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« TIFF: Four Short Takes | Main | Chart Updates: Actors and Foreign Films »
Saturday
Sep152012

12 Word Reviews: Hope Springs, Timothy Green, Premium Rush

 When you get too far behind on film reviewing, you have to condense. It's brief capsule time. Let's catch up on movies we left behind as summer waned. Did you see any of them?

HOPE SPRINGS
A senior citizen couple seeks marital counselling.
12 WR: Fine performances take intimacy seriously. Near gem but pacing problems, atrocious music.  B
Oscar: Streep always has a shot in Best Actress and she's the film's best hope (sorry) beyond a screenplay longshot but I'm doubtful that this quiet surprisingly nuanced take on marriage and intimacy will survive the louder grabbier Oscar films. Plus when Oscar ignores Meryl, which is admittedly not often, it's almost always when she's playing contemporary and relatively ordinary women (here's proof.)

KEEP THE LIGHTS ON
The story of a troubled 10 year gay relationship beset by sex and drug addictions
12 WR: Intermittently searing. Bruisingly repetitive. Cathartic for filmmaker (undoubtedly) but unshaped; needs dramaturg. C+
Oscar?: Not that kind of movie. 

THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN
A childless couple (Jennifer Garner & Joel Edgerton) inadvertently create the perfect child over a teary conversation. A naked boy with leaves on his legs emerges from their garden. Life lessons ensue.
12 WR: Adoption plea framing device = unmitigated disaster. Played with realism it's entirely oogie. D-
Oscar?: As likely as children crawling out of the earth that aren't zombies. 

COSMOPOLIS
A money man is chauffered around Manhattan in a limo (read: coffin) seeking a haircut as his fortunes vanish and the world falls into chaos.
12 WR: Forgets to adapt heady prose but actress cameos pop. Pattinson finally vampiric! B
Oscar?: The Academy is deathly allergic to Cronenberg but damn that Howard Shore score is good. 


FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL...

Roommates (Ari Graynor and Lauren Miller) run a phone sex business which complicates their friendship
12 WR: Weirdly chaste, claustrophobic, over/under art-directed (?!?) but actors obviously enjoying themselves! C+
Oscar?: lolz 

PREMIUM RUSH
A bike messenger (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) delivering a package worth a lot of money is hunted by a dirty cop (Michael Shannon) down the crowded streets of Manhattan.
12 WR: Only works as found object: Lost 80s Film. Disposable (even to itself!) D
Oscar?: If they had a stuntman category...

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    12 Word Reviews: Hope Springs, Timothy Green, Premium Rush - Blog - The Film Experience

Reader Comments (20)

I thought Sarah Gadon was great in Cosmopolis...I loved the tone of her voice. She'd make a great Estella in Great Expectations.

September 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbia

I thought Streep was very, very strong but Jones stole the film for me. Beautiful acting.

September 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeau

Oh Bia, I agree! Sarah Gadon was my favourite thing about Cosmopolis- perfectly bored and above it all.

September 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSVG

I'm waiting for you to watch Paranorman, Nathaniel. I can't wait to hear what you have to say about it (I loved it). Also, when is 'The Master' review coming?

September 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterConrado

@Beau


Totally agree about Streep and Jones... first of all, You almost never see him in this kind of role.

September 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrick

Cosmopolis is just going to be one of those movies this year that I just do not get. I can see where there would be elements that appealed to an audience that isn't me, though.

My favorite of the actresses was actually the woman whose name I didn't know. Emily Hampshire.

September 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWill h

Dear sweet Lord, I took my man to see Timothy Green last night because he is a huge sap and wanted to see it ever since the trailer first crossed his path months ago, and he's had a crappy week. I bought a large popcorn (which I NEVER do) just to get me through. It wasn't enough. What a ridiculous waste of some amazing talent in front of the camera (Garner, Edgerton, DeWitt, Wiest, Aghdashloo... not to mention Lois Smith, M. Emmet Walsh, and David Morse). But it was REALLY terrible. Worst of the year by a pretty wide margin.

Thankfully, he has seen the error of his ways and is letting me pick a movie tonight. I'm torn between the grit of Lawless (which might be just the chaser I need from yesterday's innocuousness) and the finery of Farewell, My Queen. To be honest I'm more high on Lawless despite the reviews, but he NEVER goes to see anything with subtitles, despite my continued attempts to show him there are good films from other countries (he did seem to like A Separation), so I kind of want to drag him to the French film. I know he'll like the costumes, at least.

September 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

I am hoping they pass on Streep this year so she is more primed for the Best Actress race for August Osage County. The girl deserves a year off....if she misses a nomination this year it will be by a slight margin. I am still predicting that by the end of the decade she will reach 20 nominations

September 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Jamie: it's funny, I kind of think the opposite. If ever there was a year to toss Meryl a throwaway nomination, might as well be a year she's pre-booked to attend (to present Best Actor.)

September 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

@ Mike in Canada.... That's true! I still think that this is a weak year for the Best Actress Race. She could still sneak in....:)

September 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

As much as I liked Streep in Hope Springs, I think Tommy Lee Jones was the big surprise of the film. I think he'll grab a Best Lead Actor nod. A totally different role for him (and courageous).

September 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

Keep the Lights on just made me weep for the state of contemporary queer cinema. So much masturbatory narcissism... Really tacky expository dialogue and student film performances. I watched 60 films at this year's Melbourne Film Festival and this was the absolute nadir.

September 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergoran

Streep may just sneak in for Hope Springs - the performance is certainly worthy of a nom...but, August Osage County is almost an assured nomination and most likely a win.

September 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterme

Streep deserves a nom this ( or any year ) but it will not happen .... AOC will be her next triumph


@brandz I loved TLJ in Hope Springs, but there are way too many actors that will take the 5 spots for Best Actor before him.

September 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrick

The thing with KEEP THE LIGHTS ON is that all the while watching the film, my mind kept wanting to compare it to WEEKEND or BLUE VALENTINE and it losing every single time. Fair to film? Probably not, but that's what happened.

Tommy Lee Jones was the MVP for Hope Springs and this is coming from a HUGE Meryl fan.

September 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

I am surprised people did not like Keep the Lights On. I really adored it. I found it to be a very spot on depiction of sex and drug addiction and co-dependency. I felt really uncomfortable watching it. It's as if I was watching a horror movie. I also loved that Sachs cast two men who look like real people (thank God for Thure Lindhardt's teeth!).

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlejandro

Nat, what did you think of the ending of Hope Springs? [SPOILER ALERT] TLJ's turnaround at the end came out of nowhere with no explanation. For the whole movie he could barely touch her and couldn't even look at her when they had sex and then he...just gets over it, I guess? Realizes he's about to lose her so he...changes? I found the screenplay really lacking there. But I did like the rest of it.

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Alejandro -- I did feel it read as "authentic" don't get me wrong. I just need my dramas shaped for audience consumption. It's like when actors play "depressed". Depressed can be really boring to watch, even if it's authentically played, so it's the actors job to give it nuance and shape somehow so the contours are illuminating and not just redundant.

i hope i'm making sense.

I found the scene in the hotel room (no spoilers but it feels like a rock bottom) to be enormously heartbreaking but I just was so bored for most of the movie for lack of a better word. But still: PAPRIKA STEEN!

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

Well, Nat, we'll agree to disagree. I found it really intense and moving and it so elegantly captured the stomach churning that one goes through when one is in a relationship that you can't make work.

Thure Lindhardt was so incredible. His eyes just broke my heart every single time.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlejandro

DJDeeDay -- I think it kind of works... in that delayed epiphany kind of way but I totally can see why it wouldn't work for some people.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R
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