Friday, July 22, 2011
Which is why his new film, Autoerotic, is such a disappointment; given the opportunity to craft a film specifically about adult sexuality, Swanberg and co-writer/co-director Adam Wingard have created a half-cocked (if you’ll pardon the pun) series of dirty jokes and who-cares scenarios. The opening image—a close-up of an iPhone as a couple engages in spanking and foreplay—promises a heady brew of topics (voyeurism, intimacy, exhibitionism, technology), but it’s the most provocative thing in the movie; they basically shoot their wad before the opening credits (okay, I’ll put a stop to these, promise).
Thursday, July 21, 2011
No Strings Attached, Ivan Reitman’s fitfully amusing but formulaic and inexplicably overlong entry, featuring Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman; now we have Portman’s Black Swan co-star Mila Kunis paired with Justin Timberlake for Friends with Benefits. This one is helmed by Will Gluck, the clever filmmaker behind last summer’s sleeper hit Easy A, a witty and knowing deconstruction of teen movie clichés and literary allusions, anchored by a star-making performance by Emma Stone. Gluck’s involvement (and a supporting turn by Stone) made one hope that lightning would strike twice. Alas, Friends is only marginally better than Strings; it’s a glossy, empty after-dinner mint of a movie, endlessly predictable and surprisingly short on real laughs. And Emma Stone is only in one scene—the first.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Picture this: a rich, dysfunctional family has gathered for a celebration—but it’s going horribly, horribly wrong. Flashback to the hours leading up to said event, where a wry narrator introduces us to the members of the family: the solid and dependable brother, the other, unreliable loser brother, the spoiled brat sister, etc. And then we’re brought back up to the opening event, where the family comes together even as they’re absolutely falling apart.
You got it? Good. Were you imagining the pilot episode of Arrested Development? Because I can’t imagine that’s an accident; Barry W. Blaustein’s new comedy Peep World feels like it was made to fill the vacuum created by the long-promised-but-surely-never-arriving Arrested Development movie. They even go so far as to cast Judy Greer, an AD semi-regular, in one of the major roles.
Monday, July 18, 2011
So, after all this time, how is the movie? I’m not gonna lie to you: it’s pretty rotten. But it’s not boring—like Myra Breckenridge or Southland Tales, Skidoo is so spectacularly ill-conceived and so far removed from anything resembling either art or reality that it is perversely, yet undeniably, entertaining.