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Precious – All the awards and recognition didn’t sway people from going after “Precious”. It was the target of copious amounts of criticism from film critics and social bloggers.  Many detractors claimed that the filmmakers had assembled a movie that was subtlety racist in old fashioned ways.  Precious the character is full of self-loathing and daydreams about having a light skinned boyfriend.  Even going so far to have Precious imagine herself as a pretty white girl.  An uncomfortable sentiment for some but considering the character and her hellish circumstances, such an idea isn’t far fetched. Other antagonistic views said that the film was an African-American pity party.  An exploitation horror show meant to make white people feel better about not being black.  Such sentiment, that white people will watch “Precious” and apply it’s story to all black people and thus feel superior, is just as racist in its own way.  That view implies that all white people are stupid and easily led on.  While these criticisms certainly make interesting points and liven the debate, they completely missed the larger reason for the movie’s success with audiences and critics.  It’s a well made drama in the long standing underdog genre with compelling performances and enough style to draw attention to the skill on display but not overshadow the story as a whole.  In short, we root for Precious to succeed, to overcome her truly awful circumstances and become a better person.  When she does the audience achieves a sense of uplift.  Such sentiment transcends race and it’s a shame so many choose to ignore that point.

Book of Eli – For all the acclaim that has been bestowed on Denzel Washington during his career, few people like to acknowledge that he more often than not appears in movies that could easily be classified as standard issue.  Some of his stuff rises above the norm and he rarely makes anything terrible, but memorable work also eludes him.  “The Book of Eli” falls into exactly this pattern.  No great or terrible things can be said about it.  It’s another post-apocalyptic action flick, Washington channeling Eastwood’s man with no name character to a tee.  It has a good twist in the end but the journey there isn’t much fun.  Director’s Albert and Allen Hughes give the movie that persistently, over styled flashiness that all big budget action movies get.  They also pour on the standard issue grungy atmosphere.  It is the apocalypse so things have to be dusty and strewn with garbage.  Nothing about “Eli” feels unique or necessary.  The once promising directing duo of Albert and Allen now seem content to make action trash like this.  It’s all a small shame because there’s a promising idea driving the story, but there’s nothing pushing it along or making it feel important.  If you’re an easy lay for action flicks, or Washington, then “Eli” will probably do enough for you.  If neither prospect seems appealing then there’s nothing here.  Rent something else.

Cop Out – This movie is like hearing the same crappy joke repeated by a drunk guy in a bar over and over for 90 minutes.  In an annoying, high pitched voice, while being stabbed in the eye with a stapler.  Fuck you Kevin Smith.  I’m done with your fat, lazy ass.

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