Among the movies new to home viewing media during the month of March are some going concerns and some prat falls. Friends will warn you against renting or buying copies of “Immortals” or “Jack and Jill.” They may encourage you to see the recent “Three Musketeers” and, even more likely, the well-made, English language “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”
“Immortals” uses the techniques of “300” and a mythologic setting. The story, supposedly about Thesus, is really about Mickey Rourke in an unintentionally funny helmet. He yammers and curses and then one of the gods sets off a special effect. In the end one wishes Zeus would just “release the Kracken” and have it destroy all prints of the movie.
Adam Sandler’s “Jack and Jill” came out the same weekend, making that the worst cinematic weekend of the year. In this film Sander is not only annoying in his own right, but he also appears in drag, in a fat suit, playing his character’s twin sister. One might want to look at this but only in the same way one might want to look at a car wreck as one passes by.
Paul W.S. Anderson, an accomplished action movie director, made the new “Three Musketeers.” In doing so he has managed the most surprising technical feat of the year: he has made a movie which uses its 3D all the way through. The story is, of course, pretty exciting too.
David Fincher’s version of the Swedish detective story moves with its camera to tell about how a disgraced reporter and a gifted but troubled Goth researcher manage to track down a veteran serial killer. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” also sets up succeeding films in the series. So its only weakness is that this installment can’t wrap up every story line.
The new version of “Footloose” will be out as a d.v.d. It is a little weaker than the original film (which wasn’t a classic), though there is some real and energetic ballroom dancing in it. “The Sitter,” a sort of contemporary version of “Adventures in Babysitting,” will show knowledgeable movie watchers how film comedy in 2011 compares with 1987—it doesn’t compare well.
The computer animated “Tintin” shows director Stephen Spielberg at his best—in remaining true to the stories of the little Belgian detective—and at his worst—making everything too other-worldly to be believed. I liked the movie despite its flaws. I was less enthusiastic about “The Muppets,” a come-back adventure set up like an old Jack Benny show, first showing how the performance at the climax was assembled. Amy Adams is terrific here, which makes the rest of the movie look a little bit worse in comparison.
David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method” is a bio-pic about Freud and Jung, and it is almost all talk, except for brief glimpses of bondage sex. But Cronenberg and his frequent collaborator, the great Viggo Mortensen, have a genius for making unlikely material go, and this movie is continuously interesting.
Compare that to the award-nominated “The Descendants,” a film with an utterly indecisive Hawaiian lawyer for its central figure. The character is searching for the lover of his comatose wife as he decides what to do about real estate development pitches for a pristine hunk of family land. In the end he just puts off all final action. What a bore.
Two movies which didn’t play at our local twelve-plex, “My Week with Marilyn” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” will also appear on the new releases shelves this month. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to look at both of them.
And I’m going to avoid “Jack and Jill” and “Immortals.” Cinematic life is as simple as that. Take this friend’s advice and, rider, pass by.