The Monuments Men – Review May16

The Monuments Men – Review...

There’s nothing like a transatlantic flight boasting the choice of 40 or so movies to watch. Thank you, United Airlines. After Anchorman 2 ended, I went straight into The Monuments Men. From the first preview I saw of The Monuments Men, I knew I had to see this movie. The story looked great and the cast looked even better. The Monuments Men was initially scheduled to be released in prime Oscar-bait season. And then it wasn’t. Word on the street was that the special effects weren’t ready, causing the movie to be delayed a couple of months. When it finally was released, the reviews were so-so, and the word on the street changed to the special effects were fine the whole time, but that the studio delayed it because the movie itself wasn’t very good. Having finally seen the movie, I put no stock in the movie being delayed on its merit. The Monuments Men is great, and is definitely worth watching. In The Monuments Men, George Clooney’s Frank Stokes leads a small group of men to steal priceless art. Think Ocean’s 11 meets Indiana Jones, an Ocean’s ’45. The entire movie has a race-like feel to it. Can Stokes’s group recover the stolen art before the Russians take it for themselves or the Nazis destroy it? Motivation separates Stokes’s crew from the Russians. The Russians want the art for themselves, but Stokes and company have pledged to return the stolen art back to the original owners, which sets up the Americans, British and French as the heroes of this movie. The characters are all filled with charm and enjoy terrific chemistry between each other. I loved the snappy banter between George Clooney and Matt Damon, and between Bill Murry and Bob Balaban. The...

On The Couch 2011 #30: The Adjustment Bureau Dec31

On The Couch 2011 #30: The Adjustment Bureau...

I really liked The Adjustment Bureau. The film has a cool, metatextual theme of what happens when characters start rebelling against their writers. The men, or snazzy dressed angels depending on your belief set, of The Adjustment Bureau guide humans throughout their lives. The adjusters walk around with their notebooks that show how peoples’ lives will turn out depending on what actions they take. The adjusters use their powers over reality to shape the lives of people in order to make those lives fall in line with “the plan.” The plan could also be seen as a story outline for someone’s life. The movie immediately brought to mind Grant Morrison’s Supergods, where the writer talked about inserting himself as a character in his comic books. This was most notably done in Mr. Morrison’s run on Animal Man, where the title character realizes he isn’t completely in control of his own life and meets his writer. Is this the closest a comic book character comes to meeting God? When Matt Damon’s character finds out that the sharply dressed men of The Adjustment Bureau are messing with his life, and preventing him from being with the woman of his dreams, here played by Emily Blunt, he rebels. He does everything in his power to exert his will over the will of his writer. It would be as if Dorothy decided she didn’t want to take on the Wicked Witch of the West and would rather run off with the Scarecrow to raise an adoptive horde of Lollipop Leaguers while flipping the bird to Frank L. Baum. Emily Blunt’s dress gives the Red Dress of Awesomeness a run for its money. John Slattery seemed like a very easy casting choice, as he didn’t even have to change...

On The Couch 2011 #20: Hereafter Jun11

On The Couch 2011 #20: Hereafter...

I didn’t know anything about Hereafter going into it other than that Matt Damon starred in it, Clint Eastwood directed it and it had something to do with the afterlife. In this case, I think going in fresh took away from the movie. This is mainly because I had no idea that the movie is about three separate characters’ stories, characters each living in separate countries, which gives them little opportunity to interact. Tags: Squirrel Nut Zippers, Music, More Music Videos The catchiest depection of the afterlife, courtesy of Squirrel Nut Zippers Despite an exciting opening scene, Hereafter quickly moves to a much slower pace. I think this hurt my enjoyment of the movie while watching it, because I kept wondering when George (played by Matt Damon), Marie (played by very accurately named Cecile de France) and Marcus (played by Frankie and/or George McLaren) were going to somehow interact with each other. It wasn’t until I accepted to just enjoy each storyline for itself that I really started getting into Hereafter. Out of the three stories, I found Marie’s to be the most compelling. After a near-death experience, she experiences some kind of glimpse at an afterlife. Her attempts at convincing people of what she saw go about as well as one of your coworkers trying to convince your office of what she saw in her near death experience. Her character goes through the most dramatic changes, which is why I kept wanting Eastwood to go back to her story when he was focusing on George or Marcus. Important Things Demetri Martin explains what you really see during near-death experiences. If you believe that John Edward really has powers to communicate with the beyond, then Hereafter will probably be the movie for you, as it...

