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Step Where The Law Abiding Wild Things Are

There is an unsettling, but common theme in each of this weekend’s major releases – they all involve tormenting children.  Whether it’s tie-wielding murderers, grieving psychos, or hairy beasts, kids are more likely to be scared than entertained by this week’s multiplex invaders.  First up, a child is murdered, which prompts the ex-spy father to kick some criminal ass in Law Abiding Citizen (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

law-abiding-citizen-poster

“”Law Abiding Citizen” is a sizzling hot thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.” Jolene MendezEntertainment Spectrum

I hope theater owners don’t take that as an invitation to shrink seat size.

“A smug, stupid, ridiculous, ham-fisted and morally and ethically reprehensible example of the crypto-fascist and ridiculously reactionary revenge genre that somehow manages to give such things a bad name.” Peter SobczynskieFilmCritic.com

Who knew the revenge genre is secretly pro-fascist?  It should go public, most people hate it anyway.

“There are movies that stretch credibility, there are movies that destroy credibility, and then there’s Law Abiding Citizen.” Matt Pais Metromix.com

Suddenly I’m afraid that Fox news might weaponize this film and use it against Obama.

“We’re supposed to be awed, but a more reasonable response is to giggle. How does a Kevlar tie kill? And if it can, why hasn’t the CIA sent a Kevlar scarf to Osama bin Laden?” Mark Jenkins NPR

Wow, this movie left the NPR guy calling for blood.  I wonder what it would do to me.

“Go anywhere near this idiotic thriller and your brain may break up with you.” Matt Pais Metromix.com

Got it.  I’ll go see something else.  How about a remake of a 1987 domestic thriller: The Stepfather (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic)?

stepfather-poster-0

“100 minutes of dopey behavior and filmmaking inanity wrapped up tight in a bland, gutless PG-13 wooby, taking a proven premise and watering it down to a parade of nonsense created only to tickle gullible teen audiences.” Brian OrndorfBrianOrndorf.com

If the film really is a PG-13 security blanket that tickles teens, it’ll find an audience.

“Comparing the original to this one is like comparing regular basketball to donkey basketball–a perfectly good thing has been needlessly “improved” by making everything bigger and dumber and by allowing a bunch of jackasses to dump all over it.” Peter Sobczynski eFilmCritic.com

If I wanted to watch Donkey Basketball, would I tune in to ESPN, Animal Planet, or MTV?

That's a tough question, he must be lost.

That's a tough question, he must be lost.

“The less said about this quickie slasher the better.” Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com

Got it.  Moving on.  The best comes last this week with Where The Wild Things Are (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

poster_where_the_wild_things_are

While WTWTA is less-likely to torment children compared to the other new releases, critics were divided on the narrative and emotional effects.  Compare this:

“What he’s (Jonze) ended up with strikes me as one of the most empathic and psychologically acute of all movies about childhood — a “Wizard of Oz” for the dysfunctional-family era.” LA Weekly Scott Foundas

With this:

“Jonze has produced a gorgeous $80 million Muppet Movie in the shape of an art film that will bore kids as much as it will depress adults.” Edward Douglas ComingSoon.net

Oh nostalgia

Oh nostalgia

While the general consensus is more “Oz” than “Muppet,” the people with strong emotional ties to the source material might want more assurances.

“With Where the Wild Things Are Jonze has made a work of art that stands up to its source and, in some instances, surpasses it.”  The New York Times Manohla Dargis

“…gets one thing crucially right about the 1963 Maurice Sendak picture book on which it’s based: Max, the young hero, is not a nice kid.” Josh Larsen LarsenOnFilm

The early buzz on this film was that studio executives were not happy with it and threatened to scrap the project.  My guess is they felt like this guy:

“The most daring thing that Jonze and Eggers have done is make a children’s film that might not really be for kids.” San Francisco Chronicle Mick LaSalle

And the execs were worried they couldn’t sell the movie to audiences.  However after seeing the preview, the subsequent hype, and now solid reviews, the moral of the story is that studio execs swing from unchecked optimism to irrational pessimism depending on when their creative project needs to make money.

“The title isn’t a question, but the movie provides an answer: Everywhere.” John Beifuss Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

If the title were a question, this would be the answer.

If the title were a question, this would be the answer.

“Spike Jonze has recently said in interviews that his chief goal …was to try to capture the feeling of being 9. By that measure–by just about any measure, really–he succeeded wildly.” The Onion (A.V. Club) Josh Modell

And this must be why kids shouldn’t see it.  Adults are transformed into 9-year-olds, which means 9-year-olds become zygotes.

“For all the artfulness, the feel of the film is rough-hewn, almost primitive. It’s a fabulous tree house of a movie.” New York Magazine David Edelstein

PDJ always wanted to live in a tree house

PDJ always wanted to live in a tree house

I dream of a tree house like this

I dream of a tree house like this

But I'd settle for this

But I'd settle for this

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2 Responses

  1. now them is some wild things

  2. Where The Wild Things Are is a home run.

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