The Kids Are All Right

Film, 2010

The Kids Are All Right might stumble more frequently than it walks, but it’s moments of composure are worth overlooking it’s many faults. What it lacks are storytelling abilities. The direction and color are flat, and the same wispy guitar lick is cued so many times in a row in order to remind us that what we’re seeing is poignant that it becomes an unintended source of humor. It has a bit of a fairy tale quality to it, a result of the fact that everyone is rich, white and reasonably well adjusted, and the plot takes an “Oh God, please don’t go there” turn, the plot twist that any Hollywood hack would come up with when given this basic plot, but the film redeems itself with a knack for constructing realistic characters and bouncing them off of each other in a way that feels genuine. It derives it’s humor and it’s drama from this, the complications that slowly creep into a long term relationship of any sort. It’s a complicated and delicate picture to paint, but in this respect the movie effortlessly excels. It also doesn’t hurt that two of it’s lead actors are such a pleasure to watch; Julianne Moore, who always makes everyone else look like they’re not even fucking trying, and Mark Ruffalo, who excels at being Mark Ruffalo. 3.5


Observe and Report

Film, 2009

Observe and Report’s intentions are at odds with each other; it wants you to take it’s characters seriously but sacrifices their humanity for laughs, and it wants you to be caught up in the drama of their lives but it’s plot is too linear and it’s direction too flashy to get engrossed in. If it had picked a side in these issues it could have been either a pretty funny comedy or a really engrossing dark character study, but it ends up not really being any of these things. (It occurs to me that this is kind of a reflection of the film’s bipolar protagonist, but still, doesn’t make for a good movie.) Side note to Rogen: tone down your trailers or start making better movies. Your trailers are fantastic and set the bar way too high. 2


Away We Go

Film, 2009

It’s easy to discredit Away We Go because of it’s hoighty-toighty writing credits and the deliberate stylistic strokes applied to it, but it’s perfectly pleasant to watch and is speaking earnestly and intelligently about a stage of long-term relationships that isn’t often touched upon. It’s a bit structured and has a manipulative soundtrack, but it has decent pacing and lovely lead performances. 3/5 stars


An American Werewolf In London


Film, 1981

American Werewolf in London only has a couple of deficiencies, it drags a bit and has some really weak scares, but it more than makes up for them with some wonderfully disturbing imagery, a fresh concept and most of all with relateble and solid lead performances and writing, the key to the film’s great success. 4/5 stars


Trick ‘r Treat


Film, 2008

Trick ‘r Treat doesn’t quite live up to it’s potential, what with having been mythologized for years while it was stuck in release purgatory and not being anything to special in the writing or scare departments, but it’s fun to watch and makes for charming seasonal viewing. One really embarrassingly awful montage is outweighed by a number of fun sequences and some fun acting. 3


Hot Fuzz

Film, 2007

Hot Fuzz is really ambitious. Sometimes that works for it, and sometimes it doesn’t. I feel like the filmmakers were so obsessed with making a straight forward action film that it took some of their attention away from making it as enjoyable as it could have been. It’s weird that a film with such an obsessive attention to detail could feel kind of loose, but I do feel like they lost the big picture a little. But the film is still really cleaver and often very funny, and a jarring turn two thirds in leaves you reeling for hours after your first viewing. 3.5


Jackass: Number Two


Film, 2006

Reviewing Jackass is kind of pointless; everyone already knows where they stand on it. But if you somehow don’t, Jackass: Number Two is a good place to start. It’s the most wild, inventive and entertaining thing the group has ever done. 4


Wet Hot American Summer


Film, 2001

Wet Hot American Summer is a powder keg of young, inventive comedians packing as many intelligently written dumb jokes and slapstick performances as possible into a 97 minute long tribute to 80’s comedy films. 4


Moonstruck


Film, 1987

In the future, during an attempted takeover of our planet by ruthless, emotionless aliens who want to harvest our planet for resources, Moonstruck will be used, Blade Runner style, to determine who among us is an undercover alien. If the subject can’t help but be overtaken by the power of Moonstruck’s earnest charm, then they’re human. But if the subject is unresponsive, watch out. The only explanation is that you’ve got a non-human on your hands. Proceed with caution. 4


Role Models


Film, 2008

Some solid comedy work from some truly great improv comedians almost manages to make a terribly written and lifelessly directed movie worth watching. A fair amount of really great moments, but at least as many painful ones. 2.5