Paranomal Girls on the Romantic's Grave Again: You Know, It's Kind of a Funny Story
You Again: "Now, onto the obligatory nitty gritty details of a story that, much like Bride Wars, involves spiteful, territorial behavior at a wedding. First, we meet poor little Kristen Bell as Marni, a complete high school nerd with spectacular acne, awful hair, and ill-fitting glasses to match. Of course, Bell may have pulled off playing a teenaged outcast in "Veronica Mars," but in You Again, we're supposed to accept that she just happens to be a (suddenly) conventionally beautiful knockout, who continues to harbor inner scars left by her high school enemy, J.J. (Odette Yustman, a.k.a. "The Ass"). Now, high school has long since passed, and Marni is now a high-powered Hollywood publicist and total career woman. The world is her mini-oyster, so to speak, but when Marni travels back home for the wedding of her brother, Will (James Wolk), she is aghast to discover that Will's betrothed is none other than that horrible, evil bitch from high school. Of course, nobody ever stops to question why, until this very moment, Marni never even knew that her sworn mortal enemy was romantically involved with her brother. It suffices to say that, while Marni was away, J.J. came to play; and Marni's entire family -- including her very own mother, Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis) -- is enamored with J.J., who's now practically Mother Theresa (a non-chaste version) or some shit." - Agent Bedhead
For Colored Girls: "There's an unfair dichotomy between white directors and directors of color, in that whenever a black or Asian or Hispanic director helms a film, he's somehow expected to represent his entire race, and that by hook or by crook he's got to make a film solely that speaks to people of his color. Now some filmmakers choose to embrace this, and others simply make what they are going to make, race be damned. Tyler Perry chooses to don the mantle of the Voice of Black America - and so he knew damn well what he was getting into when he chose this project. He wanted to win an Oscar. And it wasn't a bad choice, taking on Ntozake Shange's seminal "for colored girls...", which is practically sacred scripture among not just black thespians but all theatre folk. It's a gorgeous choreopoem -- 20 poems set to dance and to music, seven strong women of color -- black, mostly, but there are some Latinas, and Perry's uncanny ability to draw in a dynamic cast. I had hoped with his theatrical background and the hectoring eye of Oprah gazing upon him that Perry would let the material speak for itself and simply jazz up the backgrounds. I expected Perry to maybe do what Baz Luhrman did with Romeo + Juliet, leave the text -- with a few colorful alterations -- but modernize and simply let his actresses flourish. Such is the power of Shange's text that the piece is fluid and improvisational -- the poetry can be divvied up like a chorus of Greek furies or can be spoken to or at anyone. But that was my fault for misjudging the arrogance of Tyler Perry. Because he made the same fucking mistake he always makes: He made a goddamn Tyler Perry movie. So we're stuck with these stunning performances of these gorgeous pieces of poetry floating like chunks of beef in the melodramatic swill of Tyler Perry's writing. Hopefully when audiences see the glory of Shange's writing juxtaposed next to the soapoperatic histrionics of Perry, the spell will be broken." - Brian Prisco
It's Kind of a Funny Story: "Once inside of course, shit gets real, as the Internet assures me kids say these days. Craig is horrified to find that not only are they going to call his parents, but that they're not just going to give him a pill and send him home. Getting yourself checked into a mental ward for being a suicide risk means that you're staying in for five days at a minimum. He then gets to meet the assorted colorful side characters that are mandatory in any film set in a psych ward. There is the transvestite, the obligatory schizophrenic shouting funny things at nobody, the threatening Orthodox Jew who gets in the face of anyone who speaks on the phone too loudly and Zach Galifianakis playing the sad clown variation on his usual character. Oh and Emma Roberts is there too, because whenever you have a quiet and nervous teenage boy there needs to be someone his own age to be thunderously quirky and cute because otherwise who would he kiss at the end of the film?" - Steven Lloyd Wilson
The Romantics: "Contrary to popular belief, I fucking hate being right. When I go into a film, I'm not rooting against it. I want to like it. I hate wasting roughly two hours of my life on something that's unenjoyable. When I saw the trailer for Galt Niederhoffer's The Romantics, based on her novel of the same name, I compared it to masturbating to the L.L. Bean catalog. And that's pretty much dead fucking on. This entire film is the L.L. Bean catalog: a bunch of rich, white, spoiled, overeducated, and melancholy twenty-thirty-whogivesafuckhowolds meet up at some Nantucket Nesters homestead for the wedding of two of their own. And sure, some of the performances are terrific, some are mediocre, and some are just plain ugly -- just like the clothing in the old Bean. You might pause when flipping through because there are some brief moments that catch your eye. But you'd never actually spend money on that shit. You should not actually spend money on The Romantics. It's a whole lot of empty sentimentality and boring cliches, spending way too much time on English Lit and not enough time having fun with the actual interesting people. Everything you expect to happen does. It's the kind of DVD you'd bring to the home of a work acquaintance whose anecdotes require a second cup of coffee." - Brian Prisco
I Spit On Your Grave: "Then why would you want to see the same thing happen to a human being? That's what the I Spit On Your Grave remake amounts to. Putting completely aside any of the feminist implications of the film -- which we've discussed ad nauseum in the past, and I have no interest in resurrecting that argument -- why would a movie about the torture and rape of a person be any less objectionable than the torture and rape of an animal? Because bestiality is perverse? Guess what? So is rape. But if the men got their comeuppance at the jaws of the dog, would we celebrate the film for being empowering for canines? Would we applaud the dog vigilantism, and praise Fido for fighting its own battles and not seeking retribution through the legal system?" - Dustin Rowles
Paranormal Activity 2: "What makes this franchise more successful than most other horror movies is that Paranormal Activity doesn't reach for the big kill; it doesn't amp the violence or pile up the body count. It's painstaking in its ability to lull you into its atmosphere, refusing to satiate our desires for quick developments or provide relief -- Paranormal Activity doesn't give in to your anxiousness, it draws out that anticipation to the brink (and sometimes beyond that) of what you can take, and even then, it brings down the hammer sparingly and in a staggered crescendo. The real work of Paranormal Activity is in the silent shots, or the scenes of family banality, the way it turns that restlessness you're feeling for most of the movie into complete helplessness by the end. And no franchise has perfected the jump-scare shit-in-your-pants jolt of terror as well as Paranormal Activity." - Dustin Rowles
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