I feel validated in my opinion of Movie 43 by this review from David Edelstein over at Vulture. I just wish I had seen his review before I went to see this piece of trash. It’s not even worth seeing in a “so bad it’s good” sort of way. It’s just bad. Seriously, you guys, I can’t stress enough how ardently it should be avoided. I’ve never walked out of a movie before and I earnestly considered it multiple times; I never left because I figured there had to be something redeeming around the bend. There wasn’t.
Ok, now I promise to never mention Movie 43 ever again. I’ve already given it more time than it deserves.
Worst. Movie. Ever. Ok, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl is the worst movie ever, but this is a close second. It was so bad I’m not even bothering to include the poster on this post because it doesn’t deserve the publicity. There were a few slightly humorous bits (namely, the Naomi Watts/Liev Schreiber segment and a superhero spoof featuring the reunion of Justin Long & John Hodgman), but I don’t recall anything eliciting more than a chuckle from me. By no means did I expect it to be great, but it was so bad I’m actually angry at the people involved. Why did you involve yourself with this movie, Emma Stone? Who is blackmailing you, Hugh Jackman? Whatever dirt they have on you can’t be worth all this. Is someone hurting you Chloe Moretz? Do you need me to call Child Protective Services? Are they there right now? Cough twice if you want me to call 911.
Thankfully, Guys and Dolls is on TCM right now. Guys and Dolls is one of my absolute favorite movies of all time. For the next two hours I’m going to sit back and let the brilliance of Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra wash away the horror of what I just saw. It’s the only way.
Movie 43: Skip it. In the name of all that is holy, SKIP IT!
Watch Guys and Dolls, or absolutely anything else (other than Sharkboy and Lavagirl), instead.
You guys, I finally watched Ruby Sparks last night and now I think I’m in love with both Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan. I want to intrude upon their relationship and be with them at all times, absorbing their adorable genius every second of the day. If that doesn’t pan out, I will at least watch any and all movies Zoe Kazan writes in the future. I should have expected to have such a strong, positive reaction given her incredible pedigree. Her brilliant grandfather's movies are some of the greatest of all time (On the Waterfront is in my All-Time Top 5; never mind that whole Blacklist nonsense), so I should have made a bigger effort to see this one in the theater last summer. Better late than never, but I vow to never make that mistake again.
Finally, our long national nightmare has come to an end. For 68 long weeks we suffered, unsure of what the future held, but knowing that these were darker times than we had become accustomed. There were moments—nay, days—during which I could no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel. I feared that the darkness would never lift; that I would be subscribed to a lifetime of sightless wandering with only my rapidly fading memories to guide me. But at long last, our salvation. Sir Ryan Gosling has returned to our theaters, setting free the abundant joy of a populace who had long since forgotten how to feel. Sure, we had our Drive DVDs and our incessant BuzzFeed lists to keep us warm, but it wasn’t the same. And so I say to thee: Sir Gosling—welcome back. You have been missed.
Despite how grateful I am for Sir Gosling being back on the big screen, this is not a fantastic movie. It’s not a bad movie either, but it’s far from great. That doesn’t mean it’s not an enjoyable movie, though; in fact I enjoyed it very much, but I’m a sucker for 40’s/50’s Hollywood film noir. There’s just something about the way people dressed that draws me in, and Sir Gosling fit in very well in his nicely tailored suit and fedora. Emma Stone is no slouch herself. Plus, I’m a big fan of Ruben Fleischer (this is the man that brought Rob & Big to our televisions after all; he must be celebrated!). Overall, even though it was all just insubstantial fluff, the movie was just flat-out entertaining. It’s never going to win any awards or anything but as long as you don’t go in thinking it’s going to be Goodfellas (or even, more appropriately, L.A. Confidential) you shouldn’t be disappointed.
The only thing that really bothered me about this movie was the way the Mickey Cohen story was manipulated. I mean, yeah, I understand that the movie was simply “inspired by” a true story and was not intended to be an accurate biopic, and I get that tax evasion is a lot less exciting than murder. But I felt like they were trying to fool us into thinking the LAPD’s gangster squad took down Cohen, when in fact it was the IRS that sent him to Alcatraz. I guess it doesn’t really matter. Or does it? I’m torn.
Regardless, this movie was a fun time. If you, like me, were suffering from Sir Gosling withdrawal, you should definitely see Gangster Squad in the theater, because The Place Beyond the Pines doesn’t come out until March. Otherwise, this one can probably wait for your Netflix Queue.
Gangster Squad: Put it in Your Netflix Queue
Here is the intelligence I’ve gathered: Movie=really good. Exciting. Thrilling. Engaging. Wrought with tension.
Best Picture Oscar? Maybe; would be okay by me.
Tough guys with beards? Super hot. Plenty of them here.
Torture? Disappointing and difficult to watch, but apparently it’s only wrong to depict when it’s a true story.
Navy SEALs? Ridiculously impressive.
Pit in my stomach? Present during SEAL scenes, even though outcome was known.
