CINEJABBER: Close but no Jack

Posted by · 9:16 am · November 6th, 2010

Catch up with the idea behind these weekend posts here.

What a coup it would have been if Jack Nicholson really was the first guest on “Conan.”  Shame on Movieline for not catching Andy Richter’s joke and getting my hopes up for the actor’s first talk show interview in nearly four decades.

Caught up with AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”  Narratively, familiar.  Aesthetically unique at times but I couldn’t settle into it.  It felt like there was no sense of pace.  And I’m getting pretty trigger happy on bailing on shows lately.

I need to catch up on docs.  A stack of them waiting for me when I can ever find the time.  It’s pitching season for publicity to say the least.

Speaking of which, coffee with Ben Affleck later today says Warner Bros. is swinging buzz on “The Town” back around and looking for opportunities to stay in the conversation leading up to the film’s DVD release.  After that, the season will have its say on the matter.

AFI Fest runs throughout the week.  I should try to catch up with a few titles but the boredom is setting in.  I always struggle for a second win around mid-November (a true sign the season is just too long).  Once Thanksgiving hits and all the films have been seen, that’s when it starts to perk up again.  Usually.

And not to be morbid, but I’m dreading a “number three” after George Hickenlooper and Jill Clayburgh.

Anyway before I go, remember last month’s Cinejabber column regarding old FYC ads?  Well, check this out.

Anyway, you know what to do.  Open thread.

[Photo: Ask Men]

→ 20 Comments Tags: , , , , , | Filed in: Cinejabber

20 responses so far

  • 1 11-06-2010 at 9:27 am

    red_wine said...

    Caught Scott Pilgrim on DVD. What a headache of a film!

  • 2 11-06-2010 at 9:44 am

    Hero said...

    For a completely random reason, I finally watched The Young Victoria for the first time two nights ago. It’s the kind of movie I really hate–it’s good, but could so easily have been really good or even great that my lasting impression is frustration.

  • 3 11-06-2010 at 10:18 am

    JJ1 said...

    I agree, Hero. That’s basically exactly how I feel.

  • 4 11-06-2010 at 10:21 am

    Patriotsfan said...

    I finally got around to seeing The Town and was kind of disappointed. It’s not a bad film, but it’s nothing special either. It felt like another stereo-typical action/drama that relied on a lot of the genre’s cliches.

  • 5 11-06-2010 at 10:21 am

    Graysmith said...

    Caught Due Date earlier this week. It’s no The Hangover, but I liked it well enough and laughed plenty enough to give it a thumbs up. A bit surprised it didn’t get more positive reviews, but then again The Hangover “only” got 79% on Rotten Tomatoes.

  • 6 11-06-2010 at 10:26 am

    Al said...

    You should read the Walking Dead comic. Its easily the best thing I’ve ever read. The show is a major disappointment.

  • 7 11-06-2010 at 10:32 am

    The Dude said...

    I actually thought “The Walking Dead” was quite good. Yes, most of what we saw had been done in other zombie movies, but considering it was just the pilot I thought it set up the continuing narrative quite nicely. I haven’t read the comic, though, so I can’t really compare it to the source material.

    Caught PTA’s “Hard Eight” last night. Really liked it. It was very interesting to see that, even though it was his first film, “Hard Eight” still contained a number of PTA’s trademark touches. It was the weakest of his films, but still very good.

  • 8 11-06-2010 at 10:40 am

    Michael said...

    I am blown away by the makeup effects and production design on The Walking Dead. I know its kinda weird but I find it to be extremely beautiful. With that said it felt like the show rambled on for an hour and a half and the actors were kinda lifeless (no pun intended.) I am gonna give it at least 2 more episodes and if it doesn’t perk up I will probably bail on it then.

    I could see how the excitement would be running thin for you and Guy and all the other Oscar prognosticators out there since you spend so much of the year bombarded with screenings and have to make sense of it all and everything that you write or say throughout the year, your audience has to take your word for b/c the majority haven’t even seen the films yet. For me this is the time when things finally start to get exciting, although that catch up period in January and February on the straggling highbrow films that down’t bow until the near year is always a stressful time. But that time period of the films being released during the Holidays is always an exciting time and the films on the slate for this year look pretty amazing.

    I have a question for anyone who may know – When does Black Swan open wide? From the information I can find it does not indicate if December 3rd is only going to be a limited release, although some sites have said that. I hope that film doesn’t take until January have a wide release, I would probably go crazy and/or drive up to NYC to see it if I had to wait that long…

  • 9 11-06-2010 at 11:07 am

    Joe said...

    I have a thread topic idea: movies (even this year’s contenders) that you are “supposed” to like, but just can’t get behind. Obviously, Guy and 127 Hours inspired this thought, but I was reminded again when I saw “Toy Story 3” for the second time last night. I gave it another try, because “Toy Story” is one of my very favorite films, and I thought maybe I missed something the first go-round. However, my reaction was much the same; it (along with UP) shows Pixar’s disturbing trend of replacing daring, character-based emotion with basic, surface-level sentiment. Don’t get me wrong; “Toy Story 3” was enjoyable and entertaining. But emotionally devastating on a deep level? No; it is (to me) precisely calculated to induce those very emotions. Now, I love emotional manipulation in a movie as much as the next guy, but it just seemed so forced in “Toy Story 3”. Would I give it a D+? No; more like a B/C (I’m a grading softie). But it’s a disappointment nonetheless.

  • 10 11-06-2010 at 12:31 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Good one, Joe. I like it. I would provide many a film in that topic, haha.