At The Theater #49: True Grit Dec29

At The Theater #49: True Grit...

True Grit might be the best movie you see this year. I thought it was better than every other movie likely to receive a nomination come awards season. Black Swan and Winter’s Bone, please say hello to the movie that will cost you some golden statues, True Grit. I never saw the original True Grit starring John Wayne, so I can’t comment on how well Jeff Bridges’s performance holds up against his. But Jeff Bridges is wonderful as the mush-mouthed US Marshall who is the hero of True Grit. Matt Damon is as charming as you’d expect Matt Damon to be, which is plenty, playing a Texas Ranger on the hunt for the same man as Jeff Bridges. Damon’s best line, “…or should I say, your eye?” is in the preview, but he delivers it so well that I still laughed when I heard it during the movie. With a sub-two hour running time, going to see True Grit won’t seem like a chore. It seems like it’s an unspoken rule these days that westerns, period pieces and fantasy movies all need to clock in at the three hour mark. I’m glad that the Coen brothers made a very tight two hour movie here. After reading an excellent biography on the Coens last year, I planned on watching all their movies in order this year. That didn’t happen, and with only two movies to left to watch on the couch, won’t happen this year. Maybe next year? If you’re planning on seeing True Grit, I recommend catching it at the Brooklyn Heights Cinema at Henry and Orange. They have the best popcorn in the city and it’s playing all day there. Treat yourself nice and follow it up with dinner at nearby Noodle Pudding...

At The Theater #45: Inside Job Dec25

At The Theater #45: Inside Job...

As soon as Shades of Ray ended, I hopped on the subway into Manhattan on a far too crowded for 9:45 AM A train to catch my first movie at the theater for the day, Inside Job at the Angelika Film Center. I really like seeing movies at the Angelika. I think this has a lot too do with the ground level café area, which is strange because I think that café is overpriced. But it’s a nicer place to wait for friends than most movie theater lobbies. I’m flying solo today, so instead I found it a nice place to walk through on my way to the downstairs theater. The three person audience for the 10:45 AM screening of Inside Job was a nice cross section of viewers. There was me, a female NYU student and an old man who claimed after to movie to have worked for one of the investment banks featured in Inside Job, “though long before any of this went down” he was quick to point out. Waiting for Inside Job to start, I popped open Flixster on my iPhone and experienced something that would occur at the start of three of the four movies I saw in the theater today; I would regret seeing this movie instead of another in the same time slot. It happened here when I saw that I Love You, Phillip Morris was playing at 10:35 AM at Clearview’s Chelsea. I’ve wanted to see that for the past few weeks and cursed myself, thinking that a comedy would be a better way to start the day than a sure to be depressing documentary about the 2008 financial crisis. This regret passed quickly. Inside Job should be on everyone’s must-watch list. It’s bound to frustrate...

On The Couch #30: Green Zone Sep02

On The Couch #30: Green Zone...

When the producers of Green Zone saw The Hurt Locker, they must have said “Fuuuuuuuuucccccccccckkkkkkkkkk!” Compared to this year’s Oscar winner, the Green Zone comes across as clichéd and by the numbers. Better movie. I think any action movie starring Matt Damon is going to suffer from two inherent problems. Problem #1: It probably won’t be as good as The Bourne Identity. Even The Bourne Supremacy had this problem. Matt Damon starred in a near-perfect action movie when he was in The Bourne Identity. I think it might be as good as it gets for Matt Damon action films. Better movie. Problem #2: In action movies like Green Zone, you’re getting MattScreamy (he really yells a lot in Green Zone) as opposed to MattDreamy (see Hunting, Good Will). If my girlfriend’s reaction is accurate to the wider population, people prefer MattDreamy. MattScreamy MattDreamy This was our second Red Box pick in Cape Cod. The three days of rain we had in Cape Cod made us good friends with the local Red Boxes. This time we picked our movie ahead of time on the website, which prevented others from experiencing from us the most frustrating thing about renting at a Red Box, which is being stuck behind someone using the machine who has no idea what they want and just keeps scrolling through each screen (aka us during our previous Red Box...