Monday, September 16, 2013

Weekend Box Office: The Family, Austenland, Adore

Here is an interesting article from reviewing some of the movies that came out over the past weekend. This follows this post about some of the movies from last week and THIS POST about some movies that have been released over the past few years that you might have missed! This all follows this post about guidelines to choosing good movies to watch yourself!

Weekend Box Office: The Family, Austenland, Adore

By Debbie Schlussel

Nothing that great and new at the movies, this weekend. I did not see “Insidious 2,” as the screening was at the same time as “The Family.”

* “The Family“: I had mixed feelings about this. Luc Besson, a director whose stuff I usually admire, was also at the helm of this one. But the movie fell flat in a few ways. It’s incredibly, unnecessarily violent, and for a dark comedy, it’s not that funny. It’s not a movie for kids, and not just because of the violence, but the language. It’s full of F-bombs and so on. On the other hand, it is a light, relaxing movie, but I’m not sure what the point was. None of the characters are likable, and it’s kind of a waste of time.

Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, in novel roles for them, play, respectively, a mobster and his wife. Yes, I’m being sarcastic. Seems like that’s all they play. Ever. They and their two kids–a son and a daughter–are in the witness protection program and keep having to be relocated by their handler, Tommy Lee Jones, because De Niro keeps roughing up the locals throughout Europe. Now, they are in Normandy and bored to death. Meanwhile, the mobsters whom De Niro ratted out–particularly the Don–are plotting to find and murder De Niro and his family in revenge.

If you are a De Niro superfan, you might like this. And like I said, it’s light and entertaining, but distastefully violent and pointless. And just not entertaining enough to spend ten bucks-plus on. It might be better to be estranged from “The Family.”


* “Austenland“: Help, I’ve been dropped in a Jane Austen concentration camp, and they won’t let me out!

This is another one I had mixed feelings about, but mostly on the negative side. Keri Russell plays “Jane,” one of those women who is obsessed with Jane Austen books and fantasizes about living in that time and romancing Mr. Darcy. So, she spends her life savings to attend “Austenland,” a fantasy vacation world in England, owned and operated by Jane Seymour, where no modern appliances or accoutrements are allowed, and actors are hired to “romance” the guests. Jane is treated shabbily by Seymour because she only purchased a “copper” package, not the more expensive “platinum” one. Forced to compete with the other guests for two male actors, she falls for the help.

I’m making the movie sound far better than it is. It’s mostly dopey and like a bad ’80s movie, with a bad ’80s (and ’90s) soundtrack to boot. The jokes are silly, the characters–particularly one played by the awful Jennifer Coolidge (whose “acting” career should be shot and put out of its misery)–are annoying and stupid. And I felt like I was trapped on a dumb episode of “The Love Boat,” Jane Austen edition.

The idea for this movie–a woman facing her unrealistic fantasies taken from classic novels and finally growing up to live in the real world–was interesting and could have made for a very interesting flick. But the execution was just uber-vapid and ludicrous.

The ending isn’t bad, and the movie gets better in the last fifth or so. But it’s just so bad to begin with that all things are relative. And it’s weird that a dumb comedy with so much stupidity suddenly gets too serious and likable in the last moments. But that doesn’t make this nearly worth sitting through. This is supposed to be a comedy, but, amidst the moronism, there are few genuine laughs to be had. Except on the ticket buyer. The joke’s on you, even if you are a Jane Austen obsessive-compulsive.

By the way, I think I can hear the sound of the whale bones in Jane Austen’s corset crackling as she turns over in her grave.


* “Adore“: This is possibly the most warped, incestuous, weird movie I’ve seen. Or at least in that category with only a few others. If this movie were made with the genders reversed, there would be holy hell to pay about men having sick, nearly-incestuous, very creepy relationships with young women who are like their daughters. And, yet, this is promoted and pimped on us by celeb magazines as a “steamy soap opera.” And The Guardian incredibly called the movie, “brave” and “masterclass.” But, hey, if you use the concept of “cougars,” it’s a-okay, right? Yay, feminism!

Two Australian best friends from childhood (Robin Wright–the ex-Mrs. Sean Penn who does a crappy Aussie accent–and Naomi Watts) are now middle-aged women with gorgeous, barely legal, surfing Adonises, who are only 17 or 18. One (Watts) is a widow, and the other (Wright) is growing apart from her husband, who wants to move to Sydney. Both the women live on the Australian coast in fabulous houses and have fabulous jobs in addition to their fabulous, hunky sons (Xavier Samuel, James Frecheville). Soon, each finds herself having a sexual relationship with the other’s son. Ultimately, they end their warped sexual relationships with the two adonises–or do they?–when one of them falls for a girl his own age and decides to marry her.

This movie is so messed up, I cannot put it into words. But it draws you in with its glamour and unlikely symmetry of fabulous lives of the Australian well-to-do and the nice scenery–natural and human. But it’s still just sick. By the way, this “Fifty Shades of Greying Women Bleached Blonde” is based on a book called, “The Grandmothers .” (And I think one point of this movie is to show us that “grandmothers” Wright and Watts still have good enough bodies to sport bikinis and bed male teen hotties.)

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to know about any grandmas’ pedophiliac fantasies, and I don’t wanna see ‘em onscreen. There ain’t nothin’ “Adore”-able here. Not even close.

See, if only Ariel Castro had written a novel about his exploits and made a movie. And if only he and his captives were better looking, they’d have a movie, right? Yeah, that’s the ticket.

The West is now so warped that this is now “high-brow” cinema.


No comments: