No Strings Men (Weekly Links)

No Strings Attached: find the string in this shot

Movies I reviewed for the Herald this week, and more.

No Strings Attached. “Grounded by its two stars, who are effortless in taking charge of their territory.”

The Company Men. “The times we live in. Etc., etc.”

Undertow. “Having a secret lover gets very complicated, in life and in death.”

Enemies of the People. “Irrefutable evidence of the domino effect of evil.”

Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance. “Piloting a giant robot in order to save mankind.”

On KUOW’s “Weekday,” I talked with Steve Scher about the upcoming Oscar nominations and decry the “horse race” aspect of commentary about it, while probably adding to that aspect of commentary. Listen here; the movie bit kicks in at 16:05 into it.

Sunday afternoon I introduce a DVD screening of In the Mood for Love at the Frye Art Museum at 2 p.m.; it’s free.

Tuesday night I give my Humanities Washington “Inquiring Mind” talk, “Alien Encounters: Sci-Fi Movies and the Cold War Culture of the 1950s,” at the Jefferson County Library in Port Hadlock, Washington. Info here.

Rounding off a week of Eighties obscurities at What a Feeling!, here’s an actually good one: Alan Clarke’s Rita, Sue and Bob Too, a film not quite like anything else.

Movie Diary 1/19/2011

No Strings Attached (Ivan Reitman, 2011). One thing about these Internets is that one person somewhere says something first (“Inception isn’t really like my dreams,” or “The King’s Speech is the Oscar front-runner”) and then everybody who comes after must apparently parrot these words or pivot in opposition to them. Feh. In this case, a month ago somebody decided it would be something to say that No Strings Attached would wreck Natalie Portman’s chances of winning the Oscar for Black Swan, because, I guess, the movie stars Ashton Kutcher, and critics aren’t supposed to enjoy Ashton Kutcher, and the movie’s ads made the film look less than Aronofsky-esque, and this would be just like – for some reason – Eddie Murphy and Norbit. And this is why participating in the echo chamber sometimes feels yucky. So, for the record: No Strings Attached is a rather nice film with two ingratiating stars and a bevy of lovely supporting people (none lovelier than Kevin Kline); it will probably not affect Portman’s chances at winning the Oscar; said Oscar would not be a bad thing, given Portman’s heroic performance in a dumb movie (I’m talking about Black Swan, not No Strings Attached); and Norbit is actually not entirely awful. Eddie Murphy, you wuz robbed. (full review 1/21)

Another Year (Mike Leigh, 2010). Good form for Leigh, with his customary blend of the kitchen-sink naturalistic with the grotesque. A spectacular turn by Lesley Manville, but equally good, if quieter, work by Ruth Sheen and Jim Broadbent. (full review 1/28)

And it’s a week of truly obscure Eighties movies at my other website, What a Feeling!: in this case, The Trouble with Spies.