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Not Enough Conjunctions to Make a Good Title

By Genevieve Burgess | DVD Releases | January 18, 2011 |

By Genevieve Burgess | DVD Releases | January 18, 2011 |

Stone: “You can tell that Stone was written by a playwright, in that it’s primarily a character-driven piece for four talented actors. And the casting is magnificent: Edward Norton, Robert De Niro, Milla Jovovich, and Frances Conroy. It’s the kind of acting that would destroy you on the stage, the sheer electricity of those four performances would fry you right in your seats. But this isn’t a play, it’s a feature film. While the performances are amazing, they’re couched in a really insubstantial narrative. There’s not a single subtlety or surprise in the entire film, and the actions of the characters feel completely motivated by the page and not the pace. They do stupid and random shit because the script tells them to. There’s a world of difference between bluntness and lack of nuance. There’s nothing surprising or tense about the film. It unspools like a particularly clunky episode of “NCIS.” Which is a shame, because the acting is simply phenomenal.” - Brian Prisco

Takers: “8) Not all white people look alike, but Hayden Christensen and Paul Walker do.” - Dustin Rowles

Paper Man: “The ultimate shame of Paper Man is not the regrettable plotting, the lame characters, or the sheer pointless mopery of the film, but the fact that such a project is wasting a remarkably talented cast. Seriously, it was like watching someone line a birdcage with Monet paintings. Like an infant lulled by the bright colors of “Yo Gabba Gabba,” I was easily distracted by the shiny actressin’. But then it occurs to you that you’re watching an incredibly shitty replica of Dan in Real Life or Yes Man. It’s just another boring ass, middle-aged crisis flick about an older man trying to grow up through a relationship with a teen stranger that happens to benefit from awesome actors. It tries to fool everyone by plastering in forced whimsicality in an attempt to seem Kaufmanesque, but instead it just becomes confused and bitter and depressing. Had the story focused on the young girl and her problems instead of playing off the author and his problems, it might have been a stronger flick, instead of coming across as Adaptation meets that episode of “South Park” that makes fun of Michael Jackson.” - Brian Prisco

Jack Goes Boating: “Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s screen persona has been his blessing and his curse. Through the course of over a decade, ranging from roles in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights (1997), Todd Solantz’s Happiness (1998) and Charlie Kaufman’s underrated Synecdoche, New York (2008), Hoffman has made a career for himself as the slightly-overweight, baby-like, socially awkward man in search of love. His directorial debut, Jack Goes Boating, he stretches his talent only slightly, playing the same type but provides his adaptation of Bob Glaudini’s off-Broadway play with a combination of visually arresting imagery and outstanding supporting performances. Unfortunately, the film, due both to the material’s modesty and Hoffman playing safely in his comfort zone, is a quiet disappointment.” - Drew Morton

The Virginity Hit: “Swing and a fucking miss! The Virginity Hit is the latest incarnation of the “gotta get laid” Chicken Ladyesque pledge of a group of four high school misfit boys who decide they all must immediately cash in those V-Cards like Blockbuster gift cards. Only the twist is the entire thing is being constantly video-taped and posted to YouTube. I don’t understand the sudden rash of faux-cumentary style narrative with comedies and horror films, but it’s about as welcome as a prom night period flow. The cast consists of a bunch of hybrid mash-ups of other popular sex-com stock, and other than the sketching they give on the main no-hump chump character, everyone exists primarily as a punchline. Unless you count the fat kid, who just won’t shut the fuck up. For a sex comedy, it sharply veers into extremely morbid and painfully sentimental drama like a suicidal cabbie. By the time the film finally lumbers over every zany and contrived gimmick to its preposterous fourth-grade nothing of an ending, you’re kind of stunned at how incredibly boring the trip was. If Virginity Hit was what it was being sold as — the true adventures of a bunch of wacky teen YouTube filmmakers making a documentary about getting their last friend laid — it might be forgivable. But it’s actually a carefully-crafted improv ruse written and directed by Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland, the dudes who “wrote” The Last Exorcism (another motherfucking faux-cumentary), and produced by the Funny or Die team. With that much juice behind this, you think you’d have a stronger flick, but this cherry is the fucking pits. That’s how bad this fucking movie is, it deserves a goddamn pun like that.” - Brian Prisco

Animal Kingdom: “Somehow David Michod manages to capture this murderously, leisure tension in the outstanding Aussie ensemble drama Animal Kingdom. Patience is a virtue, so if you can’t appreciate taut drama that spools out sparingly, enjoy Transformers 3: Electric Black Stereotypaloos. If you’re willing to savor your cinema, the carefully-constructed plot ponderously offers up some seemingly innocuous moments of pure cellulite cruelty fraught with tension. It’s not the kind of film that repeatedly goes off like a string of Chinese firecrackers every 10 seconds, but rather offers up astonishingly crisp subtext that will have you chomping through your knuckles.” - Brian Prisco

The Pot and the Kettle | Eloquent Eloquence | Pajiba After Dark 1/18/11

Genevieve Burgess is a Features Contributor for Pajiba. You can follow Genevieve Burgess on Twitter.