Richard Serra: Thinking on Your Feet - Directed by Maria Anna Tappeiner.
This bland documentary focuses on Richard Serra, a sculptor whose work has been displayed at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. He discusses at lengths the designs of his large steel sculptures as he walks through their passageways. Listening him explaining the importance of different angles, shapes and sizes sounds like listening to a boring college professor who clearly has lots of knowledge, but fails to present it all in a lively way that doesn’t put you to sleep. Throughout the vast majority of the film’s running time of 94 minutes, which feels more like 3 hours, you’ll observe Richard Serra give frequent tours of his sculptures and talking a lot while actually saying very little and often repeating himself. On a positive note, there’s one briefly provocative moment when he discusses his anti-Bush, anti-Iraqi War sentiments before going back to showing more of those cold, mundane sculptures of his. Director Maria Anna Tappeiner simply includes too much show and not enough tell or, figuratively, too many potatoes and not enough meat. If she were to delve deeper into the mind of Richard Serra and included much more background information about how he came to love the art of sculpting so much, this would have been a much more compelling and enlightening documentary. Number of times I checked my watch: 8. Released by German United Distributors. Opens at the Film Forum.
The Rocker - Directed Peter Cattaneo.
20 years after getting kicked out of the rock band Vesuvious, Robert "Fish" Fishman (Rainn Wilson) becomes a drummer for A.D.D., the band of his nephew, Matt (Josh Gad), along with fellow teen musicians Curtis (Teddy Geiger) and Amelia (Emma Stone). Much like Jack Black’s character in School of Rock, Fish behaves crazily with a youthful spirit in an effort to bring the band together and become as famous as his ex-band, Vesuvius. There’s a distracting, awkward subplot involving a potential romance between him and Curtis’ mom (Christina Applegate). Co-writers Maya Forbes and Wally Wolodarsky include nothing truly refreshing or surprising plot-wise or even dialogue-wise, but what saves the film from drowning in mediocrity is the lively, energetic and energetic cast. Only does the underrated Emma Stone manage to add well-needed charisma. None of the laugh-out-loud moments will be spoiled here, but, unfortunately, they’re sporadic, ephemeral and ultimately forgettable much like The Rocker itself. Just be sure to check your brain at the door and suspend your disbelief for 102 minutes so that you can at least be moderately entertained. Number of times I checked my watch: 3. Released by 20th Century Fox.