Amy Adams Films Ranked

I haven’t seen as many as I thought I have.  The numbers following the release years are the ratings I gave them, if I gave them ratings.  That clump of 7s and 70s probably changes its order from day to day, although I feel pretty good about the higher 7s and the lower 7s.

For a while, I was only writing full reviews and bothering to rate films I saw in theaters, but of course now I’m doing it for everything I see.  I need the reviews to remind myself of what I’ve seen and what I thought about it.  It’s one of the reasons I sometimes rent films I’ve already seen; just to get another look so I can write a review and try to nail things down in my increasingly faulty memory.

I haven’t rated Junebug, which I only saw a couple of years ago, but it’s easily a 90+.  When I rented it, I watched it three or four times (once with the commentary) before sending it back.  Need to see it again.

  1. Junebug (2005)
  2. Her (2013), 84
  3. Enchanted (2007)
  4. American Hustle (2013), 81
  5. Charlie Wilson’s War (2007) 7/10
  6. The Muppets (2001), 74
  7. Julie & Julia (2009), 7/10
  8. Sunshine Cleaning (2008), 7/10
  9. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
  10. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), 73
  11. Trouble with the Curve (2012), 72
  12. The Fighter (2010) 71
  13. Man of Steel (2013), 68
  14. Leap Year (2010), 66

Review: The Muppets

The Muppets (2011)
Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones, Jack Black, Ken Jeong, Alan Arkin, Jim Parsons, Sarah Silverman, and the Muppets.  Written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller. Directed by James Bobin.

muppets1In November 2011, as I waited in a cool, dark theater in my favorite seat for The Muppets, I sent text messages to several friends: “I can’t remember when I was this excited to see a movie.” It was true, and it remains true. After the death of Jim Henson and retirement of Frank Oz, I didn’t think I would ever see another feature-length film with Kermit and his friends, and I was an enormous fan of both the syndicated Muppets television program and its related movies. As a younger admirer, I owned the original The Muppet Movie soundtrack and the Muppet Show Cast Album, and I even had the Muppet Show board game, one of the few games my sister would play without my having to bribe her.

It was too much build-up for this new picture to live up to. Jason Segel, who seems to have made a labor of love of this film, had all the right ingredients and best intentions, yet somehow I left the theater kind of deflated. New Muppet voices took more getting used to than I expected, and I never got over the feeling that I’d just seen an excellent tribute band of a movie. I knew I would have to see it again before I could give it a fair evaluation.

muppets3When its sequel, Muppets Most Wanted hit the big screen in 2015, I wasn’t in a hurry to get there, waiting instead for the DVD a few months ago. I loved that one so hard that I knew it was time to revisit its predecessor.

muppets2And it’s still a disappointment! Because the Muppets are nobody’s supporting cast. The concept of Jason Segal and his Muppet-looking brother traveling west with Amy Adams is excellent and intriguing, and it works pretty well. With silly sight gags, witty dialogue, two crush-inspiring cameos by Feist, cute songs, and a “let’s put on a show to save the theater!” plot, the return of the Muppets has everything it needs, except one: not enough of the Muppets. It’s like the studios didn’t trust Kermit and Company to carry the film; it needed a huge star like Segel to hold it together, and it’s just not true. The result is a pretty good Segel-Adams movie, but only a fair Muppets movie with far too much Kermit-Miss-Piggy stuff for my taste.

But hey. A pretty good Jason-Segel-Amy-Adams movie? I’ll take that almost any day.

7/10
74/100

Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot. Directed by Zack Snyder.

bvs1The title of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice really says it all. The citizens of Metropolis and the U.S. Congress question Superman’s trustworthiness. Superman doesn’t like Batman’s brand of justice. Batman considers Superman’s powers a threat to the public safety. Lex Luthor has a plan to inspire Batman to kill Superman.

bvs2It’s a bit more complicated than that. It’s a lot more complicated than that. The part of the plot involving Luthor getting involved with the remains of General Zod seems an unnecessary complication, so I probably could have done without that, but it’s still okay. And despite covering a lot of ground with these three characters, the film leaves a lot of stuff underexplained. I’d heard complaints that the movie is too long and too slow, but I watched it in three sittings, across three evenings, and it didn’t seem too long to me. If you’re watching this at home, I recommend splitting it up this way.

bvs3I just knew Ben Affleck was going to be a good Batman, and he is. I guess something needs to be said about the suit and the Batmobile, so I’ll say I like the way the suit’s eyes light up, kind of like that animated TV series in the late Nineties, but it seems more like a knight’s armor, really kind of clanky, than suits in films past. It gives the Caped Crusader a squarish look, in his body and face, and I like that too, but it takes a little bit of getting used to. The Batmobile is fine. I normally get off on cool cars in movies, but I was kind of uninspired by this one, for no good reason I can think of.

bvs4I was less sure of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, but he’s quite good too. His early scenes with Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent are excellent. Add my fondness for Henry Cavill as a less-charismatic-than-expected Superman and Amy Adams as a more-charismatic-than-expected Lois Lane, and it’s a decent movie, a grimmer and grimier superhero movie with a few interesting action sequences and a few interesting quiet moments. I liked the quieter scenes in Man of Steel too, mostly because I like the way director Zack Snyder doesn’t feel the need to overdirect some of the films’ poetic moments.

At the height of the anti-Superman sentiment, Superman does something especially heroic, and there is a moment when the suspicious public realizes its error and gestures apologetically (and perhaps reverently) while Superman stands there, silent. The scene is dramatically different from the hip-hip-hooray stuff we expect, and it feels like a special moment of connection between the people and a man with connections to very few. I want more of this.

7/10
73/100