erik lundegaard

Movie Reviews posts

Wednesday February 01, 2012

One-Word Review of Madonna's “W/E”

E/W.

Posted at 08:09 AM on Feb 01, 2012 in category Movie Reviews
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Sunday January 08, 2012

It's the End of the World as Lars von Trier Knows It and the National Society of Film Critics Feels Fine

I’m bummed that my favorite critics’ group, the National Society of Film Critics, chose one of my not-favorite films of 2011, Lar von Trier’s “Melancholia,” as its best picture of the year; but you could see it coming.

“Melancholia” is the favorite of a certain type of non-narrative-leaning critic with a touch of doom about them. Plus, despite lauding them on MSNBC.com in 2005, the NSFC and I haven’t agreed on much in the past 10 years. They went with “Capote” over “Brokeback Mountain” or “Munich”; “Pan’s Labyrinth” over “United 93”; “There Will Be Blood” over “No Country for Old Men”; “The Hurt Locker” over “Up” or “A Serious Man.”

I can see why “Melancholia.” I admit its five-minute overture is one of the most beautiful opens in movies. I just didn’t like the movie because: 1) I don’t believe in half its characters; 2) its two parts don’t add up to a whole; 3) its misanthropy seems adolescent; and 4) its hand-held camera made me literally nauseous. But I can understand why some misanthropic, form-over-content, iron-gutted critics would dig it. It’s right in their wheelhouse.

Giving me a reason for dying, with characters I can’t relate to, is easy. Giving me a reason for living, with characters I can relate to, is tough. I’ll go with “The Tree of Life,” their no. 2 pick, any day.

Kirsten Dunst in Lars von Trier's "Melancholia" (2011)

“Melancholia” star Kirsten Dunst, who was also named best actress by the NSFC.

Posted at 11:47 AM on Jan 08, 2012 in category Movie Reviews
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Saturday January 07, 2012

2011 Cinema: Looking Back to When We Looked Ahead

Before we look back at the top 10 movies of 2011—or forward to all of that 2012 cinema that isn't spoiled yet by viewing—let’s look back to when we looked ahead: to what we thought might be good in 2011.

In this post last March, I listed off 18 films I was excited about for the upcoming year. They make up the movie posters that have been fading in and out in the upper left ever since.

Of those 18, I saw 12:

I still haven't seen six of them:

  • The Conspirator
  • Gainsbourg: vie heroique
  • Monga
  • Le noms des gens
  • One Day
  • Super

Of the ones I saw, four or five will be among my top 10 movies of the year. That’s not bad. I was excited about “The Tree of Life” and it delivered. I was worried “Bridesmaids” would be ordinary, a la “Horrible Bosses,” but it wasn't. I hoped “Moneyball” would be more “Social Network” than “Blind Side” and it was.

But.

By the time “The Conspirator,” “One Day,” and “Super” arrived with their lukewarm reviews I couldn’t be bothered. The best foreign language film, “In a Better World,” wasn’t, while the 2010 Palme d’Or winner at Cannes, “Uncle Bonmee,” which most critics loved, and which has wound up on top 10 lists, I found not only incomprehensible but tedious. It opened up nothing in me. I’d love to read a good review that explains why it’s meaningful.

And what did my early-warning-system blog miss? A lot: “Drive,” “Hugo,” “Margin Call,” “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” and “Buck.” Among others. Which is the way we want it. The future should be surprising no matter how often, and how much, we try to preempt it.

Posted at 10:21 AM on Jan 07, 2012 in category Movie Reviews
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Sunday July 24, 2011

Movie-Review Line of the Day

“As inconsequential and virtually indistinguishable sub-Judd Apatow white-boy comedies fueled by prison-rape gags and pants-pissing anxiety around black people go, ”Horrible Bosses“ is pretty solid entertainment.”

--Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com.

His full review here. My review here. We have pretty much the same take on the movie - right down to its inconsequentiality. “The bosses are ... three caricatures rather than three human beings,” I write. “Farrell and Aniston's horrible bosses never remotely resemble real people,” O'Hehir writes. Add it up and it's 70% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Posted at 04:21 PM on Jul 24, 2011 in category Movie Reviews, Quote of the Day
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Thursday May 19, 2011

Movie Review of the Day: Richard Brody on Bridesmaids

“Sometimes, expectations can do one out of a good movie-going experience. In the magazine this week, David Denby reviews “Bridesmaids,” praising the comic prowess of its star and co-writer, Kristen Wiig, but adding that, here, 'she gives a largely realistic performance… Playing quietly, Wiig is a decent and likable actress, but, for fans of her wild side, she seems diminished, her face a little blank. We wait for her to break out.'

”I didn’t wait for her to break out; rather, I watched the movie, thinking, early on, that it was interesting to see Wiig try out a new comic persona—then, midway through the action, I utterly and literally forgot that I was watching Kristen Wiig, and had the sense that I was seeing some new actress, who was neither Wiig nor anyone else I had ever seen. The role and the performance are utterly transformative, and put Wiig instantly into a different cinematic category ...“

—Richard Brody, ”'Bridesmaids': Something Blue," on The New Yorker site

Kristen Wiig in "Bridesmaids" (2011)

Posted at 11:15 PM on May 19, 2011 in category Movie Reviews
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