Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Miss & A Hit

Well, they can't all be good.  Kick-Ass 2 tries hard to capture the bright-eyed, sharp-edged joy of the original, but falls short.  I'll admit - I liked the first one more than I thought I would and much of that was due to the performance of Chloe Grace Moretz as the deadly pint-sized Hit Girl. While the movie had a level of violence that many would find disturbing, especially involving a young girl, Kick Ass had a certain glee to it that carried the film beyond just being a series of fight scenes.

At its best, the sequel is meh.  Perhaps it's that what once was fresh is now stale.  After all, we've seen plenty of teenage superheroes and that's what both Hit Girl and Kick Ass have become in this film.  She's no longer a cute child who we want to somehow protect from this violent life and he's no longer a nebbishy nerd type whose desire to do good gives us sympathy.  The film also suffers from some extremely lazy writing - way too many people are in the film solely to give someone else a reason to exact revenge on the wrongdoers and John Leguizamo is criminally underused.  Mind you, I think Mark Millar (who wrote the original comics) has grown lazy in his writing.  He uses sexual violence so often it becomes cheap and it's downright disrespectful to female comics fans and yes - we do exist.  (That's not just my opinion by the way.  Click here.) Jim Carrey might have been dumb like a fox to disavow this clunker.  Honestly, this one isn't even a rental.

On the other hand, I watched Holiday the other night and enjoyed it thoroughly.  It's an early Cary Grant/Katharine Hepburn comedy, directed by George Cukor, who would work with these stars again in the nigh-perfect The Philadelphia Story.  (Cukor also directed Gaslight, which is a fun one.)  While the story in Holiday is fairly slight, the whip-smart dialogue and physical comedy made it a delight.

So the overall advice this week - skip the Technicolor cartoon and watch the one from the 1930s.

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