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Friday, August 5, 2011

July Movie Reviews: Best and Worst

Time for the July Movie review. July was more difficult than June, I have to say. I had a clear favorite and least favorite in June, but July turned out to be murkier. (Not to mention I didn’t watch many to begin with).  But since it’s “best and worst movie I saw” and not “brilliant film I’d recommend to the masses” I suppose I can muster support for something in the Best Category. The worst was easier, although I cheated.

Best Movie I Saw in the Month of July: Five Fingers (2006)

It was by no means an amazing film and I’m not even sure I’d recommend it, but I liked the concept and construction. I put the pieces together pretty early, but that didn’t change my appreciation for the exploration of this dark subject.

A pianist (Ryan Phillippe) is captured and tortured for information by an unknown party.

The plot twists in several ways that kept my attention, even if at times some of the scenes were slightly awkward. Still, my only major complaint, as usual, was the ending which had a few scenes too many in my opinion. I keep imagining what a punch in the face the director could have achieved if he’d scrapped those last scenes and went to black after the initial “big reveal.” Instead, the movie had to explain and preach at the end which completely removed us from the film. Maybe that was the point. I don’t know, but explanations and preaching are usually a big turn off for me (see my review of “The Experiment”).

I typically don’t have much patience for these types of political statement films, but the construction of this one worked as an engaging movie as well and drew me to the end.

Worst Movie I saw in the Month of July: Just Married (2003)

Technically I’m not sure I can choose this one as my worst. The category is “worst movie I saw in the Month of July.” That probably means I should have seen it. Since I only got through five minutes of “Just Married,” I’m not sure that counts.

I like some romantic comedies. I’m not against the cheesy formula and fabricated chemistry. It can work and has its place if done well. There are plenty of “cute” films that have a high re-watchability factor and are great for a diverse audience viewing. Not everyone wants to sit through an acclaimed Czech drama at a party.

I also like Brittany Murphy and was sad when she passed. She was fantastic in “8 Mile” and even “Clueless,” among others. I’m also not on the bandwagon that can’t stand Ashton Kutcher as an actor. I think he fits the types of roles he typically plays. Pretty face, goofy character. Heck, I even liked “What Happens in Vegas” more than I should have. Certainly more than I thought I would.

The problem is, Rom-Coms are based entirely on chemistry. You already know the entire plot the second you see the preview. You’re not watching to use your brain and be amazed. It’s all about the comforting formula and suppressed attraction of the main characters. Kutcher and Cameron Diaz had in it Vegas. I didn’t sense any at all in the little I watched of “Just Married.”

Who knows, maybe the chemistry built later, but the opening sequence of shtick comedy just didn’t do much for me. In their first few flashback scenes together I didn’t find their interaction cute or funny. I didn’t like either character. Zero chemistry is the death blow for these things. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for silly, I don’t know. But after five minutes I decided I had better things to do.  

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