Monday, January 7, 2013

3 Films For Your Consideration

Armless is a dry comedy about John, a man who leaves his wife and journeys to New York to find a doctor willing to amputate both of his perfectly healthy arms. He suffers from 'body integrity identity disorder', and since he was a child he has fantasized about a life with only ‘nubbins’ in place of his limbs. This is news to his wife, who heads off after him, and the doctor he consults under a case of mistaken identity.

 At the risk of sounding crass, this is obviously Nutty Nutterson territory, but the filmmakers never treat their subject with contempt, doing their best to have us empathize, if not with John, then with his caring and shell-shocked wife.  While the movie as a whole is impressive there are a few patches of stiff, awkward dialogue and what appears to be a serious shortage of funding. Some of the sets – the doctor’s waiting room, for instance – appear to have been furnished with the budget leftover from an elementary school Christmas pageant. 

Grade: B

Looper is a time travel thriller set in 2044. Thirty years from that future time travel will be possible but illegal, practiced only by the mob, who sends victims back in time to be killed and disposed of by hit men called Loopers. Their name is derived from their fate; every Looper must eventually kill his future self and close his ‘loop’.  Joesph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, a Looper whose future self, Bruce Willis, ignores the established protocol and escapes into the present. Now Joe – young Joe – must find him or face the horrific wrath of the mob, and prevent his older self from changing history.

The movie got great reviews and great word of mouth, and I couldn’t wait to see it.

The verdict? Meh.

It was good, but hardly a game changer. The actors were good, the script was polished, the idea was neat, and minus her obnoxious accent I found Emily Blunt appealing. I can’t isolate a specific flaw, but it just didn’t click for me.  Maybe it was just a case of inflated expectations, or the fact that I just didn’t like Joe, be it the young or older version. 

I grade this a B+

The Car is a 1978 film starring James Brolin. He plays a sheriff’s deputy in a small Southwestern town, and the last two years of his career have been spent doing nothing more than writing traffic tickets. Enter a mysterious 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III that is responsible for several hit and run deaths. As the death toll rises it becomes obvious that this is no normal car, and rumors of a supernatural driver – or no driver at all – begin to gain credence. Can Brolin stop the rampage before it claims even more victims?

I really got a kick out of this film, and have nothing but praise for it. Citizen Kane it is not, but it does a great job ratcheting up the fear in that small town, and the scene in the garage in the third act just plain gave me the willies for a second.

‘70’s horror rocks.

Grade: A

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