This has been a good week for movies, folks.
Scoop: As I said at the time, Scoop is like Match Point, only directed by Woody Allen. I preferred Match Point.
Little Miss Sunshine: I liked this movie and it was cute, but I don't think it is worth the hype that I am hearing it is getting. It is hard to pin down what exactly I didn't like about it, because there was a lot that I did. I think the problem for me was the formulaic road trip, the musical number climax, and the kind of unresolved ending. I also didn't like the little girl's character; I feel like they made her too perfect and lovable.
Jersey Girl: After seeing Clerks II, I started to feel bad that, as a Kevin Smith fan, I hadn't seen this, so I Netflixed it. Now, I wanted to like it, but I didn't, because the plot was very, very bad. The problem here was that there was no story arc; the movie was like a bunch of little movies smushed together into one big one. First, there was the romantic comedy with a tragic ending (and what happened to the classroom-reading setpiece that opens the film - he never brings that back in the end), then the father-son tempestuous relationship, the new father woes, the weird budding-romance, and finally, the family versus work conflict. I thought the movie should never have jumped the seven years forward; either it should have focused on his problems adjusting after his wife's death, or had the wife die when the daughter was seven, and then deal with the adjusting then. It didn't strike me as believable that seven years later, the character would still be the same exact person he was before his wife died (especially since in some of the scenes he seemed totally differerent), and want to go back to the life he had then. I thought that after he got the town to agree to the construction, he would get hired by the town as its publicist, or maybe become a politician or something. But then it swung in an entirely different direction.
Some of the dialogue got on my nerves (and I usually like his dialogue), notably the scene where Ben Affleck is talking to his daughter in the crib. I can tell a scene is badly written when I am editing it in my head while watching.
And speaking of editing, this film was very badly edited. Now, I am no expert on film, and there are very few things that I feel qualified to judge: plot, dialogue, characters, and acting. For something like cinematography, I usually only notice it if I especially like it. Kevin Smith gets a lot of bad press about his crappy cinematography, but I never really noticed his "bad camera angles," or whatever. Most other things, like editing or music (relevant in the next review), I will only notice if they are bad. And this film was badly edited. In some of the shots, it looked like it included the actor's warm-up before they actually started the scene. And the end shot was horrible.
Also there was no excuse for showing an entire scene of Sweeney Todd, people. No one wants to see actors fake-acting a musical for a fake-elementary school talent show. No one.
On a positive note, I think the actors did a good job, especially George Carlin. Except for Ben Affleck's hair.
Inside Man: I liked it, except (as I foreshadowed) for the music, which reminded me of a bad '80s television police drama score.
Brick: This was the best of the bunch, and it is sad that it was only in theaters for a week or two. This is a real noir thriller set in a high school, which may not be realistic, but totally works, and even provides for some humor - Brendon's sneering line to the EVP that he would see him at the Parent-Teacher Conference was hysterically well-delivered. Here is a movie where I noticed the excellent cinematography. The dialogue was a little hard to follow, since they were using lots of slang that seemed made-for-the-movie, but maybe it's just Californian. In any case, highly recommended.