Saturday is for movie-going. Here, the Wire presents the best, the
funniest, and the most helpful film reviews of the week, either to
guide your entertainment choices or entertain you in their own right:
- Creation, reviewed by Anthony Lane:
Starting out by nominating a primate for a Best Actress award ("So what
if she's an orangutan? A knockout is a knockout, whatever her
descent."), Lane's famed style is on full display in this New Yorker
review of director Jon Amiel's movie about Charles Darwin. "As a
journey through Darwin's discoveries, 'Creation' fails," Lane decides.
"There is intensity here, but no impetus." For those wishing to see
actor Paul Bettany "fizzing with the drama of scientific findings," he
instead recommends Master and Commander, where Bettany plays
"pre-Darwinian surgeon and sidekick" Maturin. Other notes? Lane finds a
scene in which Darwin, in a church, offers belief in God for his
child's life "highly implausible," and offers the following aphorism:
"by hallowed tradition, cinema deals more fatuously with religion than
with any other human enterprise."
- The Girl on the Train, reviewed by Manohla Dargis: The New York Times reviewer thinks it "a relief" that the "political grandstanding" and "other sordid details" of this real-life story, involving a faked neo-Nazi attack, were omitted in the film. Instead, director André Téchiné focuses on "in-between moments" that "might be mistaken for narrative slackness," but which Dargis finds illuminating. "Mr. Téchiné isn’t pretending that he understands what people do. But by showing us what they do, the flowers they pick and the people they love, he makes us notice them more intently."
- The Lovely Bones, reviewed by Eric Melin: The movie tries to do too much, decides Melin at Scene Stealers. "It asks you to grieve with Susie’s [parents] ... and yet also be at peace with poor Susie as she walks the heavens. It asks you to follow a pervy serial killer ... who carts handmade dollhouses around at the Mall and not wonder why no one ever suspected him of anything. It asks you to care deeply about an unlikely teen romance between Susie and a popular older kid that never quite happened. It asks you to get involved in the domestic undoing of a family"--perhaps while laughing at Susan Sarandon's "misguided comic relief"--and "above all, it asks you to feel comforted." Melin wasn't comforted.
- Tooth Fairy, reviewed by Tom Long: "As dental experiences go," notes Long sardonically in the Detroit News, "'Tooth Fairy' doesn't hurt as much as you might think." Explanation: "this is supposed to be a lightweight, goofy film for kids, and it is just that." The jokes are "funnier than you'd expect" and the storyline is standard--"It's called 'Tooth Fairy,' for pity's sake. You're expecting an intimate look at an urban therapy group that works as a metaphor for globalization?"