Sunday, August 10, 2014

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. The Grand Budapest Hotel - Wow. I am in complete shock by how much I disliked this movie. I was really looking forward to it, not just because of the good reviews but also because it came highly recommended to me by my best friend (and move partner). He even wanted to see it again. We have extremely similar tastes in movies, so I really had no doubt about my enjoyment of this movie. It's horrible. Boring, stupid, annoying and horrible. I hated Anderson's previous effort, Moonrise Kingdom, as well, but I honestly thought that was just a one-off in his otherwise enjoyable filmography. I didn't laugh at all, the actors - although all talented - were so over-the-top quirky; it is just mind-numbingly boring. I don't even want to talk about it anymore. Ugh.

2. Enemy - HOLY SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Is this the most unexpected ending to a film in the entire history of film? I certainly can't think of anything as weird and shocking. There are some moments in the film that reveal imagery that is linked to the ending - and the poster is certainly relevant, but it's still an absolute shock. After it ended, I immediately looked up several theories about the ending and I am in awe of its audacity. Jose Saramago is one of my favorite current authors (Blindness completely wrecked me), the novel that this movie is based on (The Double), has been on my reading list for a few years. I read that the book does not have any reference to the shocking imagery in the film (sorry, I'm being vague - there is no way I would ruin that kind of ending for anyone). Aside from the conclusion, I enjoyed the film immensely. The story is really interesting, Gyllenhaal is captivating and the pace builds quickly into a thrilling conclusion.

3. Lone Survivor - I wasn't incredibly enthused to see this movie, but I do like the cast - Marky Mark, Ben Foster, Taylor Kitsch and Eric Bana (and don't forget about Turtle!!! I've never seen him in anything other than Entourage, so that was weird.). It's hard to stay captivated by a story that is built around a group of men, surrounded by terrorists in enemy land, when you already know only one of them survives (and obviously it's going to be the most popular actor of the bunch).  I thought the movie was more about this "lone survivor", as in the after effects of him witnessing the death of his friends - which would have been a much stronger story in my opinion. Instead, the story was fairly cliche, and obviously predictably bloody. I'm not saying that a movie can't be made out of an already well-known story and still be interesting - this is just one that didn't work. There is just no tension, no memorable moments, nothing of interest. I never felt a connection to any of the characters, even the one that survives. Overall, it's just okay.

4. Winter's Tale - I admire this movie for what it is - a fantasy, love story. It makes no apologies for being absolutely bizarre and illogical, so as an audience member, I feel like it would be a disservice to pick it apart for basic plot points that make no sense (although that is my first instinct). So, I'm just going to ignore the fantasy part of it. *slight spoilers ahead - but it's in the trailer* The love story is really, really stupid. The girl is like 16 (okay 21, but still....Colin Farrell is how old? cliche) and she is terminally ill and a virgin. She has sex with Colin Farrell and dies (I don't know....seems like a pretty good way to go to me). The whole thing is very sappy, and ridiculous. Maybe if it was a stronger actress, I would root for the romance more - but this girl is terribly boring. The rest of the movie is kind of hard to follow - because it's stupid (a man you knew 60+ years ago suddenly appears in front of you, unchanged, and you offer him tea? Um....what?), but the best part is Will Smith! I was not expecting that at all. Personally, I would have liked the movie more if it stepped back into reality at some point, but I appreciate that the filmmakers went full fantasy. I have to respect the vision; it's just not for me.

5. Noah - I hold a special place in my heart for Darren Aronofsky. Requiem for a Dream is in my top 10 favorite movies of all time - and, shockingly, I've only seen it once. I don't think I could possibly manage to watch it again. It shook me to my core, like no other film had at that time and no other film has since. I've enjoyed all of Aronofsky's following films; The Fountain is a masterpiece. I was disappointed when I heard he was taking on Noah, because that meant I would have to sit through it, out of respect. I am not a Bible story kind of person. As an Atheist, I really have no interest. If it was treated as the "mythology" or "fable" that it is, then maybe it would hold my interest - but the fact that people take this story as "fact" and "truth" makes me physically ill. Luckily, Aronofsky treated the source material like any other piece of literature and adapted it to tell the story that he wanted to tell. I can appreciate that. I liked that it's dark and twisted, and that it doesn't shy away from the true evil that can form when one loses their humanity in favor of the "word of God".  I'm not a big fan of Russell Crowe; I don't dislike him, but I've never seen him give anything above average. I've never seen Emma Watson in anything (aside from the painful time I tried to sit through a Harry Potter movie), I'm not convinced that she is anything above average either. She does do a great "ugly, cry face" very well (and that has worked wonders for some actresses. *cough* Claire Danes). There are some really beautiful moments in Noah that are captivating and images that are sweepingly epic. I loved the sequence after the "let me tell you a story" bit (right after the flood). It's not a movie that made any real impact in my mind, but it's certainly interesting.

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