Monday Morning Quarterback Part III
By BOP Staff
July 11, 2012
I had been beguiled by the Safety Not Guaranteed trailer, and we rushed out to see it the moment it was screened here. Aubrey Plaza is a true delight and I'm confident I will have her on my Calvins ballot for Best Actress. Mark Duplass is someone with whom I am largely unfamiliar (I tried The League but didn't find it funny). He is having a smaller scale version of Jessica Chastain in 2011 in that he is featured/involved with four movies currently in release and while none of these is a blockbuster, he has become a factor on the indie scene beyond his mumblecore following. I was dazzled by his fearlessness in this role. Also, I love the enigmatic nature of the plot as well as the ambiguity of several key moments toward the end. This is a movie I highly recommend and I look forward to discussing with people over time.
The lesson I learned with 21 Jump Street is that Clone High creators Phil Lord and Christopher Miller can do no wrong. On paper, this project is dreck, a tired reboot of a story nobody was missing. In execution, it's absolutely hysterical. That final 15 minutes is so over-the-top hilarious. That's the most fun I've had watching a movie in ages. 21 Jump Street isn't perfect by any stretch but the little build-ups like the disappointing lack of explosions during car chases are exactly what I want in a spoof like this.
I also finally got around to watching Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, a movie we had tickets to see on opening weekend but wound up having to miss. Then, we traveled over the holidays, Oscars season heated up and we never caught it in the theater. I wish we had now, because I was hooked within ten minutes. Something quite shocking happens at the start, and that feeds into mystique of Moriarty as a worthy foe. Jared Harris has been quietly excellent for his entire career. I was thrilled to see him finally given a role like this in a major tentpole film. And I also believe that the debate about which Robert Downey Jr. role is better between Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes is fascinating. As an aside, just to reinforce how huge The Avengers is, the two Sherlock Holmes films are both mega-blockbusters that have combined to earn $396 million domestically. The Avengers alone has beaten them both by over 50%.
Wanderlust's primary selling point for me is that it's the folks from The State creating a follow-up to their very to the nth degree funny 2008 release, Role Models. Alas, they did not capture lightning in a bottle for a second time. I mentioned the signal to noise ratio of Ted above. Wanderlust doesn't even get close to that type of laugh output. If not for Justin Theroux bringing the funny, this would be a complete bust. As it is, I found myself thinking what a wasted opportunity Wanderlust is given the tremendous depth of the cast. So many people I find amusing stand side by side while nothing funny happens. That's aggravating.
Wrath of the Titans is every bit as bad as Max indicates. And I too noticed the unintentionally hilarious moments where Rosamund Pike awkwardly yells at the top of her lungs. This "franchise" has gone so far astray that I find myself wondering if any of them ever had a mythology class in the first place. At least Bill Nighy showed up for a bit.