This Week In Cinema: January 29-February 04, 2012

Only mountains I’ve ever been to were the Blue Ridge Mountains, and all I saw up there were a lot of cool grizzly bears!

Another week with a lot of movies, what can I say I’ve been in a movie watching mood.

The Care Bears Movie (1985, Arna Selznick, Canada) **

While The Care Bears Movie is obviously a movie aimed for the younger set it’s actually decent family entertainment. There are no fart jokes, or jokes meant for adults. The Care Bears Movie is a film that is for young children and it doesn’t hide that fact. It’s a simple film, and viewed from the adult perspective it’s an often frivolous and silly movie. But, I’m not the target audience for this film and I know that The Care Bears Movie works for those it is intended for and that makes the film a-ok in my book.

All Dogs Go To Heaven (1989, Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, & Dan Kuenster, Ireland/United Kingdom/United States Of America) ***

Don Bluth’s animation is of his usual wonderfully well rounded style. There’s detail in his animation for sure, but at the same time there’s a cartoony smooth aspect to his animation that is always a treat. The story is a bit rough around the edges, but when the chips are down the story is solid. There’s something very appealing about Charlie, and the choice to cast Burt Reynolds as his voice was a smart one. Mr. Bluth has done better, but All Dogs Go To Heaven is a worthy addition to his catalog.

Space Buddies (2009, Robert Vince, Canada/United States Of America) *

I’m not averse to the Buddies franchise of films. They aren’t universally bad, Snow Buddies for instance is a perfectly fine movie. Space Buddies is on the other side of the ledger, it’s so broad and stupid that it is actively bad. I’m not delusional, I know that the film is meant to be broad and stupid, that’s the way Robert Vince and company best think they can connect with their child audience. I don’t have to like what Mr. Vince is doing in Space Buddies or think his effort was good in any way, so yeah, not good.

Margot At The Wedding (2007, Noah Baumbach, United States Of America) **1/2

The characters Noah Baumbach has created are intensely unlikeable. They’re also interesting, to a point, and funny, to a point. That point, sadly, is reached early on and the film proceeds to repeat itself a lot. I didn’t mind the pretentiousness of the characters, or the film really. I found the workings of this dysfunctional family an irreverent adventure of sorts. However, there was no catharsis, there was no moment when the film moved forward. The film was the same at the end as it was in the first minute, the thirtieth minute, and the ninetieth minute. That stagnation is what holds Margot At The Wedding back, if the film hadn’t felt the need to repeat itself so often it would have been a much better effort.

Anger Management (2003, Peter Segal, United States Of America) **

Anger Management is so, so tired. It’s a tired effort from its stars, from the writers, from the director, from everyone involved. When it gets to the point where Adam Sandler, and everyone else involved, is recycling entire joke set-ups wholesale from Mr. Sandler’s earlier films it’s time for everyone involved to take a nap and come up with something new. While they’re napping those same people should work on being funny, because I laughed maybe two times during Anger Management. An unfunny comedy is never a good thing, an unfunny boring comedy is like death to the film loving side of my brain.

Brokeback Mountain (2005, Ang Lee, Canada/United States Of America) ***1/2

An example of fine fine filmmaking, Brokeback Mountain is a film that is so much more than its perceived subject matter. I wrote that first sentence simply because there are still people out there who think of Brokeback Mountain as “that gay movie.” There’s so much more to Brokeback Mountain than the sexual proclivities of two of its characters. Ang Lee’s film is about one important time in a pair of guys lives shaping their existence from that point on. One could have made the leads a heterosexual couple and the same experiences would have been had. Brokeback Mountain is a wonderfully acted film, especially from Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams, that is about the choices we make in life and how they inevitably shape who we are and what we are about. Forget the fact that the two leads in Brokeback Mountain are gay, they are human, and that’s what makes this movie so, so good.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010, Jon Turteltaub, United States Of America) **

With better direction and a more coherent plot this could have been a good film. As it stands The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a very messy film with some cool sequences, decent effects, and interesting ideas. The story is the biggest detriment to The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, it jumps all over the place and takes major continuity leaps that wouldn’t hold up under even the loosest scrutiny. I would have left the Fantasia homage out of the film myself, because while it looked cool from an effects standpoint it made me realize why The Sorcerer’s Apprentice wasn’t clicking. There was no Mickey Mouse, the movie would have been leagues better if it were about Mickey.

Star Trek (2009, J.J. Abrams, Germany/United States Of America) ***

I’ve liked the franchise of Star Trek in it’s various incarnations over the years. I’ve never been a super fan of the franchise, I’m more of a Babylon 5 guy myself, and that is why I had no problem waiting to get to J.J. Abrams relaunch of the movie side of the franchise. Mr. Abrams’ film did not disappoint, as far as relaunches or reimaginings go Star Trek was a far better than average thrill ride. The film does suffer from a less than impressive villain, far too much lens flare (so much so that it became distracting in certain scenes), and the film goes off the tracks in a few of its attempts to make the well known characters of the original Star Trek movies hipper and edgier. Still, the action and sci-fi elements of Star Trek are well handled, and I had a fun time with the film.

Mallrats (1995, Kevin Smith, United States Of America) ***

Though it has many flaws and is flat out stupid in parts I’ve always held a soft spot for Mallrats. I laugh a lot at this movie, I always have and I still do. I recognize that there are instances of shifty dialogue, bad acting, and that the film lacks any visual punch whatsoever. Yet, I appreciate the subject matter and the comic book approach to the storytelling. The dialogue is often very smart and willing to be stupid in order to hit a funny payoff. And lastly, I really dig Jason Lee and the way he carries the entire film with his comedic timing and his willingness to take the fall just as much as be the comedic hero. Mallrats has its share of problems, but it is very enjoyable.

Wrap-Up:

Some and movies this week and some good movies but only one great movie. Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain is a wonderful film and easily takes home movie of the week honors. Until next week, watch more movies!

Cheers,
Bill

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4 responses to “This Week In Cinema: January 29-February 04, 2012

  1. Considering the crap films Adam Sandler is making these days and the upcoming projects he’s doing. With the exception of Punch-Drunk Love, I’m boycotting all of Adam Sandler movies and will refuse to watch them.

  2. My wife likes just about all of his films and I still hold out hope that he can deliver the occasional good performance so I’m not checking out yet.

  3. When I saw the rate of Brokeback Mountain,I thoght,what?? this low?? And then I scanned other ratings,found it to be the highest,which make sense to me now.Way better than Crush that year,I don’t think any other directors can make such a subtle film.

  4. I rate on a four star scale, so yeah, Brokeback was rated rather highly. Very subtle film indeed.

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