Critics' Corner: 200 Hours in the Dark

Critics' Corner: 200 Hours in the Dark

Jul 28, 2011









2011 is half over. Grae and Dave have reviewed about a hundred films in that time. Here’s what they didn’t hate, liberally spiked with further complaints about what they did…

Dave: The year 2011 is exactly one-half finished, Grae Drake.

Grae: That means Christmas is right around the corner!

Dave: Um… no, it—

Grae: I say that on December 26th, too

Dave: Then, in the spirit of the holidays, let’s gift the readers with our really important reflections on cinema, January through June.

Grae: Wrapped in triumph and failure. Two bows at once. The triumph bow is for how we triumphed as people who sit and look at things for a living.

Dave: I’m super great at sitting, I gotta say.


Dave: My personal favorite garbage movie of the year so far, not counting the DVD release of 2010’s N-Secure.

Grae: I don’t know, really. Besides the cat in the dryer (spoiler alert—there’s a cat that gets put in a dryer, but as fake animal murders go, it’s fairly stylish in its rottenness) I was bored in between the parts where you’d lean over and say crazy stuff to me about it all.

Dave: There were so many “fashion hats” in that movie, I couldn’t stop myself from making sure you were noticing them.

Grae: My biggest movie surprise of the year so far was how bad Insidious WASN’T. And how awful Something Borrowed WAS. I kept looking for something sharp in my purse so I could stab that movie in the face.

Dave: You gotta go for the neck, that’s where the blood action is. And I also have to let you know that stabbing a movie isn’t going to make the people on screen stop being in Something Borrowed.

Grae: What was great about the horribleness of Something Borrowed was its utter confusion. Like at all times. It was never not baffling, wrong or stupid.

Dave: And therefore fascinating. So far it’s my other must-see terrible film of the year. I recommend it to friends all the time when they want to know what the latest mind-warping movies are. And I think Warner Bros. should really be grateful to us for leading viewers to their films for whatever reason, even if that reason is that the movie literally makes absolutely no sense. Speaking of, you know what was great about Just Go With It?

Grae: No, what?

Dave: Nothing.

Grae: Zing. Actually, I liked the part where---

Dave: I’m already there. Dave Matthews and—

Grae: --yes, the coconut and the buttcheeks.

Dave: We owe a debt of comedy gratitude to Adam Sandler and his tireless efforts to include everyone in his agenda of total grossness. Okay, what have we actually, genuinely loved? Like, what did we think was great that didn’t involve someone picking up coconuts with their ass?

Grae: Jane Eyre. It took me by surprise.

Dave: That’s correct. You think you don’t want to see Jane Eyre, readers. But your thinking is incorrect. You do want to see this. It’s smart and moving and kind of the perfect summer movie because everything on screen is frozen and gray and wet. It’ll look, if not feel, just like air conditioning. What else?

Grae: Beginners, Mike Mills’s lovely autobiographical story about his 75-year-old father coming out as gay. I think my favorite moment in that—not that there weren’t a lot of great moments; it’s really moving and sweet—is when Christopher Plummer comes home from a night out and calls his son Ewan McGregor and says, “I went to [Los Angeles gay nightclub] Akbar! They played really loud music!” And he’s so excited.

Dave: “House… music! I’m going to write that down!”

Grae: Adorable. And I completely loved Drive Angry. Nic Cage drinks beer out of a human skull. Done deal.

Dave: I say this without an ounce of intended irony. Nicolas Cage’s crazy films are incredibly satisfying to me. He’s in on all of it. He always delivers; he can take the rottenest mess and make you think he meant to do it just the way you’re witnessing it. He doesn't do anything half-assedly or because he needs a check. And he REALLY NEEDS CHECKS right now. But he seems to be in command of his bizarre career on every level. Switching gears, I loved Jean Luc Godard’s Film Socialisme because it assaults you, mocks you, and makes you wonder why you’re even watching it or if it’s even a movie. You’re thinking and feeling and maybe even pissed off through the entire film.

Grae: True, I thought and felt. I thought and felt that I wanted to use my fists on everything around me. It made me want to call them “freedom fries.”

Dave: Well, Godard is still the honey badger of cinema. I apologize for referencing a months-old joke there, but it fits.

