Thursday, August 5, 2010
Joel Schumacher's TWELVE should burnish the filmmaker's reputation -- for sleaze
Nathan Lee used an NY Times Op-Ed article to excuse his spoiling movies for his readers. In it, he is on record as saying he wouldn't dare unmask the secrets in David Cronenberg's A History of Violence but that he wouldn't think of extending this same courtesy to Joel Schumacher for his The Number 23. At the time I was prepared to give Mr. Lee that year's "Pompous Little Twit" award for his ridiculous opinion. I am not a particular fan of A History of Violence and even less of The Number 23. But, I am sorry: Because you do not care for the work of a certain director does not give you the right to destroy his movie for those who have not seen it.
TWELVE, directed by Mr. Schumancher (shown at left), I am almost tempted -- but still cannot -- go along with Lee. Twelve wants to be an east-coast Less Than Zero but has none of that film's better moments or possessions, starting with an actor as riveting as was (and continues to be) Robert Downey Jr.
Chace Crawford (shown above: and, sorry, Gossip Girls and Boys, this is the full extent of Chace's naked body that Twelve allows you to view). Mr Crawford is pretty, all right, but he is neither given an opportunity in the script (by Jordan Melamed, from the novel by Nick McDonell) nor does he do anything on his own to create a character possessing some depth.
note world all his own. His facial stubble never changes, nor do his expressions and reactions. Everyone here seems to have been recruited for his or her "look," and they do look good -- from Esti Ginzberg (above, left) and Emily Mead (below, with bears, in one of the film's only original scenes) as the hot girls at school to Rory Culkin (shown at bottom, with Ms. Ginzberg) and Billy Magnusson as exceedingly wealthy and even more troubled brothers.
Emma Roberts, shown below). They seem to be working-class (Chace plays a drug dealer, but, hey, that's work!) and so must be better than the filthy-rich, sleazebag kids with whom they go to school. Now, I am no fan of wealth or the people who parade it around, but when a movie piles it on this thickly, it leaves me nearly ready to vote for John McCain.
Keifer Sutherland (so what?), it drones on about nonsense such as this: "White Mike (that's Crawford) would love to jump from rooftop to rooftop, but he knows he never will." Huh?
Chekov's gun theory. Sure enough: if we see it in the first act, it's gonna be used later on. The movie is awash in constant cliché. Surely an actor like Curtis Jackson (aka "50 Cent") could play something other than a dirty drug dealer? Or maybe not. And, surprise: everyone here seems to have major "mother" issues (except one rich young man who has a major father issue). The mothers on view, including Ellen Barkin (at left), Alexandra Neil and Alice Barrett, are either dead or ought to be.)
I could go on -- god knows, the movie does -- but why? I'd only bore you silly and put myself to sleep. Twelve, from the storied French film company Gaumont (stick to your home turf, please, if you can't give us anything better than this), Hannover House and Radar Pictures, opens Friday, August 6, all over the place. In NYC, you can find it at the AMC Empire 25, the U.A. 64th and 2nd, and the Cinema Village.