Saturday, August 22, 2015

Saturday Night Movie Recommendations with Abe

Welcome back to a weekly feature here at Movies With Abe. I'm going to be providing a handy guide to a few choice movies currently playing in theatres as well as several films newly released on DVD and Netflix. I invite you to add in your thoughts on any films I haven’t seen in the comments below.

Mistress America (recommended): Lola Kirke and Greta Gerwig are both great in director Noah Baumbach’s latest film, an admittedly exaggerated yet still entertaining look at the excitement of life and New York City through one ingénue’s eyes. Now playing at AMC Empire and Landmark Sunshine. Read my review from last week.

People, Places, Things (highly recommended): Jemaine Clement of “Flight of the Conchords” is a wonderful lead in this terrific comedy featuring a comic book artist father of two trying to get his life on track. The whole cast is great, and this film is a lot of fun. Now playing at IFC Center. Read my review from Sundance.

New to DVD

The 100-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (recommended): This film has a lengthy title and quite the story packed inside of it, an energizing and odd fantastic tale of a long life lived with much excitement and many experiences. Overall, it’s odd, but still worth a watch.

La Sapienza (recommended): I enjoyed this intellectual film about art and those who appreciate it when I saw it at the New York Film Festival last fall. Its use of multiple languages and entertaining characters is enjoyable, and overall it’s a great ride. Also streaming on Netflix.

Now on Netflix Instant Streaming

Human Capital (highly recommended): This enjoyable Italian film, which I saw at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, is a clever combination of a number of chapters tying together the same story of sex, scandal, and murder with terrific performances all around. It’s vividly interesting and engaging, and an underappreciated cinematic experience.

The Hurt Locker (highly recommended): This 2009 Best Picture winner from director Kathryn Bigelow is a strong and stirring modern-day war film that delves deep into the psyche of what it’s like to be at war and the implications of it, with great performances all around with Jeremy Renner in the starring role.

Kill Me Three Times (recommended): Entertainment is paramount in this Australian comedy-thriller with enjoyable performances from Simon Pegg, Teresa Palmer, Alice Braga, Luke Hemsworth, and a handful of others.

The Look of Love (highly recommended): This biopic, one of the best films I saw at Sundance 2013, enjoyed an incredibly brief and unmemorable run at just three U.S. theatres in July 2013, and hopefully more people will watch it now. Steve Coogan is superb as Paul Raymond, the British Hugh Hefner, in this lively and engaging rollercoaster ride.

Next (anti-recommended): I gave this sci-fi thriller an F-, and all memories I have of it are truly terrible. This is an example of why Nicolas Cage’s reputation has gone fully downhill, a film in which he just doesn’t even try, with a plot that should be interesting but gets made to be incredibly dumb and, worse than that, thoroughly unsatisfying.

The Riot Club (recommended): Lone Scherfig, who made “An Education” and “One Day,” has created another eventful British drama filled with comedy and drama, this one an unevenly engaging story of a premiere dining club known for its bad behavior.

Two Days, One Night (recommended): Marion Cotillard earned an unexpected Oscar nomination for her intense performance as a woman fighting to keep her job in this unassuming and realistic film that lets its events speak for themselves rather than overdramatizing them.

The Way (mixed bag): This walking road movie starring Martin Sheen and written and directed by his son Emilio Estevez is decently entertaining but otherwise relatively aimless and in no hurry to get anywhere.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Movie with Abe: Mistress America

Mistress America
Directed by Noah Baumbach
Released August 14, 2015

Director Noah Baumbach and actress Greta Gerwig have collaborated on two films over the past few years, with Baumbach directing, Gerwig starring, and both penning the original screenplay. “Greenberg” starred Ben Stiller and cast Gerwig as his love interest, and then Gerwig took center stage in “Frances Ha” as a free spirit living in New York. Now they’ve found a definitive rhythm, with Gerwig giving herself full reign to dramatically utter her lines as an impossibly deluded budding entrepreneur living in her own world who takes her stepsister-to-be for a wild ride as they begin to develop a relationship.

