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tv   John Mc Laughlins One on One  WHUT  November 23, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm EST

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>> christy lemire: we review "the descendants" with george clooney. >> i'm trying to keep my head above water. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: the dancing penguins are back in "happy feet two." >> christy lemire: and we go inside roger's office for a look at the res hfloaa adeofe lost rk." ♪ >> we have to go through this thing together, you and scottie and me.
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>> dad, i will be a lot more civil with him around. >> what's up, bro? >> don't ever do that to me again. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: from the director who gave us "sideways" now comes "the descendants." hello, i'm ignatiy vishnevetsky of >> christy lemire: and i'm christy lemire of the associated press. in alexander payne's latest, "the descendants," george clooney stars as matt king, whose wife is in a coma after a boating accident in hawaii, where they live. his enormous family as also put him in charge of deciding what to do with the pristine parcel of land they've inherited from their royal hawaiian ancestors, and he has to care for his daughters, whom he just doesn't understand. >> get out of my underwear, you freak! >> no, no, no! back inside. put on a swimsuit. >> why? >> now! >> real good job you're doing. >> that's part of why i brought you here. you have to help me with her. i don't know what to do with her. >> maybe if you spent more time with her, she wouldn't act like such a complete spaz.
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>> christy lemire: that's shailene woodley as the rebellious teenager alexandria, and amara miller as the trouble-making youngster, scottie. matt and the girls must make the rounds to friends and family to explain there isn't much hope left for his wife. alexandria insists on bringing along her idiot boyfriend, played by nick krause for moral support. >> what's going on this week is really a family matter, you understand? he's not going to be interested in meeting your grandparents. he's going to be bored tiff. >> dad, i told you, he was going to be with me. i will be a lot more civil with him around. >> what can i say? >> christy lemire: then she drops another boom shell, her mother was having an affair at the time of the accident. matt is understandably incensed and curious as to who this guy is. ♪ wh> >> who is he? i would like to know who the guy is that my wife was seeing. >> christy lemire: payne makes movies about men on the brink of a nervous breakdown of personal and professional ruin. that's been true of "election,"
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"about schmidt" and "sideways" and it's certainly true here. clooney is always great and his arc from grief to anger to acceptance is always believable. i didn't love "the descendants" the way i loved payne's earlier films. it's too languid, maybe that has something to do with the laid-back setting. and the frequent voiceover from clooney spells out too much, but the story kept me guessing as to where it would go, and it features some piercing moments of emotional truth. so my thumb ultimately is up. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: i think this is a really good balance of a cynical perspective and a sensitive one. i would actually go so far as to say this is payne's best film. i should qualify that by saying i generally don't like his films. the problem i have with them is everyone except for the main character tends to be a caricature. >> christy lemire: that's true here with the idiot boyfriend. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: he starts as a caricature but he expands and becomes a fuller character. i think the reason is that slower pacing, which i know you didn't like about the film. i actually liked it. i think the fact that he's able
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to take his time with the characters, with the plot, with developing the setting. i think that's what makes this film stand out from his other work. >> christy lemire: it's more mature for him in some ways and more mature for clooney. he's a 50-year-old man who is finally playing a man who is his dad who acts his age and has ordinary problems that an ordinary person would have and it fits him beautifully. he can do everything and now he shows he can do this. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: he still has the charisma, but he's surprisingly convincing as a middle-aged sort of ordinary put upon every man. >> christy lemire: and he has this one great emotional theme when he finally comes to grips with what's about to happen here which is very, very powerful, but there are confrontations that go differently than you might expect with matthew willard as the other man. he's an inspired bit of casting. they don't go the way you think they might. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: one thing that plays into this movie, larger, novelistic scope. he's not introduced until late in the movie.
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>> christy lemire: he's great and the daughters playing opposite clooney is good too. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: on this show, we review many bad movies. most of them are just run-of-the-mill bad, but a select few achieve a different level of badness. they're mesmerizingly bad, almost too strange to exist. such is the case of "the greening of whitney brown," an object lesson in accidental surrealism. even the title is fascinatingly terrible. it all starts innocently enough, with the unsufferable title character, a middle school girl, learning that her well-to-do parents are broke. >> hon, we are going to have to cut back, make some changes. >> you are not cutting back on my clothing allowance, are you? because due to my new exalted position, my dress needs to be couture. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: off they go to the farm to reconnect with their roots and hang out with whitney's estranged grandfather. he's played by kris kristofferson. why? because apparently kris kristofferson just doesn't care anymore. >> she's my granddaughter, whether she knows it or not.
