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>> Monday, February 6, 2012

A couple posts back I spoke about my decision to begin including reviews by others, more or less in an effort to make things easier on myself. After reading the following review by Luke Fandrich over at Editing Luke, I asked him if I could share it here and he was more than willing. So thank you, Luke!

I also stated in the aforementioned post that before I shared a review I would see the film in question. After reading Luke's review, I no longer had the urge and am pretty sure I'm glad I didn't waste my time. As Luke states, "
embrace the trailer for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and then move onto other nominees". So that's what I did and for your embracing pleasures, I've included the trailer for the film below Luke's review. Enjoy!

~Angry Charlie


*Reviewed by Editing Luke of Editing Luke and Jeeves and the Jaguar

Slowly b
ut surely I've been crossing nominees off of my Oscar screening list. A few nights ago, Andrea and I went to see Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, one of the nine nominees for Best Picture this year. I'll be blunt about this one, it wasn't very good.

The trailer for this flick had me excited, sort of the way I felt after seeing the trailer for United 93. I was imaging an emotional, but heartfelt picture about an innocent kid and his soul searching quest to find meaning against the backdrop of 9/11. It looked genuine and fresh.

The problem I had immediately with the film was the kid, to be honest. Part of his back-story is that he has some kind of social disorder or disability (never really defined in the movie) that makes him awkward and emotionally abrupt. He was always on the verge of a panic attack or he was flying off the walls with rage. In the first thirty minutes all I kept thinking was, what is his problem? How am I supposed to relate to him if he's so aggravating to watch? And, really? Someone thought audiences wouldn't find it annoying to centre such a sensitive story around a character who is already this disconnected from reality to begin with?

Like I said, I expected an emotional story, but the kid overwhelms every aspect of the narrative. His ticks and commentary seemed so gratuitous and heavy handed that I was actually relieved when some of the supporting players finally got a bit of screen time.

The thread of the film is the quest to find a lock for a key that is found in the father's closet after he dies during the attacks. I actually really liked the concept, but was scratching my head again when it wasn't really explained why the key should be relevant to begin with. Even the close relationship between the father and son didn't really justify that this seemingly random find would be worthy of scouring the city to find answers for. I suppose it could be argued that the quest to find meaning in some of these traumatic events is a hopeless search, but I still found myself thinking that wouldn't the kid be more content to search out a part of his father's actual history? Something that he already knew was important to his father?

I know in my own experiences in dealing with loss that I'm looking to give random items more meaning. You end up looking to expand on the things that you already knew meant something - unfinished business. The proposed scavenger hunt in Extremely Loud didn't seem grounded enough in many aspects.

When all is said and done though, I would have overlooked so many of the film's flaws if the kid was more relatable, a bit more innocent, more wide-eyed, more raw, and just far less stunted. In a story that was genuinely full of compelling connections and human stories, why have the main character fight against all of those naturally inspiring encounters instead of adding to them? Why distract us with painfully enigmatic narration and a kid who you have to will yourself to even root for? In short, it was the perfect recipe to continually disconnect from the plot.

It may be a bit harsh, but the flick isn't anywhere close to being one of the best films from 2011 and certainly shouldn't have been nominated in my opinion. If you really want to watch a powerful film surrounding 9/11, there are literally ten other flicks I could recommend to you - United 93 for starters. Do yourself a favor and embrace the trailer for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and then move onto the other nominees.



>> Friday, February 3, 2012


I have a vow... it's to never see this movie. If you liked Dear John or The Notebook though, you'll be in line opening day - which proves my point. All these movies are formulas used time and time again to get you into the theatre to cry - not at the repetitive nature from which these films are drawn, of course. But for the tragedy that befalls our hero couple and the pitfalls they're forced to overcome to hold each other just... once... more.

Do I dislike romantic, sappy movies? No, not really. Do I dislike unoriginal ones? Yup. I know there's a line out there that states every story has already been told in one form or another. While this may be true, it's not about a couple struggling with love that needs change - it's the way it's told. We see love all the time in movies and it's done in a million different ways. So if The Vow was willing to try harder, than perhaps it could become more of a timeless film than a money-grubbing one.

Even the actors in this film are reused from other sappy dramas. As you probably know, Rachel McAdams was in The Notebook and Channing Tatum was in Dear John. My question is where are Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore? Because The Vow uses the same 'I need you to fall in love with me after your memory loss' ingredients as 50 First Dates implemented. Hell, even The Notebook was a movie based ENTIRELY on that concept. That's why I refuse to see it- because I've seen those movies and prefer to see a movie more original.

However, there is one good thing to come out of speaking about this film. It's inspired me to start using a new term on my site when referring to movies that reuse the same story lines over and over - ESP. ESP is not only the ability I have to tell EXACTLY what it will be like based on the (much shorter) trailer, but it is a rating system I am officially implementing as of now.

In this case, The Vow has an ESP (Exact Same Plot) rating of 7/10.

If you don't believe in ESP, The Vow opens February 10th right in time for Valentine's Day! Wait, I'm seeing something else with my ESP - it appears to be a cash cow. Fact.



>> Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Besides my first post and introduction to this blog back in July of 2009, I've never spoken candidly on this blog until today. Normally I share all my intimate thoughts on my more personal blog (Don't Make Charlie Angry) and leave this blog to the purpose I intended it for - sharing my reviews of newer movies.

Unfortunately, what's happened in the past four to five months is I seemed to have pretty much stopped completely. After 114 written and video reviews it appears I've run out of the passion to review movies - or at least write about the films I see a couple times a week. That stated, I'm proud of what I've accomplished through this site but I'm still not sure where to take it.

I've thrown around lots of ideas and what it's come down to is this: I simply want to make it easier on myself to be excited about my blog and sharing my thoughts and opinions of movies in general. So, since I'm not sure where to start - I'll do the easiest thing possible.

If I feel like writing a review about a movie, I will. There are a lot of great movies out there and if you come (or were coming) to my site I don't want to take that away from you. But I don't always have the time or ambition to write was is essentially an essay outlining my likes and dislikes of any movie in particular. So, what I want to do in an effort to consistently update my site is start sharing others' reviews. I'm aware this is something similar to what Rotten Tomatoes does, but what's different is there are a lot of critics I watch on YouTube or read regularly that could never hope to be featured on such an exclusive site. So I want to start sharing them here.

As usual, I'll see the movie in question before I present a review for it. Whether it'll be my own review will be determined if I have anything else to say that wasn't covered in another's review (be it video or written). I may even review others' reviews and see how that goes. By doing things this way I hope to not only gain my passion for blogging again, but provide something a little different to those of you who are beginning to tire of the usual movie review sites.

So, with that, I'm moving forward and hopefully the change works for you! Please be patient with me for the next few months as I may seem all over the place, but I assure you - in the end Angry Charlie Reviews will be a better site for it.

Happy February!


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