Love Happens: “Cliché. Studio-manufactured quirky florist (Jennifer Aniston) who scrawls odd words, like “quidnunc,” behind paintings in a hotel and keeps customer’s love notes. Cliché. Widowed self-help author (Aaron Eckhart), who can’t seem to follow his own advice. Platitude. Cliché. Bumper-sticker pop-speak. “A-Okay!” Cliché. Let’s pass around the ‘candle of truth,’ why don’t we!
Best friend roles: Dan Fogler as arrogant agent (the best part of the movie, which says most of what you need to know about Love Happens). Judy Greer wasted as Female Best Friend (Joan Cusack™). She spouts poetry. Cliché.
Nice dimples, Eckhart.” - Dustin Rowles
Amelia: “Amelia is the least interesting movie ever made about anyone who ever lived. Ever. That’s not to say the movie doesn’t have some minor technical joys: The set and costume design create an authentic feeling of Depression-era America (the first one), and the cinematography from Stuart Dryburgh captures the postcard beauty of pastoral nations around the world. But director Mira Nair, so adept at drawing joy and sorrow from her characters in films like Monsoon Wedding, is stuck behind a dead stick. Part of the reason is likely that co-writers Ron Bass and Anna Hamilton Phelan aren’t so much telling the life story of pioneering aviator Amelia Earhart as they are recapping the highlights, drawing from a pair of biographies, Susan Butler’s East to the Dawn and Mary Lovell’s equally melodramatically titled The Sound of Wings. Ultimately, though, it’s Nair who fails to connect with Amelia on a deeper level or give her any kind of resonance on screen, creating a two-dimensional character with direction but no drive, action but no intent. It’s the most antiseptic, toned-down, unrealistic slice of life ever promoted as a gripping biopic. I had hoped to learn something of Amelia Earhart from the film, but I left as empty as I came.” - Daniel Carlson
Zombieland: “Zombie wood, people. Spend 90 minutes in Zombieland, and you will walk out with an all-out pound-a-stranger up against a hospital wall zombie erection. And you will ride that wood until there’s hair in your teeth, blood on the wall, and it’s time to consult a doctor because your four hours are over, motherfucker, and you’re still sporting a full-on zombie chubby. Zombieland is that good, and in an era when the zombie subgenre has been pricked, poked, gouged, and pulled in every iteration, sometimes it’s nice to go back to basics: It’s not about pet zombies, or Nazi zombies, zombie porn, or capturing zombies on camera for the YouTube masses. Neither is it about fast zombies, slow zombies, smart zombies or dumb zombies. A good zombie movie — and nothing has approached Zombieland in pure goodness since Shaun of the Dead — is about killing zombies, plain and goddamn simple. In Zombieland, director Ruben Fleishcher is in the zombie-killin’ business. And business is boomin’.” - Dustin Rowles
Adam: “Our hero Adam (Hugh Dancy), a pasty white twenty-something with socially awkward tendencies and an obsession with outer space, is trying to cope with the death of his father. Enter Beth (Rose Byrne), a goofy and loveable free-spirit who wants to be a children’s author, and who has daddy issues of her own. What’s the quirk? Well, you see, Adam has Asperger’s syndrome. SCREEEEEEEECCCCCCHHH! Smoking tires and spilled Big Gulp on the highway of taste. When dealing with a socially popular disorder, there are usually three routes this can travel: the haha, the awww, or the yeah. The haha is something like The Other Sister, where characters go full retard in order to amuse slash guilt the audience into laughing at their wild spastic minstrelling and then feeling bad because they laughed at the Short Bus Summer Stock. Fortunately, Hollywood’s gotten too savvy for that — and most of their children now have some form of autism. The awww typically involves one character with a severe disorder, and the other characters for the most part stare at them and coo, “Look, they’re just like normal people.” It’s patronizingly offensive and usually immensely popular. Adam looked like it was going to veer into the third category, the yeah, especially from the trailer where the handicapped are acknowledged, mocked, and treated exactly like everyone else, like the deaf brother in Four Weddings and a Funeral. It’s not a morality play, it’s not a social mirror, it’s just a characteristic like being fat or being short. But Adam goes the full Awwwww. And it’s retarded.” - Brian Prisco