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9- Get Him to the Greek [6.0]

A record company intern is hired to accompany out-of-control British rock star Aldous Snow to a concert at L.A.’s Greek Theater.

I came in to Get Him to the Greek with low expectations, and was pleasantly surprised with the film. A good look at the music industry with a number of laughs, Get Him to the Greek is an accomplishment in that Jonah Hill is somewhat tolerable and P. Diddy gains a laugh with almost every piece of his dialogue. Though there are third act issues, I still enjoyed Greek enough to want to watch it again.


8- The Fighter [6.5]

A look at the early years of boxer Micky Ward and his brother, who helped train him before going pro in the mid ’80s.

The Fighter presents an interesting conundrum: are memorable performances enough to make a cliche-ridden film worthy of praise? It gets more difficult when considering that The Fighter is based on a true story. Christian Bale as Dicky Ecklund is worth the price of admission alone. Mark Walhberg was robbed of an Oscar nomination with his subdued performance as Micky Ward. Top to bottom, The Fighter is a terrific exercise in acting; however, this is just another boxing redemption film. Nothing more, nothing less.

7- The Green Hornet [6.0]

Britt Reid is the son of LA’s most prominent and respected media magnate and perfectly happy to maintain a directionless existence on the party scene – until his father mysteriously dies, leaving Britt his vast media empire. Striking an unlikely friendship with one of his father’s more industrious and inventive employees, Kato, they see their chance to do something meaningful for the first time in their lives: fight crime. To get close to the criminals, they come up with the perfect cover: they’ll pose as criminals themselves.

Michel Gondry’s usual visual assault takes a backseat to a fairly entertaining comic book action film. Sure, “Kato-vision” could likely only be pulled off by someone of his talent, but The Green Hornet looks more generic than Gondry’s other films. Though Seth Rogen covered similar ground in Observe and Report, his portrayal of Britt Reid rises above all of the skepticism prior to the films release. Christopher Waltz has some entertaining scenes, but it occasionally seems as if he is taking the material more serious than the rest of the cast.

6- Lie With Me [1.0]

Two young people try to avoid the entrapment of middle-class relationships through purely casual sexual encounters but are confronted with the possibility of love when they unexpectedly connect.

Lie With Me is glorified soft-core pornography. It moves from scene to scene without a clear purpose, and is devoid of a single character worth latching onto. In a film where Eric Balfour is too good for the material, you know that you are going to have a problem.

5- Johnny Mnemonic [0.5]

A 1995 cyberpunk film, loosely based on the short story by William Gibson. The film portrays Gibson’s dystopian view of the future with the world dominated by megacorporations and with strong East Asian influences.

I imagine Andy and Larry Wachowski watched Reeves’ performance in Johnny Mnemonic and knew they had their lead for The Matrix. To call this “Phillip K. Dick-lite” would be an insult. In more capable hands, Mnemonic may have been an interesting watch, but it suffers from awful acting.

4- Howl [4.0]

The story of how the young poet’s seminal work broke down societal barriers in the face of an infamous public obscenity trial. In his famously confessional style, Ginsberg – poet, counter-culture icon, and chronicler of the Beat Generation – recounts the road trips, love affairs, and search for personal liberation that led to HOWL, the most timeless work of his career.

For full disclosure, Howl is my favorite piece of poetry. That’s why it disappoints me so that this film was such a mess. James Franco has little to work with, and appears lost in trying to capture Ginsberg’s spirit. Jon Hamm is in Don Draper-mode as Ginsberg’s defensive attorney and general voice of the freethinking person. The biggest missteps are the animated sequences that attempt to give life to the jazzy freeform of the poem. Don’t let the film discourage you from checking out Ginsberg’s work.

3- The King’s Speech [6.5]

After the death of his father King George V and the scandalous abdication of King Edward VIII, Bertie who has suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all his life, is suddenly crowned King George VI of England. With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth, the future Queen Mother, arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue.

In spite of excellent performances, some films are plagued with the notion of being “Oscar bait.” Unfortunately, The King’s Speech is no exception. Frequently utilizing portrait-esque close-ups, director Tom Hooper doesn’t elevate a terrific script with any visual flair. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush play very well off each other, but ultimately, the film doesn’t rise above its one memorable scene– a scene, in fact, that is now cut out of the film.