Monday, June 24, 2013

On Five Films

This keeps happening and happening this year - 2013 keeps getting away from me! I am once again going to offer up several quick review type things at once, since there are several new-ish films that I've seen over the past couple of weeks that I've not said a peep, not a single solitary peep, about. Unless it's something that lights a fire inside my belly either for good (The Bling Ring) or for ill (Man of Steel), I keep letting 'em slip away. It's like that scene in Eduardo Sanchez's Altered (another movie I've seen recently that I've forgotten to review) where the dude's trying to stuff his intestines back inside after the evil alien yanked them out. Picture that while you're reading this, and you'll be all set.

Ain't Them Bodies Saints - For some reason I can only think of this movie in terms of a performance hierarchy. It's basically a three person show, and it feels to me as if the quality of the three performances is inversely related to the time they are given on-screen. That is to say, Casey Affleck, who gets the most time on-screen, is for me the weakest of the trio - I'm not really saying he's bad, but his accent is distractingly mumbly, so I kind of missed half his dialogue. Meanwhile Rooney Mara, with slightly less screen-time, is terrific as his put-upon wife trying to manage his expectations, her own needs, and their daughter's future. But blowing everybody away with the shortest leg of the triptych is Ben Foster, who's just the whole movie to me. Phenomenal work from him - I never for a second didn't buy his performance.

But the film isn't just their performances - it's a really well spun spin on the old-as-the-hills outlaws tale, digging around in corners I never expected to see illuminated, not in quite this way. Basically I really dug the film, even if the trio was a wee bit lopsided.

The Last Stand - A perfectly fine dumb way to pass a Saturday afternoon, from what I remember, which isn't much. It's stuffed to the gills with actors I like doing nothing much of note, but they're there, and the action's feisty enough... yet somehow it drags at just at an hour and forty minutes when something trying for high-octane should feel... well a little less stuffed to the gills, I guess. I'd be lying if I said I didn't like seeing Arnold on screen again though - I avoided enough of his tabloid activities and political nonsense to still find his presence somewhat of a childhood-reminiscent comfort.

Gangster Squad - What an inert piece of work this is - it just lays there, sorta pretty but not especially special in any sort of way whatsoever. And it's DOA nature reveals the irritating underbelly of Ryan Gosling's affectations - I kinda wanted to smack his smoldering puss from the get-go. I hope Only God Forgives washes the stink off but it's looking awfully same-y...

Hatchet III - I had to go back and read my review of Hatchet II (for some reason I never reviewed the first one so let me sum up my feelings towards it with one word - ugh) to remind myself of why I've always had it in for these movies, but let it be said that this here third film is in my estimation easily the best of the trilogy... and shocker, it's the first one not directed by Adam Green. I will give credit where it's due - he did write the script. But loosed from his directly-behind-the-camera presence, which I have every time to bat deemed straight up lousy, this here third film somehow manages to bop along, still entirely offensive, but not offensively offensive. If you go read my review of the second movie you'll know what I mean. Hatchet III is super gross, and often cruel even, but it manages to respect my boundaries. Which I do have, against all evidence to the contrary. And whatcha gonna do - a horror geek's just incapable of fighting against a Kane Hodder versus Derek Mears showdown that plays out the way this one does.

This is the End - A whole lot of fun, even if I'm a little bit weary of dick jokes from this crew (or any) at this point - I know I'm apparently supposed to find the sight of a penis in itself mind-bustingly uproarious, but I just do not. I'd say I'm too old for it but these dudes are pretty much my age, give or take a couple of years (okay take, take, it's all take, whatever), so I feel as if they ought to be moving along as well. But then there is something glorious all the same about Jonah Hill reenacting the rape scene from Rosemary's Baby, so forget everything I just said. Dicks for everybody! Big floppy fun-times!

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