Bunch O' Reviews
I've been doing my best to catch up on as many of the films of 2011's that I didn't see as I can, which has left the site without a ton of reviews of late. So here are 4 movies from the past year that I saw, and in easily digestable, bite-sized paragraphs.
Hanna is a badass mofo, but Hanna falls short of being a really great action movie. That title character is played by a great young actress, Saoirse Ronan, who is fantastic and really brings it as a teenager bred to be an assassin. She truly embodies a girl caught between being an awkward teen and neck snapping super killer, and is the best part of the whole film. The way the film shows her easily speaking dozens of languages while having almost no practical knowledge of how the world works is both very well-conceived and well-acted. Her journey is well constructed, even if the CIA agent going after Hanna (played by Cate Blanchet, sporting a strange Southern accent) doesnít have the most clearly defined agenda. There are also some plot holes that stand out, most notably with Hannaís father (Eric Bana) and his seemingly super human cold/swimming endurance ability. Overall, itís a perfectly acceptable film, but it just doesnít have enough beyond Ronan to make me think itíll be something worth revisiting.
The thing that Terri does best is properly handle sentimentality. We could have gotten a whole movie about a fat kid that gets picked on by all the students at school, even though heís a really nice guy that actually has a lot to offer, through art or something sappy like that. Oh, and by the way, his parents are gone and his only relative that lives with him is an uncle in the middle stages of Alzheimerís. It could have been a complete Ďlook how bad he has ití experience, but thankfully the filmmakers knew this concept doesnít make for good entertainment and made Terri out to be nice, sure, but also a pretty strange kid too. The focus of the film isnít even on his interactions with bullies, but how heís trying to figure out what his life is all about. He doesnít really care about most of the kids in school, and is friends pretty exclusively with a trouble maker named Chad and the assistant principal. Itís a unique look at the coming of age story, and one that, while I appreciate it, didnít completely catch my fancy. I canít really pinpoint why I didnít like it a lot, which means itís most likely the overall sensibility and tone of the film. There are some great ideas the movie brings up, though, and I know there are some people that will love Terri, so I recommend it to certain people that are intrigued by the filmís premise.
Steve Coogan will forever be remembered by me for his portrayal as Dana Marschz in Hamlet 2, a movie I feel is ridiculously underappreciated. However, his turn in The Trip (actually a TV series in Britain before being edited down to a feature) as a more depressing version of himself will certainly stand out quite well. The trip of the title refers to a tour of fine eateries in the north of England that Coogan takes with friend and fellow funnyman Rob Brydon, but only after Cooganís American girlfriend Mischa flies back to the states at the last minute for work. Although they are obviously close friends, the banter and one-upmanship that goes on throughout the film between Coogan and Brydon is where all the comic moments come from. If youíve seen the trailer, you know that impressions play a large part in their relationship, most notably trying to prove to the other that his rendition of Michael Caine is superior. It does get a little derivative as they do these impressions throughout the movie, but most of the time itís still funny, and there are enough other great moments to keep it from getting too boring. What really made the movie stand out for me, though, was Cooganís portrayal of himself as a man who strives for such excellence, but feels that heís constantly coming up short of being great. He hits on this theme both in talking about his acting career and his personal life, and I felt that it not only worked really well, but helped give weight to the all of the comical moments. The Trip is as solid a movie about comedians eating a lot of food as your bound to see.
Sorry, but I just donít get what all the fuss is about with this movie. Granted, I did watch the unrated version, which probably had a few extra scenes that were unnecessary, but I still didnít think it was altogether that hilarious. Sure, I laughed quite a bit at the movie, but was never bursting at the seams or even chuckling uncontrollably. Iím a big fan of Kristen Wiig, and even Maya Rudolph has won me over from being on Up All Night, but I still found the movie to be too long and drawn out. I mean, it takes over a half hour for Wiigís character to stop moping around and get her life in order, something that every viewer of the film could easily plot along for themselves before it happened. They even use a montage and it takes that long! Yes, Bridesmaids is a funny movie that is competently put together and smarter than most romantic comedies out there. That being said, I really didnít think it was anything special, and hope Wiig comes out with some better material to star in the next time around, even though I do appreciate her giving some recognition to Chris Oí Dowd.