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Warning you about crappy movies since 2008.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Morning Glory

This critic just saw Morning Glory a few hours ago, and she's almost forgotten about it. But, that's not to say it wasn't an enjoyable 90-some minutes.

The credit goes entirely to Rachel McAdams, a viable candidate -- along with Reese Witherspoon and Drew Barrymore -- for the position of America's sweetheart. (Surely, we can force Julia Roberts into retirement from that role.)

McAdams plays Becky Fuller, the pluckiest of heroines, in what could be called Broadcast News Lite. Becky enthusiastically takes on a thankless job as the executive producer of a tanking network morning show. Diane Keaton is underutilized as the female half of the anchor team, while Harrison Ford seems to be channeling Jack Donaghy with his odd, whispery voice. He compensates for the low volume of the voice by overacting. 

So, the movie rests squarely on McAdams' shoulders, and she manages to carry the weight quite well. Her love story with the character played by Patrick Wilson is underdeveloped, but that's explained away by her workaholic tendencies.

Can she save the morning show from getting axed? C'mon, what do you think? It's slight, but McAdams is a comic joy to watch. See it.

Morning Glory

Fair Game

This critic saw Fair Game with a very partisan audience. And, she supposes the only people going to see the screen adaptation of the book by Valerie Plame, the outed-by-the-Bush-administration CIA covert operative, are partisan. And, that's reason enough to see this bad boy in the theater.

It was such fun to hear the hisses of my fellow audience members each time W. bungled a speech or Cheney showed his menacing half-smile. And, the couple behind this critic giggled each time the actor portraying the doughy, bloated Karl Rove showed up.

But, there's nothing funny about the VP and his staff ruining the career and risking the life of a CIA agent and the lives of all the contacts she had in the field. Anyone who was outraged at the time will get mad all over again about the Bush White House retaliating against an American ambassador who told the truth about the lack of WMD in Iraq.

The acting is first-rate. Sean Penn disappears into yet another role. He is as much the attractive, cerebral and tough Joe Wilson as he was the effeminate, stubborn and heroic Harvey Milk. Naomi Watts plays Plame. And, while she doesn't look the part as much as Penn looks like the man he plays, she strikes the right balance of  tough, but weary. Plame, apparently, has been complimentary of the performance.

The movie, like the book, probably appeals only to those who are or were ever angry about the U.S. going to war over WMDs that didn't exist. But, those people should see it.  

Fair Game

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Inside Job

Most economists agree that the the Great Recession is over, but the Chronic Critic doesn't buy it. Unemployment is still high, houses aren't selling, people are underwater in their mortgages and things just, generally suck. There's a malaise in the air that's hard to deny. People are mad -- and with good reason.

Well, get ready to get even madder.

The documentary, Inside Job, dissects the crash of the financial markets and reminds us all over again about the greed on Wall Street that led to our undoing. But, there's plenty of blame to go around. Democratic and Republican presidents, Treasury secretaries, SEC chiefs, economic advisers, regulators and ratings agencies all get their due. As does Alan Greenspan.

Even the economics departments at our best academic institutions -- Harvard, Columbia, et al -- share in the blame. No one's ever been held accountable, and the movie suggests no one's even learned a lesson from the fall.

Matt Damon narrates the tale of corporate greed and massive corruption at the highest levels of business, government and academia. It'll burn you up (unless you're one of the elite who profited from this mess), but you still need to ... see it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mademoiselle Chambon

While I may have wished the pace of this French romance were a bit quicker, the leads are sheer perfection and compensate for the occasional lag in the story.

Veronique, a stunning, freckled strawberry blonde, with the most graceful neck since Audrey Hepburn, plays a world-weary elementary schoolteacher. Jean is the world-weary father of one of her students. He's in a comfortable, if less than exciting, marriage. The two meet, connect and begin a slow, hesitant, chaste affair of the heart.  

The characters are completely believable in their awkwardness, their attraction to one another and their reluctance to proceed. There's no villain here -- just the story of two people who long for each other and the seeming impossibility that they can be together. A mature, melancholy wonder. See it.