Bifocal Reviews by Ageless1der, Barbara Rich & The Other Guy
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Identity Thief—Directed by Seth Gordon/ starring Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, John Cho, Clark Duke/screenplay written by Craig Mazin, from a story by Jerry Eeten and Craig Mazin/running time:111 mins /rated:R
Bifocal Review by Ageless1der Barbara Rich and The Other Guy
(B) Very easily this film could go directly to video. This is a movie you might see when you have nothing else of value to do. There are some scenes that were funny, but many more were just felt like jokes I had heard before. Bateman and McCarthy did what they did best and were very at home in their roles. However, I would like to see them step out of these molds and spread their wings a little. I liked the ending better than the beginning, and I like a funny, happy movie. So, I don’t want to discourage anyone from having a good laugh, but compared to the other films I’ve seen in a theater this year, I give it two out of FIVE binoculars. I’ve been lobbying for a change in our Binocular Scale, and four was never enough for me. So, from now on, the most possible is five and the least is what I call a monocle.
(OG) I wish I HAD missed this one. Really. My only laughs were out of desperation. When I go to a movie (and spend LOTS of money to get into the theater) I WANT to be entertained at a level that is somewhat equal to the time it took me to earn the cost of admission. I like both Bateman and McCarthy and the pairing should have yielded much more, in my opinion. They tried, they really tried, but neither one could save this turkey. I’ve seen some truly great films this year and I’ve seen some that were merely worth the price of admission, because I was entertained. This was neither of those, for me. I would have been very happy to catch parts of this on cable, sometime in the distant future, with the option to visit the fridge or bathroom while the movie ate up a couple of hours…because that’s where it should be headed...post haste. Since I’ve already spent too much on this film, one binocular and one monocle are all I can spare. Identity was not the only thing stolen by this unfunny film.
LIFE OF PI-- Directed by Ang Lee/Starring Suraj Sharma, Irfan Khan/screenplay by David Magee from a novel by Yann Martell/rated PG/126 mins
Bifocal Review by Ageless1der Barbara Rich and The Other Guy
(B) The special effects, obviously, were very impressive. It was an amazing feat for those extraordinary scenes that appeared to be out on the open ocean, but I knew were shot in a tank. As far as the story goes, I’m a skeptic, so I must see it to believe it. Nevertheless, this made for an enjoyable two hours, no matter what ending or purpose you choose. I was not as impressed as The Other Guy. I was glad when the ending came, rather than not wanting it to end. I felt like the point was made…it was enough already. How much starvation, eating what you catch, wild animals in a lifeboat, great photography can one person take? Also, because I don’t see out of my right eye well, I probably did not get as much out of the 3D as others. Out of FIVE binoculars, I give it a three.
(OG) Without question, this was the most enjoyable 3D experience I’ve ever had. Many times, I see the 3D aspect as an annoyance rather than an asset, but not here. Also, I am a sucker for a fable, a clear moral objective that makes the story in a film, a book, a poem, a metaphor for itself. This, for me, was a beautifully written, directed and performed fable which clearly stated its objective and then went about making its argument in a beautifully human manner, beyond country or culture. I don’t think that even the film’s producers realized that they would hit such a positive cord with the viewers based entirely on the value judgment that “what we chose to believe is just as important as what we can prove.” To illustrate, we present the original OFFICIAL trailer and the latest updated trailer below. As you can see, one stresses the visual aspects of the film and the new one presents what I feel is an equally strong point…the story that will, as the main character of the film puts it, ”make you believe in God.” I give this one a five out of five.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
AMOUR—French with English subtitles, written and directed by Michael Haneke/ Starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva with Isabelle Huppert/127 mins/PG13
Bifocal Review written by Ageless1der, Barbara Rich and The Other Guy
(B) Let me say that this film is not a “feel good” movie. The story is very sad, but it is about a very real part of life. The story takes you through the daily mundane, heartbreaking experience of a man caring for his wife of many years, after a stroke disables her. I considered the boring parts (as the other guy puts it) a plus for the director. These mundane moments let you experience the lifeless part of the husband’s dedication to his wife. The husband, played by Jean-Louis in essence loses his contented life as well, after his wife’s stroke. The wife, played by Emmanuelle Riva, was extraordinary in this role. I can’t say enough about the performances of both Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva. I must give kudos to the director as well, for keeping this story so real. I don’t like leaving a film feeling sad, but much credit is due to a film that is so well made that you can’t look away, even from the sad parts. I give it three binoculars.
(OG) This is a film that is as difficult to review, as it was to watch. I don’t want to tell people that it is a bad film, or to avoid it in any way, though I would be much happier had I never seen it. The acting was incredible. The story, as presented, was very real. However, I would be lying if I didn’t say that it was also incredibly boring for me in parts, and that I came away from viewing the film with an overall, negative feeling. That reaction may well be based as much on my own personal experiences with the subject matter, as with the film itself, but that’s what a review should ultimately be…a personal statement about ones impression with the work of art. The acting was superb and I just had one moment of confusion, at the end, when it seemed as if there was a meager attempt at a philosophical statement of some sort, though I couldn’t say exactly what that statement was. Barbara was able to appreciate this film more than I; I give it only two binoculars. I think a film experience requires, at least an attempt by the cast and crew to entertain. She might say that that attempt was made, but I disagree.
SIDE EFFECTS—directed by Steven Soderbergh/screenplay by Scott Z. Burns/Starring Rooney Mara, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta Jones/rated R/ 1hr46 min
Bifocal Review by Ageless1der, Barbara Rich and The Other Guy
(B) Side Effects is less about pharmaceuticals and more about the entanglement of characters. It started out a little slow, but eventually picked up to a decent pace. Rooney Mara was unrecognizable at first. Her look was dramatically different from her other films, like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, very soft and vulnerable. Having said that, her acting was riveting. Jude Law and Catherine Zeta Jones stepped out of their comfort zone and did a marvelous job. I won’t give away any of the story because the viewer will enjoy the film more by determining the outcome on their own. The twists and turns keep you guessing. I give this film two and a half binoculars.
(OG) I was so convinced that the woman I was seeing on the screen was NOT Rooney Mara, that I was 30 minutes into the film and couldn’t understand why Mara was given a star billing. Then, I closed my eyes and listened to the main character’s voice. I was amazed! What a great actor she is. She fit the character perfectly. There was a little too much attention given to the set-up of the plot for me to miss the fact that there were some tricks up the writer’s sleeves. I suspected the main “twist,” but was pleasantly surprised that there were several more plot turns to keep me intrigued. This was a very serviceable suspense thriller, in the tradition of Hitchcock. If you like a good old fashioned “who done it and will they get caught and punished” story, then you will not be disappointed, if you can get past a rather slow start. I think 2 and ½ binoculars is a fair assessment.