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she's a good kid, tenacious. and she's got a natural horse sense. the best 've seen in a while. >> really? >> yeah. >> you think she's got something? >> she didn't get it from you! >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: mind you, these clips are provided by the studio that made the film. so they're gonna try and make it look good. but believe me, this movie is mostly just a nightmarish, spiraling fever dream of horse jokes, horse reaction shots, horse bodily functions, horse-related montages and other assorted horse antics. >> i don't know if that's such a good idea, sweetheart. you don't know if he's saddle broken. >> or if you are for that matter. >> maybe i will just stick with bare back. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: this might sound silly, but this dumb movie about a tween and her horse has left me a little conflicted. i can't help but be fascinated by it, though definitely not in the way that the filmmakers intended. it's objectively terrible, but i'm almost reluctant in giving it a thumbs down.
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i can't help but begrudgingly respect a movie that lists a horse as a star in its oning credits. -- opening credits. >> christy lemire: odd job bob as bob! yes, i think we neat more perky montages and more perky pop songs that literally comment on the action. yeah this movie is horrible and tween girls deserve stronger, smarter, film characters to look up to. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: or better movies for that matter. >> christy lemire: yes, it's cynical and vapid. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: but also incredibly strange. >> christy lemire: i like it when the horse goes to prom. he can figure out who the mean girl is in class in order to humiliate her in front of all of her friends. coming up later, "happy feet two." >> we are not pigs. we can't fly. and "immortals" with mickey
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rourke. >> i will end the reign of the gods. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: but morst,hee'a ers.t in tw s. >> christy lemire: our next movie is "immortals," which vaguely resembles greek mythology, but actually has more in common with the movie "300." it's a nonsensical overloaded cacophony of carnage in totally needless 3d. mickey rourke plays the ruthlessnd t bloodhirsty king hyperion, who's storming across greece with his massive army. only one man can stop him, the hunky and frequently shirtless theseus, played by henry cavill. >> theseus, there's little the king does not know. he knows that you have no father and like him you are drawn by your people. >> does he know of my rage? does he know that i live to
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only see the blood at the end of my sword. does he know that he butchered my mother. >> no, he's seen your face. he knows. >> christy lemire: theseus gets some help in his quest from the wise-cracking stavros, played by stephen dorff, a beautiful virgin oracle played by freida pinto. the gods on high are supposed to just watch what these mortals do and not get involved, but it's boring up there and sometimes they can't help themselves. ♪ >> christy lemire: king hyperion, dressed in his evil bunny rabbit helmet eventually captures the thing he'd been seeking all along, a magical bow that shoots an endless stream of metallic, laser-like arrows. between that and his mighty troops, he would seem unstoppable. but theseus and his smaller army have heart on their side. and you can just imagine this rousing pep talk being played on jumbotrons at stadiums across the country in hopes of inspiring come-from-behind victories.
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>> fight for your chidren! fight for your future! fight! fight for immortality! >> christy lemire: "immortals" comes from directory tarsem singh, who has a music video background. and if you've seen any of his previous movies "the cell" or "the fall" you know he's an obsessively visual stylist. there's a lot of c.g.i.-enhanced enormity, but singh is also fetishistic about detail. hyperion's brutally minimalistic lair could be the lobby of a boutique hotel, and the costumes are straight out of a lady gaga concert. as cool looking as "immortals" can be, it's also repetitive and overlong and the violence -- especially the slow-motion beheadings -- just become numbing after a while. thumbs down from me. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: it's a thumbs up from me. >> christy lemire: wow! explain that. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: i didn't care what was going to happen to the characters or where the plot was going. >> christy lemire: shouldn't you, though? >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: the only thing i cared about was
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what tarsem singh, what type of slow motion scene tarsem singh was going to come up with next. there's not much there in terms of plot or character. >> christy lemire: that's phrasing it kindly. okay. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: but visually, it's very compelling. i completely disagree with you about the 3d being needless. singh has a great imagination for spaces and for these sets and i think the -- the depth that 3d ffers or the sense of depth that it offers really helps. i don't think this would have been as compelling if i had seen it in 2d as in 3d. >> christy lemire: most of the 3d is someone's head is getting cut off and the blood is splurting out at you. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: i think this is often quite a beautiful movie. not a very smart movie, but, you know, it's very rare that you see an action movie or even
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a fantasy movie made nowadays that pays this much tension to the visual and to me, that's the reason why i'm giving it a thumbs up. i saw the visuals compelling. >> christy lemire: this is a long muted music video. mickey rourke groans and grumbles and eats and throws food. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: but as long as it's this stunningly production designed, i'm okay with it. well, our next film is more or less the polar -- that pun, folks -- opposite of "immortals." no gory, ancient greek battles here. only cheery, singing, dancing, penguins. it's "happy feet 2." the very underwhelming sequel to the 2006 academy award winner "happy feet." ♪ i've been here for years ♪ i'm going to take this itty-bitty world by storm ♪ >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: the original "happy feet" told a fairly straightforward story about an outsider trying to find his place in a community.
