by Shakeel Madhav
1. The Commendable- True Grit: True Grit is a story that is truly as memorable as the original John Wayne classic of years past. True Grit’s strengths rely on that element in itself; the grit, or realism. Hailee Steinfeld, the primary protagonist who is on a mission to kill her father’s murderer, brings a surprisingly in depth and believable performance, pulling off the self-taught maiden archetype without going overboard to the point where she becomes unlikable. Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon’s characters serve as ideal foils of one another, as a lawless official drunk and aged past his time in contrast to a young, disciplined ranger who wishes to fulfill the best wishes of the law. Speaking of realism, the story manages to waver away from common clichés and in turn places the protagonists in situations that are suspenseful as they are believable. The Coen Brothers, makers of action films like No Country for Old Men and comedic films such as Burn After Reading manage to bring all that they’ve learned to the table, and in the end, we get a rich, satisfying film that leaves us begging for more.
2. The Generic- Skyline: Surely there must have been some meeting of directors that I wasn’t informed of where they saw reruns of Independence Day, because it feels like every director and his brother is making an invasion film; Invasion Los Angeles, Monsters, Transformers 3, it’s just a wave of popcorn films that is creating a blurred effect of generic films, each as forgettable as the next, with Skyline being the threshold of forgettable films. Skyline is an independent film shot in the big-budgeted Hollywood style, primarily about your typical run-of-the-mill protagonists that spend their time opening and closing blinds for a living. However, when If it wasn’t obvious by my tone, the good guys offer no stance of morality or anything of that manner to draw the audience in and I felt indifference to whether or not they got out alive or not, a trait absolutely essential to any effect-heavy alien invasion film. You know you dun’ goofed when a giant alien behemoth crushes the protagonist’s car flat, and you are more concerned about the stunt car’s condition than the actual characters.
3. The Unexpected- The Green Hornet: It was inevitable that many of the fans of the original that featured Bruce Lee would be antagonized when the archetypal neck beard Seth Rogen behind Superbad and Knocked Up would be chosen to attempt to mimic possibly the greatest fight choreography of all time. However, with famed Taiwanese musician and actor Jay Chou at his side, Seth manages to pull off the ambitious task in a likable manner with little fault. Speaking of the characters, both compliment each other quite well and the plot is built firmly around this relationship; a risky yet successful move. We can connect to the struggle of Britt Reid, a slacker that earnestly wants to impress the world but is patronized in the process. He finds himself in situations outside of his understanding or influence, similar to a child that wants to help out without the tools to do so. On the other hand, Kato is quite capable, being well versed in the best qualities of life; Muscle Cars, heavy weaponry, Kung Fu and tea. He feels just as imprisoned, but more along the lines of lack of place, rather than ability. Thus, each companion helps elevate the other, pr
oviding a diverse partnership rarely seen in cinematography. If only some of the other characters were as refined, then this film would have been truly great, but for what it is, The Green Hornet packs quite a sting.
4. Get this thing off me please it’s tearing at my flesh why did I even- Little Fockers: I never really did understand how the “Fock” the series has flourished as much as it has today; the entire series lies on the fact that Ben Stiller’s character is named Gaylord Focker. The films are entirely reliant on the hope that some immature kid in the audience will laugh at one of the films’ “hilarious jokes” and that will cause a chain reaction of laughter, consequently resulting in the trilogy becoming a listing of unfunny jokes. However, with Little Fockers, nobody laughed. There was no joy, no care, and with that the audience saw the true rotten core of the series, with a vapid plot that was parasitic in thought. Oh, and as soon as the inevitable next mutilation of Murphey’s Law that is the Fockers comes out, my suggestion: Stay the “fock” away, before I have to use that line again.