Down with Love, The Italian Job, Laurel Canyon, The Matrix, Kangaroo Jack

It was a three-movie weekend. We started with a double feature of The Italian Job (on sneak preview) and Down with Love last night, and I snuck out tonight for Laurel Canyon. As I have nothing on my brothers when it comes to waxing eloquent about the movies, I’ll limit my comments to a short burst.

The Italian Job is Sneakers plus Ocean’s Eleven. It brings nothing new to the “crafty crime” genre. And if you thought Donald Sutherland would add some interesting gravitas to film, well, he doesn’t. It’s a generally well-executed picture, but you will not suffer at all for not seeing it.

You will love Down with Love only if you are a typography, fashion or interior design junkie (like me), or if you happen to like the broad, exagerated punchiness of a movie that is sort of Sports Night meets That Girl. Renee Zellweger is good, Ewan McGregor is better. Catherine laughed all the way through, but claimed not to have enjoyed the film. I didn’t laugh at all (at least on the outside), but came away mildly enlivened. Good film to see if your surroundings have got you down.

Laurel Canyon has good bits — Frances McDormand mostly, but also Alessandro Nivola. Kate Beckinsale plays a toned-down variation of her characteer in Serendipity that starts out with promise and fades into tedium. Christian Bale is simply tedious. All I can think is “thank God it didn’t star Christine Lahti.”

I would also comment on The Matrix, but we drove out on it after 20 minutes (it’s playing at the Brackley Drive-in) last weekend because (a) we were dead tired from jet lag and (b) perhaps because of (a) the movie seemed like an unintelligible morase of flying images. I’m happy to say that we did manage to sit through all of Kangaroo Jack first; the best I can say about that film is “not as bad as I anticipated.” If you are holding off going to see Kangaroo Jack because you think it might be a “talking Kangaroo picture,” I can offer you assurances that the kangaroo only talks occasionally, and then only in dream sequences.

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