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November 12, 2004


Manohla Dargis needs a vacation

What’s a film critic to do when she just wants to write some thoughtful pieces about Godard and Oliveira, but dammit, someone’s got to review the new Bridget Jones movie? This is the sad story of NY Times film critic Manohla Dargis, who has also edited the film section of the L.A. Weekly and written for the L.A. Times. In the past weeks, we’ve noticed some increasing, shall we say, frustration on Ms. Dargis’ part towards big-budget Hollywood films:

The Forgotten:
“In the preposterous thriller ''The Forgotten,''...a pseudospiritual, mumbo-jumbo, science-fiction inflected mess that opens nationwide today, the director Joseph Ruben does not just fail to tap into Ms. Moore's talent; he barely gets her attention.” (9/24/2004)

Ladder 49:
“A sob story about a Baltimore fireman, the film stars Joaquin Phoenix as Jack Morrison, a once and future hero who battles untold infernos, saves untold lives and quaffs untold draft beers to become a fireman's fireman, the kind who fearlessly enters burning buildings and puts everything at risk, including a picture-perfect family and a self so radically unexamined, so thin and vaporous, it's a wonder it doesn't drift off the screen along with all the billows of enveloping smoke…this is essentially a male weepie about strong, simple men and the strong, simple women behind them, and as such it's platitudinous rubbish.” (10/01/2004)

The Polar Express:
“…most moviegoers will be more concerned by the eerie listlessness of those characters' faces and the grim vision of Santa Claus's North Pole compound, with interiors that look like a munitions factory and facades that seem conceived along the same oppressive lines as Coketown, the red-brick town of "machinery and tall chimneys" in Dickens's "Hard Times." Tots surely won't recognize that Santa's big entrance in front of the throngs of frenzied elves and awe-struck children directly evokes, however unconsciously, one of Hitler's Nuremberg rally entrances in Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will." But their parents may marvel that when Santa's big red sack of toys is hoisted from factory floor to sleigh it resembles nothing so much as an airborne scrotum.” (11/10/2004)

And today's Two-Slams-In-One:

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
“What was Renée Zellweger thinking? It can't have been fun to put on all that weight, especially for a film as ghastly as this, and it sure won't be fun taking it off again…or maybe this movie just made me feel sorry for her. I liked her a lot in "White Oleander," a ludicrous movie where Michelle Pfeiffer shouted out to the homegirls in prison while flipping her blond tips.” (11/12/2004)

What is the toll of such frustration? You end up kind of liking "The Brown Bunny".

categories: Media, Movies
posted by Emily at 10:44 AM | #

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