“The Social Network” Review

October 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

It’s only been in theaters for a weekend, but David Fincher’s “Facebook Film” has already been saddled with the impossibly lofty adjective of “generation-defining”.  While I’m not so sure that a movie about the success story of the world’s youngest billionaire is relatable enough to be considered generation-defining in the way that, say, The Breakfast Club was, that doesn’t make The Social Network any less of a brilliant piece of filmmaking.  And it truly is brilliant, possibly one of the year’s very best films; Aaron Sorkin’s crackling script delivers some of the best and most instantly-quotable lines of dialogue of any film released in the past decade (“every creation myth needs a devil”), and the young cast is uniformly stellar.  Jesse Eisenberg finally carries a major league film, and absolutely kills.  His Mark Zuckerberg is perfectly cold, socially awkward, and ambitious, but still strangely magnetic.  You can’t take your eyes off of him, which any actor lesser than Eisenberg wouldn’t have been able to pull off.  Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake are also top-notch here (and likely on their way to Oscar nominations, along with Eisenberg), as are Armie Hammer, Rooney Mara, and Brenda Song, finally breaking away from Disney Channel in spectacular fashion.

The film does raise a lot of timely questions about the role of technology, the concept of intellectual theft, and privacy in our increasingly digitalized world (due in no small part to Zuckerberg’s work), though at it’s heart it’s really a story about friendship, ambition, and the need to be liked/loved/included.  Now who can’t relate to that?  A

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Critics Round-Up: Friday, August 20

August 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

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Lottery Ticket (RottenTomatoes: 29%, Metacritic: 53).  The film stars a number of well-known rappers like Bow Wow, Ice Cube and T-Pain.  It’s been marketed pretty heavily, so don’t be surprised if it grosses higher than expected (regardless of reviews).

Nanny McPhee Returns (RottenTomatoes: 76%, Metacritic: 52).  This sequel to 2005’s Nanny McPhee has already been a hit overseas (where it raked in $63mil), though it won’t make that much stateside.  Emma Thompson as a longshot for the Golden Globes? I would seriously doubt it, but stranger things have happened…

Piranha 3-D (RottenTomatoes: 82%, Metacritic: 61).  Well color me surprised.  This Elisabeth Shue-starring gross-out horror flick is the best reviewed film of the week.  Might it also top the box office? (Nah. The Expendables will still likely reign supreme)

The Switch (RottenTomatoes: 52%, Metacritic: 54).  Jennifer Aniston stars in another romcom with Jason Bateman… Why?!? You need to be focusing on that Arrested Development movie, not this.

Vampires Suck (RottenTomatoes: 6%, Metacritic: 20).  The reviews for this one aren’t surprising at all.  It’s from the makers of Meet the Spartans and Disaster Movie after all. The sad thing? This is one of their better reviewed movies. Yikes.

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Army of Crime (RottenTomatoes:  88%, Metacritic: 73).  This French WWII thriller is getting some solid reviews.  Don’t be surprised if it shows up as France’s Oscar submission (the Academy are suckers for Nazi-resistance films).

A Film Unfinished (RottenTomatoes: 90%, Metacritic: 88).  This was the documentary that got a lot of press a few weeks back based on the hard R rating the MPAA slapped on it (the filmmakers appealed to no avail).  Being a Holocaust film makes it an automatic contender for the Oscars, especially with reviews like this.

Mao’s Last Dancer (RottenTomatoes: 59%, Metacritic: 56).  It’s a true story, it’s a period piece, and it is directed by Bruce Beresford (Oscar-nominated director of Tender Mercies and Driving Miss Daisy).  So why isn’t on anyone’s Oscar radar? Well I’d say the middling reviews answers that question.

The Pat Tillman Story (RottenTomatoes: 85%, Metacritic: N/A).  This doc on football star-turned-war symbol also made the news over it’s R-rating from the MPAA.  AMPAS loves it’s biopics whether fiction or non, so keep this one on your Documentary shortlist.

Critics Round-Up: Friday, August 13, 2010

August 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

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Eat, Pray, Love (RottenTomatoes: 38%, Metacritic: 51).  Based on these middling reviews, awards prospects seem limited to a Golden Globe nomination for Julia Roberts at best.

The Expendables (RottenTomatoes: 43%, Metacritic: 46).  I would be seriously surprised if this was nominated for anything outside of MTV Movie Awards.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (RottenTomatoes: 80%, Metacritic: 69).  Should be a minor hit, but awards prospects are slim regardless.  Maybe some tech noms (Visual Effects, Make-up)

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Animal Kingdom (RottenTomatoes: 94%, Metacritic:  82).  It will probably be too small of a film to gain any serious awards traction, but with reviews like this you never know.

Tales from Earthsea (RottenTomatoes: 41%, Metacritic: 39).  The latest from Studio Ghibli (famed for films like Princess Mononoke and the Oscar-nominated Spirited Away) have a rare clunker on their hands.  They’ll have to try again if they want another film to get nom’d in the Animated Film category.

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