    On ‘Walking Dead’: I, too, found the production design and make-up to be superb.

  • 11 11-06-2010 at 1:44 pm

    Silencio said...

    Joe, I’d add “2001: A Space Odyssey” to that list. Just never got why it gets the place that it does. The friend that lent the dvd to me says I need to see it again. I’ve been trying, but it’s been 2 or 3 years of trying.

  • 12 11-06-2010 at 2:03 pm

    Eli said...

    *Spoiler alert for Winter’s Bone*

    I don’t know if anybody’s commented on this thus far, but isn’t it interesting and strange that Winter’s Bone and 127 Hours, two movies that have strong shots at Best Picture nominations, both feature somebody sawing off a hand/arm? I haven’t seen 127 Hours, but the parallel struck me as serendipitous, if nothing else.

  • 13 11-06-2010 at 2:24 pm

    red_wine said...

    “But emotionally devastating on a deep level? No”

    IMO Toy Story 3 is all kinds of devastating. It is probably the most moving and poignant film I’ve seen this year.

  • 14 11-06-2010 at 2:50 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Thank you, Silencio. I love Kubrick, honest to God. And 2001 does nothing for me.

  • 15 11-06-2010 at 4:48 pm

    Graysmith said...

    Joe, I’m a HUGE Pixar fanboy, and I have to say I was a bit disappointed in Toy Story 3 too. Though for me it’s probably not because it felt emotionally-forced (the ending is a killer) but just because the plot felt so overly contrived. It’s the typical sequel fallacy: “Bigger! More! Everything!”. The whole kindergarten as prison bit just didn’t work at all for me.

    Maybe part of me is also disappointed in their decision to retread. As much as I love the characters in Toy Story, I would much rather see them spending that time, energy and creativity making new, original ideas. Even if Toy Story 3 was no bottom-of-the-barrel movie, just knowing there’ll be a Cars 2 and Monsters, Inc. 2 in the coming years instead of something new.. Kind of disheartening.

    Cars 2 looks like it could be Pixar’s first flop. Probably not financially, but even the first film got by far more lukewarm reviews than their other films, and it remains a mystery why they would even bother doing a sequel to the one movie most people like the least. I do like Cars, but it so doesn’t deserve a sequel.

    Anyway, end Pixar rant.

  • 16 11-06-2010 at 6:36 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    I just got back from seeing For Colored Girls, and honestly….I’m not quite sure what to think about it. I do believe that it’s been unfairly hammered by the critics (the same people who are generally forgiving towards equally earnest but flawed movies about affluent white males), but I can’t deny that Tyler Perry just isn’t a very good director.

    I haven’t seen the play, but I could tell that a lot of the sequences were meant to be talked about in the abstract rather than displayed literally, and when you have more than a few supposedly high tension/emotional scenes come off as silly and elicit laughter from the entire audience, you’ve gone WAY off the rails. Perhaps the play could never have been properly adapted to film, or maybe someone more unconventional (like a Derek Jarman) would have been more appropriate. Either way, the result is definitely a mess. It also has its cheap Paul Haggis moments of dishonesty. I felt particularly angry about the “closure” of Yasmine’s story.

    And yet…all of the actresses were so great (Kimberly Elise *probably* being my favorite) and when Tyler Perry just points the camera at them and lets them strut their acting gifts, the film can and does shine. It’s ambitious, frustrating, admirable to a degree, and one I’m still mulling over. Anyone else see it, and do you have the same mixed feelings that I do about it?

  • 17 11-06-2010 at 8:16 pm

    Daniel said...

    Saw Robert Altman’s Images on account of Chad’s list. I liked it a lot – very effective with such a foreboding atmosphere.

    Also saw Spike Lee’s debut film, She’s Gotta Have It. I’m surprised it’s not tossed into the discussion of best directorial debuts more often – I was incredibly impressed with it.

  • 18 11-06-2010 at 11:27 pm

    Kevin K. said...

    Finally caught up with Winter’s Bone this week and I’m on the bandwagon. It’s very atmospheric, well-written, directed, and a star-making performance by Jennifer Lawrence, and a big comeback for John Hawkes, who damn near steals the show.

    Just got back from a long overdue second glance at The Town and I gotta say, it’s creeping into high places on my favorites of 2010. If a Best Picture nomination is in the cards, I’m totally on board with that.

  • 19 11-07-2010 at 1:12 pm

    Graysmith said...

    I thought the trailer for Unstoppable made it look like the most generic, straight-to-video action movie crap you can come up with.. But it appears both THR and Variety are “on board” for it:

    “The best blue collar action movie in who knows how long, this tense, narrowly focused thriller about a runaway freight train has a lean and pure simplicity to it that is satisfying in and of itself.” — THR

    “Given the linear, one-track nature of the plot, Scott and Bomback prove surprisingly effective at delivering a well-rounded experience, going out of their way to fill in the personalities of their two leads.” — Variety

    My interest in seeing this in theaters went from “no way” to “maybe”.

  • 20 11-07-2010 at 5:21 pm

    MovieMan said...

    “Due Date” was better than “The Hangover,” but still a trite retread of what made “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” one of the great comedies of the last quarter decade.

    “Unstoppable” is a very enjoyable bit of popcorn entertainment. Sure, it’s cliched, but the train is the star, and anything involving it really sparks and sizzles.

    I saw “Megamind” a couple of weeks ago. I don’t think it changes the world, and the 3D is utilized horribly, but my God, that movie is SO funny. And the action scenes are really, truly thrilling.