It’s been awhile since I posted a proper Blu Tuesday column due to a combination of things – slow release weeks, busy work weeks, and even a sudden interest in writing up a few title-specific entries – but I plan on remedying that today. This week’s selection doesn’t contain any really major titles, nor is there anything that could be considered particularly must-buy, but you will find a couple of films that, if given the chance, might just earn a place in your collection.
If Tony Gilroy’s “Duplicity” taught us anything, it’s that moviegoers won’t see a film just because of the people involved. That, or Julia Roberts simply isn’t the A-list star she once was. Whatever the reason, it’s the perfect example of movie stars who make way too much. Case in point: Roberts was paid $15 million for her role in the film, while the movie only managed to rake in $40 million at the box office – a staggering $20 million less than its reported budget. While just about everyone can agree that inflated actor salaries need to be policed, reactions to the film itself haven’t been quite as cut and dry. Personally, I can understand why some might find “Duplicity” a little boring – it’s slow, repetitive, and the characters never seem to shut up – but we don’t get that many adult-oriented films these days, and though it isn’t perfect, Gilroy’s follow-up to the much better “Michael Clayton” is still worth a look. At the very least, it delivers some great dialogue and yet another solid performance from Clive Owen.
Billed as the onscreen reunion of “Y Tu Mamá También” stars Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal (not to mention produced by Alfonso Cuarón and directed by his brother, Carlos), “Rudo Y Cursi” tells the story of two brothers from a small town who are recruited to play for rival teams in the Mexican Soccer League. Those expecting a straight-up soccer drama will find themselves severely disappointed, however, as it’s pretty obvious from the few times the actors are forced to play that they’re not very good. The lack of soccer action aside, “Rudo Y Cursi” is a fun little movie about two men who are practically handed the American dream, only to squander it on their respective vices. For Luna’s character, it’s compulsive gambling, and for Bernal, it’s the chance to use his newfound success to become a music superstar. The latter results in some pretty funny moments — including an accordion-led rendition of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me” — but the real humor comes from the interactions between its two stars. That alone is worth the price of the ticket, although you could just as easily find some entertainment in their poor soccer skills as well.
A victim of false advertising, Greg Mottola’s “Adventureland” wasn’t the 1980s “Superbad” it was marketed as, but then again, it was never meant to be that in the first place. Though the movie certainly shares a few similarities with Mottola’s other film (namely, that it’s a coming-of-age tale starring a quirky lead), it isn’t nearly as funny. Still, it’s a pretty good movie all things considered, and though Jesse Eisenberg desperately needs to evolve beyond his young Woody Allen schtick, his future looks far more promising than his doppelganger, Michael Cera. “Saturday Night Live” co-stars Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig also turn in great supporting performances as the owners of the titular theme park, but it’s “Freaks and Geeks” alum Martin Starr who steals the show. Children of the 80s will also love the attention to detail (namely the rocking soundtrack), while the included special features are better than expected. The audio commentary with Mottola and Eisenberg is particularly good, but at the end of the day, “Adventureland” is still more of a rental than a must-own.
Also Out This Week: