‘Draft Day’ Stumbles but Has Plenty of Heart

Ivan Reitman has made a football movie starring Kevin Costner, and the result is not bad. On the other hand, it, uh, fumbles the ball plenty.  An excerpt from my Vulture review:

By now it’s old hat to bemoan the ever-increasing age gap between male stars and their romantic leads, but Costner and Garner interact less like lovers and more like a father and his favorite daughter. With her ramrod posture and unwavering, rapt gaze, Garner always seems like the perfect daddy’s girl, anyway. Costner comes more alive in his scenes with Ellen Burstyn, who, though nearly as close to his age, plays his mother. She at least ratchets up his pulse whenever she stalks into a room.

Of ‘Under the Skin’ and Mother Lodes

It can be said that the first rule of any literary adaptation is that it must work unto itself—that our appreciation of the film can’t be contingent upon our familiarity with the book. But I would offer a converse rule: that, as audiences, we must never judge a literary adaptation by how well it references its antecedent. Nothing makes my heart sink faster than the casual dismissal, “Eh, the novel was better than the movie.”

I’ve been thinking about this because of two recent releases: the terrific Hateship, Loveship, which diverges greatly in tone from the terrific Alice Munro short story upon which it’s based (I review them both here), and Under the Skin.Read More

‘Hateship Loveship,’ a Study in Earnestness

Hateship Loveship, starring Kristen Wiig, is far less blasé than the Alice Munro story on which it’s based. An excerpt from my Word and Film review :

We get the sense Munroe as narrator skims over the details of how a love match is made not out of prudery so much as a distaste for the obviousness of the whole business. “A woman not to be deterred, a man who’s lost his way? Eh, you do the math,” she seems to be saying, airily waving a rough-knuckled hand. In contrast, the film “Hateship Loveship” is a study in earnestness. To some degree this is a function of our times.Read More