They must’ve known this story did not need to unfold cinematically from the moment they started adapting the second act. Starring Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, and Hugh Dancy this film could’ve been shot for a quarter of the price and turned into a saucy Showtime Red Shoe Diary episode.
This dramatization of the Barbara Baekland murder in 1972 features Moore as Barbara, a charming cultured American socialite who is more intrigued by entertaining her social circle than being a caring mother or wife. Her husband Brooks played by a stoic always fleeting Stephen Dillane, leaves her for their son Tony’s ( Redmayne) prospective girlfriend. Girlfriend theft aside, Tony doesn’t care as it’s revealed that he is gay and only wants acceptance and love from a father who can’t get away fast enough.
Barbara hires Sam (Dancy) a gay escort, to act as Barbara’s perpetual dinner date, easing her back into the social circle that gawk and gossip about Barbara’s divorce. Sam winds up screwing Barbara, then Tony screws Sam. Then 2 scenes pass and they wind up having a threesome. Yes, she sleeps with her son. Pulling the old Oedipus card, nice.
Sam gets freaked out and leaves. A couple scenes later Barbara walks into the living room where Tony is hanging out, proceeds to engage him in chitty chat, during which she seduces, straddles and totally does it with him. 1 scene and a half later he starts bitching about some dog collar he can’t find, he finds it in the kitchen, realizing she hid it, he stabs her, calls the cops, orders Chinese food, grubs and then holds the dead body until the cops come.
Then the movie ends. The title cards are used to let you know what happened to Tony afterward and I’m left sitting on my couch with my jaw on the floor. What was that? The first 45 minutes was all soft porny, followed by 30 minutes of incest and then capped off by matricide. I didn’t care about Tony because Redmayne played him unneccessairly numb and snarky. I cared about Moore for the first 15 minutes but then she started to become a cartoon. I tried to figure it out, to see where it was going, but it could be summed up as a true story that probably reads a lot better than it played out on the big screen. You want a good nasty shock, watch “Oldboy”, wanna feel a little bit ashamed of yourself? Then by all means, Savage Grace is for you.
This movie comes highly recommended from my stoner friends and that may be saying it all here folks. The undeniably tired genre of teen comedy is practically put to bed in this forgettable buddy flick. The few laughs courtesy of Clark Duke ( check out clarkandmichael.com, 10 minute webisodes featuring Clark and Michael Cera of “Superbad” fame, will make you laugh repeatedly) are not nearly enough to keep this turd afloat.
James Marsden (who can’t really catch a break in Hollywood ever) plays the quintessential bully older brother “Rex”who probably chugged18 Red Bulls to appear super hyped during each scene. In the lead acting position is Mr. Josh Zuckerman playing “Ian” is mind numbingly bland, so much so that I felt like he was still in shock that he got the lead during the filming of this cookie cutter “bro” comedy.
Urged by Lance (Duke) to steal Rex’s car so that he could drive one state over to lose his virginity to his internet girlfriend whom he’s never met, Ian heads out on the road trip from hell with Lance and Felicia, Ian’s attractive female best friend who likes Lance but Ian likes her, and she might like Ian but they’re best friends since the first grade and she doesn’t want to ruin that. A lot going on huh? Isn’t it funny how people in movies are always best friends since they were 2 months old? I don’t know anyone from 1st grade, I can only assume they went on to graduate from grade school to pursue a life of crime. I can’t waste another molecule of energy hating this movie so I’ll sum it up short and sweet. Shenanigans ensue, a couple sight gags and a completely predictable ending later, “Sex Drive” left me completely flaccid.
I’ll begin by saying that I am in no way a Woody Allen connoisseur, but I’ve enjoyed the few works of his that I’ve had the chance to watch: “Annie Hall”, “Matchpoint”, and the delightful but dark “Cassandra’s Dream”. I went into this movie with only a vague knowledge of the plot. Well I really only knew that Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz kissed each other and that Ms. Cruz’ performance scored her an Oscar nod. From the previews I had surmised that it was some time of road trip movie where 2 girls fall for the bad guy from “No Country for Old Men”. I was a little wrong.
V.C.B is a 96 minute comedystarring Scarlett Johansson-Reynolds (is anyone acknowledging that yet?) Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Rebecca Hall (who is good in the movie but doesn’t even have a photo attached to her I.M.D.B page) as a horny bunch of coming of agers.ScarJo and Rebecca fly to Spain to spend the summer finding themselves. Rebecca is engaged to the perfect man, uber responsible and future minded, while ScarJo is a single, impulsive free spirit. They are shown around Spain by Rebecca’s uncle and aunt, whom they are staying with. They happen upon Bardem at an art gallery. ScarJo is immediately enthralled and finds out Bardem is a painter with a certifiably insane ex-wife and more charm than a Blow Pop.They encounter each other after the art show at a local restaurant and Bardem invites the 2 ladies to an island to eat drink and make love. Temptation is offered and partially pursued, Penelope enters the picture and lights a firecracker on the screen. Her performance, a pertinent one to this film, was not in my opinion the best supporting female role of 2008. That being said, this movie is a solidly entertaining, filled with charm, variety and a cast that is fit to captivate even a non believer. I wouldn’t put Vicki Cristina Barcelona in your top slot but it has definitely earned a space in your Netflix queue.
For whatever reason, I randomly called KROQ fm on Tuesday morning to attempt to win a 4 pack of tickets to the premiere of “I Love You Man” starring Jason Segel and Paul Rudd. This attractive duo from the comedy mafia led by Seth””marry me please” Rogen, are killing me with the anticipation of watching this potentially insanely hilarious movie.
I never win anything ever but I wound up winning those tickets and being 2 minutes late for work. Neuroses. Long story short, soiled myself with the possibilities of occupying the same theater as these guys and proceeded to gloat my good fortune in the face of anyone who would listen. The premiere is Tuesday the 17th and if I don’t get arrested for attempted rape or kidnapping, I shall share my unique experience with you, the inter-web . Hell, with those criminal charges under my belt, I may as well be a NFL quarterback.