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Duplicitious Fighting in a Sunshiney Adventureland

By The Pajiba Staff | DVD Releases | August 25, 2009 |

By The Pajiba Staff | DVD Releases | August 25, 2009 |

Duplicity: The Boozehound (who will be returning soon!) felt Duplicity was rather mediocre, writing: “Duplicity, a middling two-hour timewaster, is composed of many parts from many movies, stitched together into a whole that isn’t nearly as clever and pretty as the sum of its clever, pretty parts. Derivative doesn’t even begin to describe how reliant this movie is on other people’s ideas, and while it’s decent enough to pass the time, it’s depressing to consider that Gilroy, the guy who wrote The Bourne Identity and Michael Clayton, couldn’t come up with some fresh material for his loaded cast. It’s as if someone gathered parts from a hundred different types of airplanes, then expertly assembled them into a sort of Frankenjet that taxis up and down the runway just fine but can’t get off the ground because one wing is from a Concorde and the other from a Piper Cub. But man do these tray tables work great!”

Sunshine Cleaning: Prisco liked Sunshine Cleaning but couldn’t muster a lot of enthusiasm for it, writing: “You’d be hard pressed to actively dislike Sunshine Cleaning. It stars two of the most affable leads working in cinema today, Amy Adams and Emily Blunt. Collectively, the power of their adorability will instantly coat puppy-dogs with chocolate sprinkles and cute little babies with flower petals. The story is relatively breezy, taking a few dips into sob territory, but never really allows anything to get brutally melancholy. And that’s my biggest issue with the film. Nothing is allowed to develop beyond a purely cursory inspection. While this allows the film to avoid falling down the cliche hole, it also sucks out all the potential for outrageous glee and mayhem. There are numerous opportunities for Sunshine Cleaning to explode into a vicious dark comedy or even a sinister dramedy. Instead, it’s content to merely float along merrily like a happy little leaf on a river. And I hate that fucking leaf.

Adventureland: Adventureland is one of the best movies of the first half of the year, and you should see it. Take it from Dan: “Directing from his own screenplay, Mottola creates a film that’s funny without being wacky and sweet without being saccharine, and he manages to perfectly capture that glistening moment right between youth and whatever comes next. The film is a heartbreaking, bittersweet coming-of-age story born of Mottola’s own experiences working summer jobs, but it’s broad enough to resonate as more than just a comedy about (post-)teens. It couldn’t be further from Superbad in tone or execution — for just starters, no one’s pants are at any point stained with menstrual blood — but it’s that film’s direct descendant in emotional honesty and its filmmaker’s decision to mature just like his characters.”

The Informers: The Informers, on the other hand, you should not see. Just ask Prisco: “The Informers wastes time like only the wealthy can. Watching it is akin to what I assume hotel coke benders were like in the 1980s. (Boozehound, hook a brother up.) Millions and millions of dollars go nowhere essentially turning what should have been a killer buzz into property damage, a sagging bloated feeling, a rotted septum, and huge blocks of your life invariably gone forever. So it’s perfect that Mickey Rourke marquees this shameful train wreck. The Informers is about nothing. It masquerades as this trite, vapid glimpse into highlife in Los Angeles circa 1983, but really it’s just a bunch of unpleasant and boring douches glooming their way through overdramatic tripe. Admitting you like this film in public should be grounds for chemical castration. It’s pretty much everything that’s wrong with society wrapped up in what would happen if Robert Altman tried to remake the “Gossip Girl” series.Only now. After he died.

Fighting: Agent Bedhead didn’t really but into Fighting, but did offer a pretty apt description of Channing Tatum, writing: “With this film’s script, we’re lucky to receive even passable acting here. Channing Tatum is sort of what would happen if Josh Hartnett’s brooding, unflinching, and utterly inexpressive ways mated with half of Ryan Reynolds’ abdominal muscles. Terrance Howard is no stranger to hustling and pimping, but it remains a mystery why his character speaks so maddeningly sloooowly as if he’s got a mouth full of extra-crunchy peanut butter. Multiple characters devolve into vastly inferior impressions of Christopher Walken. Perhaps most bizarre here is the appearance of Roger Guenveur Smith as a financier and referree named Jack Dancing, who kicks off the final fight by shouting, “In the words. Of that late. Great. American poet Marvin Gaye. Let’s. Get. It. Onnn!” After that little gem, Montiel launches back into the jumpy, handheld camerawork that produces more nausea than do the punches themselves and feels like a damn video game. Towards the end of each smackdown, I kept expecting to hear a sinister voice come out of nowhere and order, ‘Finish him.’ If only.”

The Killing | Aztec Miniseries

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.