Monday, December 28, 2009

It's Complicated


It's Complicated is a first class, perfectly pitched, wonderfully paced movie. Ahh.....

I was worried that the best of it was already shown in all the commercials and previews of the film. Happily, I can report that it's even better than its trailer. Wow. Meryl Streep is incredible. The lady does not disappoint -- ever. Can't say enough about her. I unabashedly worship her.

Alec Baldwin has such an enormous sleaze-ball quality that he just has to be in the frame and he makes me laugh. He has perfect comic timing; his face expresses without any clownish mugging; he's a rake and a darling at once. And a bit of a pig. Love him! The thing is, Alec Baldwin really puts it all out there. He's intensely naked in his portrayal of a man who loses his midlife fantasy life and wants to revert to the home and hearth of his ex-wife and ideal family. Hell, he'd be an idiot not to want to go back to the Meryl Streep wife. Come on. He left her for a flat-bellied, tattoo-shouldered, exotic-bitchy young'un. True to his not-quite-bright nature, it took him 10 years to see what a schnook he was. Amazingly, and it's a testament to the personal likability quotient Baldwin brings, I liked him despite his obvious moronic leanings.

Steve Martin, I was relieved to see, did not go over-the-top with either his wacky self or his sad clown self. Phew. (I think Meryl just has to make everybody act better, so that's that.) Martin was a pretty believable nice architect guy who starts a thing with Meryl in the middle of her "affair" with her husband. There are a couple of scenes with them that make dating look good. Really.

I read a couple of reviews of this film by the Big Shots who write about movies. Forget them. They don't believe in Santa Claus. It's Christmas. Go. See it. It's a gift.

Sherlock Holmes

This is a big, fun movie. It doesn't make a lot of sense, but who cares? It's Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law. There are a lot of special effects. The scenery is Victorian England, circa 1800s. Beautiful art direction. A few fascinating slow motion fight scenes.

Don't expect a lot of "Elementary, my dear Watsons" or even brilliant deductions or creative sleuthing. Sherlock Holmes is not really a detective or a scientist in this film. He's more like an action hero with a self-destructive bent. And poor Watson, or Jude Law, is cast as a kind of codependent sidekick who gets kicked around a lot. (What happened to Jude Law? Seriously. He's lost his bloom.) There is a mystery to be solved, but I couldn't tell you what it was.

If you love Robert Downey, Jr. then you will have a good time. When all else fails in this movie, his ropey body is good to look at. And his English accent is a trip. Even Jude Law, who really is English, sounds less authentic than Downey. At one point, I was wishing Watson would have been played by Johnny Depp. (I'm not kidding about Jude Law's lost bloom.) Johnny Depp could given Watson more bite, more interest, more something. Maybe even just given it his Johnny Depp-ness. At least there would have been something else to captivate in this couple of hours in Downey-land.