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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cindy Prascik's Reviews of Homefront & Enough Said

Dearest Blog, over the long weekend I was fortunate to make two trips to two different cinemas. Thanks to the busy weekend, I'm only just posting my reviews. Apologies for the delay.

Spoiler level here will be mild-ish, I guess.

Thanks to my benevolent employer dismissing at noon on Wednesday, I spent my afternoon enjoying Jason Statham's latest flick, Homefront.

A former DEA agent moves with his daughter to a small town, which proves less peaceful than expected when he has to face off with the local meth dealer.

Statham Disclaimer (yes, he has his own disclaimer): Jason Statham is one of my favorite people who makes movies, and he almost unerringly makes movies I like. Opening weekend isn't good enough for Statham movies; I'm willing to burn vacation time to see them opening day. I am perfectly capable of loving a terrible movie just because Jason Statham in it (though that's not always the case).

I think Homefront would have been a good enough movie with or without Statham, but for Statham fans there's no denying it's a happy return to form after the drudgery of Redemption (a.k.a. Hummingbird).

Homefront does a nice job of maintaining tension throughout, and really kept me on the edge of my seat. There's not only the obvious good guy versus bad guy plot, but also the more relatable theme of trying to fit idea that probably terrifies me more than the prospect of a firefight with the local drug lord! As you would expect in any movie that involves drug dealers, there's a fair bit of gun violence and things blowing up, but, for the most part we get to see Statham in hand-to-hand combat, which is definitely where he shines. It's all the more entertaining for knowing he insists on doing as much of his own stunt-work as the insurance will allow!

James Franco serves as an oddly-perfect foil to Statham's tough guy, and (to me, anyway) the character was enjoyable despite being a generally horrible person. Kate Bosworth is freakishly accurate as Franco's druggie sister, and Winona Ryder looks born to play the role of a meth-head prostitute. It was nice to see Omar Benson Miller again, too, reminding me how much I actually miss the idiotic glory of CSI: Miami.

Homefront runs 100 minutes and is rated R for "strong violence, pervasive language, drug content, and brief sexuality."

Come awards season, Homefront won't make anyone's lists, but, for my money, it was one of the more enjoyable afternoons I've passed at the cinema this year. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Homefront gets seven.

On Saturday, my Mother, who normally wouldn't sit through a movie if someone demanded it at gunpoint, got in her head that she wanted to see the flick playing at our tiny local theatre, which shows some smaller and indie releases when it isn't hosting live performances from our local theatre troupe. As my luck would have it, the film they were showing last weekend was the Julia Louis-Dreyfuss/James Gandolfini rom-com, Enough Said. (I must have crossed paths with a black cat or broken a mirror or something.)

Eva (Louis-Dreyfuss) and Albert (Gandolfini) meet at a party and get romantically involved...but another party guest may ruin the relationship.

I don't think I need to tell anyone that, of all the genres in all of cinema, the romantic comedy is my least favorite by a mile. The only way I'll consider a rom-com is if it stars someone I absolutely can't miss, or if I get pressganged into it. (Read: Mother wants to go to the local movie house on Small Business Saturday.) That's not to say I can't be won over by such a film if it's cute or the characters are likable enough, but unfortunately Enough Said embodies absolutely everything I hate about romantic comedies and then some.

Enough Said is a criminal waste of its two stellar leads, who manage to turn in nice performances while reciting some of the dopiest dialogue I've ever heard outside a Twilight movie. I understand that, to some degree, it's meant to convey the discomfort of getting used to someone new, but too much of it is just bad. Both characters are divorced with daughters about to head off to college, and the kids are so vile I wanted to bang their heads together. (As my sister says, "I don't understand how anyone decides to have kids once they've met a teenager.") The rancid icing on this putrid cake was having to look at my least-favorite actress, Toni Collette, who had more screen time than anyone other than the two main characters. That woman makes me want to throw a shoe at the screen! (If you were wondering, I didn't.)

Enough Said sells those tired, old rom-com principles: there's someone for everyone, nice people should give even the most awful people a second chance, and everyone deserves a happy ending, all of which are less believable to me than anything I've ever seen in a Marvel film or Claymation Christmas special. With the exception of Albert, I found every single character so unlikable that the movie's brief runtime felt like about six hours, and I left thinking they all deserved to die alone and miserable.

Enough Said clocks in at 93 minutes. It is rated PG13 for "crude and sexual content, comic violence, language, and partial nudity." Its impressive IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes ratings tell me I'm in the minority, but I hated nearly every minute. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Enough Said gets three.

Finally, though it relates to neither of this week's films, I want to acknowledge the unexpected passing of Paul Walker over the weekend. When I first I saw the news, I spent the next hour refreshing the screen and hoping someone would prove it a hoax, until his reps officially confirmed via his official Facebook and Twitter. Walker seemed like a genuinely decent guy who was universally well-loved, particularly by his Fast & Furious family and fans, and I am having a hard time shaking off the blues over this one. So, rest peacefully, Paul Walker, and thanks for all the fun times at the movies.

Until next time...

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