Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Ides of March 2011

Nowhere as powerful as George Clooney's directorial success, Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), this film, based on a play by Beau Willimon, has a stellar cast but smells like West Wing in so many ways.

Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling) runs a tight ship as the campaign coordinator for Democrat candidate Mike Morris (Clooney), but loses his footing when he makes a few rookie mistakes in his naive ambitiousness. As he almost gets fired by campaign manager Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman), he turns the tables by blackmailing Morris with a well-guarded secret and joins the very dirty politics he claimed to have loathed in his idealistic years.

There are flashes of The Godfather (1972) all the way through. Much like Michael Corleone, Stephen Meyers is corrupted right before our eyes and we can't really blame him. Even the last scene is extremely reminiscent of the final shot of The Godfather when Michael's fate is sealed. Clooney, Gosling, Hoffman, Paul Giamatti and various others make this an excellent lesson in acting - but the film seems to lack a soul...or a coherent mind. It gets you almost there, but never really hits the spot.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Shorthand Rants...too

So, I'm back with various half-baked thoughts, because in most cases these films do not deserve the effort of proper writing...

Larry Crowne (2011) - Why would two Academy Award winners get together and make such a pish film? There's no depth, no story, no chemistry and really no reason for this to work. So it didn't. This film was such a terrible waste of my time and yet I find myself wondering if there was a single redeeming factor about the absolutely haphazard story. I haven't found it.

Horrible Bosses (2011) - I'm usually averse to this genre of 'bromantic comedy', but this was a fun film. If for nothing else, one should watch it for Kevin Spacey's unbelievably evil role, Jennifer Aniston's sex-crazy character and above all (and I really mean that), Colin Farrell's repulsive turn. Astounding to see a man as sizzling hot as Farrell, be as comfortable as he is in such a revolting guise. Enjoyable film.

Friends with Benefits (2011) - Oh no...not again...yawn. Another story about friends having sex without commitment and then falling impossibly in love. How many times will we watch the same story in one year? Justin Timberlake is surprisingly good and Mila Kunis delivers as expected, but really this film can be easily missed without any great loss to your viewing score.

Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) - There are shades of American Beauty (1999) here, with Julianne Moore playing her usual over-the-top paranoid/bored/crazed wife and Steve Carrell playing the hapless/confused husband. But that's where the similarity ends. Enter Ryan Gosling with his suaveness, unending charm and raw sexuality as Carrell's self-appointed love-guru and the film glitters a bit. Emma Stone is as usual a breezy, fun addition and the final product is an ok film, not quite sure if it wants to be a rom-com or a slight satire - managing neither - but not failing miserably as an entertainer. I guess if it wasn't for Gosling, I really wouldn't have given two hoots about it, and this is definitely his weakest outing in years, but he does make it all better.

Fright Night (2011) - Colin Farrell. Vampires. Need I continue?
Trashy remake of a trashy film, worth watching only because Farrell and vampires are in it.

Don't be Afraid of the Dark (2011) - Wow. What a bad film! The horror wasn't horrifiying, the terror wasn't terrifying, the film was just plain boring and Katie Holmes should've stayed at home. Guy Pearce once showed such great potential but now seems to spend his time torn between bad leading roles and inconsequential character roles. What a waste. And the kid really did not bring out my maternal instincts. Guillermo del Toro should really think before he 'recommends' films and put his name down as producer. His goodwill is running thin.