This Week In Cinema: May 01-07, 2011

Any week that involves Johny Cash is bound to make me happy, that’s a fact if I ever saw one!

Only a trio of movies this week, and while the week started off rocky it ended in fine fashion,

Must Love Dogs (2005, Gary David Goldberg, United States Of America) **

Not a terrible film or anything, but it suffers from a serious case of “just there-itis.” It’s like going to the store, this has all the things that are on the universal romantic comedy checklist. Unlike the goods one would buy at a store, nothing is done with the items on the checklist in Must Love Dogs. It’s kind of sad actually, because I liked the cast and thought there were some funny moments. Dermot Mulroney, however, kills the picture every time he is on screen. Not only is he kind of odd looking, but his performance is sevens kinds of awful.

This Is Spinal Tap (1984, Rob Reiner, United States Of America) ***1/2

It goes to 11 has always stuck with me. It’s such a simple line delivered in such simple fashion. On this most recent viewing of This is Spinal Tap I was struck by how simplistic the entirety of the film was. The film doesn’t waste its time reaching for complicated or overwrought jokes. From start to finish the main cast use easy set-ups along with naturally occurring reactions and interactions to drive the humor. I may even go so far as to say This is Spinal Tap is so simplistic in its attempts at humor that it is casually funny. The only area of the film where anyone involved appears to be straining for humor is in the first few minutes of the picture. Rob Reiner’s bit as Martin DiBergi that happens before the credits roll is terribly unfunny. That sequence of the film has always bothered me due to the machinations of Mr. Reiner. By trying to put the focus on himself Mr. Reiner is attempting to seem more a part of the on screen picture than he actually is. If it were a funny sequence I would have been more forgiving, but it isn’t, therefore I am not forgiving. Otherwise, still a great movie.

Walk The Line (2005, James Mangold, Germany/United States Of America) ****

I want to devote a full write up to Walk The Line, but I don’t think I’m quite ready to do that yet. Even though this was the fourth or fifth time I have seen James Mangold’s picture, I still struggled with where to place the film in my mind. I can see the flaws that exist within the film, I know that the narrative is a bit jumpy and that the film ignores large portions of Johnny Cash’s life. At the same time I love the music, I love the way the film looks and moves, and I love all the performances. I also deeply love Johnny Cash, and I have no doubt that I am being blinded somewhat by my long held favoritism towards Mr. Cash. I guess, at the end of the day I have to go with the way that Walk The Line draws me in as a viewer. I could watch this movie over and over again and never get tired of it. That’s as good of an indication of a great movie as any other, I say.

Wrap-Up:

Walk The Line takes home movie of the week honors this time out. I really do love every inch of the picture, some day I will give my readers a full write-up on Mr. Mangold’s film. This Is Spinal Tap was great as always, and while not good Must Love Dogs was far from terrible. A good week for movies.

Cheers,
Bill

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2 responses to “This Week In Cinema: May 01-07, 2011

  1. mcarteratthemovies

    Every time I rewatch “This Is Spinal Tap,” I’m amazed at its staying power. Comedies that do not age are rare, but this is one of them. I’d also rank it as one of the most quotable films I’ve ever seen. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said “crank it up to 11,” or mentioned how sad the key of “D minor” is.

  2. I’m partial to the rotating drummer and the cucumber in tin foil myself. 🙂

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