A notebook of links and commentary on film and the arts, with occasional stabs at understanding current events. A mix of the serious and the silly, and with a special emphasis on Ms. Natalie Portman.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Role Models is a reminder of how fun it is to laugh at the movies when something funny happens, as opposed to at a concept or a personality. The dry Paul Rudd has fun as an energy-drink salesman whose temper tantrum lands him and his partner (Seann William Scott) a court-ordered community service gig. The movie doesn't go anywhere surprising and Scott's foul-mouthed young charge is overused, but there are a lot of offhand laughs along the way as Rudd's character learns to enjoy life by dressing up as a member of Kiss and joining a group of medieval re-enactors. Oh, and that guy who played McLovin' in Superbad can act! Matinee only on this one.
Odds are you probably didn't see Richard Jenkins's acclaimed performance in The Visitor earlier this year, but the movie is out on DVD now. Jenkins plays a widowed college professor who discovers two illegal immigrants squatting in his New York apartment. Allowing them to stay, he becomes a student of the djembe and starts hanging out at drum circles in the park. Disaster strikes when the characters cross paths with the War on Terror, but the movie is much less interested in politics than about the prof learning to reconnect with life. Jenkins (one of the strengths of Burn After Reading) is gorgeously understated but the movie feels a little too austere to generate much awards heat. I see a Golden Globe nomination for this performance but Jenkins will be shut out of the big show.