Actually I’m in New Jersey, packing up the last of my belongings for the movers who are coming tomorrow. The place is filled with boxes, even though I’ve thrown out two dumpsters worth of detritus from the 18 years I’ve here. But it’s on to Vegas, baby!
The obvious Oscar bait this week is The Judge (48), which, judging by the trailer, looks like an attempt to position Robert Downey Jr. for a nomination. I doubt it works, as this appears to be a shameless and mawkish “father and son” movie, which are a dime a dozen. Andrew O’Herir: “The Judge is watchable but thoroughly specious. It’s dull and reassuring, an infantile fantasy of homecoming and forgiveness set in a mythical version of America no one in the target audience has ever seen.” Rex Reed liked it, though.
Universal, even after the horrible Van Helsing, is trying again to revive their monsters in a Marvel Universe type series. Dracula Untold (40), judging by the reviews, is not a good start. Kyle Smith: The origins story Dracula Untold is Dracula unbold — unoriginal, unimaginative and utterly non-unprecedented. This Vlad the Impaler has all the edge of Vlasic the pickle.
For the kids, there’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (54), which seems like not such a terrible thing to have to take your kids to. At least it has Steve Carell. Betsy Sharkey: “At the moment, modestly amusing does not stave off that desire for a really great live-action family film after years of watching the terrain land-grabbed by animation.”
Men, Women, and Children (37) sounds like the most bizarre film of the week, a treatise on how the Internet is bad for us, with a pretty good cast: Adam Sandler (in his dramatic mode), Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, and Rosemarie DeWitt. It was directed by the once heralded but now almost finished, career-wise, Jason Reitman. Joe Morgenstern: “Men, Women & Children touches many nerves, but then pinches and twists them with its ham-handed approach to social commentary. I worry about Mr. Reitman, a filmmaker of consequence who is still too young to be so cosmic. Time to lighten up and come back down to Earth.”