Lola Kirke, who stars on Netflix’s “Mozart in the Jungle,” is Tracy, the central figure of the “Mistress America” at its start, a friendly college freshman whose initial experience is far from what she dreamed it would be. Frustrated and lonely, she calls Brooke (Gerwig), whose father her mother plans to marry, and gets to experience the crazy life of the fast-talking young woman who seeks to open a restaurant. Brooke is prone to delivering lengthy speeches that indicate how out of touch with reality she is and how little that bothers her or disrupts any of her plans. Tracy uses Brooke as the main character in her submission for her college’s literary magazine, feeding off of her eccentric energy and living vicariously through her.

The dialogue is “Mistress America” is the film’s most prominent asset, an instant confirmation that this is indeed a Baumbach work. His second film, the Oscar-nominated “The Squid and the Whale,” firmly identified the kind of writing that Baumbach does, and with Gerwig, here they craft characters who are always at the ready to expound on a topic that most people know little about and speak with confident authority even if everything they are saying has no bearing or backing to it. Such people don’t likely exist in the real world, but this constructed universe in which everyone is a budding intellectual just waiting to be called on to preach a specific sort of elitism does have its own lukewarm appeal.

There is no doubt that Kirke, who is spunky and likeable but just reserved enough, is the right person to play Tracy, and Gerwig was born to play Brooke, a role she said she didn’t write for herself but ended up being convinced by Baumbach to take. Certain members of the supporting cast, particularly Michael Chernus and Heather Lind as friends from Brooke’s past, are equally adept at delivering the lines written for them and portraying these inflated personalities. As a perfectly literal story, “Mistress America” might have been terrific. As it presents in a less realistic and digestible manner, it is furtively entertaining and engaging but equally frustrating and over-the-top at times.


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Saturday Night Movie Recommendations with Abe

Welcome back to a weekly feature here at Movies With Abe. I'm going to be providing a handy guide to a few choice movies currently playing in theatres as well as several films newly released on DVD and Netflix. I invite you to add in your thoughts on any films I haven’t seen in the comments below.

Due to a busy summer where TV with Abe has gotten far more of my attention, this week is devoted just to new DVD releases from mid-June to now, of which there are plenty!

New to DVD

Tangerines (must-see): The last of this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Film to be released is also one of the best of that slate. Estonia’s first nominated film is a powerful and worthwhile account of a tangerine farmer who saves two men on different sides of a war, with strong performances, an engaging story, and a stirring score.

Wild Tales (must-see): I loved this Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee from Argentina so much when I saw it at Sundance. Its clever format is matched by impossibly entertaining stories that transition effortlessly between drama and comedy. The only true recommendation is to see it with an audience so that you can share in the experience.

Clouds of Sils Maria (highly recommended): Juliette Binoche stars in this complicated, fascinating tale of stardom and an esteemed actress returning to her first project in a markedly different role. Binoche, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Kristen Stewart in particular are terrific as personalities in celebrity culture.

Deli Man (highly recommended): Who wouldn’t salivate at the idea of a documentary about the history of Jewish deli in America? Its primary subject, the owner of a deli in Houston, is extremely entertaining, and the mix of anecdotes, cultural quirks, and celebrity interviews with plenty of food thrown in is a true delight.

Human Capital (highly recommended): This enjoyable Italian film, which I saw at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, is a clever combination of a number of chapters tying together the same story of sex, scandal, and murder with terrific performances all around. It’s vividly interesting and engaging, and an underappreciated cinematic experience.

The Salt of the Earth (highly recommended): This documentary, which was nominated for an Oscar this past year, is easily the best of its category, a captivating account of the life of one photographer and his many long-term projects that chronicle much of the world over the past few decades.

’71 (highly recommended): I can’t remember the time I saw something as intense as my final film screened at Sundance this year, which is a feverish account of one tempestuous, fateful night in Ireland for a British soldier separated from anything familiar or safe. Jack O’Connell, who is a true breakout, delivers yet another strong performance in this nonstop thriller.

Zero Motivation (highly recommended): This Israeli film, which earned a handful of Ophir nominations, is an entertaining and enticing comedy about life in the Israeli army, with a special focus on a woman’s unit. Nelly Tagar and Dana Ivgy are particularly great.

