we watch as Elizabeth, her face glowing, instructs Margaret that they should curtsy, and we just know that this was exactly the kind of little girl the future QEII was.  And I liked the way the movie set up a David-and-Goliath story between George VI and Adolph Hitler, whom “Bertie”, watching him in a newsreel, recognized as being strong precisely where he himself was weak.

Megamind:  Good-nerd-turned-bad fights bad-nerd-turned-good for Tina Fey to great 80’s soundtrack.  What’s not to like?

Megamind - No You Can't

I really think this was Will Ferrell’s best movie performance.   Honestly, I spent the first half of the movie thinking it was Robin Williams (or an appropriately subdued version of Robin Williams).

Orgazmo:  Hear me out on this.  I resisted watching this movie; obviously, it is thematically, um, well, kinda gross.  We of course have what would become the Parker and Stone trademark style of profane, gross-out humor.  But on the other hand, there isn’t any nudity, and anything that looks like sex is kept carefully off camera.

Unlike the majority of South Park episodes, Orgazmo doesn’t seem to have any social commentary that I could discern.  It is more or less a straighforward account of Joe Young (Trey Parker), a young Mormon man who reluctantly signs on to appear in a porn production – provided he doesn’t have to actually have sex.  This portrayal of Mormonism is, of course, a caricature – but it is a friendly caricature, much in the way that Ned Flanders is a friendly caricature of Evangelical Christians.  The pornographers are also caricatures -- evil and stupid – and Joe Young must confront and defeat them.

It’s all totally unserious, but with the exception of bad language, it’s difficult to find much to object to.


Elusive Wapiti said...

When are you headed back?

Dr. Φ said...

No flight info yet, but sometime in the next 1-2 weeks I hope.

Anonymous said...

I watched The King's Speech with my wife tonight. I'll look into it myself, but I'm interested to hear about the historical inaccuracies you mention. What struck me, as so often these days, now that I've developed an eye for them, were the 21st-century American anachronisms. Would any doctor of the period really have behaved like such a cowboy towards the royal family, or does that reflect a modern American desire for heroes who “take the elites down a peg”? Did Britons in the 1930s really use phrases like “flabby tummy”?

Dr. Φ said...

In terms of the inaccuracies of The King's Speech, the main issue is the timeline. The real George VI began speech therapy in 1926 (or so) instead of 1936 as in the movie, and showed dramatic improvement in months rather than years. But setting the movie at the eve of WW2 increased the dramatic tension.