Archive | 11:30 pm

Not So Jolly Holiday

5 Dec

I’ve always thought that if we took a holiday … just some time to celebrate … just one day out of life, that it would be so nice. Apparently, that’s what Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet thought, and so we have the movie The Holiday. Simply, this is a Chick Flick, with a capital C and F, and aside from the attractive leading ladies, there’s really not much redeeming about it for those with a bit more testosterone. You get all the holiday movie/chick flick cliches, including the scene where Cameron Diaz slips on the ice while wearing high heels, and the scene where she sings along (badly) to rock music. Hell, even Jack Black seems to have been neutered. Sure, Jude Law is as charming as ever, and it’s nice to see Kate Winslet lighten up for a change, and the movie isn’t sooo bad per se, but I probably could have skipped it. (And for the record, the “chick” I saw this with wasn’t exactly raving about it either.) The Holiday gets a B- from me.

Not So Good

5 Dec

First, the good news: This review will not be as long as the movie I’m reviewing.

Now, the bad news: I’m reviewing The Good Shepherd. And it’s not the great Oscar-contender I was hoping for. Instead, it’s a Very Serious Movie that is very long (i.e.: more than two-and-a-half hours long) and not really all that entertaining.

Matt Damon plays Edward Wilson, who is recruited to join the OSS (the precursor to the CIA) while still at Yale and a member of the secret society Skull and Bones. The film jumps back and forth in time to show how Edward’s committment to but uneasy feelings about the organization affect him and his family. No one can be trusted, loyalties aren’t what they seem, and paranoia is a must.

Sounds like a hell of a story. If only Damon’s performance wasn’t so wooden, and everything and everyone around him wasn’t so stiff. At one point someone describes Edward as “a serious S.O.B. without a sense of humor,” and that just about sums it up. Further, Damon doesn’t ever look a day over 28, despite aging 22 years over the course of the movie. And Angelina Jolie is not just miscast, but she’s underused. The whole thing is just a bit dry, and I actually thought about walking out a couple times because I just wasn’t involved and I knew I could be enjoying myself doing something else. (Not that it’s all bad; I quite enjoyed seeing Joe Pesci on screen again.) So in summary, The Good Shepherd gets a not-so-good C from me.