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this sequel ditches that simplicity in favor of a scattershot array of subplots. one of these is centered on a swedish puffin, voiced by hank azaria, whom the penguins mistake for one of their own. >> now, listen up. >> mm-hmm. >> empty your mind. >> done. >> and picture your goal. >> okay. >> deep brown, short, slender. >> come on. feel it. feel it. feel it. >> open your eyes. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: the best part of this movie is a sort of parallel story about two krill, voiced by brad pitt and matt damon, who decide to explore the mysterious world outside the swarm. the relationship between these two tiny crustaceans is more compelling, and funnier, than any of the generic misadventures of the penguin characters. ♪ i'm never going to give you up ♪ ♪ never going to let you down ♪ >> a predator convention? >> oh, no, why wasn't i
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invited. >> well, guy, guy -- will, don't go. you will never survive. will, stop! >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: "happy feet" was a movie that was hard not to like. "happy feet two" is a movie that's hard n to get a little bored by. the musical numbers range from moderately charming to extremely grating. ♪ as i do my thing, boom, boom being boom ♪ ♪ come on, take this one ♪ >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: and the plot feels like a medley of different movies, most of which aren't very good. this isn't bad per se, but it's very mediocre. i'm giving it a thumbs down. >> christy lemire: my thumb is down too. it's a total mess from a narrative perspective. i turned to the friend sitting next to me, i said what is this about? i couldn't figure it out. it's like it's a parable about global warming, right? it's about finding your place in the world. it's about being a little bit different. it's also some really weird hurricane katrina imagery going on where all the penguins -- >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: the
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penguins become trapped. >> christy lemire: they are trapped in this bowl and they can't get out and they are teeming and they are fearful that they will die. this is really strange. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: and the director of this film, he's actually pulled this off. before he's pulled it off twice. he directed "babe pig in the city" one of the best children's film in the last 15 years which drastically expands on the scope of babe and he did it with "mad max" movies and also expanding very much in the sequel, but here, you know, he tries to expand upon "happy feet" which is a fairly simple, straightforward movie and the result is a total mess. there's too many subplots and too many characters. not enough movie to go around. >> christy lemire: the thing with the krill is cute, the matt damon and brad pitt. you can imagine them getting their third spinoff, "happy feet 3, the krill." >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: but that's not enough. the damon pitt krill could be a
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short. >> christy lemire: it's 30 years old and looks great. roger's in his office with a look at the new, restored "raiders of the lost ark." >> roger ebert: today when we see it again, steven spielberg's "raiders of the lost ark" is like a beloved old friend. but when i first saw it in 1981, it felt like the start of something new. this is bill kurtis speaking for roger ebert. it played like the best parts from all the saturday matinee series ever made. consider the locations, africa, nepal, egypt, at sea and in a secret submarine base. then there are the forms of transportation, trucks ♪ motorcycles, ships, subs, pan am clippers, and a nazi
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flying wing. ♪ and the forms of danger, traps and explosives. ♪ the hero is trapped in a snake pit, and the heroine finds herself assaulted by mummies. >> ah, ah! >> roger ebert: and no movie nazis have ever been killed more sensationally than when a heavenly fire shoots through them.
