Sorry, folks, but in the last few days I have seen 4 movies that make me wonder about the future of movies (I always say this and then find a goodie).
GOOD: I was pleasantly surprised by the newest version of the Snow White legend: MIRROR, MIRROR, which stars Julia Roberts as the evil and also crazy as a loon Evil Queen, Lily Collins as the adorable Snow White, and Armie Hammer as the handsome prince who is also a klutz. The movie's style is over the top with fairy tale castles, magnificent but surreal costuming, and comedy relief from the Seven Dwarfs, who are as far away from Disney as possible. Though the film lags several times, it is witty and exciting enough to please family viewers. And, like THE HUNGER GAMES, the heroine becomes the hero who saves the day. Roberts chews the scenery with relish, and Nathan Lane provides some great one liners.
BAD: WRATH OF THE TITANS is the sequel to the messy CLASH OF THE TITANS and stars some of the original cast. Sam Worthington is back as Perseus, the half mortal, half god son of Zeus. Liam Neeson as Zeus and Ralph Fiennes as his brother Hades, two of our most distinguished thespians are back to pick up healthy pay checks for sounding godlike. As for the story, it almost doesn't exist. The gods have lost their powers, and Perseus most travel to Hades to save his father. The action is so illogical, the filming so frantic, the acting so bad....Yes, I am ashamed. I went to see it, even though I refused to see the first one. Forgive me. And I paid more because it was in 3D!
BADDER: The above movies are in theaters now, the next two we watched at home. For once, Betsy agreed with me about two movies in a row. MARTHA MARCY, MAY, MARLENE was praised roundly by the big critics last year, so I looked forward to seeing it. Boy, was I wrong! This is the story of a younger sister who escapes a cult physically but not mentally. It's a strong idea, but the execution is muddy and often confusing. The performances are strong, but the movie is so darkly filmed with close-ups of Martha that seem to last forever that I felt relief when it was over...wait it wasn't over! Like most French movies, it just stops in the middle of a suspenseful scene. @#&*^!
BADDEST: CARNAGE, based on the play GOD OF CARNAGE. Sounds pretty profound, right? Forget about it. The popular play has been adapted into an even worse movie by Roman Polanski. Filmed on one set that is supposedly a New York apartment, CARNAGE tells the story of two sets of parents trying to figure out why one son belted the other son with a stick and knocked his teeth out. It all begins in a civil way, but by the time the film ends, they have screamed and bullied, one has thrown up on expensive art books, they all get drunk on expensive scotch. And they are no closer to detente than they were 100 minutes ago. The only possible sympathetic character is Michael Longstreet(John C. Reilly) a hard working salesman who is truthful, while the others are deceitful and even despicable. Jodie Foster screams like a harridan in a one-note performanc. Kate Winslet and Cristoph Waltz as cold and snobby parents of the assailant try hard, but their stereotypes are over-whelming. CARNAGE is an effective title for this unlikable disaster.