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Wadrick's Celluloid Dungeon

Lars And The Real Girl (2007) • Taken (2008) • The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008)

Lars And The Real Girl (2007) Poster Art
Lars And The Real Girl (2007)
Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider, Kelli Garner & Patricia Clarkson.
Written by Nancy Oliver.
Directed by Craig Gillespie.

Lars (Gosling) is a 27 year-old man living in the garage of his deceased parents’ house, now occupied by his older brother Gus (Schneider) and his pregnant wife Karin (Mortimer). He is a social misfit who feels pain when touched, shunning the company of everyone around him, including a sweet young woman named Margo (Garner) who constantly attempts to win his affection. When Lars introduces his new ‘friend’ – a life-size “anatomically correct” sex doll – to Gus and Karin, they assume he has lost his marbles. In steps the local doctor-cum-psychologist (Clarkson) who convinces everyone to play along with Lars’ delusion, confident it is nothing more than a phase. The word ‘quirky’, when applied to film, is an easy way of dressing up pretension – but its use is totally justified when describing Lars And The Real Girl. Featuring a memorably idiosyncratic performance from Gosling, this original little film is superbly written and consistently amusing and poignant. In what could have been reduced to smut is thankfully genuine, and manages to avoid any inclination to the low brow.

Taken (2008) Poster Art
Taken (2008)
Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Xander Berkeley & Nicholas Girard.
Written by Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen.
Directed by Pierre Morel.

Bryan (Neeson) is a former intelligence operative whose teenage daughter is kidnapped in Paris and sold into sex slavery. Utilising the skills and contacts he acquired during his time in espionage, Big Bry proceeds to tear the French city apart in search of his daughter. Although it takes time to get moving, this taut thriller manages a pace in the second half that puts most films of this nature to shame, leading to a bloody finale. Co-written and produced by Luc Besson, the man behind such films as The Fifth Element and Leon, Taken is still a formulaic ride – slick and entertaining, yet almost instantly forgettable. Liam Neeson rarely gives a poor performance, and his towering frame is used to excellent effect in this film. He seems right at home delivering blows to the trachea, torturing a guy called Marko and wielding pistols like John McClane – racking up a bodycount of at least fifty by films’ end.

The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008) Poster Art
The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008)
Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Jaden Smith, John Cleese & Kathy Bates.
Written by David Scarpa.
Directed by Scott Derrickson.

A giant sphere arrives in Central Park from outer space and a strange being exits, accompanied by a huge robotic guardian. Wounded and in military custody, the being takes human form and manages to escape with the help of scientist Dr Helen Benson (Connelly). When it is revealed that the purpose of the visitation is to save Planet Earth from its’ human inhabitants (ie; wipe us out), the good doctor Benson must convince the destructor to change his intergalactic mind. This rotten remake of the 1951 film of the same name appears to be stuck in some curious time warp. Its sensibilities are laughably outdated, re-imagining the original films’ discourse without becoming contemporary. It seems hardly worth the effort and it’s tough to imagine how these actors were drawn into this mess. Featuring some downright horrendous dialogue and some plot developments that teetered on the ridiculous (such as, how did the military whip together that capsule they enclosed around the robot so fast and then, transport it to an underground location?), this clunker should have been titled The Day The Audience Fell Asleep.

Wadrick Jones' Film Rating Chart.

(Wadrick Jones is a freelance writer for GritFX and posts weekly film reviews on this blog.)


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  1. I have to admit I am way behind on watching movies. I haven’t seen these.
    “The Day the Audience Fell Asleep”, I think that that would be an awesome idea for a movie. Base a whole movie on that phrase and call it that. It’s very intriguing. It could have so many directions that could be gone in, writing, in, from those words. What do you think?
    Anxiously anticipating the premeire of the independant film The Day the Audience Fell Asleep.

    Posted by Shea | February 26, 2009, 10:12 pm
  2. Thank you mister Jones! Manz recommended this movie “Lars and the real girl” to me too, so, i will try to see it! Thanks again! Bell

    Posted by Bell | February 27, 2009, 8:33 am
  3. “slick and entertaining, yet almost instantly forgettable” so true about Taken. I enjoyed it but there’s no need to watch it again.

    As for Lars And The Real Girl, I loved that movie. I particularly liked watching the actions of the town folk, especially when Lars wasn’t around. I don’t want to say too much and spoil it for those who haven’t seen it… but you get what I’m saying – right?

    Posted by Manz | February 28, 2009, 5:11 pm
  4. Taken was great.

    The remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still was horrible or as you said, rotten.I had to make myself finish the film. And they changed the original plot of the film, which would have been far more relevant now than it was back then.

    Posted by Film-Book dot Com | February 28, 2009, 8:23 pm
  5. Taken was a really good movie, and I think Liam Neeson was good in the role. I didn’t think he would be, but he was.

    The Day the Earth Stood still stunk big time. As a fan of the original, I just don’t understand why this one even got made. Ok… maybe I do. It was a money grab. But aside from that, there is no reason in the world for them to screw up such a great story. Oh well.

    I’ll have to check out Lars and the Real Girl. My wife wants to see it, she’s been bugging me about it. She is a fan of Ryan.

    Posted by Jon Stephens | March 1, 2009, 5:14 pm
  6. Hey all…

    Interesting, Shea…the audience in watching a movie about an audience falling asleep and the film has the same effect on them, and when they wake up, they are in a different world or time…(cue Twilight Zone music…)

    Manz – yeah, don’t say too much, you’ll spoil it for Bell…

    FilmBook – I did enjoy Taken, but it was pure entertainment (ie: time killer)…you’re right though, if they had have kept the old themes in Day The Earth Sucked, it would have been much more relevant…why’d they change it?…they changed the theme, but some of the dialogue felt like it was straight out of 1951…

    Jon – pure money grab for Day The Earth Stank…still, I think it might have flopped, so it was all in vain.

    Bye for now…

    Posted by Wadrick Jones | March 2, 2009, 4:50 am
  7. I guess they thought change was good.

    Posted by Film-Book dot Com | March 3, 2009, 2:35 am
  8. I’m glad it was all in vain. I can’t stand reboots and remakes. Anyone who frequents the site I write for could tell you that. I just wish it would stop. I’m so tired of seeing the same ideas being done again and again and again. I just want to see some original ideas. Most of these remakes are garbage anyway.

    I’d like to meet the guy that thought the idea for the remake of TDTESS was a good one. I wish I was in the room for that meeting. I’d walk right up to that guy and slap him in the face. The original film will stand the test of time. You don’t mess with that.

    Posted by Jon Stephens | March 4, 2009, 11:01 pm
  9. I watched this while I was on my way home on Qantas. Haha! Is it really that bad? I didn’t think it was very bad.. I’m prolly just being bias cos I love Keanu Reeves. Hehe.. 😛

    Posted by Cashmere | March 6, 2009, 11:44 am
  10. Hi Cashmere… I bet you wish you were still on holidays!! Your comment made me laugh.

    Just shows how boring a long plane trip is – even a dull movie can seem interesting 😉

    Posted by Manz | March 8, 2009, 12:23 am
  11. Oh yeah! I’m missinng Victoria already.. Love that place.. Oh hmm.. well, I guess I’m glad I didn’t catch it in a cinema.. It’ll prolly won’t worth my money. But Keanu Reeves is still the bomb! ;P

    Posted by Cashmere | March 9, 2009, 12:56 pm

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