Grae: You’re tipping your hand there. People will start calling you a real film critic if you continue to talk like this and then go off and do things like reference Andre Bazin’s What Is Cinema? in your Zookeeper review.

Dave: I’ll just tell them you forced it on me at gunpoint in an effort to make me more high-falutin’. And you’re the one that thought Certified Copy was so great.

Grae: You didn’t?

Dave: Juliette Binoche was awesome. The rest of it…

Grae: I’m waiting.

Dave: …wasn’t as satisfying or full of silence as some of the better, past films of director Abbas Kiorastami and so---see, what you make me do? More film criticky words. Can we just go back to talking about Leighton Meester getting kookoo-bananas in The Roommate?

Grae: Bridesmaids. Fast Five.

Dave: Thank you.

Grae: Bridesmaids was this perfect thing: hilarious mainstream comedy and meaningfully real film about lady friendships starring women who are beautiful but not alien supermodels. And it had tons of poop and farts. It’s like a great meal with all the food groups and antioxidants and supernutrients. And I just heard that the DVD is going to have like three hours of extras. Stoked.

Dave: Fast Five was my favorite cartoon of the first half of the year. Okay, after Rango. Rango’s first. Then Fast Five.

Grae: Fast Five wasn’t actually animated, you do realize…

Dave: Whatever. I know Rango contains your and my favorite line of dialogue of the year to date.

Grae: “If this were heaven, I’d be eating Pop-Tarts with Kim Novak.”

Dave: They really should give out Academy Awards for one-liners.

Grae: I know you didn’t feel the same way but I’d marry The Adjustment Bureau. High concept, intrigue, excitement, suspense and a love story I totally bought.

Dave: I suppose. But did it have a moment like in Limitless where Bradley Cooper's gal pal uses an ice-skates-wearing child as a murder weapon? No, it did not. So if we’re going to talk about excitement and high concepts, I’ll go with that one. And on the subject of murder weapons, I think 13 Assassins deserves to be seen by everyone who loves movies with lots of killing. This one has the most violent assassinationing of 2011. The entire last 40-plus minutes is man-on-man-on-man-on-man-on-man-on-man murder.

Grae: I loved Hanna.

Dave: Me too. And Meek’s Cutoff.

Grae: And the most gorgeous, weird, mysterious one of them all. The one that haunts me still. Your favorite-favorite, I already know…

Dave: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. And I don’t want to hear any backtalk from readers about it. Every single dang time I talk about this movie in public I go out of my way to stress that it’s a spacey, strange, mystical, free-associative tranquility zone and that it’s NOT FOR EVERYONE. It just happens to be the one that I love the most. And still, no matter that I do that, someone out there starts screaming at me and calling me an “elitist.” Well guess what? I am an elitist who also likes it when the Transformers kill Chicago and when the monkey in Zookeeper licks his own armpits.

Grae: I just call that being well-rounded. And Boonmee has everything a person could want in a film: reincarnation, inter-species sex, human ghosts, monkey ghosts, water buffalos, people sitting and talking about nothing, baffling middle portions that turn into a slide show, kidney failure, Buddhist monks who replicate themselves. Watching it just reminds you how everything else feels so recycled and stale. But here I just couldn’t believe my eyes. It was kind of like meditating. Serene, peaceful and gentle. Not one but two ghosts show up for a dinner scene and the people already there are like, “Hey, what’s up, ghosts?”

Dave: Exactly. The perfect movie. Okay, let’s wrap this up. What sucked so much we wanted to kill all the movies in existence? We don’t have to go into a million details about why. Let people click on our awesome reviews.

Grae: I was brutally let down by Sucker Punch

Dave: The Rite, Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son, Hall Pass

Grae: Beastly and OH GOD Mars Needs Moms made me so angry I wanted to wipe it off the face of the planet.

Dave: Arthur, Dylan Dog, There Be Dragons.There were no dragons. Title full of lies.

Grae: Oh yes, Dylan Dog. Rotten. Poor Brandon Routh.

Dave: Yeah, nobody deserves to be in Dylan Dog Let him be in a Judd Apatow comedy instead. See if he can do that. Give him another shot.

Grae: But he can’t star. It has to star Melissa McCarthy.

Dave: And he has to work really hard to woo her and earn her love.

Grae: Hear that, Judd Apatow? That’s your next movie. Get to work.

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