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The weekend that Hollywood forgot

For the last few weeks the multiplexes have been bursting with the money-makers and the award-coveters that normally populate the holidays, however the release schedule for first official weekend of the new decade is emptier than the space beneath people’s Christmas trees.  Sure, there are a pair of historical dramas available in art houses, but other than that, your film choices are the same as last year. It’s leftovers and football to kick off the decade.

First up, a black and white film about a village in Germany caught up in the turmoil surrounding World War uppercase I: The White Ribbon (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

“Haneke’s latest is essentially an inquiry into the roots of a certain kind of evil.” The Onion (A.V. Club) Keith Phipps

Are we talking about hangovers?

“The White Ribbon is one of the finest films that ever repelled me, a holiday in the abyss.” New York Post Kyle Smith

I holidayed in the abyss as well, but my trip wasn't repulsive.

“Chill to the core, Haneke presents human cruelty not to make us empathize with the victims or understand the oppressors but to rub our noses in the crimes of our species. He thinks he’s held on to the subversive ideals of punk, but all I smell is skunk.” New York Magazine David Edelstein

If the movie desires to rub our noses in the worst crimes of our species, I’m glad they stink.   However, I’m not sure I could tell difference between skunk and an unshowered punk band.

“This haunting film never pushes itself on you. It trusts you to suss out the horror that lies beneath the veneer of innocence. You’ll be knocked for a loop…Don’t let anyone tell you too much about this spellbinder from Austrian writer-director Michael Haneke.” Rolling Stone Peter Travers

While I’m tempted to end there, it’s unlikely that I’ll ever see this movie so I can’t help but peek behind the spoiler curtain.  What’s the end result?

“The message of this disturbing, nihilistic film is that we’re all Nazis at heart.” Toby Young Times [UK]

And suddenly I need another beer.  Hopefully our second historical film isn’t quite as bleak: Loss of a Teardrop Diamond (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

Based on a previously unproduced screenplay from Tennessee Williams, the film follows a Southern heiress in 1920’s Memphis as she struggles with dating in high society and, if the title is to be trusted, jewel thieves.

“The story is a sketchy, dramatically muddled rumination on familiar Williams themes about the Old South and its brave, beautiful, rebellion women always on the brink of love, suicide or madness.” The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

I take it back, it sounds like Tennessee’s women need a beer even more.

“With an ending as lovely as her attractive leads, Loss of a Teardrop Diamond is a Golden Age Hollywood-inspired nostalgia trip, but one worth taking.” Steve Ramos Boxoffice Magazine

I can think of plenty of movies where I wish the ending were as attractive as the leads.

Exhibit A

“It’s not just that director Jodie Markell is no Kazan (though really, who is?) or that the dreary, dully handsome Chris Evans — even playing a blank-slate beau hunk seems beyond his capabilities — is the anti-Dean.” David Fear Time Out New York

Is there anything more anti-Dean than this?

“If Markell’s instincts for script exhumation are questionable, she’s the victim of even worse timing: Who thought releasing her film 10 days after Liv Ullmann and Cate Blanchett’s praised-to-the-high-heavens “A Streetcar Named Desire” closed was a good idea?” Village Voice Melissa Anderson

Probably someone who doesn’t live in the big apple.  Seriously, do some New York reviewers know there is a world outside Manhattan?

“A Southern melodrama from an unproduced screenplay by Tennessee Williams that should have stayed unproduced.” Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat Spirituality and Practice

PDJ should have left a few of last night's beer undrunk.

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2 Responses

  1. Other movies where the leads were more attractive than the endings:

    Men at Work
    3:10 to Yuma

  2. Other movies where the leads were more attractive than the endings:

    Terminator 3
    Se7en

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