M.K.: Greatest title/subtitle pun in the history of cinema? Serious question.
Because I was forced to watch this entire film on a plane, you must watch this clip. Really, you must. It is 19 seconds long, and it divulges the secrets of the universe.
K.H.: In this movie, Nicole Kidman pees on Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey requests a gang bang, and John Cusack masturbates in front of all three of them when they come to visit him in prison. I know, I thought it might be pretty good, too. But Lee Daniels’s follow-up to Precious, about Everglades criminals and the journalists who love them, turns out to be as trashy as its characters and as tonally blurred as a Florida horizon in the Gothic summer of ’69. “Pure camp,” Michael Schulman argues hopefully at the New Yorker’s Culture Desk. Maybe. But did I mention the alligator gutting? Or that Macy Gray is the least annoying person on the screen? Ladies and gentlemen, the worst movie of 2012.
M.K.: She didn't see Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.
48. To Rome With Love
K.H.: Poor Rome. Woody Allen has done so well by London, Barcelona, and Paris in recent years, but this one was not meant to be. Possibly The Eternal City was still smarting from its recent brush with Josh Duhamel and Kristen Bell. Possibly Fellini’s ghost jealously ate the real script. Whatever happened, this movie didn’t. Alec Baldwin is somehow not funny; Jesse Eisenberg and Ellen Page are charming to no one, not even, I suspect, themselves; and the tired joke about the incomprehensible way Romans give directions only made me feel sad. Sorry, Woody, you can’t win ’em all, especially when the boom drops (twice) in a single scene. The sweet life, this is not.
K.H.: Oh, Tom Hardy, how tragic your fall! Your luscious lips from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy have grown no thinner, but the same cannot be said for your oddly sweaty hair. Gone are the marvelous jackets of Inception; here to stay (I fear) is Warrior’s turbo neck and manic turtle stride. If I were Reese Witherspoon, forced to totter around in impossible heels, dance in my underwear to Montell Jordan, and reinforce reactionary ideas about family and female sexuality, I might have to choose Chris Pine, too.
M.K.: In this film, CIA agent Chris Pine threatens to torture a prisoner with some kind of wrench, and CIA agent Tom Hardy shoots a drone out of the sky. Who says Hollywood is afraid to tackle the big issues!? Torture and drones! Ha-ha.
M.K.: As several critics have noted, the success of this movie, in which the gang from American Pie returns home for a high school reunion, means that we are almost certain to be subjected to an entire lifetime of indelible American episodes: American Wedding, American Reunion, American Parents, American Cellulite, American Credit Card Debt, and so on, with Jason Biggs, Tara Reid, and the rest lighting the way to dusty death sometime in the latter part of this century. It is some consolation to know that in our sunset years, my generation will not be left alone to contend with the cruel erosions and savage finalities so powerfully sketched by Michael Haneke in Amour. We will be joined by an eighty-something Seann William Scott, pooping into a cooler of beer and gesturing to his bros.
Among the many unsurprising developments in this edition: Chris Klein takes his shirt off, and has muscles; Jason Biggs masturbates; Eddie Kaye Thomas and Thomas Ian Nichols, despite their abundance of names, were not too busy with other projects to reprise "Finch" and "Kevin"; Tara Reid seems deeply sad, and for good reason; Eugene Levy is not funny, not even once.
M.K.: Helen Mirren is genuinely good in this movie, because Helen Miren is good in every movie, no matter how flaccid or inessential. She's not in nearly enough crap to enter the Neeson/Sutherland/Cage zone of towering achievement amid utter bullshit, but this is a strong showing. Diane Keaton and Robert DeNiro, are you listening? No, I guess you're not.
Anthony Hopkins, meanwhile, is just a rotten leg of ham, attracting flies in the late afternoon sun. If the entirety of his performance had been reduced to that ubiquitous anti-cell phone spot in movie theaters-- "...sincerely and emphatically, Alf-fred Hitch-cock" -- it might have contained some charm. But it doesn't last 9 minutes, let alone 90.
K.H.: You wake up from a coma. You can’t remember a thing. Channing Tatum is being really nice to you and everyone says you’re his wife. Seriously, this is an inherently conflictless premise, and no amount of frightened rabbit blinks from Rachel McAdams or soulful pouting from Tatum can create drama that I can believe—whether it happened in real life or not.
M.K.: N.B.: The first of the year's five Tatum flicks. Yes, that's fully 10% of our film consumption this year, and that's not even counting Step Up, because it came out in 2006. I make no apologies.
43. Hyde Park on Hudson
M.K.: Bill Murray is kinda charming as F.D.R., but even that counts as a major disappointment: I mean, we're talking about BILL MURRAY. And FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT. If I wanted kinda charming, I'd have gone back to the bonus scenes of Reese Witherspoon in This Means War. Wait, strike that.
Laura Linney's character, meanwhile, as F.D.R.'s latest love conquest, is so vapid as to approach translucence. There is just nothing to her, and yet somehow she occupies the better part of the film. I can imagine worse ways to spend an hour and a half, but I can also imagine better ones. At least, um, 42.
M.K.: So we saw a film about the 18th century Danish monarchy, and the failure of enlightened absolutist reform under King Christian VII, and it was dull? NO EFFING WAY.
The best part of this film, by far, came when crazy Chris VII avowed that he was going to "declare war on shit." Unfortunately, he didn't. Instead he kind of pouted for a little bit while Mads Mikkelson messed around with his wife and told him to shut up. In all fairness, that would make me pout, too, but I wouldn't feel the need to make a movie about it.
M.K.: I had never seen the 2D version, but really, I think it was worth the wait for three-dimensionality. The rounded snap of the suspenders! The mighty convexity of the steam bellows! The luscious embrace of Captain Bernard Hill's beard! I could fall asleep in it! Seriously, I don't know how all those suckers who saw in a mere 2D back in '97 managed to deal.
Seriously, Katherine and I spent a lovely spring night in Philadelphia watching this masterpiece in a crowded theater of zero. At the end of the picture, I literally jumped up on the front row seats and did a Full Leo. It was beautiful.
As for the movie, well. The first rule of the '90s is if you can't say anything nice about the '90s, don't say anything at all. In any case, it doesn't matter. I'M KIIIIIING OF THE WOOOOOORLLLLLLLLD!!!!!!!