Monday, November 16, 2015

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. San Andreas - I love a good ol' natural disaster movie. In the 90s, we had so many good ones - Twister, Armageddon, Deep Impact, Volcano, Dante's Peak (ok..."good" is a relative term). If you enjoyed those movies, then I think you will enjoy San Andreas. It follows the exact same formula, has a fantastically cheesy cast, and spectacular scenes of destruction. I'm not a big fan of The Rock; the only film I found him bearable in was Pain & Gain. I didn't mind him in this, but probably because I really, really like both Carla Gugino and Alexandra Daddario. I've loved Carla Gugino since I was 12 from Son in Law (I have no idea why, but I loved that movie). She was (and still is) one of the most beautiful women in the world. It's a little ridiculous that Daddario is playing her daughter, they are only 15 years apart, but they do sort of look alike. Daddario is on my list of up-and-coming actresses, but right now she has been coasting on her looks too much (I *knew* that conservative buttoned up top was coming off at some point in this movie, and OH LOOK, yup, right before she gets really, really wet). I'm not complaining (she's STUNNING), but I also see a shimmer of talent and I hope she gets the chance to let that shine, as well. She carried her scenes, because the brothers that she shares her scenes with are awful. The one guy (I refuse to learn his name) has a really terrible British accent. The accent isn't even necessary - just because he's a tourist doesn't mean he has to be from The U.K.. He could have just been from small town America (I don't even know if he's American, but he's certainly not British). All of their scenes were pretty repetitive with her just shouting "trust me, my dad will save us", but really she should have yelled "he's the fucking Rock". The earthquake premise is definitely terrifying. I was born in California and spent every summer there until I was 19, so I experienced a few. The one I remember the most is when I was 10, and I was on an airplane (by myself) when it hit. They wouldn't let the plane land, and when they finally did, everything was chaos. It definitely felt like the end of the world to me. I know that a gigantic quake along the San Andreas Fault line is expected in our lifetime, so the movie felt like a possibility. I don't know if it's possible for it to be felt on the East Coast, but you know, dramatic effect and all that. Tsunamis are natural effects of earthquakes, so it seemed a little dumb that they didn't expect one to happen. And to be clear Tsunamis are the scariest of all natural disasters.

2. Southpaw - This movie is exactly what I was expecting. Led by an outstanding performance from Jake Gyllenhaal, it's a predictable comeback story of a boxer who lost everything. I was entertained, for the most part, but I just feel like it's the same story that I've seen so many times before. *spoilers ahead* I knew the wife was going to die (I read it somewhere; someone was complaining that McAdam's role was cut short and I say thank fuck for that because she's awful in this - her dying scene "I'm cold". Jake had to be embarrassed for her.). I figured it would be an accident, though, like a car accident, not that she got shot by a rival boxer's gang. It added some intensity to the last boxing scene, but realistically it's a little too sensationalized, even for boxing. I'm not big on the sport, itself, considering that I am anti-violence, I don't find it appealing to watch people beat the shit out of each other. I watch violent movies (and enjoy them), but hopefully I don't have to remind you that movies aren't real. I understand, though, how someone who has lived a rough life, can use boxing as a form of therapy, and an outlet for their anger and grief. So, it's not something that I think shouldn't exist, I just don't want to see it. Does that make sense? Anyway, I think this movie is worth watching for Gyllenhaal's performance alone. It's my favorite performance of the year, so far.

