“And what’s with the ‘big guy’? Is it because I’m fat?”
Yes, it is, Alec Baldwin, but your awesome personality balances it out, so don’t worry. What is unbalanceable, though, is It’s Complicated‘s screenplay. The film feels like it is trying to be two separate things: on one hand Nancy Meyers is trying to tell us something (meaningful) about divorce and life-after, and on the other, she’s ridiculing everything she stands for by making everything into a joke. I have no problem with a romcom (or a dramatic comedy), but I do have a problem with a film that cannot look at itself without snickering at its own badness.
Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, and several other supporting actors are great in it, don’t get me wrong—but there’s a significant difference between being great because the screenplay challenges you to do something extraordinary, and looking great because everything around you is sucky-to-the-max. A lot is not explained, and I guess Meyers, in her films, in general doesn’t explain a lot about backgrounds, but I would like an explanation for once why Meyers’s characters always seem to be making mistakes alien to real life.
- It’s Complicated
I don’t want to waste too much text on It’s Very Easy: Just Have a Real Conversation for Once, so, let’s continue.
Because this is the first Film Ratings in ages—the last one having been published June 28th, 2009—I have skipped a lot of films, including this year’s Academy Award for Best Picture nominated films. For example, Frozen River (), Shortbus (), and Coraline () were all skipped. It’s a shame, really, because the films I was left with are pretty mediocre and lame.
Take Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, for instance. While putting the film’s grades in its film franchise context, I realised that this is the second-best film of the whole series—which definitely says something about the franchise in general. Chamber of Secrets stands above it, though even Chamber only got two stars out of me.
The problem with the Harry Potter films lies not in the art setting, or the amount of entertainment they serve. Except for Goblet of Fire, the screenplays have been all right and the directing adequate. The real deal-breaker for me lies mostly in the acting.
Sure, I’m not saying that the films should contain acting that equals A Woman Under the Influence, but the thing is, a good screenplay only remains good when the acting to support it has the same adjective in front of it. You can direct as many great shots as you want to, but when there’s a frozen face in every shot, or a twitch, of any of the wrong-emotion-Willy actors, a great shot will be eaten up by mediocrity.
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Speaking of mediocrity, Terminator Salvation, instead of going for a critical blast, remains in what-the-hell mode throughout its entire run. I mean sure, Sam Worthington is great to look at and that definitely improves the film, but McG’s hopscotch directing and the fragmented, totally uninspiring script by John Brancato and Michael Ferris destroy it. Scenes need to have a point, character decisions need to be motivated, and science-fiction (even action sci-fi) needs to have an air of seriousness over it. Terminator Audience-Damnation lacks all.
- Terminator Salvation
I will skip Nine, because I already tore that one apart.
The rest of the feature films (including The September Issue) can be summed up with the following: very enjoyable, but nothing more. Food, Inc. is visually very pleasing, the content is great and educational, and though the balance’s missing a bit (not exactly the filmmakers’s fault, though), overall it is a great documentary.
- Anger Management —
- Food, Inc.
- The September Issue
- Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
- Whatever Works