A corrective note...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A corrective note...

...and I hate it when I feel compelled to do this, but fair is fair!

In yesterday's entry regarding our cinematic choices at Six Corners, "It's Complicated" it was written (note passive voice):

"The Streep/Alec Baldwin/Steve Martin flick looks and sounds hilarious... smartly writ­ten, brilliantly paced and brightly played by three pros at the top of their game... in the trailers!

I make it an easy eight-to-five proposition that the cream of its 118-minute runtime has been adroitly edited into those TV spots we've been watching since before Thanksgiving."

It was a lost bet... Jeanne wanted to see it so I trundled along to this evening's 7:30 screen­ing with lowered expectations and was reward­ed by a continuously amusing movie.

Ms. Streep is, as anticipated, superbly Streep, and Martin odd-looking with his "upgraded" eyes, which look only works during an apres hemp-smoking sequence.

But it is Baldwin who gives the most complex and rewarding of the lead performances, and John Krasinski, virtually invisible in the various trailers, who delights every moment he is on-screen.

(I don't know the actor but Jeanne tells me that Krasinski is a featured player on NBC's "The Office.")

The eldest of the fratelli Baldwin spent much of his early film career projecting menace before dropping into a variety of second leads and sup­porting roles, then took a different tack and developed an unimagined lighter side.

Polishing his comedic chops over the past four seasons in the "30 Rock" sit-com à clef, Bald­win in one scene wordlessly relapses into his persona of danger, and he has never used it to better effect.

So, yes, I wound up enjoying it far more than I could have anticipated, 'though it won't be in my list of memorable movies of 2009.

The consensus on the omnibus critical site Rotten Tomatoes is that the film fails muster... badly at 51%!

I dunno... guess it's dependent on one's mood at the time, and the planets were aligned for me this evening.


1. HighHatSize said...

I was always puzzled by Alec Baldwin's career fade. He was the first "Jack Ryan" in "The Hunt for Red October." He also starred in "Heaven's Prisoners," playing the lead role of "Dave Robicheaux" in the film of James Lee Burke's novel. I thought that he did fine jobs both times. I very much enjoyed the latter film, although it failed at the box office.

Then he seemed to vanish while his increasingly corpulent younger brother churned out wheelbarrow loads of undistinguished movies.

Didn't much care for the Clancy film, and while I've seen the other movie several times, it's odd that I don't think of it as an Alec Baldwin flick. Mostly I recall it for its N'Awlins mise en scène and Terri Hatcher déshabillé.

And for whatever reason, Burke's "Dave Robicheaux" hasn't fared too well on the silver screen, whether it's Baldwin or Tommy Lee Jones playing him.

All the Baldwin brothers save William have tended to bulk up, none more so than Daniel of whom we often ask, as we do of Tom Sizemore and Jan-Michael Vincent, "Is he still alive?!" But you're right... Stephen had that one big film in 1995, but seems to work steadily in flicks usually shown on off-cable channels at 3:00 am.

2. HighHatSize said...

The atmosphere of N'Awlins that the author creates is the most attractive aspect of the James Lee Burke novels. "Heaven's Prisoners" captured it. "In The Electric Mist" failed, probably because Tommy Lee Jones was just wrong for the part, meaning he didn't flesh out MY personal picture of "Dave Robicheaux." Was a "straight to DVD" film?

I would like to see Eric Baldwin reprise his role as "Dave Robicheaux," but then, I also want a pony.

  1. In this country "In The Electric Mist" went straight-to-DVD on March 15th of this year, while it was given a theatrical opening in Europe the following month, and did decent business, probably on the strength of director Bertrand Tavernier's reputation as an auteur. It's major cast didn't hurt, either... except that the various studios involved must've concluded that it was such a mess that it didn't warrant a campaign to open it here, as had been originally planned for 2008.

    Part of its conflicted history is evident in that the Berlin International Film Festival print ran 117 minutes while the USA DVD comes in at 102 minutes. I just Netflix'd it so I can discuss it better next month.
  2. Don't you mean Alex Baldwin? (I'd hate to think there was a fifth one all this time!)

3. HighHatSize said...

Dear gods, yes, I mean "Alec." I don't know where "Eric" came from.

Incidently, if you are fond of police procedural novels, I have discovered a new-to-me author named Michael Connelly who has written about sixteen mysteries, mostly featuring a detective named "Hieronymus (aka 'Harry') Bosch." They are uniformly satisfying and well-plotted but not so fulfilling as James Lee Burke's.

"Blood Work," one of his titles, was filmed by Clint Eastwood, starring and directing, but I guess that I didn't see it. Another title, "Void Moon" is in pre-production but isn't one of the "Harry Bosch" series. However, recalling the plot, it lends itself to being transformed into a screenplay better than most of his works.

With regard to our conversation of the earlier film, "Heaven's Prisoners," the au naturel appearance of Terri Hatcher signaled that she had no hand in the final cut. The perspective of the long-distance shot of her on a second story balcony, taken from ground level, made her hips look twice as wide as her shoulders and her breasts the small, flaccid sacks that women of that low BMI have without artificial augmentation.

Well there there now...
  1. Found "Blood Work" to be w-a-a-a-y too contrived for my taste, which runs to Elmore Leonard and early Robert B. Parker (after Hammett and Chandler, of course).
  2. For reasons not exactly clear at this time, I listened to "Void Moon" on CD when it first came out... didn't particularly like it, thinking it too much of the Dean Koontz/James Patterson school of crime fiction where the most common solution is: the writer; on the page; by strangulation; with words. De gustibus non est disputandum.

    I note with interest, however, that Al Pacino and Diane Lane are "attached," as they say, to the now-three-year-old film project, as is, variously, D.J. Caruso or Mimi Leder as director. Perhaps only with a strong female at the helm can the estimable Ms. Lane avoid being chewed off the screen.
  3. This part of the conversation is best reserved for over a beer in a local. However, my view is that Ms. Hatcher showed great courage for agreeing to that scene... or perhaps desperation since it was by no means an essential one.

4. EastEnd68 said...

Based on this I expect an entertaining New Year's Eve in Mattituck – thank you.

Please report back... I need to know if my most recent critical perception is valid, or was I just in the right frame of mind when I saw it. Based on the RT consensus, it could go either way.

5. EastEnd68 said...

Dean - you are not going to believe this but three people convinced me to change plans and opt for "Up In The Air."

Why wouldn't I believe it? But I sense that it's a better alternative, garnering an impressive RT/89%.

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