Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)

I’m not going to sugar-coat this one: movies like Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close make me want to not watch movies anymore.  It’s such a transparently obvious Oscar-bait film that it enrages and frustrates me no end.  There are great stories to be told, and remarkably inventive ways to tell them, even ones that touch on such tragic events as 9/11, but this is not the way to tell them.  For further examples of this, see Remember Me.  Actually, don’t.  Movies that use 9/11 as a tragic plot device should not be allowed to be made, let alone seen.

I don’t have anything else to say about this movie, other than I hated the child actor Thomas Horn so much by the end of the movie that I wish something terrible would happen to him by the end.  His performance was remarkably grating and terrifically annoying, which is odd because director Stephen Daldry got such an amazing performance out of Jamie Bell at a young age in Billy Elliot.  Massive dislike for this movie.

1 / 5


The Ides of March (2011)

Ever since I was first turned on to “The West Wing”, I’ve had an interest in well-written American political movies.  Much like my adoration of baseball movies, this interest does not translate over into day-to-day life as I’m more apolitical than anything.  Or apocalyptic.  Something.  Anyways, I enjoy both George Clooney and Ryan Gosling and had intended on seeing this movie no matter what it was about, so I purposely did no research at all and went in blind.

Governor Mike Morris (Clooney) is pretty much the Barack Obama of this political thriller, a charismatic and popular and different choice for the American people.  He has two of the brightest campaign managers working to get the Democratic nomination for him, the veteran Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and the idealistic Stephen Meyers (Gosling).  Through an interaction with the opposing Democratic candidate’s campaign manager, Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti), Stephen ends up playing a high stakes political game to salvage his young career.

Clooney also directed the movie, as well as helping with the screenplay which itself is an adaptation of the play “Farragut North” by fellow screenplay writer Beau Willimon.  Clooney appears to direct a movie every three years, and while this isn’t his best so far (that would be Good Night, and Good Luck.) it’s also not his worst (Leatherheads which I still enjoyed).  For the most part it’s an intriguing look into the backrooms of politicians, probably making them far more interesting than they actually are.  Pretty much what Aaron Sorkin did with “The West Wing”.  It’s well acted, well shot, well written, a solid movie all around, just lacking something that I can’t place my finger on right now.

Might as well call this blog Clooneymovieaday at this point.

4 / 5

Source Code (2011)

I liked it, but with reservations.  It was engaging, had an interesting story, tremendous actors all around, and it kept me thinking.  I do not like the gaping plot hole that is basically explained as “Oh hey, you guys were wrong, it’s so much more powerful than you thought.”  3.5 / 5

This is going to be my first (and most likely last) attempt at a running commentary for a movie I’m watching.  So there will be SPOILERS.

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Ali (2001)

I was going to do this wonderfully clever and (hopefully) hilarious send-up of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song lyrics but CHANGED to reflect the life of Muhammad Ali as portrayed by Will Smith in the Michael Mann-directed biopic but instead I said “no, I don’t wanna.”  Mostly because the movie wasn’t THAT inspiring to me.  It did inspire me to track down When We Were Kings which I’ll be getting to in several days, but not to rewrite a classic TV theme song.

Yes, I liked it, but only marginally more than I did Beastly which I was mostly indifferent to, but more surprised by the fact that I didn’t hate it.  Am I damning Ali with faint praise?  Sure, why not.  The acting was quite good all around, and after seeing Kings, I think I was even more impressed by Smith’s acting in this movie.  But again, he’s like Tom Cruise.  Any “acting” you seem to get from them, you kinda view as the most disingenuous acting of all.  Sure, it might be a perfect impersonation or whatever, but it rings hollow, whereas a guy like Ryan Gosling can embody these characters.  I am probably not explaining it in the best ways, but there it is nonetheless.  Jon Voight was top fuckin’ notch as Howard Cosell though.  And if anything, this movie has also made me want to watch Malcolm X because Mario Van Peebles was goddamn engaging dammit.  Solid film, if ultimately unsatisfying.

3.5 / 5

Some more information is available to you , you just need to Wiki it and then IMDb it.