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Ghost Tears Shut Island

It appears to have happened.  The first (arguably) ‘good’ movies of 2010 are here, and Celine: Through the Eyes of the World isn’t one of them, just in case you were wondering.  Instead, this is the first weekend where most of the releases range from ‘mediocre’ to ‘pretty decent.’  Horray for progress!  The coming weeks of spring will bring us buddy cop comedy (Cop Out), remake horror (The Crazies), and whimsical 3D adventure (Alice In Wonderland), but this week’s turn towards quality begins with a pair of thrillers from famous directors and a half-animated dramedy.  Since you have to wait for ‘not terrible’ to become the new ‘average,’ we begin with the movie most likely to appear in your local multiplex.

Martin Scorsese directs Leonardo DiCaprio as a federal marshal who investigates an insane asylum, but ends up experiencing some haunting visions in Shutter Island (Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic).

“The spirit of Alfred Hitchcock is clearly alive and well, and is currently residing in Martin Scorsese’s latest film, Shutter Island.” Wendy Ide Times [UK]

Holy crap, the movie is haunted by the ghost of Alfred Hitchcock?!?  I wonder if my roundup title needed a spoiler warning.

“The work of a master at his height. This is Scorsese flexing his muscles and cracking his knuckles and making a movie that’s intense and thrilling and engrossing and beautiful and dense.” Devin Faraci CHUD

Do you really like using ‘and’ or does CHUD stand for Commas Hurt Understanding Dude?

“The plot doesn’t so much thicken as curdle with every heebie-jeebie encounter — we’ve taken a U-turn at the terrific Cape Fear and wound up at Cape Folly.” Tim Robey Daily Telegraph

So the name of the game is making tame insults out of Scorsese movies.  Did you consider a similar joke about how the American remake of Infernal Affairs (The Departed) should have been Deported?  Or that Taxi Driver is Taxi Drivel?  Perhaps this whole idea is just Raging Bullshit.

Wii all love Scorsese

“A remarkable high-wire act, performed without a net and exploiting all the accumulated skills of a consummate artist. It dazzles and provokes. But since when did Scorsese become a circus performer?” Kirk Honeycutt Hollywood Reporter

You state that he does a high-wire act without a net, then ask when he became a circus performer?  My guess: When you labeled him one.  Also, making flimsy connections then asking goofy rhetorical questions is my shtick.  Back off.

“Martin Scorsese’s sure hand directs this thriller with the precision of a brain surgeon and the grace of an artist.” Andrew L. Urban Urban Cinefile

That must be nice.  I write with the precision of an A-Team villain and the grace of a drunk elephant.  And speaking of writers, our next film examines what happens when an author is given the task of chronicling a dubious politician’s life in Roman Polanski’s Ghost Writer (Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic).

“A stylish, precise salute to Hitchcock’s thrillers but still bearing all the hallmarks of Roman Polanski’s distinctive style.” Fionnuala Halligan Screen International

Back-to-back Hitchcock references?  I think he just rolled over in his grave.  However, given his resume, he probably did it to creep us out.

“Ghost Writer suggests a game of chess played delicately and with great precision.” Ed Gonzalez Slant Magazine

“All credit to a finely tuned Brosnan for packing so much intensity and wayward wit into his scenes with McGregor. Their verbal duels make for a dazzling game of cat-and-mouse.” Rolling Stone Peter Travers

In case you were wondering, I play both chess and cat-and-mouse like a drunk elephant.

But I doubt I'm as cute as this wobbly pachyderm

“What the picture most needed was a complete cinematic rethink and, yes, even some action to move it along.” Variety Derek Elley

All it needed to do to achieve success was start over and blow something up.

“As with most political thrillers, The Ghost Writer emphasizes plot development and atmosphere over action. It’s an “adult” thriller as opposed to one designed for viewers suffering from ADD.” ReelViews James Berardinelli

Who are these ADD audiences that you are ooh curse word coming up.

“Saved by often delightfully bitchy British dialogue.” Village Voice Nicolas Rapold

Do Brits ever praise American writers for their delightfully bitchy American dialogue?  Is it the accent that makes it delightful?  What does witty dialogue save a political thriller from?  Perhaps these questions can be answered by the psychedelic family dramedy Happy Tears (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

As the poster implies, this movie blends live action and animation as it explores the childhood memories of the two female protagonists (Demi Moore and Parker Posey) who return home to deal with their aging father (Rip Torn).

“Realism falls victim to quirk yet again.” Matt Pais Metromix.com

Quirk kills realism?  If that’s a never-ending battle, I figure realism has an upper hand just because death is real.  It seems like quirk would paint flowers on realism’s face then dance around before disappearing in a puff of smoke.

“A contradictory creature, both insightful and dumb, sometimes innovative and sometimes just plain inept. Dreamy, funny but also weirdly disjointed, it’s as if the very film itself were stoned, just like its two pot-smoking sister protags.”  Variety Leslie Felperin

I didn’t know a movie could get stoned.  That could be a frightening concept if it got munchies and tried to eat the audience.  Woah.  How is that not a movie already?

“Lichtenstein dutifully unpacks the family’s unhappy past, but he’s so easily distracted by surreal dream sequences and colorful supporting characters that his main story gradually dries up into a sitcom.” J. R. Jones Chicago Reader

Perhaps it’s good that the main story takes a back seat to quirkiness, especially if the story isn’t as interesting as the pot-smoking psychedelic weirdness.

Who prefers weird to routine - Show of hands?

“Happy Tears is a complete mess of a movie, but Lichtenstein conjures some sweet moments and striking metaphors — and none more striking than Posey’s $500 boots, which look either black or blue, given the available light.” Noel Murray AV Club

It’s a mess, but did you see those boots?  When the reviewers reduce the entire movie down to the fashion of a particular scene, it’s time to move towards wrapping this up and getting on with our weekends.  Final word?

“Continuing both his bad filmmaking and obsession with lethal orifices, Mitchell Lichtenstein follows up “Teeth,” his clumsy debut about a dismembering vagina, with a voluminous explosion of poop.” Village Voice Melissa Anderson

PDJ guarantees all of his orifices are non-lethal

One Response

  1. Your CHUD joke totally made me lol.

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