Sunday, December 25, 2011

Brad's Week in Dork! (12/18-12/24)

This week was about cramming as many theatrical films into one week as humanly possible.  I saw a good batch, but I could have done better.  Climaxing the week on Christmas Eve with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy at E Street Cinema was definitely the highlight.


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button:  After Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is my second favorite film from director David Fincher. It's an emotional, magical epic spanning several of my favorite years in history while detailing the effects of life's odd characters upon your intellectual growth. Brad Pitt is brilliant under all that CGI and makeup, and as his story winds down I find it impossible to keep dry eyes. It's melodrama, but wonderful masterful melodrama.

Die Hard:  "Now I have a machine gun...Ho Ho Ho." How does one write a review of Die Hard? It is just so obviously awesome. Bruce Willis' California bewildered, just your average NYPD John McClane is the king of Roy Rogers cool as he picks his way through Euro Trash terrorists led by the ruthless Hans Gruber, aka the diabolically dashing Alan Rickman. Die Hard is THE action movie of the 1980s, brilliant popping squib work peppered with dismissive & sarcastic one-liners. If you don't recognize the genius of it than you just don't like movies.

Bad Teacher:  Cameron Diaz swears a lot and is an awful human being and she's A TEACHER! Funny? No. Not funny. Fifty minutes into the movie I let slip my first chuckle. That's not an exaggeration. After that I chuckled three more times before the hour and a half long film concluded. There could have been a Bad Santa comedy within this craptastic script, but instead what you have is an embaressment for all parties involved. Watching Justin Timberlake dry hump a bored Cameron Diaz is unexplainably painful. Yes, I expect more from you N*SYNC kid.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo:  I tried reading the novel. Couldn't get past the first fifty pages. The Swedish film was decent but couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about. And I'm sad to say that David Fincher's crack at the material doesn't quite impress me either. His eye mashed together with Trent Reznor & Karen O's Immigrant Song makes for a badass movie trailer and one helluva James Bondy opening credits sequence, but the story is barely more than a little meh. Why put me through all that parole officer rape & humiliation? What's it got to do with anything? Frankly, I don't care at all for the gothy female protagonist--yank her outta the plot and I'd be just fine. What you got left is a solid episode of Cold Case.

The Adventures of Tintin:  Whoa. The Adventures of Tintin feels like young Steven Spielberg; a fun, humor rich globetrotting adventure film bringing the international comic sensation to ignorant American audiences. Indiana Jones lite? Yer damn right and I mean that with the highest of compliments. Jaime Bell is wonderful as the heroic investigative reporter, but it's Andy Serkis' Captain Haddock that steals the show when wonder dog Snowy isn't stealing the scene from him. There are at least two absolutely stunning action set pieces, one of which had me literally teetering on the edge of my seat. Forget the doubters, The Adventures of Tintin is the real deal, a stunning work of adventure art that just happens to be mocap.

Warrior:  Not a bad movie, but...Warrior will never get a second's thought after I've typed up this mini-review. Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy are brilliantly roided-out as their MMA sibling underdog brutes but it's all very typical Rocky emotional pandering pap. Sometimes, I just don't understand these inspirational sports sagas but this horrendously savage sport makes the attempt at spiritual uplift laughable. Nick Nolte does a fine job in the typically drunk dead-beat Dad role but like the rest of the flick it's nothing to write home about.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy:  Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy would make a bloody brilliant companion piece to that other deliberately paced and intricately plotted espionage flick, The Good Shepherd. Gary Oldman gives one of his finest performances (and that's not hyperbole--sorry TIPTOES) as retired Brit spy George Smiley who must maneuver his way through the treacherously murky waters of MI-6 as he attempts to upturn a mole in the Circus. And surrounded by Oldman are some of the U.K.s finest: John Hurt, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch--they're all utterly brilliant bouncing around this booby trapped script. Don't expect The Bourne Identity, the action is done in small facial distortions and the violence is short but brutal. One of the year's best movies.


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