Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What's wrong with these pictures?

And lo, it came to pass: Tim hated, as in outright loathed, almost all the films to be released in the UK in a given week. I've been subjected to some crushing line-ups in my time, but I'm not sure any have been quite so dire as the hellish triple threat of Shopgirl, Get Rich or Die Tryin', and Underworld: Evolution, the cumulative effect of which was enough to make sampling cow dung suddenly look like quite a tempting career change. I'll be struggling to find anything nice to say about these wretched flicks come Friday: the stillborn Shopgirl has a promising performance from Claire Danes, until you realise that Mirabelle Buttersfield, her very name a transparent fiction, might as well be a centrefold in Steve Martin's porn stash for all the dimensionality she's given; Terrence Howard keeps threatening to walk off with Get Rich in his back pocket, but then thinks better of it and slinks quietly off-screen to let Fiddy and Jim Sheridan seriously propose gangsta rap as a redemptive and ennobling alternative to ghetto violence; and the Underworld sequel, which in better surroundings would probably be getting an F, at least never sets out with anything other than face-value intent to be unrelievedly oppressive, soul-destroying rot.

The only comparatively bright spot was the perky and half-intelligent Fun With Dick and Jane, a marginal improvement on the original movie, and still a bit of a mess. But a forgivable mess. I think I'd go easy on the Exxon oil spill in a week like this.

Shopgirl - F
Get Rich or Die Tryin' - F
Underworld: Evolution - D-
Fun With Dick and Jane - B-

13 comments:

Nick Davis said...

I gave Shopgirl an F, too. Sad that Danes' good moments (I liked her outside the gallery at the end) still don't stand a chance against the irredeemable awfulness of everything else.

Meanwhile, Entertainment Weekly endorsed Steve Martin's script as their personal underdog choice in the Adapted Screenplay Oscar race. Do we live on the same planet?

tim r said...

I remember your thoughts and agree almost down to the word. It's an absolute disaster, from the first voiceover onwards.

If Shopgirl or Match Point - the two worst-written films of the past few months - come anywhere near winning screenplay Oscars, you will be able to hear my scream from across the Atlantic. Maybe.

Glad you didn't hate Transamerica - I don't think it's too bad really, though I wonder if anyone would have bothered releasing it if it weren't for the Huffman buzz.

David Shultz said...

@Nick: Entertainment Weekly also endorsed Ron Howard for Best Director. Translation? They aren't a good source even in the least for what deserves Oscar nominations. At least it seems that way. I kind of hope Owen and Lisa had nothing to do with that, though I've always found Owen's taste to be affected.

NATHANIEL R said...

it's more likely Dave Karger who is more powerful @ EW. And his pet last year was FINDING NEVERLAND so you know where his taste runs...

it had to have been him saying"Ron Howard" FYC...
as if HOWARD needs any more awards. yeesh.

y'all are still crazy wrong on Match Point. just had to say it again.

tim r said...

We are so not. You crazy! The movie crazy! Allen crazy! The world crazy! Just not us.

I would give you a full rundown of the movie's unintentional laughs, but we'd be here all night...

Ginger said...

"Match Point" is a big pile of poop but Tim, Tim ... how could you rate "Munich" !!!???? You crazy! The world's gone crazy! The script is a-p-p-a-l-l-i-n-gggggg and every bit as pleased with itself as "Match Point." I can't even bother with "Shopgirl." Steve Martin is simply too damned creepy these days.

David Shultz said...

Hey, I'm with Tim on Munich. It has its weaknesses (i.e. his most gratuitous scene ever in the murder of the Dutch female assassin) but it really moved me. Not to mention its finely crafted on a technical level, and Eric Bana did fine by me.

Match Point, however, was enjoyable despite its obvious screenplay weaknesses and the sub-par Scarlett Johansson (she is so out of her depth).

tim r said...

Knew you'd spot that eventually ginger. I don't think it's a perfect movie by any means, and there are one or two really glaring misteps, but I do think it's an honourable and interesting one, and I thought it managed to avoid glib balance as well as glib bias. I was surprised.

Dr. S said...

If Junebug has come out on DVD over there this week, as it has here, get a copy and use it as an antidote, pronto!

Bask in the glory that is Alessandro Nivola! Relish the performance that Amy Adams gives! Groan as Embeth Davidtz unwittingly oversteps all boundaries with her brother-in-law!

tim r said...

I got to see it in NYC last autumn. Really loved it. And it's opening here in March so it looks like I'll get to sing its praises anew...

Nick Davis said...

And now a B– for Good Night, and Good Luck. I'm so seldom in the position of seeing movies before you do, but I do love it when you corroborate my feelings! Yay!

FilmFan said...

Junebug's an early entry in the 2006 top ten for me. I think it's fantastic. Have you read Edelstein's review of it?

tim r said...

Think so, way back. I can't wait to see it again.