Archives for posts with tag: J.K. Simmons

“Burn After Reading” (2008) is a not-very-good espionage movie with George Clooney. It’s kinda stupid, actually. But it does have a lot of people I like in it (Brad Pitt, the dude from the movie about the guy who plays the drum, Frances what’s-her-face, John Malkovich), and there are some characters that made me laugh. It wasn’t like I thought two hours of my life had been stolen. But when it was over, I was like: “What was up with that?” Then I reminded myself it was a Coen brothers movie, which means that probably nothing was up with anything.

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So maybe the baby boomers and the millennials can get along. In “All Nighter” (2017), an old-school master of the universe is forced to team up with the snowflake ex-boyfriend of his daughter. Hijinks ensue and everyone learns a little about themselves in a tidy 86 minutes. Lest that description so too lame-o, well, actually, this movie is a little bit lame-o. You probably wouldn’t have needed trigger warnings or a safe room in order to watch it (Unless you recently broke up with a significant other. In that case, tough shit.). But there are a few laugh-out-loud funny moments.

My cynical take on “Patriots Day” (2016) is movie producer Mark Wahlberg gave movie director Peter Berg money to do what Peter Berg does best, which is to make movie star Mark Wahlberg look like some kind of everyman hero. However, Berg is such a masterful storyteller he makes Wahlberg practically superfluous despite making him ridiculously ubiquitous. Seriously. You could have cut much of Wahlberg’s screen time, reduced the film by 20 minutes and ended up with an indy-style Boston Marathon bombing film instead of an emotionally exploitative, big-budget cliche. Sorry if that makes me a bad American, but it’s true.

It’s tough watching a spy thriller like “The Jackal” (1997) 16 years after it comes out. You lose interest in the ripped-from-yesterday’s-headlines espionage and focus on oddball crap that isn’t central to the plot. Russian mafia, Irish Republican Army, blah, blah, blah. But dude, did you see Jack Black? Bruce Willis totally blows his arm off! It was so gross, yet so cool! And what about Richard Gere’s Irish accent? It’s weird hearing a bad actor sound so awesome. And what about Sidney Poitier’s voice? Does he always sound all Shakespearean like that, even when he’s ordering at the drive-thru?

I feel sorry for the 16-year-old girls who chose to see “The Words” that weekend back in 2012 when “House at the End of the Street” was sold out. (“Let’s just see that thing with Bradley Cooper. OMG! He’s so gorgeous!”) Figuring out this film is a lot harder than any of the politically correct cryptofiction they’re force fed in their high school American lit classes. Hard, but good. It’s a story about a storyteller telling a story about a story. At the end, the movie gives you the finger and sends you off to figure it out for yourself.

Can’t anybody give a speech in a movie? Not a monologue. A speech. Room full of people, notecards, PowerPoint, whatever. Make your point and step away. No! There’s the Speech 180, where Actor stops in the middle and instead speechifies about the moral epiphany which caused them to reject whatever they were originally speechifying about. Or the Raincheck, where Actor stops, silently epiphanizes and rushes off to their sweetie. I was really liking “Up in the Air” (2009) until George Clooney pulls a Raincheck. But sweetie shoots him down! Ha! It made me start liking the movie all over again.