Summary Judgment: 'The Fountain', 'Bobby'

Slate contributor Mark Jordan Legan offers a roundup of what critics are saying about the weekend's releases, including The Fountain, Bobby, Tenacious D and Christopher Guest's latest mockumentary, For Your Consideration.

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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

On Fridays, we offer a digest of what critics are saying about new movie releases. It's compiled by the online magazine Slate. And here is Mark Jordan Legan with Summary Judgment.

MARK JORDAN LEGAN: What better way to snap yourself out of your tryptophan and Stovetop Stuffing lethargy than by going to the movies. Then you can sit in the dark and add buttered popcorn and licorice to your post-Thanksgiving digestive landfill.

But Christopher Guest fans can rejoice, now that his latest comedy "For Your Consideration" is in the theaters. Catherine O'Hara and his regular troop of actors send up Academy Award fever as a small indie film lets rumors of possible Oscar buzz sweep through their entire production.

(Soundbite of film "For Your Consideration")

Unidentified Actor: (As character) I warn you. These are actors. In every actor, there lives a tiger, a pig, an ass and a nightingale. You never know which one's going to show up.

LEGAN: Overall, the critics say Guest has done it again. Even though the Boston Globe warns, as amusing as it is, the comedy here consists of mostly predictable plot shots. New York Magazine says "For Your Consideration" gets fresher and funnier as it goes along, and the Hollywood reporter calls it outrageously hilarious.

Next stop, Emilio Estevez writes and directs the ensemble political drama, "Bobby," which focuses on the lives of 20 different people who were at the Ambassador Hotel on the tragic night RFK was assassinated back in the summer of 1968. William H. Macy and Anthony Hopkins are part of the all-star cast.

(Soundbite of movie trailer Bobby)

Unidentified Actor #2: (As character) Did you tell them they couldn't leave?

Unidentified Actor #3: (As character) This is no small thing we're doing tonight. I need every staff over the pulse on with me.

Unidentified Actor #2: (As character) Did you tell them that they couldn't leave to vote?

Unidentified Actor #3: (As character) They're not going to vote. Half of them are illegal. They can't vote.

LEGAN: The nation's critics are split on "Bobby." Many admiring the multistory tapestry but others is feeling it's spread too thin. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer thinks for all its unevenness, "Bobby" is a powerful, poignant movie. Yet those who did not like it are as blunt as the New York Post, which snaps, one of the year's worst movies.

Tenacious D is the comedy rock music act that Jack Black has performed with his friend Kyle Gass for years. They've now made a wild comedy about the origins of this musical duo and their journey to perform the greatest rock music ever conceived in "The Pick of Destiny."

(Soundbite of scene from "The Pick of Destiny")

Unidentified Actor #3: (As character) This is a song called "The Victory of Tenacious D." (unintelligible).

Some critics say you rock. And others snap, turn that noise down. The Miami Herald cheers - fast and funny, but many old fuddy-duddies agree with the New York Times, which sniffs, "The Pick of Destiny" is a garish mess.

And the long-awaited time-travel romantic drama "The Fountain" is finally here from writer director Darren Aronofsky. The film spans over a thousand years with three parallel stories that all star Hugh Jackman as a man determined to learn the truth about life's eternal struggles.

(Soundbite of scene from movie The Fountain)

Unidentified Actress: (As character) And you shall take this ring to remind you of your promise. You shall wear it when you find Eden. And when you return, I shall be your Eve.

LEGAN: There are just as many critics who hate it as love it. But almost all applaud the film's visual achievements. I'm as touched and charmed by its failures, as I am transfixed at times by its successful inventiveness and audacity, gushes Entertainment Weekly. The New York Post admits - there's a geyser of ambition in the visually stunning "The Fountain" but the story eventually trickles out.

Yeah, you know, if "The Fountain" teaches us anything, it's don't drink from the tap. I mean, all those chemicals. Please, bottled water is here for a reason. To save us from thinking we're a time-traveling conquistador who can save and seduce Rachel Weisz. Not that that doesn't sound not bad.

CHADWICK: Mark Jordan Legan is a writer living in Los Angeles.

(Soundbite of music)

DAY TO DAY is a production of NPR News with contributions from Slate.com. I'm Alex Chadwick.

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