Slowing Down Some

Wait, I need a VicodinThe Christmas weekend is Hollywood’s busiest frame of the year, as almost everyone goes to the movies. Except me, that is; having already seen everything, I probably won’t be back in the megaplex until the new year.

It’s kind of a mixed blessing, usually … though it’s a little less mixed this year, since all of the 2009 Christmas Day offerings are disappointing in one way or another. Don’t believe me? Read on.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus“: Terry Gilliam doesn’t make movies any more; he makes overstuffed art exhibitions. This one — set partially in a filthy contemporary London and partially in a magical alternate realm where immortal showmen battle the Devil for the souls of their audience — proves so jammed with fancy that it’s ultimately incoherent. Christopher Plummer’s great, though.

“It’s Complicated”: Nancy Meyers’ latest exercise in middle-aged wish fulfillment and home-furnishing porn is a step up from the utterly insipid construction of “Something’s Gotta Give” and “The Holiday”, but only because Alec Baldwin is so good at not giving a shit as Meryl Streep’s still-randy ex. So it’s got that going for it.

“Nine”: In which Rob “Chicago” Marshall once again demonstrates his utter lack of big-screen vision, turning a hokey stage adaptation of Fellini’s “8 1/2” into another frantic, obnoxious Fosse pastiche, spinning an all-star cast through empty paces while missing the point of every scene.

Sherlock Holmes“: In which Guy Ritchie turns Conan Doyle’s master deducer into a brawling, badass man of action, played by an ill-cast Robert Downey, Jr. (Hey, I love the guy, but he’s just a bad fit.) Jude Law makes a surprisingly sturdy Watson, however; maybe he can take center stage in the next one.

And that’s all of it — the last movies opening this calendar year. I do believe I’ll have a nap now.