52 Tuesdays (recommended): This Australian indie, which played at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014, checks in with a 16-year-old girl and her mother, who is undergoing a sex change, every Tuesday for a year. It’s an energizing and powerful journey anchored by strong performances.

Kill Me Three Times (recommended): Entertainment is paramount in this Australian comedy-thriller with enjoyable performances from Simon Pegg, Teresa Palmer, Alice Braga, Luke Hemsworth, and a handful of others.

Red Knot (recommended): Vincent Kartheiser and Olivia Thirlby star as a married couple drifting apart on a boat to Antarctica, as Kartheiser’s author eats up the opportunity to visit his favorite subject and Thirlby’s wife finds herself considerably neglected. It’s captivating at times and anchored by a terrific Thirlby.

Slow West (recommended): Kodi Smit-McPhee and Michael Fassbender star in this slow-moving but decent Western from the United Kingdom and New Zealand that should please fans of the genre as well as those who like the actors.

Woman in Gold (recommended): This story of a Holocaust survivor who took on the Austrian government to reclaim a family painting illegally taken by the Nazis and then inherited by a national museum is an endearing tale of triumph and perseverance, with Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds at the helm and Tatiana Maslany providing strong support as the younger version of the protagonist.

Maggie (mixed bag): Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a devoted father intent on saving his daughter from certain transformation into a zombie in this independent drama. It’s a decent attempt at trying to turn this subject matter into strong storytelling, but ultimately it doesn’t manage to succeed in that regard.

Timbuktu (mixed bag): Mauritania’s first-ever Oscar submission for Best Foreign Film made the cut and earned itself a nomination, and most have reviewed this film with the utmost fervor and praise. It didn’t wow me, presenting what could have been a few interesting stories in a fashion that didn’t do them justice. It’s a fine start for a film industry but nowhere close to one of the best foreign films of the year.

True Story (mixed bag): James Franco stars as a man on trial for murdering his family and Jonah Hill plays the journalist he wants to tell his story to. It’s a decent premise, based on a true story, but nothing about the film makes it come alive or feel necessary.

The Gunman (anti-recommended): This film may feel a lot like “Taken,” and while the two share a director, this mindless action blockbuster doesn’t have nearly the brains of that already questionable prototype. Sean Penn is at his least enthusiastic in this truly absurd flick.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Movie with Abe: Call Me Lucky

Call Me Lucky
Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait
Released August 7, 2015

Comedians make for great film subjects because they inherently have led interesting lives that help make up the meat of their material. It’s not always a joke, of course, particularly when a comedian’s life is cut short by an untimely death or suicide, and though Barry Crimmins is still alive, he definitely has a very serious story that shaped him into the comedian he was back into the 1990s. He still has plenty to offer, and this thorough and analytical documentary is an electrically engaging portrait of his life.

Barry Crimmins is best described as an angry comedian. Fellow stand-up performers describe his acts as often yelling at people because of their views and expressing his frustrations with government, religion, and other institutions through this forum by venting and brutally taking down those with whom he doesn’t agree. Patton Oswalt, Lenny Clarke, and others describe the impact he has had on comedy, and the way in which he has served as a model for them of how to push the limits and shed light on important issues.

Crimmins goes far beyond poking fun at a given subject or joking about the destruction of the Catholic Church as one of his goals. This documentary abruptly shifts about halfway through its runtime as he reveals that he was sexually abused by a babysitter’s friend at a very young age, and from there it takes on an entirely new form. The story of how Crimmins went into AOL chatrooms in the 1990s when the Internet was still new and got users to send him samples of child pornography to trade and sell is inherently fascinating, especially as it catapults Crimmins into a major federal investigation with senators involved and AOL in his crosshairs as a willing provider of child pornography, a sincere step taken by a comedian who clearly isn’t content to leave his jokes as just that.

This film says a lot about how comedy and reality can exist in the same world, and Crimmins is certainly a poignant example of a comedian already on the edge who went all the way to make sure that his voice was heard and that he wasn’t just making people laugh. He is a magnetic central figure and fantastic film subject, and even though he’s not doing much at the moment, it’s clear that he is an extremely notable and memorable personality who, thanks in no small part to this film, will surely not be soon forgotten.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Saturday Night Recommendations with Abe

Welcome back to a weekly feature here at Movies With Abe. I'm going to be providing a handy guide to a few choice movies currently playing in theatres as well as several films newly released on DVD and Netflix. I invite you to add in your thoughts on any films I haven’t seen in the comments below.

