Meek’s Cutoff (2010)

Appropriately slow–this survival western pulls no punches, and by punches I mean achingly long scenes of walking across barren landscapes, because there’s a lot of them. And they’re loaded with feeling: short in-between scenes lay out the stakes and ratchet up the unease and distrust, and then the journey (captured with poignant music and visuals–see that breathtaking long cross fade early on) continues, and in the film’s boldest stroke of all, it doesn’t end, just like it never began.
8

Dinner for Schmucks (2010)

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When he finds out that his work superiors host a dinner celebrating the idiocy of their guests, a rising executive questions it when he’s invited, just as he befriends a man who would be the perfect guest. (IMDb)
Carell’s schuperb schmuck schtick (“I guess you could say I’m an eternal optometrist”) centers this film, contributing to its great odd couple comedy, driving its excruciating Murphy’s law plot (the brunch scene was a marvel of awkward horror), and providing hints of heart too. The potential inspirational message is botched in the messy pivotal dinner scene (Barry’s beautiful dream presentation was overshadowed by the dumb hi-jinx afterwards) but the reunion at Tim’s place was a nice recovery.
7/10 (Good)

 

Double Jeopardy (1999)

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A woman framed for her husband’s murder suspects he is still alive; as she has already been tried for the crime, she can’t be re-prosecuted if she finds and kills him. (IMDb)
Sloppy writing makes for a few plot holes even for a casual viewer, and the titular premise comes to an awkward climax, but Judd’s refreshing action star–a doesn’t-give-a-fuck fugitive mom on a mission (“fuck your curfew!”)–is a blast to watch, whether she’s driving cars off of ferries or conning her way into expensive dinner parties. Jones’ sarcastic and persistent parole officer on her trail adds some good humour, while a noticeable stringed soundtrack helps conjure up some emotion.
7/10 (Good)