Wednesday, January 26, 2011

From the archives: June 2009

Call this the month of redemption.

Director Tony Scott toned down the insufferable visual flourishes that had made such a mess of his recent films, and teamed with Denzel Washington and John Travolta for a solid remake of The Taking of Pelham 123. I was inclined to be skeptical, going in, having loved the original (still do). But Scott & Co. pulled it off; their Pelham is damn fine in its own right.

More surprisingly, Sandra Bullock erased several years’ worth of ill-advised movies with her marvelous comic turn in The Proposal, which re-ignited her career overnight. (In fairness, co-stars Ryan Reynolds and Betty White helped a bit.) This would prove to be the first half of Bullock’s comeback year, with The Blind Side still waiting in the wings.

Everybody politely overlooked All About Steve, her other 2009 film: a stinker of sufficient magnitude to win two of its five Razzie Award nominations. (Bullock, ever the good sport, collected in trophies in person ... while passing out DVD copies of the movie in question.)

But the movie I most remember from this month – the wonderful documentary that I’ve seen several times since – remains Every Little Step, a simply marvelous account of the casting call for the Broadway revival of A Chorus Line. I couldn’t believe it when this film failed to garner even a nomination for Oscar’s Best Documentary category, but then I’ve been annoyed for years by the arcane rules employed by the voters in some of these lesser categories. Every Little Step is a movie to own: to watch repeatedly. It’s irresistible.

As usual, the rest of the month was a mixed bag, starting with director Michael Bay’s overly bombastic and terminally stupid sequel to Transformers. Bay, I still believe, deserves full credit for doing his part to dumb down Hollywood fare.

Step into the Wayback Machine, and check 'em out:

Easy Virtue

Every Little Step

My Life in Ruins

My Sister’s Keeper

The Proposal

The Taking of Pelham 123

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

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