Due to a busy summer where TV with Abe has gotten far more of my attention, I’ll be taking the next three weeks to look individually at movies in theatres over the past six weeks, then those on DVD, then those on Netflix, as the best way to catch up and savor summer!

Now Playing in Theatres

Best of Enemies (highly recommended): This extremely engaging documentary chronicles the rivalry between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, Jr., intellectual pundits from complete opposite ends of the spectrum, who, after both have died, have their relationship analyzed for all to see, an effective and informative look at what happened when opposing opinions were presented in the same space rather than on different networks. Now playing at IFC Center and Lincoln Plaza. Read my review from Sundance.

The End of the Tour (recommended): This recreation of the time shared by an eager journalist and one of the most prolific authors in recent history who died far too soon is an interesting and immensely watchable portrait of two people with sharp, memorable dialogue. Jason Segel does a great take on David Foster Wallace in this appealing if unresounding film. Now playing at AMC Lincoln Square and Angelika. Read my review from yesterday.

Infinitely Polar Bear (recommended): I’ve never liked Mark Ruffalo more than in this endearing comedic drama, which I saw at Sundance 2014, of a bipolar father struggling to get a handle on raising his two young daughters alone while his wife attends school in another state. It’s a sweet, likeable story with just enough magic and some great performances. Now playing at Lincoln Plaza and Cinema Village. Read my review from Sundance.

Inside Out (highly recommended): I finally saw this animated comedy and I’m pleased to say that I very much enjoyed it. Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith are just two of the many great voice actors to help animate this lovely story about the emotions at work within the brain of a young girl struggling to adapt to a difficult move. It’s charming and immensely likeable, and gets bonus points for being preceded by a terrific short, “Lava.” Now playing in wide release. My review will be up shortly.

The Overnight (highly recommended): This irreverent comedy was one of the funniest films I saw at Sundance this past year, thanks in large part to superb performances all around from Taylor Schilling, Adam Scott, Jason Schwartzman, and French actress Judith Godrèche as two couples brought together by their young children for an unforgettable wild night. Now playing at Village East Cinema. Read my review from Sundance.

Two Step (anti-recommended): This dark thriller brings together a young man who recently came into a large sum of money and a criminal more than ready to kill to get his hands on it. The premise might be interesting, but the film opts for a grim, unengaging style which might be presented as slow burn suspense but hardly comes off as positive or productive. Now playing at Village East Cinema. Read my review from Thursday.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Movie with Abe: The End of the Tour

The End of the Tour
Directed by James Ponsoldt
Released July 31, 2015

A few short words in a film’s title can say a lot. “The End of the Tour” gives its subject matter a certain finality, referencing not just the tour itself but the fact that it has ended or will soon end. It begins at a future point at which reporter David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) learns via a casual phone call from a friend that author David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) has died. This saddening news causes Lipsky to flash back to a time twelve years earlier when he convinced his boss to send him to Illinois to join Wallace at the end of a book tour, an unforgettable experience whose moments of conversation serve as the framework for this film.

Lipsky is introduced as a character in his own right, also the author of a successful novel though hardly receiving the same kind of accolades and worship as Wallace. Unsure of what he will encounter, Lipsky brings a copy of his own book along once he pesters his editor enough to send him on a fact-finding mission to interview the man and discover his story. Wallace is at first guarded, mostly a facet of his personality and the manner in which he speaks, and on a number of occasions remarks that he should write a book about Lipsky writing about him.

That analytical nature is central to this film, which consists mostly of scenes of Lipsky and Wallace talking, the former always at the ready with his tape recorder to hear Wallace expound on some aspect of his life which might be mind-numbingly boring if described by a less fascinating figure. The effect of Wallace’s dialogue is all the more impactful because we know how the story ends and that this tour is but a distant memory in the mind of present-day Lipsky.

