September 07, 2012

MOVIES: Summer Movie Report Card

Nathaniel R. at The Film Experience has invited other bloggers to fill out his Summer Moviie Report Card, a series of questions about the cinematic season just concluded. So, here goes:

Best Movie I Saw This Summer
Ruby Sparks -- a smart romantic comedy with a pair of terrific leading performances from Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan, building to a final confrontation between the two that will rip your gut out.

Thing I Actually Learned (at summer movie camp)
Never assume you know the full range of someone's talent. Hope Springs reminded me that Tommy Lee Jones can be funny; Celeste and Jesse Forever taught me that Andy Samberg can act; ParaNorman gave me a sweet and lovable Elaine Stritch.

Major Summer Crush
ParaNorman's Mitch, whose magnificently cantilevered torso -- massive shoulders and pecs over a Barbie-doll waist -- is a glorious work of structural engineering. And the casual revelation that Mitch is gay (surely a first for an animated film?) is the icing on the cake.

Moment I ♥ So Much I Thought My Heart Would Burst
Luke Kirby sitting in a coffee shop with Michelle Williams, sweet-talking and seducing her so thoroughly and completely that I was melting in my seat in Take This Waltz.

Princess Merida, Katniss or Hawkeye?
Merida. Best hair and best movie. What more do you need to know?

If Only "Hulk" Had Smashed...
The robot home-health aide from Robot & Frank, preferably with Peter Sarsgaard inside it. Maybe that would discourage any other actors from automatically going to their calm, laid-back HAL voice whenever they're cast as a robot.

Rank the Magic Mike strippers
Oh, lord, must I? Yes, they're all very pretty boys, but the problem with the movie is that stripping isn't sexy; it lacks the intimacy that sexiness requires. If I must, put Matt Bomer on the top, the rest in a big heap in the middle (and if you'd just toss me into that heap, I wouldn't complain too loudly), and the leathery Matthew McConaughey so far down that he's on the tenth page of a one-page list.

At Least The Theater Was Air Conditioned
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, which badly misuses both Steve Carell and Keira Knightley, and combines rom-com and apocalypse so clumsily that the apocalypse starts to look mighty inviting.

Best Old Movie I Saw For the First Time This Summer
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Jane Russell's "Ain't There Anyone Here for Love?," surely the gayest musical number ever filmed; the glorious Technicolor, especially vivid in "Diamond's Are a Girl's Best Friend," with Marilyn's pinkpinkpink gown against that tomato-red set; the strange assortment of men, from quirky old Brit Charles Coburn to milquetoast Tommy Noonan to that creepily precocious little kid -- it's old-fashioned glamour of a sort Hollywood doesn't even attempt anymore.

Line Reading That Stuck in My Head...
Mark Wahlberg's virtuosic run of white trash girls' names in Ted.

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