Friday, June 19, 2009

Check Mate

And now for something completely random. I haven't played chess for, like, 11 years. How about you? My favorite character are the knight and the rook but playing always stressed me out.


Nevertheless, I would accept if Joe Wright challenged me. I just wouldn't tell him that despite loving his first two movies (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement) I couldn't bring myself to see his third (The Soloist). I walked by a movie theater a couple of weeks ago and the poster was still in the window and I became confused. It was still open??? Or is the movie theater slow with the poster turnover?

Have you ever had that experience... the one where you totally love people involved with a movie, but you just can't bring yourself to see it? I can't even imagine putting The Soloist on my rental queue for its DVD release. What gives?

25 comments:

Asokan said...

probably because it looks so generic... but then again, I didn't particularly like the other generic movies he's done so far

brianmaru said...

This happens to me at least once every fall. Last year, it was Body of Lies.

On a side note, The Soloist, not that bad. Not great by any means but worth checking out for some of Wright's more experimental moments.

Kevin D. said...

Nathaniel, I too thought "The Soloist" looked a tad, um, dull. The trailer seemed to scream "FOX HAS A MENTAL DISORDER!!! GIVE THIS MAN ANOTHER OSCAR!!!" But i finally dragged myself to see it, and I was shocked by how much I genuinely liked it. Fox was a bit over-the-top at times, but Downey Jr. was completely marvelous.

Derreck said...

i've been trying to think of some, because it happens to me often but i only came up with one so far.

BOBBY:

It had a cast filled with great/decent actors (Helen Hunt, Demi Moore, etc.) including some i like for reasons i can't even explain (Shia LaBeouf, Ellijah Wood) but i could never bring myself to sit down and watch. It just didn't look like something i would really enjoy watching.

(though i did love the original song that they used for the film, "Never Gonna Break My Faith" by Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige)

in a similar situation, but not the same,

DOUBT:

It looked as if it was one of those typical actor's showcase/Oscar-baiting/completely boring movies that comes out around awards season. Plus, it had Phillip Seymour Hoffman (but i don't like him for all the wrong reasons. I think it is because he's played alot of irritating characters)
I've always liked Streep and i've liked Amy Adams since Enchanted (even though she honestly needs to play more darker characters instead of the sweet, lovable girls she's been doing for a while) but i just did not want to watch for all the reasons above.
When i was together with some friends, they all wanted to see it, so i reluctantly tagged along, and was surprised with how much i enjoyed it and the many questions left in your mind after it was over.

Michael said...

I watched a profile of the real journalist and homeless muscian on "60 Minutes." After that, I was like "Oh, guess I just watched the movie." MinDC

vince said...

Soloist is on my netflix que. I didn't want to, but I'm trying to be "fair." I will give it 20 minutes. If it doesn't win me over, into the envelope it goes.

Flosh said...

Yeah, happened with me with CHANGELING last year. Love Eastwood, just couldn't pull the trigger.

I'm kind of having the same feeling about AWAY WE GO now. Based on the cast and director I should... Well, I should have already seen it. But I just can't do it.

greg said...

It was a little sentimental but I enjoyed it. If nothing else the music was glorious and it had those beautiful and larger-than-life vistas he creates. His films are truly beautiful -- but the three he's done so far seem to me to be lacking in substance to equal the beauty -- if that makes any sense. Downey Jr. is a fine actor, of course, but he's always playing Downey Jr. I think he's overrated.

nothingiswritten said...

This happens to me quite often. I want to see everything that my favorites have done, but some movies have been so poorly received that it's hard for me to bring myself to see them. It's not that I fear I'll think any less of the performers, it's that I worry that I'll feel embarrassed for them. Like, "[huge sigh] oh, Nicole, what were you thinking when you signed on for this???"

Disks will sit for days as I get up the courage to face my fave's shame. Then, at least half the time, the movie turns out to be not nearly as bad as I had expected; I can almost always find something to enjoy, even if it's only what an utter train wreck it is.

Erik L. said...

Agree with Kevin D. Completely. Here's my review for what it's worth, full of spoilers:

http://www.eriklundegaard.com/reviews/Soloist.php

Remember: The story isn't about Foxx's character. The story is about Downey, Jr.'s character. What drives the movie is always what HE wants: first a column, then a bigger, deeper story. And after that it gets really interesting.

amir_uk said...

Nathaniel, how can you not want to see The Soloist? Release the damn film over here! I'm dying to see it. When a filmmaker's first two films leaves so much of an impression on me, I just couldn't pass up their third - no matter how much the subject matter grated.

Luckily for me, the prospect of The Soloist sounds very attractive indeed - its an LA story (a city I HEART), the same production team as Atonement so it'll look and sound pretty too, and you have Downey Jr, Foxx (who, despite my Ray reservations, I actually quite like - even more so since his brilliant turn on American Idol this year), Keener, Hamilton, Hollander etc...

Daniel Armour said...

I was annoyed by seeing the trailer for The Soloist with every movie I saw, so I had to see it just to get it out of my head. Much to my surprise, I found it to be pretty enjoyable and pretty far from the Oscar-Baity film the trailer made it look to be.

I have to stop writing off Joe Wright's films just because of their trailers (Which is going to be difficult given that trailers are the main reason I get excited for a film). I found the trailer to Atonement absolutely boring but I saw the film because of the Oscar Buzz and ended up really liking it (I saw it twice, actually).

john said...

Well Joe Wright's next project sounds interesting it's called Indian Summer, based on the book of the same name, set in India during its partition, originally it was rumoured to have Hugh Grant and Cate Blanchett playing the Mountbattens (WEIRD combination!)

adelutza said...