Eisenberg plays the same kind of character he always plays here, stepping back a bit from his nebbishy, awkward archetype to allow Segel to take center stage. The comedian, known best for his portrayal of Marshall on “How I Met Your Mother,” dives deep into the role of Wallace, getting to know him and nailing his mannerisms and affect. Ultimately, it is clearly Eisenberg and Segel on screen, but Segel’s take on Wallace is well worth a watch in this intriguing if not entirely satisfying remembrance of one mysterious magnetic man gone too soon.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Movie with Abe: Two Step

Two Step
Directed by Alex R. Johnson
Released July 31, 2015

Money always complicates things. Coming into a large sum without any prior knowledge of its existence can produce highly different reactions in people, especially considering their history with money and what it means to them. Some embrace it with humility, almost unsure of what to do and how it could change their lives, while others don’t even stop to appreciate what has happened and merely move on to selfish motives. In the new dramatic thriller “Two Step,” two such drastically different people learn are faced with such a situation and interact in a disturbing and violent manner.

James (Skyy Moore) is a not a particularly motivated person, but he does have a kind heart. After being expelled from college, James heads home to the only family he has, his grandmother, who passes away soon after his arrival. His budding friendship with her old friend Dot (Beth Broderick) doesn’t distract him from the discovery that his grandmother was an unwilling participant in a money scam conducted by Webb (James Landry Hebert), who, even from within prison, calls people with older names and pretends to be their grandchildren in desperate need of money. James’ interest in making things right only leads Webb closer to him, with disastrous results.

At first, these are two separate stories, with Webb being released from prison only to learn that he owes more than he thought he did to some very angry people, and James dealing with the directionless nature of his life after his grandmother dies. Webb’s story is much darker, filled with instances of brutality and aggression, while James’ seems far more optimistic, especially as the bright and enthusiastic Dot enters his life. Dot’s role as a dance instructor provides the framework for the title of this film, a difficult interaction that proves excessively worrisome as it becomes ore complicated.

The allure of this film, according to critics who adore it, is that it is a stylized thriller true to its Southern origins. Its slow burn build does have the potential to make its finish even stronger, but the film never quite reaches a point of true satisfaction where everything that leads up to the explosion of its events feels like it has been given a proper payoff. It is unabashedly and unapologetically grim and unsettling, but that is not enough to make for a solid and memorable movie experience all on its own.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Movie with Abe: The Breakup Girl

The Breakup Girl
Directed by Stacy Sherman
Released July 10, 2015 on VOD

When a movie’s title names its central character based on a specific incident, it’s usually a reflection of the catalytic event that sparks the story and, by the end of the movie, might even prove to be irrelevant. In the case of “The Breakup Girl,” its protagonist, Claire (Shannon Woodward) gets hit with the devastating and completely unforeseen end of her relationship and must deal with the subsequent overwhelming attention from her family as the 29-year-old tries to get her life together. The announcement from her father that he has cancer can’t come at a worse time, as this breakup girl tries to cope and graduate to being identified as something more than a work-in-progress.

Woodward is an actress who showed great promise in her role as the daughter of two con artists on FX’s short-lived “The Riches,” and then stuck around “Raising Hope” for the duration of its run as an intelligent but unmotivated love interest. Her role here is much more akin to the latter part, as Claire stresses over turning twenty-nine and not having accomplished anything she has hoped for, something which her two sisters, Sharon (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and Kendra (India Menuez), and overbearing mother Joan (Mary Kay Place) remind her of constantly. Only her father (Ray Wise) seems happy to see her where she is, though his aloof attitude, which defines his outlook on his illness, makes it clear that she is her father’s son, unable to take like as seriously as it sometimes needs to be taken.

The sisters here are all remarkably different. Claire is stuck in place, not having done much and not set to do much in the future. Kendra’s career is just starting out, and though her theatric interests aren’t to everyone’s tastes, she is young and aspiring enough to get away with it. Sharon has achieved considerable success and worries about such things as what modification to make next on her house while her husband Steve (Joe Lo Truglio) yearns to make an emotional connection with his distant wife. These characters anchor a story that’s mildly engaging and interesting.

