June 2013 - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Can’t Stop the Health Hiatus

"The perfect end - to the perfect life."

"The perfect end - to the perfect life." -Duke Phillips-

Hello folks.  As you may have noticed, the update schedule for this week was not as strictly adhere to as normal.  That's because I've had some health problems.  You might think, "Hey faker!  Sickness + bed = writing ahoy!"

Well, no.  It's been a mix of comatose sleeping followed by, when I'm awake, stomach issues and a not-insignificant amount of pain.  I have a history of kidney stones and thought that this was what was causing the problems - I turned out half right.  Apparently I have a very large build-up in lefty which was breaking apart and causing me to be so sick.  On the plus side, I was able to pass what broke apart.  On the minus side, there's plenty of material left to cause me problems.

The normal updating schedule will resume as soon as possible.  For now, keep watching movies!


Oliver Stone – W. (2008)

Oliver Stone continues his tradition of trend of biopics by looking at the life of our 43rd President, George W. Bush.  Josh Brolin leads another star-packed ensemble portraying the life and moral decision making of the younger Bush.VictoryKyle Commentary BannerW. isn't a bad movie, but it is a strangely tame one. While it does have moments of intense criticism, they're presented in a goofy and obvious way. Stone wants to criticize the Bush administration, but can't seem to come up with many new ways to do it, and he ends up giving us a movie that tells us things we already know but with most of the bite removed.

The tone is a problem for me here because most of the time it seems verging on outright satire — not political satire with well-placed barbs hidden in the dialogue and interactions, but more broad, as if Stone didn't want us to view the world of the film realistically. Brolin's performance contributes to this throughout, as he plays Bush as essentially a clueless man-child one step away from Will Farrel's take on Saturday Night Live.

It's not that the exaggeration is out of place, but it's also not new or surprising, and this level of silliness prevents him from saying anything truly interesting. If he were to go one step further with it and make this a view of the Bush-era presidency that played up all the common notions of the man and his administration to farcical levels, it may have been more entertaining. If he had reigned it in a bit to attempt to offer a more complex view of Bush's presidency, his underlying criticisms would hit harder and speak deeply to how basic human faults can have far-reaching ramifications. Again, while I don't think this is a bad movie, Stone can't have both.

What does work in a kind of endearing way about W. is Stone's tendency to portray Bush as a man out of his depth who often doesn't even realize the political schemes being constructed around him. He seems to have sympathy for the former president, showing him as a man incapable of living up to his father's enormous expectations and continuously making the wrong choices in a lifelong effort of appeasement. The argument that extends from this is that Bush was a pawn of a corrupt political system, with colleagues of his father using him to enact their own will and plans while he scrambled just to keep up.


The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)

Happy partnersAndrew INDIFFERENCE BannerI don't mind a bit of pathos when it comes to my comedies.  In this world of post-Apatow comedies it seems like everyone is trying to reach the same emotional heights and laughs that Planes, Trains and Automobiles did over twenty-five years ago.  But I'm starting to miss comedies that just try to make me laugh.  I don't want this through a series of absurd and grotesquely escalating scenarios (I was tired of The Hangover before it even ended) but just the simple joy of talented people trying to make me laugh.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, to its credit, remembers the inherent warmth that comes from making people laugh.  Unfortunately, it finally hits this stride with barely twenty minutes to go.  Until then it's an uneven bag that's telling several different stories at once without finding the time to show any one as the dominant emotional thread or telling many good jokes in the process.


For the week of 6/25/2013 on Can’t Stop the Movies!


Look forward to reviews of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone on Wednesday and the English-language remake of Pusher on Thursday.

This Friday, Andrew and Kyle look at yet another Oliver Stone take on a controversial President with W.

If you want to see the White House under siege this weekend you'll have another chance with Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum in White House Down.  Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock do a bad cop / good cop routine in The Heat.  Finally, Jason Statham goes back comfortably into his growling action hero niche with Redemption.

We're getting the next round of weekly features set up but in the meantime you should spend your Sunday perusing Danny and Ryan's Billy Wilder retrospective.


Much Ado About Nothing (2013)

PerfectionAndrew LIKE BannerThis is the Joss Whedon I have missed for so long.  The Whedon who knows how to set a stage so perfectly for a duel of wits before physicality enters the frame.  It makes perfect sense that his return to form would be a palette cleanser between his big budget productions.  Similarly, that he returns to his own sparkling tongue by adapting the words of Shakespeare, the one true peerless wordsmith of dialogue, gives Whedon's frame a vitality that is all at once familiar and excitingly new.

Whedon gathered a large portion of his most frequent collaborators to bring Much Ado About Nothing to the screen in his own way.  The chief performers of Beatrice and Benedick are played by Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof.  For those familiar with both past works by Shakespeare and the roles Acker and Denisof have played in the past the fact that they are in a romance that is destined to succeed is a hilarious counterpoint to their doomed romance on the small screen.  But their comfort with each other, both in dueling barbs and lines dripping with saccharine, will be such a joy to those discovering the two for the first time.

Beatrice and Benedick, once lovers, find themselves in the midst of a plot of love found and soon to be foiled.  He is the companion of Don Pedro (Reed Diamond), recently returned from quelling an attempted uprising by his brother Don John (Sean Maher).  They stop at the home of Leonato (Clark Gregg), father of the beautiful Hero (Jillian Morgese), and uncle to Beatrice.  Pedro's young lackey, Claudio (Fran Kranz), has taken to Hero quite badly and pledges to marry her as soon as time will allow.  In the meantime, sensing that the hostility between Beatrice and Benedick still yields some attraction, Pedro and his men as well as Hero and her attendant conspire to get the two back together.  Independent of all this, Don John has decided to grasp what little power he can by tearing Hero and Claudio apart through treachery of his own kind.