Interesting you'd talk about chess - I was just thinking about it, I used to play in championships when I was a kid but haven't touched it in ages now. I wonder if I'd still be good at it :-)
Anyways, The Soloist. I caught a free preview of it and before the film started they even had a small kid's ocrchestra playing in the theatre. It's not that the movie is bad, in my opinion it's not consistent. You get the idea very early and from then on it's all about the execution. I mean, something has to surprise otherwise it gets boring. And there wasn't too much surprise...
That's my take anyway. It's a film I forgot the moment I left the theatre even if the ideas expressed in it should've kept me awake at night.

Henry said...

I just had that feeling while seeing the trailer for Love Happens. I mean, I like Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston (and it has Martin Sheen, which is great gravy), but it looks so treacly. I'd probably have to have my genitals revoked for seeing that.

BeRightBack said...

The trailers really did make this movie look unbearable. But I've read enough positive reviews and liked Atonement well enough that I'd give it a go (though I haven't yet).

Flosh, re: Away We Go - Don't bother. I love all the players, and they're all good in it, but the whole thing is so smug, tonally uneven and condescending that it left a really sour aftertaste. I really agreed with A.O. Scott's review of it in the NYT.

Arkaan said...

The Shipping News.

I sat through The Cider House Rules. I sat through Chocolat. The odds of me sitting through another Lasse Hallstrom Miramax mopefest crapsterpiece? One in a googleplex. Even if Cate Blanchett is in it. Hell, even if I'm in it with Cate Blanchett (I'm not).

Rebecca said...

I'm with you on 'The Soloist', because it pushes so many of my buttons in terms of ideology that I just don't think I could watch it without being enraged. I met enough people when I was working in social service who thought that helping homeless people out was important because 'it really changed my point of view, and I appreciate everything I have taken for granted and ME ME ME' that I don't know how a movie about how meeting a homeless guy affected a journalist's life would NOT make me want to throw things at my computer screen - and I can't afford a new computer!

Kathy SF said...

As an avid Joe Wright admirer, I can relate to your reaction to this film. I was looking forward to it, followed production and promoted it and him, but the subject matter just did not interest me. Neither am interested in ever ever seeing a movie like The Wrestler, LOL, but I love Mickey Rourke;-) We all have different tastes and likes, etc. and that is good!

Last fall, I had seen reels of The Soloist way before it's release and the audience reaction was kind of like, stunned silence--with Joe in attendance. Then, delays in releasing it were a troublesome omen. However I can say that Joe would understand and may even approve of your discontentment, a little. He didn't set out to make a "feel good", probably what the studios were expecting.

Much to the shegrin of Studio and the American public in general I suspect he just had a different vision for the movie and a totally different perspective on the subject matter. The film was also wrought with problems out of his control, like studio delays not in his control. And, as Joe hinted, he dislikes working with "bullies" (his words.) He may not have had much say so in who the leads were, something that is crucial for him, I know.

That said, I see this film as his exercise at pushing the boundaries and testing new waters for his first H'wood go round. It's not P & P or Atonement for sure, but I say go see it anyway with an eye on film making in general, trying not to compare it to the others (which are masterful) but as a unique step-out for him. See what he does different, what is the same, etc. You will see many signatures he still weaves in the look of it, like his framing of the LA freeways which I think was brilliant and a very different aesthetic!!! You may admire him more for taking on such a challenge and putting his stamp on a story that could've been way too formulaic. Not many directors are willing to take on a challenge like that nowadays.

Ryan T. said...

I am so totally in the same boat as you are, Nat. I *love* P&P and Atonement. Like to the point of obssession. In fact I suddenly told myself I was a Joe Wright fanboy after seeing Atonement a second time.

When I heard about The Soloist, I was truly excited. But like everyone have been saying here, the trailer just did the opposite of selling it. Not exactly sure why it turned me off, but it did.

I'll still see it, probably via Netflix, just for completeness sake, but I'm in no hurry.

adri said...

I liked what Joe Wright said in one interview about Pride and Prejudice - that he got to spend the summer in the English countryside with a whole bunch of women, what could be more delightful?

But The Soloist (unseen) doens't seem to generate the same kind of delight in either me as the potential viewer, or Wright as the director. My assumption (which could be wrong) is that he made the kind of movie he thought he was supposed to make.

Fair or unfair, seeing the trailers for this was enough. I never want to see this movie.

Anonymous said...

Sunshine Cleaning I love the cast, but it looks like Little Miss Sunshine Part 2. I guess I'll put it in my queue.

Away We Go and Body of Lies are others.


Worse is having a favorite actor or actress in a film you're not remotely interested in.

Dr. S said...

It's still open; I saw it last weekend as part of a work project I'm doing. I was pleasantly surprised, actually. Lots about it is a mess, and lots is heavy-handed as hell. But some things that Wright tries are interesting, and if he'd dared to try them more, it might have been a really good movie.

Dr. S said...

Right -- I should add that the trailer represents the film badly, going along overworn routes that the film actually tries to problematize. Which is a shame; I remember the trailer for Atonement as having been really terrific (I think I enjoyed it *more* than the film itself).

Liz said...

From what i've read, Wright didnt exactly had a wonderful experience working with the Hollywood studio bosses. I dont think he's in a rush to work in Hollywood again.

One of the journalists from Huffingtonpost accused him of exploiting the homeless in LA, which he then rebutted in the following article. What i found interesting is that they had to bring in the studio lawyers.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joe-wright/why-i-hired-the-homeless_b_203207.html

Read the comments at the bottom, alot of these extras spoke about what their involvement in the project. Its pretty interesting.