3. Inside Out - It's official, I'm dead inside. I really don't want to shit on a movie that is this universally praised (which is why I usually keep my mouth shut when people talk about the Toy Story movies), so I will just focus on the main thing that bothered me, which is the message that it is presenting. It's incredibly confused, and as someone who suffers from depression, it is dangerous. Now, to me, this movie is about the emotion that is "sadness" NOT depression. Yet, every review that I read is about how this movie tackles depression. At first, I would agree with reviewers, the movie is about the chemicals in your brain, and about what happens when those chemicals suddenly stop working correctly (chaos reigns). However, the "lesson" is that sadness is a basic, normal part of a healthy brain and sometimes we need to let it in the driver's seat. That is, indeed, a great message. This little girl has plenty to be sad about, moving away from her friends, the stress of pleasing her parents, etc., so the message is that sadness is not a chemical imbalance; it's normal. So, if this movie "spoke" to you, then good news for you, you probably don't suffer from depression. Depression hits for no reason (sure, it is sometimes sparked by a life-changing event), and is not cured by letting yourself feel sadness. In fact, you feel nothing. I guess, I'm not as upset about the actual movie, as I am by how people interpreted it. I don't see how anyone that suffers from depression could disagree with me; if depression could be cured with some empathy and a hug, well, wouldn't that just be delightful? Maybe my own depression prevents me from feeling anything for this movie, but I did recently bawl hysterically during an episode of America's Next Top Model, so maybe I'm not totally dead inside. Also, I have a hard time connecting to the whole "core memory" aspect because I'm pretty sure if I accessed any of those I would want to slit my wrists (let's be real, not everyone has great memories of their childhood). On a less emotional note, there are a few moments of genius - like when "facts" and "opinions" are thrown in the same box, the imaginary boyfriend "I live in Canada", and the tween boys brain screaming "Girl! Girl! AAAAAH!" at the end made me laugh harder than I've laughed in a while.

4. Terminator Genisys - Sadly, as horrible as this movie is, there has been worse this year. It's the 4th worst movie so far this year. That's the nicest thing I can say about it. It didn't have to be so bad. The Terminator movies have never been anything but cheesy fun (aside from Terminator 2, which is an awesome movie). The worst part is Jai Courtney (obviously). I don't understand how he is still given parts after the atrocity of that Die Hard movie. And I just found out he's in the Suicide Squad movie! Way to ruin EVERYTHING, guys. He is so bland and boring and just plain terrible. The second worst part is Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor. Connor is a legendary kick-ass character, so it's tough to fill Linda Hamilton's shoes, but Clarke doesn't even come close. She's a beautiful woman, but she has no presence. Sorry, I don't really care for her on Game of Thrones, either, but I do like her character. The third worst part of the movie is that I am *pretty sure* this plot has happened before...right?!? Or am I crazy? It's been a long time since I've seen any of the Terminator movies, but I felt like I was watching a reboot instead of a sequel. Maybe that was the intent? I don't know. At least J.K. Simmons made me laugh a few times ("Goddamn time traveling robots!").

5. Magic Mike XXL - Three things I read about this movie: 1. It's better than the first. 2. The Joe Manganiello scene is one of the best of the year. 3. It's about female empowerment. This is all BULLSHIT. 1. I didn't hate the first one, but there was definitely room for improvement and this movie does not do it. I was completely bored to death for most of it. I thought the first one was a bit cheesy (terrible dialogue), but it had a good story. This one has no story. It's just a group of guys traveling to a stripper convention and um...finding themselves? I guess? 2. If a guy walked into my place of work and started sexually dancing to The Backstreet Boys like that, I would call the cops. I think any sane woman would. And I don't find him sexy at all (I would still call the cops, even if I did find him sexy). I actually don't think any of them are sexy. I love Channing Tatum because I think he's funny and he is an extremely talented dancer. And I think Matt Bomer is very pretty, but sexy? Nope. You know why? None of them have any personality in this movie. 3. Female empowerment? WHAT? Where? Women paying men to give them compliments and pretend like they are attracted to them? The scene where this group of men tell women to "own it" (referring to their sexual desires)? Sorry, but that's just another case of the male savior syndrome. It's men making women feel good about themselves. WE DON'T NEED THIS. This movie is just perpetuating the idea that we do, and it's fucking depressing. Ok, now that I got that out, there are some things I liked about this movie (when I wasn't bored to death). Amber Heard is a Goddess. For real. I love her reaction to the dance at the end, and I love that you could tell it was a genuine reaction (she spoke about how Tatum didn't tell her the intensity of the dance). I was also so excited by Donald Glover, as a performer because Childish Gambino's Camp album is my favorite modern rap album. I was prepared for an awesome performance, but it fell so flat. Such a disappointment, but I still love him. The highlight of the movie was the final performance. All of them did their own thing (you know, because they found themselves...I guess?), and it was all very entertaining.