Woodward is a fine lead, and it would be great to see her get parts like this again in the future. Place and Wise are well-cast, and Truglio, who is usually used for exaggerated comic relief, shines in a role that doesn’t necessarily even ask as much of him as he gives. Timm Sharp, who was a major player on HBO’s “Enlightened,” has a small part that could have used more screen time and development. This movie as a whole is a moderately inviting look at a short snippet of one young woman’s life that might well be worthwhile but never quite catches fire and sparks the way its title suggests it could.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Movie with Abe: Jackie and Ryan

Jackie and Ryan
Directed by Ami Canaan Mann
Released July 3, 2015

There’s something about music that makes romance inevitable. A scene in the 1975 Robert Altman film “Nashville” comes to mind in which multiple women smile during a performance by Keith Carradine’s Tom Frank because they think that he is singing specifically to them that illustrates the power of music to connect people. When it’s just two people bonding through a shared passion and talent for music, it’s considerably less complicated, but it can still involve complicated people facing their own struggles while trying to find love with each other, which is the premise of the new drama “Jackie and Ryan.”

Ryan (Ben Barnes) is a familiar character, described most easily as a drifter, hopping trains to travel around the country, playing his guitar for money wherever he goes. He arrives in Ogden, Utah, checking in on the woman his friend has impregnated and her young child. He springs into action when he witnesses Jackie (Katherine Heigl) being injured in a minor car accident, and driving her back home leads to a dinner with her disapproving mother and bright-eyed young daughter, and the start of something much bigger than a chance meeting.

A love for music is a major part of what brings Jackie and Ryan together. Jackie is in the midst of a miserable custody battle, with her rich New York husband trying to take her daughter away from her. Jackie struggles to find work, interviewing for positions that are unfunded and couldn’t have possibly worked out, with local people gushing over her past as a famous musician, a distant memory that can’t help to support her in her current state. Jackie is at a place far removed from a former success, whereas her new friend is just at the start of what could well be a fruitful career.

The setup here isn’t something new – there have been a number of films, especially in recent years, about romances beginning as a result of a musical connection of some sort. Its Utah setting enables the story to be blanketed in a calm snow, which is nice, and its characters, save for Jackie’s vicious offscreen ex, are all pleasant and sweet-natured. Heigl, famous for her TV work on “Grey’s Anatomy,” and Barnes, who played Prince Caspian in the Chronicles of Narnia films, are decent, able leads who help this relatively endearing story come to life.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Movie with Abe: Manglehorn

Directed by David Gordon Green
Released June 19, 2015

Movies always risk inheriting the conditions of their main characters, which can include their outlook on life, their demeanors, and the energy they put into the things they do. While this can be effective, it can also be cripplingly uninviting. In “Manglehorn,” the title character lives his life in a way that is far from put-together, with little taking him from moment to the next. The film adopts that same approach, which is inherently problematic since it proves to be far from engaging.

Al Pacino has been acting for decades, earning Oscar nominations more than forty years ago for early roles in films like “The Godfather” and “Dog Day Afternoon” and finally winning twenty-three years ago for a career-topping performance in “Scent of a Woman.” Since then, Pacino has made his mark mostly in TV movies on HBO, portraying a dying gay man, Dr. Kavorkian, and Phil Spector. His films have been less commendable, and the image of Pacino sitting with a cat in his lap and a tired expression on his face on this film’s poster doesn’t recommend its quality above the usual level of Pacino’s projects lately.

“Manglehorn” begins with little dialogue, letting the loneliness of Manglehorn’s life sink in. The local locksmith cares for his cast, who he learns requires surgery, the way that many care about other people. He laments to those around him, particularly his unreceptive adult son (Chris Messina), about how he lost the love of his life, who happens not to have been his ex-wife but instead the woman he wishes he had pursued. It’s easy to see that Mangelhorn has regrets and that he wishes his life was different, but there’s not enough here to form a complete story that serves as interesting enough in its own right.

There’s a certain look that has shown up in Pacino’s eyes in some of his more eccentric performances of late signifying a certain zaniness and commitment to character. While the poster for this film could have indicated that it would be appropriate here, Manglehorn is spared that kind of mannerism. His story may not be exciting, but at least the lead performance is appropriately muted and not over-the-top where it easily could have been. Pacino’s latest film is a decent but unengaging look at getting older and looking back on life that hardly ranks as a must-see.