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Buckle Up, Barbenheimers

Reviewer Shannon Penrod weighs in on the dynamic box office duo.

Barbie B In Theaters

I didn’t hate it. In fact, I loved the first hour. It was funny, clever, and conceptually gorgeous. I adored the up-close look at how Barbies live their days out. I also deeply appreciated the diverse size and shapes of the Barbies. Yay team! Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling are just superb, and the rest of the cast is spectacular. I was thoroughly enjoying the film for a solid hour, and then it hit the skids. The plot folded in on itself and it all went to hell in a hand basket. There was a moment when I thought the ship had been righted. America Ferrara gives a speech that is brilliant, moving and spot on. It seems like the film just might rally…and then it completely loses itself. I have never seen a movie go so completely off the rails and not know what it's about…oh wait, no I have…White Noise…same thing. What do they have in common…Noah Baumbach. Leaving me to ask, does he not know how to write endings? Or did Mattel say, “You just can’t end it that way.”? And the result of the negotiation was a pile of poo? I am not sure. But something went horribly wrong. I think I would like to see an ending where Greta Gerwig wasn’t collaborating with anyone. I would have liked to have seen that. Bad, bad ending that was made worse by Nicki Manaj singing, “It’s Barbie, bitch!” throughout the credits. Oye! No thank you.

Oppenheimer C In Theaters

There is some wonderful cinematography, there are some beautiful acting performances, and the ending was all that it should have been. That is all I have to say that is nice about this film. I genuinely like Christopher Nolan and I have appreciated his work in the past, but he has stepped over the line with this one for me and I didn’t just dislike this, I was and am offended by it, on many levels. Let me count the ways.

  1. I was ASSAULTED by the sound of this movie. My chair was vibrating and on multiple occasions I considered leaving the theater because it was just too much. I had to sit there, gritting my teeth, and promising myself it would be over soon. This is too much. It is ABUSIVE. This is not good story telling. It is a crutch. “I am not sure if I can use my artistry to get you to feel what I want you to feel, so I am going to make your bones vibrate with bass notes,” is what this film screamed. No. No. Bad.

  2. Many people have complained that large portions of the dialogue in the film are not audible. Add me to the list. Nolan has defended this choice by clinging to the really lame excuse that he doesn’t believe in looping. He feels strongly in keeping the moment as it was filmed. Okay, look, Chris – your movies are too long, anyway. And if the dialogue wasn’t important enough for you to make an effort for us to hear it, maybe you should cut it. It’s just bad storytelling. Or if you don’t like looping, film better. Just a suggestion.

  3. I am so sick of watching historically based movies that take place in the 20th century and all we see on screen are white men. What the actual HELL? The exception here is women who are naked and hysterical and not able to cope without their white man. Pardon me while I throw up all over Christopher Nolan. Maybe he needs to watch the Barbie movie!

  4. Someone needs to FIRE Francis Pugh’s creative team. She is a brilliant actress whose role was reduced to almost solely bouncing naked on her costar’s lap. It was gratuitous. Notice her male costar only had to do suggested nudity. I can only imagine the role had more meat and less skin to it when she agreed to do the nude scenes – where was her team? Why didn’t they make sure that she was not left with a minor role that only exploited her? This is abuse of a talented young artist.

I wish that Christopher Nolan had more faith in himself as a storyteller. The real tragedy here is that he will likely get an Oscar nomination for this. I am quite certain all the white men LOVE it. But this is not the direction Nolan should be taking with his artistry.

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Aug 15, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I SO agree with you, especially the “Film better” suggestion to Nolan. If you don’t want to add/edit dialogue, record it right the first time!

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