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Mr. Turner (2014)

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Mr Turner box image

Mr. Turner

An exploration of the last quarter century of the great, if eccentric, British painter J.M.W. Turner’s life.

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It’s been a while since I shared a movie review, but this one moved me so much I just had to log on to spare you from ever, ever watching it. I am amazed I made it through the 2 1/2 hours – yes, 2 hours and 30 minutes – but I’m no quitter.

I had such high hopes after seeing the trailer on one of our other recent DVD picks. Timothy Spall, usually a reliable strong point in a movie, is here reduced to little more grunting, mumbling…and occasionally something that sounds like a wild boar being strangled. The affectations that worked for Billy Bob Thorton in Sling Blade, which were poorly echoed by Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain, are nothing but an additional annoyance here – and a hindrance to any chance of storytelling. Assuming there was even a story to be told.

The movie, ostensibly based of JMW Turner’s life, gives us little relief from horrible people, living horrible lives, doing horrible things, making horrible decisions. Even the paintings don’t give us a lift from the oppressive tedium. If not for Marion Bailey as the chipper Mrs Booth there would have been no lightness at all.

There is literally no one in my circle to whom I would recommend this flick.
Though the critics seem to like it (can’t imagine why) the audience seems more in line with me – fun to read their reviews, as well.


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 98%; Audience 57%
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The Women (2008)

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The Women

The Women

A wealthy New Yorker leaves her cheating husband and bonds with other society women at a resort.*

 
This was another movie I never intended to see. But, it was on …

First, the glaring issue running throughout the film – it is a cautionary tale about bad plastic surgery. Several of the women in this cast were, at one time, considered attractive to some degree. Unable or unwilling to age gracefully, they have undergone procedures that have turned them into caricatures. Scary, rubber-faced caricatures.

Now, to the film itself – also a scary caricature…of the far superior movie it claims to update.

  • Meg Ryan plays Mary Haines as a ditsy, uninvolved, overwhelmed mother. It’s hard to feel any empathy for her, which makes the story arc a tough sell, indeed.
  • Annette Bening is a grating Sylvie Fowler, a poor echo of the positively caustic Sylvia from the other versions.
  • Eva Mendes‘s Crystal Allen seems barely appealing enough for a one-night stand, let alone worth leaving your family for (except that Meg Ryan plays the wife as ridiculously unappealing, too)
  • Debra Messing is Edie Cohen, playing her as a schlumpy, goofy earth-mother. Hard to believe how Messing could become even less appealing than she has been in other projects, but she managed it here.
  • Jada Pinkett Smith, always grating, is cast as butch-Lesbian Alex Fisher. Oddly, hers is one of the least irritating characters in the film (which isn’t really saying much with this script)
  • Bette Midler is cast as Leah Miller, an apparent fill-in for Countess De Lave who, in the original, was both amusing and pivotal. Midler’s character has no purpose in this film. Her inclusion, in fact, was so odd I’d have thought it was spliced in from a different movie if she hadn’t dropped the name “Buck Winston” (the cowhand who wooed Countess De Lave). If they weren’t including the rest of her story-line, there was no reason to have her at all.

The list goes on – and on – and on. I could go through the entire awful cast, the awful butchered script, the bland direction, the ridiculous ending.

Unless you are in the mood for a glaring example of how not to remake a classic, avoid this one.

* This description is from IMDB for this remake, but it describes the original. The divorce resort is not a part of the 2008 version.


The Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 13%; Audience 41%

Friends With Money (2006)

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Friends With Money

A drama about three married women, their husbands, and their lone single friend.

This movie is every bit as exciting as that tagline makes it sound – yawn

I found this review by Tony Medley that sums it up nicely, though the film apparently kept his attention more than it did mine. Besides the criticisms he mentions, I found the story to be tedious, boring, monotonous, characterless, cloying, colorless, drab, dull, humdrum, insipid, prosaic, routine, spiritless, stale, stereotyped, stupid, tiresome, trite, unexciting, vapid…..


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 71%; Audience 37%

Burn The Floor (1999)

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Burn the Floor

Burn The Floor

This is exactly the kind of thing I should love; dancing, music, big production. Unfortunately, the dancing is mediocre, the music is tired, the productions are pointless.

The choreography was about on par with what you would find in a high school production, particularly one where they are intent on keeping all the students on stage the whole time.

The costuming was trying way too hard to be ‘hip’ – as if they figured making it edgy would make it artistic.

I can’t give this anything on the WOM Scale; my friends that like dancing and classical music would be turned of by the edginess, my friends who like edgy would not be interested in the dancing and music…..


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics N/A; Audience 78%

Bewitched (2005)

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Bewitched

Thinking he can overshadow an unknown actress in the part, an egocentric actor unknowingly gets a witch cast in an upcoming television remake of the classic show “Bewitched”.

I just got done watching this crap, which I wanted to see since my friend worked on it and Lori & I visited the set.

Man did it suck!

I don’t think the casting was bad, though Steve Carrell was quite disappointing as Uncle Arthur (and I like Steve Carrell). Nicole Kidman is physically a great choice to play Samantha, Will Ferrell was fine, Michael Caine was charming – even Shirley MacClaine was tolerable.

Unfortunately the script was pathetic. Soooo, so bad. I had a feeling it might stink when I heard it was a Nora Ephron endeavor (in fact, I heard that when we were on set and let out an audible “Ech!” – oops) I figured she didn’t have the chops to pull it off and I was right. It was such a great show, with so many fun episodes to choose from – why they decided to try this tactic is beyond me. Movie in a movie is very tricky and rarely successful.

And the soundtrack – who picked these tunes? I mean, they were fine tunes and the CD may be great, but most were completely out of place and distracting in this movie.

UPDATE: Ouch
Production budget – $80,000,000
Total US Gross – $62,252,415

 

UPDATE: Seems that Reilly agrees, though she is perhaps not quite as vehement as I was.


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 25%; Audience 34%

Boogeyman (2005)

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Boogeyman

I had some time to kill this evening (and kill it I did) since SG had other plans. I got Boogeyman from my Blockbuster Online account a couple days ago. Now, I don’t remember putting it in my queue, but I imagine I must have seen it in the “Coming Soon” section and just clicked it – I like creepy movies.

Anyway, I have a friend I haven’t seen for a while and she was up for it so after I ate dinner I went to her house and we watched it. All of it – which was no easy feat! To say this movie sucked would be an insult to all other things which have ever sucked. It wasn’t even in the realm of funny bad – just boring bad. She kept trying to get me to turn it off, suggesting other thing that might be on, rattling off the movies in her collection.

No way, I’m no quitter – and surely they had to put something interesting in there, right? Wrong…so, so wrong. So predictable all the way through, so snooze-worthy.

I have an excuse, I wasn’t warned. You, on the other hand, have been warned. Don’t come whining to me if you take it upon yourselves to try and sit through it. I did my part.

UPDATE: I originally forgot to include my Word of Mouth scale rating. I designed it to reflect how likely I am to recommend a movie to my family and friends. I will definitely tell any of them I think likely to be curious about this movie – advising them strongly to stay away. Unfortunately, I didn’t design it to allow negative numbers, so zero out of five will have to do….


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 13%; Audience 38%