Read the OVERALL categories below, or click on the links to read the full TSR.
Directed by: Lasse Hallstrom Cast: Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried, Richard Jenkins, Henry Thomas Running Time: 2 hrs Rating: PG-13 Release Date: February 5, 2010
Under any other circumstances, I’d rail against Dear John. Not only that, I’d take potshots and low-blows at anyone who likes that sort of romantic insta-mash and I’d work myself into such an angry, self-righteous frenzy that I’d be flying high on my superiority for days on end. I went into the theater cracking my knuckles and putting on my warpaint. I was going to have so much twisted fun.
And then–GASP–it wasn’t actually that bad. It isn’t an Oscar winner by any stretch, but it presented likable, interesting people and a few very unique dynamics. It was more than palatable, it was enjoyable. And then it gradually imploded with a frustrating lack of self-awareness, ignoring important characters and plot lines and forgetting to reiterate passing time. When we don’t know if it’s been a day or a year, a character’s decision can seem straight out of crazy nowhere.
You have to read the book to know why certain characters did certain things, because the movie throws things at you without any explanation. It didn’t frustrate me, it didn’t irritate me, it didn’t make me angry; nor did it make me smile, sigh, blush, or titter like a schoolgirl. Dear John peters out with such an unspectacular flatline that I bet Mr. Sparks isn’t too pleased with the final product. No matter how much money you make off a deal, you never want to watch all the richness of your story gutted and bled out.
FINAL SCORE: 4/10
Directed by: John Hillcoat Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall Running Time: 1 hr 53 mins Rating: R Release Date: November 25, 2009
Bleakness. You’re going to get your fill taking The Road. This is depression made into a movie. Bullets are a luxury, so is a warm fire or a can of Coke. This is a dramatic, slow moving Mad Max with a kid along for the awful ride. With no crops or animals, Mortensen’s character must on one hand try to teach his child how to survive and also tell him how to pull the trigger with one of their two remaining bullets. There aren’t any social comparisons that can immediately relate to this post-apocalyptic story, unless you’re thinking about taking a bite out of the guy sitting next to you. It’s a survival tale, and The Road should be seen for those who want to keep carrying the fire.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10
Directed by: Dan Eckman Cast: Donald Glover, D. C. Pierson, Dominic Dierkes Running Time: 1 hr 40 mins Rating: R Release Date: January 15, 2010
Though not a great film, Mystery Team is really promising. There were a lot of kinks and they really needed someone with experience to come in and iron out the plot and punch up the jokes a little, but for a first film, which it was for almost the entire creative team, this went really well. I also really enjoyed Bobby Moynihan from “Saturday Night Live” playing Jordy, a convenience store clerk who’s also reliving his glory days. He’s been really growing on me on SNL and his performance in this was pretty good. These guys are kind of green, but give them a few years and they may be the next Will Ferrel or Seth Rogen.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10