Wednesday, October 06, 2010

[Movies] Flick Check: Movie Round-Up

Flick Check: Movie Round-Up: It must have been ten years since I had a remotely positive outlook about movies. And it gets worse every year. I am decidedly not one of those who goes around complaining that things aren't what they used to be. I know full well the change is mostly in me (and perhaps in the entertainment industry in general) not in the movies themselves. Still, there you are.

Every year movies come out that win awards and praise and are generally raved about, but whenever I get around to seeing them, they just seem utterly inconsequential and contrived. Not bad, you understand, just mere entertainment. The movies don?t tell me or show me anything new anymore--they don't even try. There are only so many formulas that can fit into two and half hours, and I've seen them all. This is, like I said, me, not the movies. Anyway, here are a few impressions of what I've seen recently.

Inglorious Basterds -- I'm afraid I found this dumb and bit dull. The characters were just silly. The concepts were juvenile. The dialogue over-wrought. None of this would be bad had it contained the insane violent artistry of say Kill Bill. But it didn't. It was just sort of "meh." Although Brad Pitt did a good and showed he has some impressive range.

The Informant -- Clever, fun, a little over the top on the dark comic irony. Truthy story of an Archer-Daniels-Midland corporate golden boy who began snitching to the FBI with the ulterior motive of advancing in the company once his enemies are disgraced. Only it turns out he was as corrupt as the rest of them and ended up sabotaging the case and doing more jail time than those he snitched on. Kind of lost as to whether it wanted to be a farce or a morality tale, but well paced and sharply written. Matt Damon is a total stitch.

Sherlock Holmes -- Impeccable combo of action and comic timing, not surprising coming from Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels). Great chemistry between Jude Law and the legend that is Robert Downey Jr. For the Holmes purist in me (I read and internalized the entire canon back in the day) it is a complete travesty, but how can you not like this movie? Probably the only one on of these three that I would stop and watch while flipping channels. Looking forward to the sequel which will star Stephen Fry as Mycroft and Jared Harris (Lane Pryce from Mad Men) as Moriarty.

And to draw final contrast, there were a couple of articles the popped up in honor of the 20th anniversary of Goodfellas. When pressed for what I think is the best of all movies, I usually throw out Goodfellas, although I am not one to give much thought to what my personal hierarchy of likes are. There's a fabulous "making of" piece at GQ. Wonderful info and reminiscences. And you can test your Goodfellas knowledge by taking a quiz over at Mental Floss (I got 18 out of 20). Then you can weep for the late Martin Scorcese when you compare Goodfellas to Boardwalk Empire