WWW: Weekend Wrental Wreviews 29

Let's see what I saw this week for Weekend Wrental Wreviews in my 29th WWW:

1) The Witches of Eastwick:
This is one of those movies that I suspect I would have liked a lot better had I been the target audience. Three lonely women(Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer spend an evening drinking wine and dreaming up their perfect man. I don't think it was adequately explained why these three seemed to have the power to make their will come true when they were in synch, beyond the obviousness of the film's title. And the only explanation they could muster as to why someone as gorgeous as Pfeiffer couldn't hold on to a man was because she was overly fertile and already had a litter of kids; the other two were easier to buy as lonely divorcees. In any case, their quiet town is rocked by the arrival of a devilish stranger who meets their criteria for the perfect man. The only problem, which the film strongly implies but again I don't think outright says, is that this guy is probably the devil. Jack Nicholson's performance was the high point of the film for me, and it was great seeing him have so much fun being so bad. He seduces each woman in turn, eventually luring them in to his mansion and impregnating them. This doesn't sit well with the townspeople, particularly one woman who senses how evil it all is, with unfortunate consequences. When the women began to realize all is not right with this guy, they try to leave him, only to suffer their worst terrors. The film shows some potential when they unite against him, but fall short and only make him angry. In the end, I found the whole thing to be a bit of a pointless exercise, despite Nicholson's performance, but I do admit I may have missed the point. Is it about female empowerment? Using their powers to conjure a man who dominates them for most of the film would seem to contradict this theme, unless it's more of a cautionary tale about being careful what we wish for. And when the dust settles and things reach an unsatisfying resolution, the only real conclusion is that men are devils and women are trouble. While that may be true in some cases, it's a little bleak for my tastes.

2) High Crimes:
This movie was okay, and had a great cast, but didn't really offer anything that I hadn't seen before. Ashley Judd plays a hotshot attorney with a loving husband, played by Jim Caviezel. But when his past surfaces, and she learns he went AWOL and changed his name after being accused of a crime he claims not to have committed, she must seek the help of a veteran lawyer and recovering alcoholic, played by the always-classy Morgan Freeman. Throw in Amanda Peet as Judd's sister and the film's eye-candy, and I'm happy. But beyond that, it becomes a typical military courtroom drama, meandering into A Few Good Men territory without reaching the level of that film. The acting and dialogue are both solid and everyone delivered as I expected they would. In the end, there's a twist-for-the-sake-of-a-twist that I kind of expected, though I hoped I was wrong. I understand why it was done, and why it might differentiate the movie from others in its genre. I just think the subsequent denouement was a little too upbeat and hopeful in light of the direction in which they chose to go. It was a good rental, but not something I would have seen in theaters, and probably not something I'll remember in a few years.

3) Domestic Disturbance:
There are two good things about this film. First, as much as I enjoy his work as a comedian, Vince Vaughn's occasional dramatic roles are fun to watch too. He definitely has this quality where, even if he's smiling or making a joke, he can turn on these crazy eyes and tell you he's thinking something really messed up. The second good thing is that the film is short, at just under an hour-and-a-half. I think anything more would have dragged things out. John Travolta gives a fairly average and unimpressive performance as a struggling boat-builder dealing with a troubled teenager. His ex-wife, played by Teri Polo, marries Vaughn's character, and that's when the trouble starts. Vaughn has a past which comes back to haunt him, and when his new stepson accuses him of murder, he does everything he can to discredit and intimidate the boy. Only Travolta believes his son, but proving the crime is difficult because of the kid's reputation, and because the town has the Worst Cops Ever. I forget the exact line of dialogue, but one cop basically admits their forensics team isn't good enough to find evidence of a body, and they just drop the matter. The film starts off slow but then builds to a great climax with a lot of tension, but after that it becomes a series of sitcom-level excuses and misunderstandings to keep the story going. It works in the time allowed--barely--but if they dragged it out to two hours it would have seriously strained all logic and suspension of disbelief. It's worth seeing for Vaughn, and even for Steve Buscemi who just doesn't show up as prominently in many movies as he did in the ‘90s. I just thought the plot almost didn't sustain the running time, and thought Travolta's done better.

More reviews to follow next week after I've spun a few more discs!



Blogger Lorna said...

your randomosity was a little scary this week; your reviews thoughtful as always

2/07/2010 8:04 PM  
Blogger MCF said...

"your randomosity was a little scary this week"

ROFL, I just reread those questions as a group, and now have a mental image of this psycho on drugs in a dress wearing a mask showing up at this girl's house trying to make small talk.

I really need to take a step back sometimes and look at the whole picture. Talk about perspective. Wow.

2/07/2010 9:34 PM  

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