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« Curio: Articulated Dolls by Pucherito | Main | NYFF: Lincoln's Unfinished Noisy Debut »
Tuesday
Oct092012

12 Word Reviews: Pitch Perfect, Gayby, Frankenweenie...

The screenings are everywhere. It's harder and harder to keep up. Herewith some twelve word reviews of things I've seen recently in order to catch up. Naturally, I cheat (sort of) a couple of times. Twelve words is so few... just you try it!

Gayby (OPENS FRIDAY!)
Best friends from college, gay Matt and straight Jenn, decide to have a baby together... the old fashioned way. Hilarity ensues. Personal lives get confused.


12WR:  Plotty but very funny. Celebrates rather than regurgitates stereotypes. Awesome Showgirls joke! B+
Oscar? Not weighty enough even for Spirit Awards but warm and funny enough to age well on DVD shelves despite the "now" topic. It's best hope for awards is turning itself into a sitcom for the Emmys. I'd totally watch this crowd weekly (and it'd be way better than The New Normal which suffers from Ryan Murphy's now familiar Preachy Bull in Broadly Caricatured China Shop voice)

Pitch Perfect
College freshman Beca (Anna Kendrick) joins an acapella group The Bellas. They need to break free of their lame repertoire if they ever hope to win a competition. 
I loved this one while I was watching it and didn't love it in the morning so two reviews...
12 WR (Positive) Weak story, weaker filmmaking; FUN anyway. Key cast shines with great lines. B
12 WR (Negative) Lazily constructed on vastly superior Bring it On template. Funny quick fade. C
Oscar? It's 'Aca-Awkard' to even bring that up. No.

Frankenweenie
Young science-loving Victor resurrects his dead dog Sparky in a Frankenstein like experiment. Once the word gets out the townsfolk lose it.
12 WR: Inventive setpieces, surprises, awesome character design ("Whiskers!") justify expansion of classic short. B/B+
Oscar? It would surprise me if it wasn't nominated for Best Animated Feature and it could also feature into sound categories but the lukewarm response at the box office has me suddenly doubting its frontrunner status.

Our Children
Belgium's Oscar submission! A bicultural family slowly crumbles through dependency and depression.
12 WR: Fascinating thematic subtext undermined by miserabilist March-Toward-Doom structure. Suffocating close-ups. C+
Oscar? I doubt it as its very dour without much in the way of catharsis. But I've been wrong before about this always fascinating category.

Secret Life of Arrietty
Arrietty is a "borrower" a little person living inside a house. Will a new sickly human living in the house expose her and her family?
12 WR: Delicate, lovely, quiet... but too much so! Needs more pizazz. Limited characterizations  B-
Oscar? Ineligible for the Animated Feature race

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    12 Word Reviews: Pitch Perfect, Gayby, Frankenweenie... - Blog - The Film Experience

Reader Comments (5)

I wish I liked Frankenweenie. It fell entirely flat for me, minus a few of the minor characters. I found it terribly stretched out, even at its short length.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrianZ

The Belgian filml is opening here in Montréal late in the month. I was thinking of going to see it, but maybe not now, not after reading your review.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBill_the_Bear

Bill -- well i'm just one guy. Guy Lodge totally loves it over at In Contention

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenternathanielr

It's a shame you didn't like Our Children. I totally get the Euro-miserablism complaint, but I thought the dynamism of the pacing and the visual style undercut it nicely. (I totally dug the close-ups!)

To me it played more like a thriller than a traditional Euro-drama. I was constantly on edge while watching because it felt like with every new sequence things were about to legitimately explode.

And the various character dynamics were really engrossing - I mean, what the hell was going on between Arestrup and Rahim? I kept struggling to wrap my head around the undertones of that particular relationship, but in a way that kept me eager to parse each new scene and see what happens next rather than give up.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergoran

goran -- i agree that the dynamics between the characters were engrossing. but honestly the closeups were so tight and so frequent that I often couldn't tell where the characters were IN RELATION TO EACH OTHER which is a huge problem when your entire drama is about who the characters are in relation to each other.

anyway... so much to admire about it and maybe i'm being harsh. but its' one of those movies I'd rather write about or talk about than actually watch.

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R
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