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Julie & Julia Targets Women, G.I. Joe Goes for Guys

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 7, 2009 at 7:00AM

Am I the only one who feels bombarded by too much PR on Julie & Julia? It’s worth seeing for the incandescent performance of Meryl Streep as the big, bubbly, adorable chef Julia Child, who was very much a product of her time. Stanley Tucci is equally charming as her mousy, adoring husband. Both should earn awards attention at year's end. I wish that the filmmakers had bucked the conventional wisdom that holds that a period story must be framed by a contemporary one to lure younger viewers. The sections with Amy Adams as blogger Julie Powell cooking for her namby-pamby husband were boring.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Am I the only one who feels bombarded by too much PR on Julie & Julia? It’s worth seeing for the incandescent performance of Meryl Streep as the big, bubbly, adorable chef Julia Child, who was very much a product of her time. Stanley Tucci is equally charming as her mousy, adoring husband. Both should earn awards attention at year's end. I wish that the filmmakers had bucked the conventional wisdom that holds that a period story must be framed by a contemporary one to lure younger viewers. The sections with Amy Adams as blogger Julie Powell cooking for her namby-pamby husband were boring.

Here's video on the many voices of Meryl Streep:

Friday I paid to see G.I. Joe--which the studio did not invite me to screen. I was going to skip it—I am not the target demo, and everything I’ve seen makes me think it’s terrible. The reviews are running toward rotten. But MCN’s David Poland invited me to participate in a review session afterwards, so I dragged myself to The Grove. I’m a professional! I can take a Stephen Sommers movie if I have to. Based on Van Helsing and The Mummy movies, it would take a lot to prove to me that he's not a soulless hack. (The best stuff in those films was created by ILM.)

UPDATE: Well, the movie was even worse that I was expecting. Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans managed to survive on sheer charm and conviction, just barely. The thing is ludicrous. (C.H.U.D.'s Devin Faraci says it's a Flash Gordon for nine-year-olds that is intentionally funny. I'm not so sure) There were moments that made me howl with derision. Sienna Miller pops out of a helicopter in black spandex and shades at night, blasting a machine gun. She was not able to bring conviction to her role. The plot points are called out miles ahead of time: parallel fighting ninjas, one wearing white, one black. A sister and brother. A Mission Impossible-style facial reconstruction. The thing looks as cheesy as an old TV episode of Get Smart, but it cost $175 million. Yes, they have nifty suits that give them added strength and speed so they can make chase and hop over cars; yes, terrorists topple the Eiffel tower (but that was in the trailer). But they also have to say snappy lines like "I'll get the warheads, you get the kill switch." Such a waste.

Thompson on Hollywood

Speaking of souls, on the specialty front, Cold Souls, which I saw at Sundance, is a noble failure. (It's earning modestly good reviews.) In 2005, young French New Yorker Sophie Barthes came up with the movie's surrealist premise in a dream. She saw a futuristic-looking Sleeper-like world in which Woody Allen extracts his own soul, which looks like a chick pea. She admired Paul Giamatti in American Splendor and after the actor came on board, they decided that he was basically playing a simple, stripped away version of himself. ("It's the toughest role I ever played," Giamatti said at Sundance. "I'm much more interesting than this character.") The movie brooks comparison with Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze's Being John Malkovich, but Barthes struggled with balancing the pace and tone--comedy and melancholy.

Still in theaters is The Hurt Locker, which is heading toward $15 million on must-see reviews and Oscar buzz.

This article is related to: Awards, Box Office, Genres, Video, Reviews, Weekend Preview, Oscars, Summer, Action


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.