Thursday, July 22, 2010


Over the past week I caught up with a couple of pictures. With The Wife, I saw:

The Kids Are All Right—Annette Bening & Julianne Moore are an affluent LA lesbian couple with two teenage kids (Mia Wasikowska & Josh Hutcherson); they had them biologically, one apiece, using the same sperm donor. The kids get in touch with this seminal fellow, who turns out to be the quintessential California dude, a laid-back restaurateur, sweet-natured if a bit erotically reckless, sort of a minor sexual deity of the West Coast ethos. With absolutely zero ill intentions, this charmer, quite wonderfully played by Mark Ruffalo, manages to wreak all sorts of havoc in his new-found family. This comedy, directed & co-written by Lisa Cholodenko, is both livelier & more generous-hearted than the director’s 1998 High Art, & at least as well-acted: Ruffalo & Bening are both very funny, as are the kids, but Moore was the real standout for me—she has moments of knockout naturalism.

& with Barry, I saw:

Predators—Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Topher Grace, Walton Goggins, Danny Trejo & a bunch of other character actors find themselves marooned on a distant, pleasantly forested planet, with no idea how they got there. Most of them are career killers—mercenaries, guerillas, death row inmates, gangsters & the like—& their hosts are the hideous trophy-hunting aliens with the curiously Rasta-like helmets from Predator, the 1987 Schwarzenegger actioner. Down they go, one at a time. A Yakuza (Louis Ozawa Changchien) even takes on one of the Predators in a swordfight. Robert Rodriguez produced this sci-fi variation on The Most Dangerous Game. It’s pretty good for a while—the direction, by Nimrod Antal, is rather supple, the actors are good, & even the lean, faux-Hemingway dialogue isn’t too embarrassing. But the movie runs out of energy & ideas about midpoint. Also—at the risk of “spoilers”—why, in movies like this, do they almost always kill off the most interesting actors first?

Monster-of-the-Week: Probably the coolest scene in Predators involves a pack of bloodhound-like hunting animals sicced on the human characters. So this week the nod goes to these “Predator hounds,” seen here in a bit of production art:

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