Short Takes: Recent Movies

Because of backlog, I’ve compiled ten compact movie reviews into one post, sorted best-to-worst.  I’ll be back with ten more —indies and classics.

(You also have no idea what I feel over that frickin’ attack on Monday.)

Updated: 2013.04.19

Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012)

Description: a divorced couple
(Andy Samberg, Rashida Jones) are still close friends.  So wildly close that it weirds out their friends.  So they have to meet new people.  But the feelings of getting back together are hard to fight— Celeste wants to, but Jesse heads on into unknown territory.  Emma Roberts also stars, as a pop star.

Take: it’s a modern tale of a pretty convincing friendship.  The acting is great.  And don’t you just love Rashida Jones?

Suggestion: watch…them sufferA-

Flight (2012)

Description: Denzel Washington plays a pilot that manages to save most of the passengers on a jetplane by inverting it before a crash landing.  The only problem: he’s yet to admit to himself that he is an alcoholic…who also does cocaine…and that somehow coke is an upper to the booze downer…and he was drunk for that masterful flight maneuver.  John Goodman also stars (as the dealer).

Take: though incomplete—in my opinion, it’s definitely worth watching.  B+ (was B)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Description: good taste in music supports a tale of a withdrawn student being taken into a band of ‘outcasts’— or, the other cool kids, really.  And our guy falls in love with the Emma Watson character but is held back by his somewhat disturbed past, dealing with misplaced guilt over his aunt’s (Melanie Lynskey) death.

Take: actors acting like actors—it’s not very convincing.  David Bowie’s Heroes does not make up for the movie’s flaws…an entertainment of drama more than a real account, as our lead keeps staring at Watson.  The book’s better.  B

This is 40 (2012)

Description: Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann star in the latest Judd Apatow flim, showing a bit of what it’s like turning the big 4-0, parental troubles et al.

Take: …not really.  It’s loaded and angry, and some of the deleted scenes are better than the shots that were left in (yes, the ‘short poop’ scene is funnier).  You have the Apatow humor, and… everything else that’s not exactly original anymore— it’s long, long, with strong language throughout.  Without Jason Siegel and John Lithgow, the grade for this film would’ve gone into C territory.  B-

Fun Size (2012)

Nickelodeon…literally means nickel(coin)-theater, but this is the Viacom cable network doing a teen movie with Victoria Justice, star of the (canceled) Victorious show.

Description: Justice plays the lead, daughter of a mother (Chelsea Handler) whose boyfriend is 26 and still living with his parents…and throws parties.  On Halloween, the supposedly mute son rides with older men “to have fun,” but was never in any danger.

Take: it’s a movie.  There is a surprise ending, if you’re willing to sit through it.  B-

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

Description: Martin Freeman and Ian McKellan star in the latest Peter Jackson film related to [The] Lord of the Rings, where, against Bilbo Baggin’s wishes, he and an assembled group (eating all his food) must enter dark territory to stop a…necromancer?

Take: poorly timed, this was more of a bad trip than a journey.  Loaded with violence, but with bloodless beheadings and throat slittings, somehow, this ‘journey’ yields decades of peace.  I don’t care about the great CGI or whether the film’s true to the book.  It has none of the emotional depth or coherence that the trilogy of ten years ago had.  B-

Taken 2 (2012)

Description: Liam Neeson is back as the father of a formerly-kidnapped daughter, but the tables are turned this time.  The Eastern-European family, seeking revenge for his gruesome killings (Taken), ends up only kidnapping the parents this time.

Take: with an incredibly basic plot of a sequel, the daughter is basically lobbing grenades so the father can pinpoint his location, and the bad guys are so incompetent that they actually leave their gates unlocked.  Spoiler alert.

Suggestion: rent not buy.  The action is still enough to watch this.  C+

Katy Perry: Part of Me—The Movie (2012)

Description: weeks in the concert-performing life of Katy Perry— several songs, performances round the world.  “You’re hot and your cold … We kiss and make up.”

Up and down, peacefully emotional, as Russell Brand was clearly not a match for her.  And that’s…kind’a it.  Basically a movie for fans…and not quite sure about that.  C+

Seven Psychopaths (2012, U.K.)

Description: Sam Rockwell tries to be a writer, and gets caught up in a violent dog-napping scheme, one where Woody Harrelson’s pissed, killing just about everyone in his way.  A number of big-name actors star for big, imagined sequences; it gets ugly.

Take: UGHGGHHhh… in making fun of over-the-top action, it’s one thing to have a sibling go, KA-PoW, Ratatatat… it’s another to have a pro waste your time doing it on the big screen.  I get it, move on!  Like Shoot ’Em Up—but boring—the actors had more fun than the audience.  With Colin Farrell, it’s supposed to be funny…  Yeah…right.  C

Nature Calls (2012)

Description: Patton Oswalt, Patrice O’Neal and Johnny Knoxville star in a “camping” tale where most of the fathers would rather have the children in front of large flat-screens.  Good thing one of them takes the kids camping anyway… without parental consent.

Take: this movie features one of the dumbest screenplays ever penned.  It features a short plot, with bad jokes, including a naked woman on a motorcycle, and adult language throughout—there are under-aged children in this movie, and one’s given a cigarette!

It’s watchable, but it doesn’t even meet with the expectations of the poster.  The Box Office for this thing was $382.  C-


3 thoughts on “Short Takes: Recent Movies

  1. Adam, I’ve only seen one movie on this list, The Hobbit, and I agree with your review. I’ve always wanted to see Flight and that Wallflower movie, but I guess Jesse and Celeste is top of the list. Good to know.


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