Pick of the Week:
A Dangerous Method
This film wasn’t a bad film. It was actually a pretty good film. However, there are some problems with this film that obviously push it down to a mediocre score. First off, it’s disappointing for a David Cronenberg film. Out of all people, this director, who is one of the best at picking apart what makes us tick, should have made a much better film about psychoanalysis. It’s still, again, a good film, but it should have been great. However, that doesn’t push the score down. Neither does the acting, which is actually really good. Fassbender as Jung is, with no surprise, fantastic. Mortensen as Freud is spectacular and I really thought he would have been nominated for it (ah well). The divided line comes when Knightly (as Sabrina) is involved. People either thought she was terrific or absolutely terrible, and to be fair I can see why. Our introduction to her character is her almost literally eating the scenery. Her mouth clocks wide open as she lunges with some sort of muscular based spasm. She stutters and gasps as she can barely even sit still. This ends, of course, when her treatment with Jung goes underway, and she seems to be normal (in this case, normal is sex hungry, deviant and full of jealousy). If I had to pick either good or bad, I’ll say that her performance was good in an interesting way. However, if someone were to disagree with me, I’d absolutely understand why.
The scenery and colours aren’t the downfall either. The mood set is pitch perfect. The music is great and enticing. So, what ruined what could have been one of the best movies of 2011? The story. It starts off with a punch and never ends with one. It starts off with a spastic patient and our attention is grabbed. It ends on a far lighter note. There isn’t another moment that quite grabs your attention like the beginning half an hour. Sabrina goes crazy, she gets spanked and likes it, she gets bathed and is near-demonic, and once it’s over and the rumors crawl around about her and Jung, it just gets neutral. It’s not boring or bad, it’s just literally neutral. You’re just watching them do their own thing. The conversations are deep and brilliant, though we don’t feel a part of the discussions. The analysis Jung and Freud make on life, Sabrina, themselves and more is fascinating, but it doesn’t engage us enough. The best way to describe this movie is by calling it the best boardroom meeting you’ve ever been to. It’s great, yes, but it’s still a boardroom meeting. If you’re a diehard Cronenberg fan like myself, and love the cast, or you just want a quick light movie to ponder with, then you should check this out. If you’re expecting something as psychologically stimulating as Pi, Brazil or even Inception, you may want to look elsewhere. It’s a damn shame when fictitious movies end up being more like brain food than a movie about the two founding fathers of psychoanalysis.
Guilt Trip of the Week
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
I wanted to like this movie. I really, really did. It has a fantastic cast lined up, including newcomer Thomas Horn, who plays the lead character. Everybody acting wise was terrific. The colours, angles and sets were great as well. Visually, this movie doesn’t have a problem. The problem lies with the story. I don’t know if the book is the same way (I didn’t even know it was a book until not too long ago), but if so, they’re both stories with a nice concept that just wasn’t executed correctly. The characters that were made were really well written, especially the role of The Renter (played insanely well by the always wonderful Max Von Sydow) and Abby Black (played by Viola Davis, also an actor that is consistently great). How the characters connect (besides Oskar and his family of course) just seems incredibly vague and rushed. That’s how this story feels, really: Rushed. Again, I don’t know if the book is the same way, but everything just seems like a kid running around and bumping into people while trying to learn more about his father, of whom died in the September eleventh attacks. First of all, I really don’t know if his father dying in 9/11 was really necessary. Apart from the fact that the kid lives in New York and that the events were something all of the characters could relate to, there isn’t a real reason why it had to have been those events. It could have easily have been a made up event. Making the death of his father based on the biggest tragedy in recent American history seems a bit like a guilt trip to me. Secondly, there just doesn’t seem to be enough substance, apart from the characters themselves, that link Oskar to them. It just feels like there’s a weak link and Oskar feels compelled to take it. I want to like this film because of the cast and the cinematography, but I just can’t when the story is constantly jabbing me in the eye saying “this is the time to feel sad”. It goes from a tribute to an American tragedy to almost mean spirited. Not exactly, but almost. It still is a bit moving, but that’s just because of the acting, not the story or its jarring pacing. If you want to check this film out, then I say go ahead. Just be aware that it will feel like a guilt trip.
Other Movies out that I Didn’t Watch
Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked: Looks like less fun than a colonoscopy via cactus. Next.
In The Land of Blood and Honey: Doesn’t look too bad actually. Plus, it’s Angelina Jolie’s debut. Might be worth a shot, but it also might not be.