Friday, January 15, 2010

Watchmen are Bereft

I dislike superhero movies. They are so predictable. You can tell the bad guy early on because he is the good-looking guy, as in “Watchmen”, or the guy with the goofy beard, i.e., Jeff Bridges in “Ironman.” So I saw “Watchmen”, against my better judgment. It is 2.5 hours I will never get back. The plot is silly, the characters are unsympathetic, and the acting is wooden. Star Billy Crudup must have attended the Keanu Reeves School of Soporific Acting. Given that Reeves was initially cast as Dr. Manhattan, this was probably appropriate. I had a difficult time identifying with the character Rorshach, played by Jackie Earle Haley, who was so effective in “Little Children.” He was so good in that film that I will always see him as a child molester. The only good thing about this movie for me was the use of the music of Phillip Glass. Otherwise, “Watchmen” is an unmitigated disaster. Apropos of nothing, “Superhero Movie”, the hilarious send-up of the genre, was thoroughly enjoyable!

I also saw “Bereft”, a made for TV movie starring Vinessa Shaw. She plays a young widow, Molly, who is struggling with the death of her husband about a year earlier. The movie depicts her descent into high-risk behavior, under the influence of her creepy man-boy neighbor and his uncle. Shaw, a former model, is stunningly beautiful. Marsha Mason plays her mother, who is steely cold, insensitive, and oblivious. Edward Herrmann plays her alcoholic father who also doesn’t have a clue. Only her sister, played by Ari Graynor, seems to understand Molly’s pain, but is also unable to connect. There is a scene toward the end of the movie where Molly has an extraordinarily controlled meltdown. I’m not sure it rang true, but it’s not due to Shaw’s acting, but rather the way it was scripted. The most wonderful part of the movie is the beautiful cinematography. The saturation of the colors in the Vermont landscape is stunning. There is only one scene that turns dark, but it’s appropriate for the content of the film. This is not a great film, and I can’t say I enjoyed it, but it pulled me in and I felt for Molly. The music by Mark Snow was also quite good.

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