The Kids are all right, but not most of these films

By: Mike McCrann

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again. Only this time Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier were long gone and I was stuck watching a whole new batch of summer movies. And most of them made me wish I were in Daphne du Maurier Land nursing a strong drink.

For example...

Photo: Summit Entertainment

The Girl Who Played With Fire

This second film in the Steig Larson Girl trio was released just a few months after The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Tattoo was a wonderful film that succeeded in spite of the rather exuberant violence. This follow-up—all three of the books were filmed simultaneously in Sweden—is a dreary rehash of the characters and situations from the first one. Hopefully the third, out in October, will be better. In the meantime, rent Dragon Tattoo and skip this one. Still, Noomi Rapace is amazing as the main character or anti-heroine in all three. They are planning to remake this in English, but why? is anyone’s guess. It should be pretty pathetic compared to the original.


OK, so I went and saw this teen slush for one reason only: Taylor Lautner. The dialog and performances were so risible that I was chuckling through the first 40 minutes of the thing. But when the shirtless Taylor appeared, I felt like squealing like all the teen girls who were watching it with me. Meanwhile, Robert Pattinson is weak and not much of an actor or looker, while Kristin Stewart somehow manages to make her nonsensical role bearable. And Taylor is, well, just fine as the hot blooded werewolf of every teen’s dreams.

Kids_02 Photo: Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Inc.

The Bounty Hunter

Poor Jennifer Aniston should just stop making movies if crap like this
is the best she’s being offered. A mind boggling two hours of
non-entertainment, it co-stars (and I use the term loosely) Gerard
Butler, who has neither the talent, looks, or charm to be anyone’s
co-star. Ms. Aniston has shown that she can be very good in films like Friends With Money and The Good Girl, but her recent projects have really been dreadful.

Knight And Day

This movie is not doing well at the box office, which is too bad as it is a fairly entertaining piece of nonsense with good performances from both Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. Part of the problem is the moronic print advertising campaign in which neither star is pictured. Two silly drawings of them are used. Plus their names are not very prominent either. The person responsible for this flat-footed ad campaign really goofed on this one. Had I made this film, I would have shown a still of Cruise and Diaz on the motorcycle with him driving and her shooting. It might have helped lure in the teenage boys who probably don’t or can’t read a movie ad. The whole film was pretty silly but at least it was entertaining. Plus it has two real stars, both of whom can carry a film.

Please Give

Nicole Holofcener’s latest is a major disappointment except for the glorious Catherine Keener, who manages to make every film better by just being in it. This time though she’s paired with a fat and charmless Oliver Platt as well as a loser daughter, and it just isn’t very amusing. But see it for Keener who is among our most gifted and lovely actresses.

And finally...

Kids_03 Photo: Focus Features

The Kids Are All Right

This new film has been getting rave reviews and, considering what’s out there, is among the few films you should see this summer. I did not like it as much as I thought I would, but it’s still worth seeing. Annette Bening, as in her earlier film this year, Motherhood, is terrific. This up-to-date story of a lesbian couple whose children meet their sperm doner father is quite amusing. The downside is Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo. Ruffalo kind of gives me the creeps and I do not find him remotely attractive. Julianne Moore is an actress I used to love, but her performances of late—especially this one—have been mannered and excessive. In this, she’s doing something twitch-like with her mouth that is most unsettling. But Bening is the real deal. Long overdue for an Oscar, she may finally get one this year.

As for me, I’m ready for that drink.