Well, you can file this week’s release slate under Nobody Knows Anything”: The silly-looking Jim Carrey family comedy is more entertaining and engaging than the Ryan Reynolds superhero movie?
Honestly. I just don’t understand it. But there’s a far darker power in the universe than either “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” or “Green Lantern” this week, and it’s first up on the list.
“The Art of Getting By“: The price we pay for a brilliant, idiosyncratic cinematic breakthrough like “Rushmore” is that far less talented filmmakers think they can make a movie just like it. And maybe rip off “Annie Hall” too. I call bullshit on Gavin Wiesen’s attempt.
“Beautiful Boy“: Maria Bello and Michael Sheen are exceptionally well-paired as parents coping with grief and guilt after their college-age son commits a monstrous act. Shawn Ku directs them with considerable intelligence and restraint; I just wish his script had thrown a single curve ball at the story.
“Beginners”: I’m still trying to catch up to Mike Mills’ semiautobiographical family drama, which casts Ewan McGregor as a son reeling from the revelation that his recently widowed dad (Christopher Plummer) is gay. Susan‘s been high on it since TIFF, and the Oscar talk for Plummer has been a-building. So put me down as interested.
“Green Lantern“: In brightest day, in blackest night, the script could use one more rewrite. Let those who worship DC’s might beware their product — this Lantern’s light. On substance. Get it? Yeah, the filmmakers won’t either.
“Mr. Popper’s Penguins“: Yes, on some level it’s a distant echo of “Liar Liar”. But on another, more practical level, it’s a movie that remembers Jim Carrey is at his best when he’s surrounded by other funny things. And someone needs to give Ophelia Lovibond her own children’s franchise RIGHT NOW.
“True Legend”: Revered chop-socky filmmaker (and “Matrix” wire-fu wizard) Yuen Woo-Ping returns with this Hong Kong actioner about a famed 19th century general (Chiu Man-Cheuk) drawn back into battle when a rival steals his son. Andrew thinks it feels a little overloaded, but honestly from Yuen I’d expect nothing else.
There, that’s everything. And now, back to work.