REVIEW: The Adjustment Bureau

The Adjustment Bureau
Directed by: George Nolfi
Written by: George Nolfi (screenplay), Philip K. Dick (short story)
Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, John Slattery, Anthony Mackie

Let’s get it out of the way early: this is the first good studio release of 2011.  Right out of the movie purgatory that is January and February is The Adjustment Bureau, a science fiction movie grounded in the real world, playing by its own bogus rules.  It’s got the blood of The Matrix rushing through it as well as the eerie atmosphere of a Roman Polanski film.

Another thing this movie has are two excellent star turns from its lead actors, Matt Damon and Emily Blunt as David and Elise.  As they flee God and his army of Mad Men-esque guardian angels (headed by none other than that show’s John Slattery), their blooming romance is totally palpable.  Their chemistry together is the movie’s biggest selling point and also one of it’s key strengths.

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The Ten Most Overrated Movies Ever

In honor of a recent CyniCritics review of Fight Club which found the film to be a little… well, overrated.  Matt and I decided to compile a whole list of other films that we think get way more credit than they deserve.

Forrest Gump

The 1994 box office jumbo-hit not only made a sea of cash at the box office, but went on to sweep six Oscars, stealing the Best Picture award from Pulp Fiction and Lead Actor from Morgan Freeman. When Forrest should have been uprooted, excavated and forgotten to make room for new, brilliant filmmaking life like Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Shawsank Redemption, it’s popularity grew and thickened with time, becoming a home video must-have.

It is little wonder why the film is adored, given it is a capsule of the second half of the 20th century. But even with all the nostalgia of Vietnam, AIDS, and growing up in the south, the film was flat and dull just like the comely narrator America was so in love with. The movie hinged itself on half-baked melodrama, a popular soundtrack and a beloved, mediocre movie star (Twilight anyone?). Not saying the film was complete shit, but its no masterpiece. Forrest Gump was as awkward, clumsy and cheesy as its gumpy title suggests.

The Royal Tenenbaums

Okay, so this movie is not all that widely rated as a classic in the first place, but to many indie-cinema lovers this film is number one on their list, and if it isn’t, Rushmore, Bottlerocket, or Fantastic Mr. Fox probably is. Maybe what we’re getting at is that Wes Anderson is the one who is overrated. After watching all his films and searching for what exactly it is that makes him indie-royalty, all we can come up with is cookie cutter characters and futura font which pass as “style”. Sure it’s unique, sure it’s different, but it also happens to be pretty lame and uninteresting.

The major issues with The Royal Tenenbaums and company are the characters that Anderson creates, who are often flat, emotionless, stripped down characters that speak their mind and act rashly on freewill. They’re so stylized and doped up, that they become caricatures of themselves and make audiences lose interest quickly. It’s uniqueness cannot be ignored, but it shouldn’t be praised like the second coming of Christ on your Facebook’s favorite movies either.

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