Saturday, August 27, 2011

One Day

Alfred Hitchcock is credited as saying he liked to cast well-known stars, such as Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant, in his movies because it allowed him to skip two reels (about 20 minutes) of exposition. It makes sense - you don't need to explain who the character is because the audience already knows. You can just jump into the story.

That explains the casting of Anne Hathaway in One Day. She's immediately recognizable by movie goers and we only need a small bit of context to understand her character. We'll get to the part about a famous American playing a Scots lass in a moment. I don't understand why they cast an unknown as the male lead. Let me explain the movie first.

One Day is a visit to two friends on most July 15ths for two decades and only on July 15. Some days are good, some are bad. It was odd to not spend any substantive time with the characters; we just had to accept that they had lived the 364 previous days and that stuff happened without us. It's an interesting premise but probably better suited for the novel on which One Day was based.

One Day is a romantic drama. My problem is that the couple was a lousy match in 1988 and were even worse 15 years later, when they were both single at the same time. By the time their romance was blossoming, I stopped caring. The ending was also terrible. Please do not rush out to see One Day.

That male lead was a problem. While Hathaway is instantly familiar and certainly earned her keep by getting asses in seats during opening week, I didn't recognize the male lead from scene to scene. In fact, I wasn't sure which of the graduating class to keep an eye on at first. Then, as he changed his appearance every July 15, I had to wait until I knew for sure it was him before I started paying attention to what the characters were saying. Based on the first scene, I knew he would be one of these types: lovable rogue; redeemable bad boy; or asshat. He wasn't at all lovable or redeemable. Why should I spend 100 minutes watching a romantic movie with a guy I wouldn't like if I met him?

I saw a few stories about Anne Hathaway's English accept on the 'net last week. In fact, it was sometimes referred to as the worst English accent of all time. Not being English, I can't weigh in on the fine points, but I recognized that it was pretty good. It was good in Becoming Jane, as well. Thing is, it did change over the course of the movie, but I think that was intentional. She starts out as a Scots schoolgirl in some English hinterlands college. She then moves to London and gradually adopts a more sophisticated accent. Later, when she's successful in her career, her whole demeanor changes, clothes, accent, the works. I think Anne's accent worked just fine. If you want to pick on One Day, there is plenty to pick on, such as the lousy story or the lack of face time for Romola Garai, but lay off the accent.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Glee 3D

I miscalculated on Glee 3D. I watch Glee on TV, but I fast-forward through maybe half to two-thirds of the musical numbers. Many don't grab me because I'm not familiar with kids' music, I refuse to listen to rap - ever - and some of the singing just isn't worth my time.

So why did I go see a Glee CONCERT movie that was - no real shock here - mostly musical numbers? Because sometimes I don't think things through. I really needed a fast-forward button.

There was also some awkward kid-on-the-street interviews and some documentary stories about some notable Glee fans: the midget cheerleader; the gay high school kid; and the 20-something with Aspberger's Syndrome. OK, I get it. Glee is for the outcast in all of us. Moving on.

The 3D didn't really add anything to Glee 3D, except for a couple of scenes that made it worth the ill-fitting glasses. The best one was during Lea Michelle's first solo (somebody get that woman a real last name, STAT) of Don't Rain on My Parade. As she glides toward you from across the stage, the background fades away and you see her face filling the screen as if you were an arm's reach from her. Truly a demonstration of 3D at its best, but most of the movie was dark and muddy, like most 3D movies.

So why did I go to see Glee 3D? Heather Morris (Brittany) winked at me during the previews. I was powerless to resist.


The Change-Up

The Change-Up is your basic body-swapping comedy as well as a raunch-com. It tries hard to be raunchy and sometimes hits the target, although it causes a few winces as well. It also goes out of its way to be stupid a few times, and because it was filmed using tax credits from the State of Georgia, it at times looks like a promo film for downtown Atlanta. Mainly though, it has a decent heart and is rather enjoyable. The characters never miss an opportunity to drop the F-bomb, but what can you do?

The best thing about The Change-Up is Olivia Wilde and a push-up bra inside an amazing red dress. You see more of the red dress in the previews than in the movie, but it's amazing nonetheless.


Crazy, Stupid Love

Crazy, Stupid Love is your basic romantic dramedy, with a decent cast and good production values. It gets the Love Actually treatment - a bit - with seemingly unrelated threads linking to each other. Crazy, Stupid Love breaks a couple of its own rules - an easy-going character suddenly gets unforgivingly rigid, for example, or a public act of contrition that was too public and too contrite - but it's pretty good for the genre.

What we have learned most from Crazy, Stupid Love? That 11-year-old Joey King needs a new agent. Last year, she was Ramona in Ramona and Beezus, a movie I raved about. Joey carried Ramona and Beezus, even though the supporting cast was also very good. It was her movie and she was wonderful. Since then, she's had a bit part in Battle Los Angeles and now, a generic role in Crazy, Stupid Love. Let's get this kid some bigger parts.