Sep 2, 2013

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

Silver Linings Playbook – This movie is pretty good. Certainly the main two people, all the people really, do a very good job. It is hard to watch. Crazy people are hard to watch. And these people aren’t crazy crazy, but just enough to be super chaotic. It’s actually uncomfortable to listen to, at times, it kind of made it not fun to watch. But, I mean, they are just doing their jobs really well, so I can’t criticize that. The movie does have much too much of a bow on it, that’s kind of lame, but I guess it’s called silver linings playbook, not life is fucked playbook, so okay.

The Zen of Bennett – That’s kind of a weird one. It’s a documentary about Tony Bennett, the making of a new album. It’s not really that interesting. He’s an old man who likes to tell old man stories. Fortunately, he’s led a pretty cool life, so those stories are cool. But I think he’d tell the same number of stories with the same level of interest if he had been a baker his whole life. The movie isn’t very favorable toward him at times, which is weird since he made it. He comes off a stubborn old man in a lot of cases. Sometimes it’s funny, because no one likes John Mayer. Sometimes it just seems like he’s a crotchety old kook. If you really love him, I guess it’s worth seeing just to get some background. But otherwise there’s not much reason.

Mama – I guess people were pretty excited about this. I certainly like Guillermo Del Toro, but of course he just produced (or presented or whatever). It is creepy, I don’t know how many more times we need to see a lady crawling on all fours with her hair in her face. Yeah, the position was super creepy, but still, it’s not so different. I kind of like the plot, it’s a bit different in an kind of interesting way. The ending is pretty dumb. In the end it’s not actively bad like a lot of horror movies are, but it’s not extra either.

The Last Stand – Ha, pretty dumb. If you want to see a bunch of shooting and blood and a few Arnold “I’m so old” jokes, it’s a fine time. It’s nothing beyond that, but then no one expected it to be.

Promised Land – This is the Matt Damon one about fracking. It’s an okay movie, it’s trying to inform us about something they find very important via drama instead of a fact-laden documentary. In that effort, it’s fine, I already don’t like fracking, so I’m on board. What I found so interesting about this movie is how easily I, as a viewer, am manipulated. Matt Damon is clearly the bad guy, he walks into a town, manipulates the holy shit out of them, and gets them to sell their health and their lives and their land to a bunch of bad people. You can argue about how bad he really is – if he truly doesn’t think it’s evil, he’s just doing what he thinks is right, so fine. But the point is, he works for the bad guys, but he’s the protagonist. He’s the handsome leading man. He’s charming and nice. So… I like him. And when the hippy environmentalist shows up, he’s an effing jackass. Screw that guy! But I totally agree with him in real life. But screw him, he’s not the protagonist. This isn’t the anti-hero, this isn’t the charming rogue who works outside the law. This is a straight up bad guy doing bad things that aren’t movie magic, they are real life bad things. But I’m on his side because he’s the famous actor in the leading role. Super weird!

Destination Moon – This is an ooooooold scifi movie based on a Heinlein book. It’s by no means a good movie by modern standards. It’s goofily acted and cornily produced and the effects are all laughably out of date. But it is interesting to see people imagining going to the moon, 20 years before we went to the moon. Some things they were pretty smart about, some things were pretty silly. It’s kind of like a cool little time capsule to see what we thought the future was going to be like, 65 years ago.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation – You know what, this isn’t that bad. I didn’t like the first one, it was too corny and not enough good action. This one seems to have tipped that scale in the right direction. It’s still corny, but Channing Tatum dies right away, so that helps. And the action isn’t half bad. The ninjas-on-the-cliff scene that everyone saw in the trailers is neat (thought not as neat as it was built up to be). A lot of the other actioney moments are pretty decent. It’s by no means amazing, but given that I thought it would be intolerable, I was pretty happy.

Identity Thief – Meh. It’s funny enough. I don’t really like the comedies that go so extreme. I know it’s just a silly movie, but it takes me out of it once they are doing things that are just insane and make no sense and would never happen. And I don’t love Melissa McCarthy as much as everyone does. She’s kind of like Chris Farrell. Funny, but mostly just wacky and kind of slapsticky and waka-waka. Not really my kind of humor. So, there were some funny moments, for sure, but I didn’t think it was that good.

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