Recapping a week in rentals.
Inside Job (2010), winner of this year's Oscar for Best Documentary. It's a sobering investigation about our country's current economic crisis. Director Charles Ferguson is not afraid to point fingers. In his acceptance speech at the Academy Awards last month, he stated that none of the individuals who had a hand in the world's largest Ponzi scheme ever set foot in a jail cell. In fact, some of these CEOs and analysts are still receiving million dollar bonuses. What is wrong with this picture? Inside Job is an exhaustive, comprehensive look at how it all went down, but it's infuriating that nothing, it appears, can be done to stop these guys from doing it all over again. 3.5/5
It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010), a dramedy from the team behind '06's terrific Half Nelson. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck wrote and directed this insufferable, claustrophobic story about Craig (Keir Gilchrist, an odd screen presence) a teenager who checks himself into a psych ward for depression. Soon enough, he's surrounded by a quirky cast of psych patients who, of course, teach him that Everything Will Be All Right. These psych patients, by the way, look like they were turned away from auditions for a revival of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Lauren Graham and Jim Gaffigan, both usually terrific, are wasted here as his parents, while Zach Galifianakis continues to irritate me the more I see him. And he's everywhere. It's kind of a bummer, really. 1/5
Unstoppable (2010) with great precision and skill. It's his best movie since True Romance. Running at very lean 98 minutes, it's the story about an unmanned train (which happens to be loaded with toxic waste, of course!) that is in danger of derailing in a highly populated town. No sneering villains (except for a greedy corporate boss, nicely underplayed by Kevin Dunn), no unnecessary romantic story lines, it wastes no time with filler. It's about a fast moving train and the two men who work to stop it. That's it. Unstoppable is a breath of fresh air, nicely anchored by Denzel Washington, Chris Pine and Rosario Dawson, and is one of the year's best escapist thrillers. 5/5