FilmJerk Favorites

A group of unique directors and the essential works that you've got to see.

||| Alfred Hitchcock |||
Alfred Hitchcock

This is perhaps an obvious choice, however, most people tend to overlook the Master of Suspense’s early work as well as the relevancy of his last film as a key element in the continuing transition and development of the genre he defined.

One of Hitchcock's early triumphs, this predecessor to the mistaken identity man on the run scenario Hitchcock turned to time and again, stars Robert Donat as the innocent wrongly accused of murder and pursued by both the police and enemy spies. This is the first example of Hitchcock’s mastery over the suspense tale, giving us a glimpse of the greatness to come.

Considered to be one of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest works, this story of two men who meet by chance on a train and frivolously discuss swapping murders is a prime example of a common Hitchcock theme of the man who suddenly finds himself within a nightmare world over which he has no control. You can easily see how this film lays the ground work for the more popular “North by Northwest”.

Alfred Hitchcock's final film is a light-hearted thriller involving phony psychics, kidnappers and organized religion, all of which cross paths in the search for a missing heir and a fortune in jewels. Here, Hitchcock has brilliantly developed his signature form to include the now common, and often overused, device of plot twist, after plot twist, after plot twist. Widescreen!

Recommended by CarrieSpecht

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Brothers Solomon, The

By BrianOrndorf

September 7th, 2007

"The Brothers Solomon" doesn't include a single laugh, yet it's not all that dreadful a picture. I suppose if it didn't star Will Arnett and Will Forte, wasn't directed by Bob Odenkirk, wasn't due for release this weekend, and didn't find me with a job that requires precious time to sit through it, it wouldn't be such a bad film after all.

Brothers Solomon, The

John (Will Arnett) and Dean (Will Forte) are two happy-go-lucky brothers who want nothing more than to please their ailing father (Lee Majors). Deciding a grandson will do the trick, the clueless boys set out to find a woman who can give them a baby. Finding Janine (Kristen Wiig) on Craigslist, the brothers find the woman of their dreams, artificially inseminating her and spending the next nine months on a roller coaster of life, facing romantic and parental challenges along the way that are no match for their sunny attitude.

Throughout “Solomon,” I kept wondering if John and Dean were just simple, upbeat boys as the screenplay suggests, or were they truly stupid human beings. Written by Forte, there’s really no answer to this question, since “Solomon” is nothing more than a blindfolded endeavor of supreme irreverence; the actor using his time on “SNL” as a trial run on how to make absolutely nothing last longer than it has any right to.

Morons or not, the slapstick efforts of the title characters are the entire movie, boiling the experience of “Solomon” down to a simple question of comedic chemistry. Personally, I would rather have my toenails pulled out one at a time than be forced to watch Will Arnett make the funny. I’ve beaten on the “comedian” plenty over the last year, but he deserves relentless disdain. Not even Weird Al emphasizes his jokes as forcefully as Arnett does. Forte should thank his lucky stars Odenkirk found an actor even more obnoxious than him.

Outside of the occasional crude act, “Solomon” is a harmless comedy, more content exploring the chipper side of the bothers and how it contrasts with everybody’s gloom than reaching for gross-out gags. It isn’t funny, but at least it’s happy, which is more than I can say for Odenkirk’s last directorial effort, the abysmal “Let’s Go to Prison.”

That said, Forte’s scripting doesn’t offer much aside from bizarre gags and references that get their jollies from their very oddness. With dead birds and popcorn (as a symbol of life’s ups and downs), a motif of John Parr’s “St. Elmo’s Fire” theme, and a heavy coating of slimy sexual advances (which the boys find nothing wrong with), “Solomon” is episodic and desperate, leaving nothing to get excited about, with the possible exception of the end credits. I was pretty happy to see those sweet babies arrive.

If Forte and Arnett happen to be your poison, perhaps “Solomon” is a fine choice for a comedic evening. And if you do elect to see it, please let me know: are the Solomon boys a couple of twits or just high on life? I’m still at a loss.

My rating: D+