While I was immersed in Mysterious Skin-L.A., I didn't go to as many movies as I usually do—so I recently did a lot of catching up. Let's breeze through my thoughts on current cinema, shall we?
127 Hours: Practically everyone knows the story of Aron Ralston, the dude who cut off his own arm after being trapped by a boulder in a canyon. So the only thing to really learn was whether or not he jerked off at any point during his five-day ordeal. Well, I am sad to report that James Franco (who plays Ralston in the film) entices us by reaching "down there," but he does not, I repeat, he does not masturbate.
As for the rest of the movie, which spends most of its 95-minute running time in that one agonizing location, I kept trying not to fall asleep from boredom—I wanted to make sure I was awake for the climactic and gruesome amputation scene, which I guessed would be the most effective torture porn horror since the first Saw. Yup, the arthouse crowd found it hard to stomach (they were squirming)—but then again, they probably never watched Cary Elwes hack his leg off. Amateurs!
Jackass 3D: If Johnny Knoxville's mercilessly disgusting yet very funny 3D extravaganza isn't high art, then why did the Museum of Modern Art in New York screen it—without irony?
Let Me In: This remake of the superb Swedish horror movie, Let the Right One In, wasn't supposed to turn out good (it is an American remake, after all), but it is fan-fucking-tastic—and perhaps even more emotionally resonant than the original.
Paranormal Activity 2: The first film may have been over-hyped, but this installment perfects the style, is smartly written, and scared the crap out of me. And I know the actress who plays the superstitious nanny! I was sitting right next to her while I was watching her on screen, making my life even more meta than it already is.
Red: Why is there such perverse joy in watching Helen Mirren wield a machine gun? A solid action film with a bunch of old coots.
The Social Network: It's undeniably entertaining, fast-paced, and hilarious, but its depiction of Facebook genius Mark Zuckerberg as an extremely unlikeable sociopath is so removed from any possible reality that it makes me uncomfortable that a living, breathing human being is being unfairly maligned like that. Also, the film ultimately isn't really about anything. (Seriously, people, it's not. Don't argue.)
Unstoppable: It's as preposterous as the trailers make it out to be (rudimentary research will show you that the filmmakers stretched the "inspired by true events" claim to its illogical extreme), but it's highly entertaining and technically well-executed.
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger: I'm usually a Woody Allen apologist, but, man, this just didn't click. At all.
...And I know Skyline has gotten horrible reviews and the audience buzz is dismal, but I am inexplicably morbidly curious about it. Well, maybe it's not so inexplicable. Lord knows I loves me some Eric Balfour. And Eric Balfour in a wife-beater? Sold! I'll tell you how bad it is next week.