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>> ahhh! >> roger ebert: this marks the 30th anniversary of "raiders of the lost ark" and spielberg. has supervised a complete restoration of a new special edition on dvd. the beautiful version will be playing in certain theaters around the country but it's certainly worth seeing on dvd. >> christy lemire: i liked the rough charm of it. okay. next up, is "jack and jill," the latest adam sandler comedy, which shockingly was not shown to us in time for last week's episode. so we get the joy of playing catch-up. sandler seems to be borrowing from tyler perry here, dressing up in drag to play both jack, as a los angeles advertising
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executive, and jill, his obnoxious, clueless, passive aggressive twin sister. >> come downstairs. the food is ready. don't forget your sweat shadow. >> what? >> just take your bath and i will burn those sheets. >> christy lemire: jill was only supposed to be visiting from new york for thanksgiving, but ends up staying much, much longer. she tags along with jack and his family on a european cruise, which provides yet another opportunity for episodic slap stick humor and hideous wardrobe choices. ♪ >> come on, turn up the heat. ♪ >> christy lemire: but the real reason jack is letting jill stick around so long is because al pacino -- yes, that al pacino -- is smitten by her. jack wants to use pacino in a dunkin' donuts campaign, and there's a ridiculous amount of
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product placement in this movie. so he's hoping jill can help seal the deal. >> oh, my god! oh, my god! i am so sorry. i'm sure you have others, though. >> oh, would you think it, but oddly enough, i don't. >> christy lemire: that joke and one other funny line from pacino are the only ones that made me laugh out loud. meanwhile, the rest of the packed theater was silent. but during a lengthy scene in which jill has diarrhea after eating chimichangas for the first time, the place went nuts. by now, we've come to expect the gross out humor, jarring shifts in tone and illogical editing. it's when sandler tries to get all gooey and sentimental that his movies are truly offensive. but, hey, between this and "just go with it," at least he makes it easy to compile a worst of list at the end of the year. thumbs down. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: i think you hit the nail right on the head. >> christy lemire: didn't i, though? >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: the problem of this movie, with a lot of sandler's movie, it's
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not the humor. obviously humor is a subjective thing. it's the cheap, unearned sentimentality. that's really what makes these bad movies that and the extremely sloppy filmmaking. but here, i mean, the jill character is such a hideous cartoon. i mean, the movie goes so far to turn her into this barely human thing that when the movie tries to play up some sympathy for her, it feels completely disingenuous. >> christy lemire: all of a sudden, it's a 180 and we should embrace her. adam sandler was pretty convincinvincing as a woman. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: at least tyler perry's movies are funny. >> christy lemire: you looked like an actual person. it was shocking to me. al pacino here is actually pretty funny. making fun of himself and his volatility. he's not bad here. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: i think it's a bad sign when the best part of a movie is like the low point of someone's
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career. and now it's time for hot and now, where we take a look at the movies now apparent on confidendvdon demand. my pick for hot and now this week is "outrage," a gutsy gangster revenge flick by the japanese actor/director takeshi kitano. kitano himself plays otomo, a career gangster whose boss ropes him into a scheme to save face with the head of their crime organization. otomo is a no nonsense, get ultimately gets him in trouble since he's in a line of work that's predicated on nonsense. everybody talks about loyalty and alliances while plotting on another's downfall. >> 50%, you are in. >> hey, you know, you are dealing with the yakuza, right? >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: it's call good, clean
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nihilistic fun, especially if you like your crime movies brisk and to the point. "outrage" is currently available on video on demand. it will have a limited release in theaters starting december 2nd. >> christy lemire: my hot and now pick is one of my favorite movies ever, "rushmore." this was only wes anderson's second feature back in 1998, but it remains his best film yet. young jason schwartzman, making his film debut, stars as the eccentric and ambitious max fischer, who's involved in seemingly every club, sport and activity at the exclusive rushmore academy. >> what's the secret, max? >> secret? >> yeah, you seem to have it pretty figured out. >> i don't know. i think you've just got to find something you love to do and then do it for the rest of your life. for me, it's going to rushmore. >> christy lemire: the two need and feed off each other, but eventually become bitter rivals for the affections of the first grade teacher played by the lovely olivia williams. all of anderson's trademark visual tricks are on display here. but he also finds a delicate,
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wistful humor in his characters' loneliness, which gives "rushmore" greater emotional heft than its quirks might lead you to expect. it's available next week on blu-ray. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: now let's re movie we reviewed on this show. two thumbs up on "the descendants." two thumbs down on "the greening of whitney brown." that i of r of rhymes. we split on "immortals." i'm down and christy is up. two more thumbs down on "happy feet two." two more thumbs down "jack and jill." >> christy lemire: our executive producer, chaz ebert has words to say about the status of our show. >> chaz ebert: we explained we needed underwriters to keep our show on public television beyond this season. thank you so much for responding. you told us that you value the show and that you want to see it return. please bear with us while we evaluate the various alternatives. i also want to remind you of your very important contributions that play such a role in bringing quality
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programming to public television. thank you. if you want to stay informed about our efforts, you may visit our web site at or thank you. >> christy lemire: thank you so much, chaz. we will be back next week with new reviews, including martin scorsese's 3d film, hugo. >> and the muppets are back. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: you can join us online at and on our facebook page, ebert presents at the movies. until then, the balcony is closed. >> roger ebert: i think kermit the frog has been watchy mickey rooney and judy garland movies. his new movies seemed to be ripped off from the great musicals of the 1940s where the senior class play was so good where somebody says, hey,
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gang, let's take our play and go all the way to broadway. that's what kermit wants to do in the first movie he rode a bicycle and now he does something even more amazing, he going to the altar with miss piggy. i never thought that would come for kermit. all the muppets are the stars for a change. they are good in it. there's a lot of good laughter. it is g rated and it's fun for the whole family and i give it three stars. i'm roger ebert. >> ignatiy vishnevetsky: for more reviews and morey from roger's office, visit our web site, caption first, inc.
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