Weekend Movie Guide: Film Watcher

Opening Everywhere: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Brave, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, To Rome with Love

Never Heard of It: Grassroots

FilmDrunk Suggests: I’m very excited to see Seeking a Friend, which Vince reviewed if you didn’t read it already, and I’m one of the two people on Earth apparently eager to see Abe Lincoln, so there’s that, too.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 36% critics, 75% audience, 0% historians with an ax in their gash

Gratuitous Review Critics:

“On an unfortunate-ideas scale of one to 10, with one being ‘wearing white pants after Labor Day’ and five being ‘Green Lantern,’ this one rates about a fourscore and seven.” – Kyle Smith, NY Post (“Herp derp, witty history blurp.”)

“My question, then, is this: Why are there no black vampires? Surely there is one slave, somewhere, whose heart has been hardened by injustice and the lash just enough to grow fangs.” – Michael O’Sullivan, Washington Post (I included this quote because quite a few reviews are making this out to be some sort of race issue. That’s stupid. Shut up and stop being stupid. Review films and shut up. Shut up.)

Armchair Analysis: I’m beating a dead horse these days, but here we go… when you go to the movies to see a film entitled Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (or Cowboys and Aliens), you should leave your expectations for an Academy Award caliber film at the door. If you expect this film to be a dazzling masterpiece that effectively paints a portrait of the politics and slavery of the Civil War era, then you’ve missed the boat entirely. But if you want a fun story that asks, “Hey, what if a great American hero was also a vampire slayer?” then put your brain on airplane mode and just enjoy a silly action movie.

Vince’s Note: I don’t think people would all be talking about how stupid this looks if it had been even a smidge comedic or tongue-in-cheek looking. It’s not like people just decided to hate it because they’re prudes.


Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 70% critics, 84% audience, 50% really confused Atlanta baseball fans

Gratuitous Review Critics:

“But ‘Brave’ is attractive enough to be a worthy summer diversion — an accomplishment Merida herself would no doubt dismiss as hopelessly shallow, but which makes for a pleasant viewing experience nonetheless.” – Ann Hornaday, Washington Post (As back-handed as back-handed can get.)

“Although the climax has a moment of peril that’s as psychologically layered as the incinerator scene in ‘Toy Story 3,’ this is not a particularly scary film — or memorable one. ‘Brave’ is easy to like but hard to love, a feel-good fable with the latest bells and whistles.” – Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Armchair Analysis: What can I say, I love a good tale of female empowerment that also includes the message that women screw everything up. Jokes aside, I will take 1,000 Braves before I will accept another Toy Story, Shrek, Ice Age, or Madagascar paycheck sequel. It’s nice to see a little creativity.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 52% critics, 70% audience, 100% people hoping this isn’t Dan in Real Life again

Gratuitous Review Critics:

“But what really helps these actors shine is that Scafaria gives them the room to find these characters, and their rhythm together, as they take a truck and head toward South Jersey. And she gives us enough credit to provide a story without too many bizarre coincidences, unbelievable twists or unsatisfyingly ‘satisfying’ endings.” – Stephen Whitty, New Jersey Star-Ledger

“This is a romantic comedy for people who don’t like rom-coms. There’s no chance of a happy ending, but its tender mercies speak volumes. It’s the warmly intimate moments, the bittersweet wonder at the beauty of the world and the value of family and forgiveness that leave the deepest imprint.” – Claudia Puig, USA Today

Armchair Analysis: This movie seems like it will be an anthem for miserable pessimists like myself. Whatever. It will probably let me down. (Also doesn’t help that Keira Knightley got engaged. Way to even give me a chance.)

To Rome with Love

Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 53% critics, 43% audience

Gratuitous Review Critics:

“’To Rome’ is a return to acting for Allen, who has not starred in one of his films since 2006’s ‘Scoop,’ and he’s put himself in good company, with everyone easily pulling their weight. Allen’s films have always felt autobiographical — a reflection of his intellectual conundrums as often as his personal life. This one feels especially close to home in its story of an aging man trying to remain relevant.” – Betsy Sharkey, L.A. Times

“Allen is an avid Fellini admirer, and like the master’s great film, his latest is an examination of, among other things, the phenomenon of fame and the shallows of celebrity. It’s not a profound contemplation—Allen’s touch is light and charmingly comic, and he’s too sophisticated to pretend that even the most burdensome fame has no compensating pleasures. Why lie?” – Kurt Loder, Reason Online (Jesus, this guy is still fart-sniffy as ever.)

Armchair Analysis: Yeah, this one ain’t high up on the ol’ “Must See” list.


Starring: Joel David Moore, Cedric the Entertainer, Jason Biggs

My Guess: Hmmm, Grassroots. I’m going with less-than-clever play on words for the title, meaning that Joel David Moore and Jason Biggs are two goofy, white pot dealers that somehow infringe on Cedric’s territory. Wait, no. Flip that around so I don’t seem completely racist.

Actual Plot: “A short-tempered, unemployed music critic who likes to dress as a polar bear thinks he can harness the power of the people to ride the monorail to political victory in Seattle. And he’s right. Almost. It’s before Twitter, before the flash mob, before Obama. It’s 2001, and political unknown Grant Cogswell decides he must take down Seattle City Councilman Richard McIver. Grant has only one dream, but it’s a big one: an elegant monorail gliding silently above the city’s wet streets. Grassroots is a character-driven comedy about the power of the people and the virtues of standing up for what you believe in. Against all odds.”

Verdict: This is based on a true story, and I know that the whole Seattle monorail thing has a fun history. I dunno, could be good if Moore and Biggs can step out of their one-dimensional boxes and actually deliver something unique.