Surely no offense to Anne Hathaway and James Franco was intended when some bloggers revived the idea that Kevin Spacey ought to host next year’s Oscars. It might not be a bad idea. After all, he’s pretty much gone to seed as an actor.
Red Riding Hood is a real Bavarian cream dream, existing in a soundstage Expressionist/Freudian forest where the trees sprout thick, jutting thorns, haystacks bloom with bright blue petals, and pure snow exists for the purpose of being mottled with drops of crimson blood.
The Adjustment Bureau may have put so much time and energy into the star-studded cameos that open the film that it forgot to pay attention to the real meat of the matter. This conceptual thriller centers on ambitious senatorial candidate David Norris, an authentic, no-bullshit politician who has risen to the ranks of beloved working-class hero.
Sight unseen, there may be some misunderstandings about The Illusionist. This animated Oscar nominee should not be confused with the Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti 2006 period piece of the same name, although belief in magic is among both films’ essential thematic concerns.
Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench is a jazz-inflected song-and-dance musical about the minor-key vicissitudes of urban romance. What a good idea for a movie, we might think at first, as if it were just a matter of originality.
Blue Valentine is preceded by the automatic buzz of indie golden-boy director Derek Cianfrance who returned from documentaries to narrative features, with a film reportedly a dozen years in the making.
Imagine this: It’s Poland in 1940. Under duress of unspecified torture, a young guy’s wife rats him out to cruel Soviet authorities, who call him a spy and send him to the gulag. For a while, the guy languishes there. Then, gathering his inner reserves of fortitude and a few pals, he breaks out.
It takes a special kind of mainstream mush to waste Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Winona Ryder, Jennifer Connelly and your money all at once. Screenwriter Alan Loeb and director Ron Howard have found the formula. They’ve made a movie so mediocre that it’s completely self-neutralizing.
Should the academy care to inaugurate a new award category this year, for Achievement in Being So Much Less Annoying Than We Expected Given All the Hype, and then fail to bestow it upon Lena Dunham for her film Tiny Furniture, a great opportunity will have been missed.