Weekend Movie Reviews: Friends with Benefits, The Wizard of Oz, ContagionFebruary 10th, 2012 by Michael Kwan
Not to be confused with the social media marketing handbook of the same name, Friends with Benefits stars Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis as a couple of friends who, well, want to have some extra benefits on the side.
The story goes that Mila’s character is a headhunter who gets Justin’s character a new job in New York. He’s new to the city, she shows him around, they become good buddies, and the conversation turns to the bedroom without the obligations of a traditional romantic relationship. To them, it sounds like an idea that works in theory, but as you can imagine, it is not without its complications in application.
The core idea has certainly been explored many times before, like on Seinfeld with Jerry and Elaine, but that doesn’t mean that Friends With Benefits isn’t worth watching. Despite being predictable and almost formulaic, it delivers with charm and some good laughs. It certainly helps that the two protagonists have a natural likability about them too.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Naturally, I’m already pretty familiar with the story of Dorothy and her dog Toto, but it was only recently that I got around to watching the original 1939 production starring Judy Garland. And I’m glad that I did.
We have to put this film in context and realize that storytelling in the 30s is quite unlike movie-making in the 21st century. As it stands The Wizard Of Oz is a delightful little piece that everyone should watch. It certainly has its weaknesses and many of the situations feel decidedly contrived, but that’s half the point. Just be aware that there are going to be a few scenes that may frighten young children, particularly when it comes to the evil flying monkeys.
We’ve seen many other pandemic-based movies in the past, but a lot of them are incredibly detached from reality. You watch them and you feel like something of that magnitude would never quite turn out that way. But that’s not how I felt about Contagion.
Instead, it felt like it could be quite real. A few chance encounters and suddenly you have a disease that’s spreading like wildfire all around the world. Absolutely, I feel that avian flu and swine flue were blown out of proportion, but there is a very real risk for a global even like this. The trouble is that the real world, when not glamorized up to Hollywood’s level, can come off a little boring.
And that’s the fate that this movie faces, despite the efforts of
Jason Bourne Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Laurence Fishburne and others. It’s an interesting multi-character thriller, but it’s just not satisfying, particularly the anticlimactic conclusion.
Filed under Arts and Entertainment.