erik lundegaard

Movie Reviews posts

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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Monday May 16, 2011

Movie Review of the Day: Anthony Lane on Thor

“Some Gods have all the luck. When the hero of 'Thor' plummets to Earth, from a far corner of the cosmos, in a storming thunderbolt, the first thing he sees upon waking is the face of Natalie Portman. Not a sheep, or a branch of Subway, or a rainy day in Pittsburgh but, I repeat, Natalie Portman. He must think he has died and gone straight back to Heaven ...

”Once Thor stirs, the film itself comes belatedly to life.The first twenty minutes or so have been spent in otherworlds, reachable only by intergalatic wormholes. One is Asgard, a haven of golden towers ruled by Thor's father, the one-eyed Odin (Anthony Hopkins), and closely modelled on the cover of every mid-seventies concept album you wished you'd never bought ...

“'Thor,' in fact, is the year’s most divided movie to date; everything that happens in the higher realms, vaguely derived from Nordic legend, is posturing nonsense, whereas the scenes down here are managed, for the most part, with dexterity and wit.“

—Anthony Lane, ”The Current Cinema," in the May 16, 2011 New Yorker

Natalie Portman wakes the God of Thunder in "Thor"

Welcome to Earth.

Posted at 06:01 PM on May 16, 2011 in category Movie Reviews
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Saturday May 14, 2011

Movie Review of the Day: Macdonald on Bridesmaids

“Watch any of the scenes between Wiig and Rudolph and you'll see something rarely shown in the movies: that giggly, affectionate way that longtime female friends talk to each other; the way they completely relax in the other's presence, over the kind of breakfast-at-a-coffee-shop or wine-at-Lillian's-apartment date they've had a hundred times before. You completely believe the friendship between these two (the way we didn't believe Kate Hudson and Ginnifer Goodwin in ”Something Borrowed“) and it lights up the movie.”

—Moira Macdonald, in her Seattle Times review, “Bridesmaids: Comedy Says 'I Do' to Female Friendship,” describing exactly how I felt about these scenes in “Bridesmaids,” the best comedy of the year.

Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph in a scene from "Bridesmaids" (2011)

Posted at 08:49 PM on May 14, 2011 in category Movie Reviews
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Tuesday April 19, 2011

Reader Rebuttal: Hanna (2011)

Forgive me if this email is self-indulgent, but I liked the movie Hanna more than I thought I would, and, although your review would probably be understood as positive, I wanted to defend the movie as having more to it than you seem to suggest. 

First, let me agree that I think a stronger movie would have come up with an ending other than a face-off to the death between hero and villian.  That said, I think Hanna is a movie that Joseph Campbell would have loved because of its mythology and its symbolism.  Hanna is never simply innocent, never simply someone who doesn't know who she is.  I think she is meant to represent childhood and the experience of growing up.  At a certain level, at the deepest level, none of us know who we are at that age, and at that age that lack of knowledge is often felt more urgently than at any other time because the insight is new rather than familiar. 

Hanna movie posterMoreover, all of us with any integrity have to confront the startling and ambiguous realization that we are abnormal because, after all, “normal” is not meaningful at the individual level.  In other words, Hanna, the movie and the character, is appealing to the same experiences that makes the mutants of the X-men so identifiable.  Those lost, abnormal people are us - maybe not quite all of us, but many of us.  Hanna is more particularly a symbol for those from broken homes.  It is almost too obvious to say that Marissa represents the wicked stepmother, but I tend to think that that representation is iconic rather than cliched, universal enough to be readily understandable rather than merely common.  More particularly still, Hanna represents those from broken homes who have experienced tragedy in the shattering of that home.  She is curious about, and even mesmerized by, a “normal” family in a way that is, again, readily identifiable because it is similar to the way that those from tragically broken homes simply are mesmerized by “happy” families.

Maybe all of this is too apparent to be worth mentioning or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, maybe I'm reading too much into the movie, but all of this representation seems to work on several levels throughout the film, and, if that is right, then the screenwriters and director deserve credit for it.
 
For what little it may be worth, you are my favorite non-Ebert movie reviewer, and I enjoyed your review of Hanna even if it did inspire this apologetic.  Good luck to you.
 
Sincerely,

Daniel Davenport

Posted at 09:50 PM on Apr 19, 2011 in category Movie Reviews
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