Jessica Chastain? Brilliant actress, and great at giving heartfelt acceptance speeches. Where did she come from all of a sudden? Don’t care, just glad she made it.
Kathryn Bigelow? Must stop referring to her as a “great female director.” Surely “great director” should suffice.
Jennifer Ehle? Previously and forever Elizabeth Bennet to Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy.
Zero Dark Thirty: See it in the Theater
I was really excited to see this movie. The trailer gave me chills every time I saw it, both in the theater and on TV. I knew it was going to be an emotional experience on both joyous and heart-wrenching levels. It definitely lived up to the hype. But at the same time, this isn’t a movie I would recommend to everyone. I can easily recognize that Les Miserables is not everyone’s cup of tea.
I feel like I should make it known that I love musicals. Gene Kelly is my absolute favorite actor of all time (and my generation-eclipsing soul mate), so I’m already predisposed to enjoying movies where there is a considerable amount of singing. I love musical theater as well, even though I don’t get to see as much of it as I would like, what with the living in the Midwest and whatnot. However, I tend to prefer movie musicals to musical theater, or at least I prefer the types of musicals where people simply burst into song and then get on with their business as opposed to the more operatic musicals where people go about their business via sing-songy talking. Sing your song, then speak your words; that’s my motto. Therefore, because Les Mis is closer to the latter than the former, there were definitely moments where I was thinking, “Ok, let’s get on with it already.”
But despite those moments, my overall opinion on Les Mis is exceedingly positive. The chills I got from the trailer were nothing compared to the effect of seeing the movie in its entirety. It was just thrilling and amazing. For every five minutes of eye-rolling due to Russell Crowe talk-singing, there were ten minutes of chill-inducing magic. And as much as we all love to hate Anne Hathaway, her performance as Fantine was brilliant; the only reason I don’t want her to win the Oscar is because I’m not sure I can sit through another of her awkward acceptance speeches. Hugh Jackman was also fantastic; this is Daniel Day-Lewis’s year, but I’m thankful for the Golden Globes’s Drama & Comedy/Musical category split, which enabled him to get some well-deserved recognition. Pretty much everyone else was great too (how cute is Eddie Redmayne?!?!).
But getting back to my initial point, this is a really excellent movie if you’re into this sort of thing. If you’ve seen Les Mis on stage, or think it’s something you may be into, you should definitely see this movie. If you hate musicals or opera, hate stories about the French Revolution, or can’t bear to have an emotional experience in the theater, maybe you’re right to skip it.
Les Miserables: See it in the Theater (but only if you can tolerate talk-singing)
If you have been reading this blog from the beginning, you know that the Golden Globes is my favorite award show to watch (and to dream about attending). This year, my excitement for the Globes has been exponentially enhanced by its hosts. Whomever made the decision to have Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host is the smartest person in Hollywood. I’m pretty sure this is the first time in history that I’ve ever been excited for an awards show because of the host(s). I mean, yeah, I would be excited about the Globes if it was hosted by an empty refrigerator box, or if they went back to the no host format. But I’m just as much excited about Fey & Poehler as I am about the awards themselves, which means I’m so excited about the Globes that my head might explode. Don’t let me down, ladies!
Now I’ll give you a quick run-down of who I want to win tonight. Not who I think will win, or who should win, but who I want to win. As we all know, guessing what those looney toons in the Hollywood Foreign Press are going to do is a fool’s errand anyway. So here are my selfish picks in the main movie categories:
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2012 was a great year for movies. All nine of the Oscar Best Picture nominees are eminently watchable, and I think that’s saying something. I had a great time watching and writing about all of the 50 movies I saw (we have fun, don’t we?). I’ve even caught a couple flicks on DVD that I had missed at the theater. It’s going to be very difficult to narrow it down to my 10 favorite, but such is life. Without further ado, and in no particular order:
(50) Days of Movies's 10 Favorite Movies Seen in 2012:
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As I mentioned previously, I saw this movie at the ArcLight in Hollywood. I can’t say I did not enjoy this movie, per se; to the contrary, it was a fun flick. But the fact that I was watching it at the ArcLight was definitely the highlight for me. Tom Cruise is an interesting fellow—he can be simultaneously magnificent and creepy. I was obsessed with Top Gun, Cocktail and Rain Man as a child, so I will always have a soft spot for Mr. Cruise; but I also can’t erase from my memory the weirdness that has dominated his publicity in the last 10 or so years. I think he still has many very admirable leading man qualities, and is still capable of opening a movie, but as I’m watching him I can’t completely ignore the creep factor. Alas, it is what it is.
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Holy Fucking Shit. Pardon my language, but given that this is a Quentin Tarantino movie I feel it’s appropriate. I loved this movie. Yes, it was probably 40 minutes too long, but I very much enjoyed the way it ended so who am I to say what should’ve been eliminated to save on time. And yes, I felt a bit uncomfortable at times with the incessant use of the n-word and the horrible truths on display, but thems is the facts. Despite those things, I absolutely loved this movie.
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