By David Poland email@example.com
3 Weekend Reviews
I’m going to keep these brief, as that’s what the films deserve.
1. Need For Speed – Great idea. Fun to see live car stunts. Screenplay broods for too long. Villain is weak. Director doesn’t really know how to bring the character work that he is trying for to life on camera. Aaron Paul proves that he can be a leading man in films. Dominic Cooper, a really fine, underrated actor, is mostly wasted… doesn’t even get to do serious crazy. Imogen Poots is very likeable, but not unforgettable. And Dakota Johnson once again reminds us of how much sex appeal can be mustered in mere seconds… though makes her current magazine spread all the more shocking for how forgettable it is. But basically, a not-painful high-budget Corman film that isn’t nearly as fun as it should have been and seems like a massively wasted opportunity.
2. Bad Words – Jason Bateman is a funny guy. This is a funny movie. But it is clearly from a first-time director and the screenplay is missing a strong punch. Very comparable in quality to Don Jon, which was more profane on the face of it and lost track of the idea somewhere in the 2nd act. Like Need For Speed, the set-up is stronger than the punch. Also suggests promise for Bateman as a director. But this one is not a lost classic. It’s a movie you would be very happy to find in a weekend afternoon for a few laughs… on cable/satellite. (You won’t see it on Netflix because it’s a studio-distributed film and you wouldn’t be that thrilled to have paid for it on Amazon or iTunes.) Also has one the best “missing scenes over credits that failed to materialize” ever… Kathryn Hahn’s character’s performance in the church basement.
3. Le Week-end – I watched this movie on a plane… and watched it a second time. Really love the performances here. It’s a slow burn, but a smart burn. Can’t imagine anyone under 40 being able to watch more than 10 minutes of it. Jeff Goldblum, in a small role, is a perfect match with Hanif Kureishi’s dialogue… mesmerizing. I would pretty much watch Broadbent and Lindsey Duncan read phone books. This one, in terms of fit with other films, reminds me a lot of Muchael Tolkin’s The New Age… a movie I loved and have watched many, many times, but which virtually no one saw in theaters. It also connects, for me, to the Michael Lindsay-Hogg film, The Object of Beauty. This is the October-of-their-years entry, as compared the others’ late July. But all three are chatty, filled with great actors doing great work with smart dialogue and a sense of maturity in the films. I really can’t suggest that everyone reading this will like it, much less love it. Even I took a full act to warm to the film as it takes its time before showing itself. But I really look forward to seeing this again and again. Roger Michell is one of those directors whose work will be better remembered over time.