Recliner Reviews for June 28, 2012

June 26, 2012 

Sometimes it’s a dilemma: what DVD should you rent or what movie should you stream or order-on-demand? Do you want a date flick, an action caper, or a goofy comedy? Weekly Surge is here to help with our reviews of recent at-home movie releases, which we’ve watched from the comfort of that favorite recliner.

“The Artist”

Yes, we all know this French silent film won big at the Oscars. It won big because this year, Hollywood is breaking its arm to pat itself on the back for its history. “The Artist” keeps it traditional, displaying only shots able to be performed during its 1920s/1930s era. It’s quite the accomplishment and everyone does a great job of harnessing their best Douglas Fairbanks, Greta Garbo and Billy Wilder. But there’s a reason they don’t make silent films anymore – holy shit, it’s boring. There’s an authenticity to watching old swashbuckling films or the comedies of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton – this film captures the authenticity but feels like deliberate art imitating art, instead of authentic genius. Postscript – if they’re offering 1930s entertainment, shouldn’t they charge you 1930s prices? Worth a watch for the cinephile, everyone else can get the gist from the previews.

“Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance”

Such a shame, the “Ghost Rider” comics were so awesome – the outsider transformed into vengeance incarnate, a leather-clad skeleton engulfed in flames, riding a motorcycle of hellfire. It seems like the entire gist was lost in the translation of the first film. But here comes the sequel to set things right…Right? They brought in the directors who made the “Crank” films, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor – an obvious attempt to ramp up some gritty action. Nicolas Cage returns as the title character but the story is set in Europe with an entire new set of co-stars. The result – every time the Rider is kicking ass, the movie works. Every time Cage has to act, the movie sucks ass. And there’s not enough kicking ass to make this more than bad. They got closer to the spirit of the comics but this is just a ghost of what could’ve been done with such a great character. The verdict: Pass.

“Albert Nobbs”

Some projects become an obsession for actors. Glenn Close first played the role of Albert Nobbs, the cross-dressing butler, in an Off-Broadway production back in 1982. Back before she was the ideal Cruella De Vil in “101 Dalmatians” or the ideal obsessed sociopath in “Fatal Attraction.” Thirty years of bubbling on the back burner brings us this film – a film which Close co-wrote the script, co-wrote the soundtrack and stars in. That passion is felt in every scene and it appears to be contagious. Her supporting cast pours on the charisma, to the point where this doesn’t feel like a stuffy period piece. This is a statement of how great an actress Close is and how she was robbed of her Best Actress Oscar back in February – that makes six nominations without a win – this 30-year obsession should’ve been the one. So turn the Nobbs and open the door for this one – worth a watch.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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