24 07 2010

Atom Egoyan’s “Chloe” is no fantasy, but it does ask us to suspend reality a little bit.  The movie forces us to believe that normally sweet, innocent Amanda Seyfried can be an obsessive nymphomaniac and normally steadfast, noble Liam Neeson can be a philandering husband.

Take a deep breath.  It’s hard to imagine these actors playing so against type, isn’t it?  The shock value from seeing them be so bad adds to the overall shock value of the movie, which is one of the few things it has going in its favor.  Overall, it’s a fairly predictable movie that still manages to unsettle you thanks to its graphic descriptions of sexual behavior and the psychotic Benjamin Braddock character that is Amanda Seyfried’s Chloe.

Chloe is a master of seduction, using the persuasive power of her good looks to take full control of everyone she comes into contact with.  This includes gynecologist Catherine Stewart (Julianne Moore), who has become convinced that her husband (Neeson) is cheating on her.  She hires Chloe to test his waters and see how far he will go, but she soon finds out that she is in for way more than she asked.  The assignment only proves to feed Chloe’s purely carnal desires, and she will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

The movie is most notable for Seyfried’s turn, which is such a departure from her lighter roles that it will leave you completely awe-struck.  She proves that she can do more than just fluff like Nicholas Sparks adaptations and campy ABBA musicals, and I’m sure excited to welcome her into the realm of real acting.  Julianne Moore goes through the movie in cruise control, but that’s still enough for one of the finest actresses of our time to be compelling.  And then there’s Liam Neeson, who’s hardly in the movie long enough to sully our views of him as such an honorable man.

Really, the movie’s biggest flaw is it’s obsession with shocking us.  There comes a certain point when it becomes overkill, and then the audience learns to anticipate it, rendering any power it might have completely useless.  So by the end of “Chloe,” when the final twists come into place and Chloe commits her most shocking deeds yet, it really doesn’t mean anything to us.  B /

What To Look Forward To in … March 2010

12 02 2010

There’s more to March than just the Oscars.  Finally, March arrives and we can stop dwelling on 2009.  In my opinion, March is usually a pretty decent movie month.  This year’s crop looks especially promising with new movies from Tim Burton, Paul Greengrass (“The Bourne Ultimatum”), and Noah Baumbach (“The Squid and the Whale”).

March 5

After almost 3 months, “Avatar” will have to cede those illustrious 3-D and IMAX screens to Tim Burton’s twist on “Alice in Wonderland.”  The titular character is played by relative newcomer Mia Wasikowsa, who will look quite a bit older than the Alice you remember from Disney’s 1951 animated classic.  If that’s not a big enough draw for you, surely Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter (who will hopefully channel more of his glorious Jack Sparrow than his Jacko-esque Willy Wonka) will suffice.  No?  How about Helena Bonham Carter as the Queen of Hearts?  Or Anne Hathaway as the White Queen?  Perhaps Alan Rickman as the Caterpillar?  No doubt about it, this is one exciting cast, and I’m sure Tim Burton won’t have any problem distinguishing himself from the numerous “Alice in Wonderland” rip-offs that have sprouted over the past few years.

“Brooklyn’s Finest” is directed by Antoine Fuqua, helmer of “Training Day,” which was enough to get me interested.  However, it really looks to be little more than a mash-up of every cop movie ever made.  But hey, that may be your thing, which would make this your potpourri.

March 12

I’m excited for “Green Zone,” which looks to be a smart political thriller. See my previous post at the release of the trailer for more info.

On the indie side of things, Noah Baumbach looks to return to Oscar form after “Margot at the Wedding” underwhelmed with “Greenberg.”  The movie stars Ben Stiller as Greenberg, the grouchy misanthrope who finds a reason to be pessimistic about everything.  However, a special woman comes along and begins to melt his heart.  I’m looking forward to a double-edged performance from Stiller, one that can show off his dramatic chops but also give us plenty of hearty laughs.

Seth Rogen’s four roommates in “Knocked Up” were equally as funny as he was. Each of them have slowly gotten their “moment”: Jonah Hill in “Superbad,” Jason Segel in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” Now, it could be Jay Baruchel’s turn. “She’s Out of My League” pits him similar situation: the uncomely guy getting the smoking hot babe. Hopefully Paramount gives this the push it deserves, maybe making Baruchel a breakout comedic star of 2010.

Could “Remember Me” get Robert Pattinson the Razzie for Worst Actor? After narrowly missing the cut for his two performances as Edward Cullen, this could finally be the one to get him the kind of awards attention he deserves.

Forest Whitaker is an Academy Award winning actor. What on earth is he doing in “Our Family Wedding?” For that matter, America Ferrera has won SAG and Golden Globe awards, and Carlos Mencia was once actually funny! This looks not only insufferable but almost racist. Plus, didn’t I see this movie in 2005 when it was called “Guess Who?”

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