Monday, October 27, 2003

Freelance Update

I may be doing a story about Twin Cities people participating in National Novel Writing Month. If it works out, this should be pretty gosh-darned cool.
Intolerable Cruelty- Not All That Tolerable.

We saw Intolerable Cruelty last night, and it was surprisingly sucky. Not just a mild letdown, a full-on oh-my-god-I-want-my-two-hours-back disaster. It was by far the most gutless movie I've seen come out of the Coen brothers' machine.

It seemed like the ghost of a Coen movie. Where O Brother and Fargo and Raising Arizona all move long under their own weird energy, Cruelty just plods from scene to scene. Situation after situation arises that's a little weird and off-kilter, but not enough so to be funny. You just wind up saying "Huh. The hit man's got asthma. Whaddya know?"

The movie's biggest sin, though, is that you're not given any characters to root for. Clooney comes the closest- his lawyer is moderately scummy, but not really despicable, and Clooney puts a lot of work into making him charming. But the character is written to be supremely unstoppable in his field, and professional boredom doesn't really make for a good emotional hook to let you connect with a character. And everyone else appearing onscreen is unlikable to the point where you want to see them suffer physical pain; at one point in the movie, I was wishing it would start raining anvils to clear up some of the sleaze.

On the bright side, it was better than Mystic River.