Jul 28, 2013

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

Star Trek 2 – Second verse, same as the first. Good scifi action movie. Not a Star Trek movie. Bright lights, beautiful effects, running, jumping, climbing trees. But there’s no heart to it. Well, there is, but it’s all stolen. Can’t say anything spoilerey, but everything truly good and startrekey about the movie was stolen (if reversed). The rest was just fun action. And it was fun, and if it was Space Voyage, I would have reported a good, generic time. It’s a bit of a bummer that it has to be star trek. All that being said, I think it’s better than the first one. I was looking back at my comments there, I had forgotten how insultingly bad the jokes were in the first one. This one mostly did better than that. However it also wasn’t as good as the first one at it’s best (read: simon pegg). So, meh, fun action movie, that’s all, I guess. Also: Kronos to Earth in 5.6 seconds flat? Hand delivery of items you can instantly teleport across the galaxy? You suck at your job.

Jack Reacher – This was not at all what I thought. I expected an actioney, mission impossible, beat em up, kind of movie. It’s really more of a thriller, a murder mystery. And a pretty decent one at that. It’s not revolutionary or anything. But it sets up a good story, Cruise is a decent hero, things play out in an interesting way – with changes, but not with stupid twists for the sake of it. Pretty decent.

Man of Steel – Pretty good. Not great, not worth getting excited over, but good enough. Superman is and always has been a tough sell. It’s hard to make superman interesting, you have to gimp him, or make someone as powerful, or tie up lois lane. The really cool Superman stories do something different, though I’m no superman scholar, so maybe I’m wrong. This doesn’t do anything great with him, plot wise. It tries to focus on his humanity, which is a decent tactic. I like how it deals with history, it doesn’t front-load all the backstory. The super fights are pretty great. A little bit of the gumby effect when the CG actors are fighting each other, but for the most part pretty cool and not something we’ve seen before. The movie is too long by a mile. The krypton stuff is completely unnecessary (unless it’s a big shoutout to comic book fans, I wouldn’t know), there’s one too many fights, and you could trim 20 minutes just by some aggressive editing. It’s missing some charm, I would say, it’s a lot of action without enough heart. But that’s partially due to superman’s alien-ness, I guess. Maybe the next movie will have more. It’s good enough, in the end, better than star trek 2.

Flight – Yeesh, don’t watch this one before a plane trip. It’s a pretty good movie. It’s basically a pilot who is very good, but also a complete fuck up. That doesn’t sound super interesting, and at times it isn’t, but Denzel Washington is a pretty convincing fuck up. Pretty good.

Hansel & Gretel – Yikes. I didn’t expect this to be good, but yikes. There’s really nothing to recommend about this. You’d at least think there’s some cool fights or effects, but even those are lame. Everything else (story, acting) aren’t good. Just totally unnecessary. Also, pro tip: if you don’t insist on putting your gun on your shoulder like a bad ass every second, you might have more time to aim and actually hit something.

Bedknobs & Broomsticks – Ha, pretty cute. The idea is a woman in WWII England enrolls in Witch Correspondence College. Just that concept is awesomely silly. Past that it’s kind of a mary poppins kind of movie: some singing, a nice old lady, some kids, some dancing, some animation. Fun, nice music, really cute.

Argo – This is a pretty good movie. It’s the one about the CIA extraction of americans out of Iran after the revolution. Pretty crazy story that it’s true. Of course, turns out things didn’t happen quite so dramatically in-the-nick-of-time in real life, big surprise. I wish movies would be okay with what really happened. But it’s pretty good otherwise.

Taken 2 – Well, that wasn’t really necessary. It’s not bad or anything, just not needed. There was something super cool about seeing Liam Neeson being all bad ass. But the second time it just feels normal. Without the coolness, it’s just a kind of run of the mill action movie. A couple cool tricks or scenes, but normal otherwise.

Skyfall – This too is more of the same. I guess it gets a pass because that’s what all the Bond movies are. Different bad guy, different setting, different girl, but same general attitude (at least for the past 3). Still entertaining to watch though.

Lincoln – Jeez is that good. I didn’t expect it to be that good. I know everyone said it was good, and I loved the Goodwin book, but it seemed like they could do only so much in 2 hours. But wow did Daniel Day-Lewis show me otherwise. Everyone else is good, setting is good, directing is good, but it’s all about him. He nails that quiet power that Lincoln was supposed to be known for. It was really really impressive.

Warm Bodies – This didn’t look good. Then everyone acted like it was good? But no, it’s not very good. It was supposed to be funny and self-aware, so as not to be another undead romance (that’s actually a thing now? wow). It is kind of self-aware, but it’s still stuck in the trappings of the genre. And it’s not all that funny. I’m not saying it was twilight, not that I can compare without having seen it, but it wasn’t anything particularly good either.

Temple Grandin – This was a pretty amazing story, which I had never heard before. A woman with autism gets interested in cattle management and makes some pretty big changes in the industry. The movie is about how she manages her life with autism, and also how it gave her a perspective into animals that guided her work. The movie felt a bit forced to me, all the aha moments were pretty blunt, I can’t imagine they were really that way. But I get it, they had to make a movie. Claire Danes does a good job, I guess, it’s hard to distinguish between doing an impression and acting when I don’t know the original person at all. The animals stuff is a bit tough, makes me guilty for not being vegan. But it’s a good movie.

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