Another weak, uh, week for films, I really need to work on thinking this opening blurbs through more!
A bit of animated fare this week, a movie from the year 2011 for the first time, and a whole lot of mediocre,
Planet 51 (2009, Javier Abad, Jorge Blanco & Marcos Martínez, Spain/United Kingdom/United States Of America) **
Classic example of a middling, boring, uneventful animated movie. Planet 51 is corny in not funny ways and spends so much time attempting to pay homage to other movies and failing miserably that it has nothing else going on. The animation isn’t bad, it’s just so bland. That’s Planet 51 to a T, completely and utterly bland.
The Unbearable Lightness Of Being (1988, Philip Kaufman, United States Of America) **
There’s a scene in The Unbearable Lightness Of Being where Daniel Day-Lewis is walking with Juliette Binoche in the rain and he is complaining about the lack of creativity afforded to people who sign retraction letters for the Soviet regime in Czechoslovakia. I know Philip Kaufman didn’t intend for that conversation to perfectly sum up why his movie fails, but it does. Every particle that makes up The Unbearable Lightness Of Being is manufactured and cultured to create a product that is free of creativity and life. The actors take their marks, they speak the words, they move their bodies, yet I never got the sense that they were doing so out of any believable place, they were doing so because the script told them to. Mr. Kaufman’s direction stifles his characters, it drains the life from them in scene after scene. I was zoning out of The Unbearable Lightness Of Being about forty minutes into it, the manufactured tale combined with Mr. Kaufman’s meandering and boring direction caused me to leave the film in the dust first chance I got.
Das Goebbels-Experiment (The Goebbels Experiment, 2005, Lutz Hachmeister, Germany/United Kingdom) **
This had the potential to be so interesting, yet it was totally boring and restrained in its presentation. Das Goebbels-Experiment is essentially a bad book report from a third grader. There’s no verve or flare to anything, it’s a simple retelling of the days events, and that gets boring really fast. I’ve read a lot about Joseph Goebbels, he is one of the most fascinating figures of the last century. It’s too bad this documentary couldn’t have been as interesting as he was, instead of being just another bland and unimaginative documentary that blends in with every other documentary to exist.
Lemonade Mouth (2011, Patricia Riggen, United States Of America) **
Here’s the thing, this was highly entertaining, but for all the wrong reasons. Why the folks at Disney don’t have all their power behind Bridgit Mendler I don’t know. She’s easily the most talented actress to come through that place, and her show, Good Luck Charlie, is easily the best on Disney. Instead they focus on the manly Miley Cyrus and the pretty terrible Selena Gomez (okay, she was pretty darn good in Ramona And Beezus, I’ll give her that). Anyways, perplexing Disney hype machine decisions aside, this movie was largely weird. It does away with logic and reality and tries to be like many of the current Disney TV shows. Problem is, it tries to remain in the real world as well and thus the film has dramatic moments where a really odd song will spring up out of nowhere. Yet, the movie was really engaging, for reasons I can’t really explain. It’s a pretty terrible movie (my daughter even got bored with it and started doing other things half way though) but it’s oddly engaging, how, um, weird..
Serendipity (2001, Peter Chelsom, United States Of America) **1/2
It is cute and charming, and my fiancee absolutely loved it. It’s also a bit too cute and on the nose, and it wasn’t until I was about an hour into the film that I realized almost nothing was happening. There’s the two star crossed characters meeting up again, but you need to fill the film with something to support that and I don’t think Peter Chelsom ever does. It’s alright, it’s not a bad film by any means, but I wanted a bit more than the romantic comedy norm from Serendipity. My fiancee may kill me for this review, when I say she absolutely loved this movie I mean she absolutely loved it, but I did like it, I just wanted a bit more.
I guess Serendipity gets the nod as the top movie of the week, but that’s not saying much. This ended up being such a boring week for movies too, not just bad, but a lot of movies where not much happened and no film that was willing to take any chances. Hopefully better days are on the horizon, they have to be, right?