Weekend Film Notes

Away We Go is such a sweet, disarming little film that you forget how serious it is at times. This is a film about disarray and self doubt and personal identity--some heady stuff indeed. At the center of the film are Burt Farlander (John Krasinski) and Verona De Tessant (Maya Rudolph). Burt sells re-insurance and Verona illustrates medical textbooks. They live in a drafty, single-wide someplace cold, and they're a few short months from having a baby.

In one early scene they sit huddled beneath blankets--freezing because they tripped the circuit again on the poorly wired single-wide--and Verona mutters, "Are we fuck-ups Bert? We're thirty-four years old. Are we fuck-ups?"

They go back and forth and finally Verona whispers, "I think we might be fuck-ups."

"We're not fuck-ups," Burt whispers back.

This line of dialogue plumbs the central aspects of the characters. Verona is searching for something better--for herself (she's clearly a talented artist) and her future family. Burt is the eternal optimist, happy in the moment, thankful to be with Verona.

When they embark on a series of investigative roadies to check out where they'll settle to build their family, predictable chaos ensues. Burt takes it all in stride, while Verona is a overtly dubious about these places.

The film shines in the embedded narratives. Allison Janney, Jim Gafiggan and Maggie Gyllenhaal are all superb in their turns. There is some serious hilarity in one of the most uncomfortable dinner scenes you'll ever see.

Written by Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida and directed by Sam Mendes, this is a film that truly shines in the comedic and somber moments alike. A sure-fire 'A' and a great way to spend a few hours...

Legion, on the other hand, is simply bad. Bad, bad, bad. The action sequences are so poorly rendered that you can't tell who has the upper hand. The character development is brutal, with Dennis Quaid, an actor I otherwise enjoy, doing almost nothing. There is a character who looks like Brett Favre, and some Angel that comes down from heaven and slices off his wings and tries to stop an army of possessed zombie-human-angels from attacking a bunch of waylaid travelers at a dusty diner (oh those damned interstates! always cutting off the good traffic!).

This one is poorly written, badly shot, shoddily acted and, well...very boring. Scott Stewart trots out every cliche in the book (yes, our savior almost falls off a cliff in the climax, and a couple of stones skitter over the side). The characters are thin as a dime, never elevating above stock caricatures.

And of course, they left it open for a sequel. Boo, hiss. I try not to post anything if I can't say something nice (and I've been taken to task for only pimping stuff I like via e-mail, but I generally believe in the old adage...), but I thought I'd give fair warning. This one is an 'F' across the board.

The Hurt Locker, Funny People and Carriers are all somewhat interesting. Surrogates and The Blue Butterfly were disappointing, though I love William Hurt.

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