THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU (DVD/Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Combo)
Taken from a short story by Philip K. Dick, The Adjustment Bureau has a great premise: there is a bureaucratic agency governing every decision you make, and if you stray from The Plan, they will step in and adjust your life. What could have been a Truman Show or an Eternal Sunshine instead becomes a mediocre time-waster, as the adjusters’ arbitrary rules and the silly chase scenes get in the way of real chemistry between forbidden lovers Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. It’s a shame to see Anthony Mackie, who was good in The Hurt Locker, turn in a stupefyingly dull performance, but it’s worse to see Richard Slattery, who unloads at least two dozen savagely memorable remarks on each episode of Mad Men, reduced to shouting things like, “Can’t I get a break in this case?!” Under the anonymous, visionless direction of George Nolfi, the film is a cosmic farce as a bunch of old white dudes attempt to cock-block Damon on an epic scale. The spark between Damon and Blunt makes things mildly entertaining. Extras include audio commentary from Nolfi, deleted and extended scenes, and three featurettes.
(Originally reviewed by me, and much more favorably by Paul, in “Secret Origins.”)
Last night, Paul and I continued our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture with our penultimate installment, detailing our picks for #20-11. Be sure to listen to the show to hear everything we said, but here are some choice excerpts:
PAUL: Westley/The Man in Black (The Princess Bride)
He bested the greatest swordsman, overpowered a giant, and outwitted a brilliant strategist. And then he got to be the one true love, thought lost at sea, now returned to his princess.
AJ: SS Colonel Hans Landa (Inglourious Basterds)
What makes Landa so terrifying is that he seems entirely bereft of a sense of morality; he manipulates himself into a position of power with whatever group seems to be on the winning side, caring little for past alliances or relationships.
Last week, Paul and I reached the halfway mark of our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture. Here are excerpts of our thoughts on our picks for #s 60-51, but be sure to listen to the show for our full rundowns.
PAUL: Vincent (Beauty and the Beast)
Speaking with a gruff but gentle whisper and all but hidden beneath an impressive leonine Rick Baker prosthesis (which didn’t, but absolutely should have, won awards), Perlman was the very definition of Romantic-with-a-capital-R misunderstood emo monster heroes for a generation.
AJ: John Locke (Lost)
His regained ability to walk gave him a new lease on life, and he looked at the island as a beautiful, supernatural force. He refused to leave, and tried to get the rest of the group to stay as well, believing them to be there for a greater purpose. The constant push-and-pull between Jack, the man of science, and Locke, the man of faith, became the series’ core thematic conflict.
Last night’s Gobbledygeek, “Dream a Little Dream,” is available for listening right here. More GobbledyGaffes(TM), but we do eventually get around to Inception, and whaddaya know, we didn’t drop any spoilers. We did better than we did with Iron Man 2, hard as that is to believe. We do discuss the vaguest of plots, the actors, and heap lavish praise upon Wally Pfister’s cinematography. Paul describes the film as “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets The Matrix,” which is pretty apt. We also mention a few movies coming out this fall, and in the bonus hour we continue our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture with #s 70-61.
Well, better late than never, right? On last Friday’s show, Paul and I continued our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture. We’ve each got our own lists, and on Friday, we revealed our respective #s 80-71. Be sure to listen to the show for our full run-down, but here are our picks with excerpts of what we said:
PAUL: Chief Martin Brody (Jaws)
Falls into one of my favorite categories: the reluctant hero.
AJ: C.C. Baxter (The Apartment)
So many of Billy Wilder’s movies are so cynical, but The Apartment is one of the few where hope is allowed to shine through.