Sunday, December 20, 2015

3 Thoughts on Secret in Their Eyes

1. The story - First, the answer is no, I have not seen the original. It's been on my list to watch, and I just moved it up to the top because I'm interested to see how it differs (other than the gender swap). I rarely would ever watch a movie that is a remake without watching the original first, but this was the only movie that both my mom and I wanted to see. Oddly, as I started watching it, I remembered that I already knew the story. I read an article about the original, and when it mentions a surprise twist, I couldn't help myself and read what it was. I didn't make the connection until about 1/2 through watching this movie, but luckily, it didn't really ruin it for me. I think that's what makes a great story - when even knowing the twist, it's still interesting. And, this, is a great revenge story.

2. The "secret" - *MAJOR spoilers, obviously* So, the part that I remembered from reading that article is that the mother finds her revenge rather quickly, but can't admit to it (because she would go to prison), so she continues in the "search" to find her daughter's murderer. Think about that. How brilliant is that story? And, it hasn't really been explored before. We've seen revenge stories, but it usually ends at the revenge, but what happens after? We assume, they either go to prison, or they get away with it. But, the psychology behind "they get away with it" and can't tell anyone is really, really interesting. I wish the movie focused on this aspect more, but instead it focuses more on her partner still convinced that he will find the guy. It actually ruins the movie to tell such a strong female-driven story of revenge, through a male perspective. It become more his story; his obsession to get revenge for his partner; his need to be the hero (which is interesting, but not as interesting). Also, there is actually another twist that I didn't know about, which in case you're still reading, I won't spoil for you. It's really great, though.

3. The aftermath - After letting the movie sink in for a few weeks, I'm surprised by the fact that even with such a strong story and strong actors, it's a forgettable movie. My mother kept reminding me of the movie An Eye for an Eye, with Sally Field, and about how that movie really effected her as a mother. I remember that movie so clearly, and I don't see how this one could compare to that impact. Perhaps it was because An Eye for an Eye was more gruesome and displayed the violent manner of the daughter's death more prominently, or perhaps it reveled in the simplicity of the vengeance theme. I don't really know. However, for a movie to have an impact, it needs to be memorable, and Secret in Their Eyes fails at this. The cast gives their all, but I think there is something lacking in the way the story is told. And the chemistry between Chiwetel Ejiofor and Nicole Kidman is non-existent (and, arguably, unnecessary?).

Monday, December 7, 2015

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. Paper Towns - I didn't have the highest of hopes for this movie, but I really enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars way more than I was expecting to. It's a movie that stayed with me and has actually helped me overcome a little of my depression (when I'm at my worst, I remind myself that this is in fact NOT my "great and terrible 10" and convince myself that I can survive). This movie, based on the novel by the same author, did not have the same impact. It's mostly forgettable. I was interested to see Cara Delevingne act, since I've heard her name over and over again all year long. I do not understand the fuss. I don't know a nice way of saying this, but she seems incredibly average. She doesn't really fit the part of an "unattainable dream girl". Instead, she just seems like a bitch. The movie gets infinitely better when she leaves, but it's still mediocre, at best. The only part of the movie that I appreciate is the relationship between the 3 boys, because it seems very true to life - they are like the guys in Superbad, but just incredibly boring. Like, you know how the guys in Superbad are supposed to be the dorky outcasts, but of course, the audience wants to hang out with them? This is the opposite. These guys are actually dorky outcasts. So, while I appreciate the "trueness" of it, they are also boring as fuck, so do I really want to watch a movie about them? The answer is a resounding "no". I also feel like the DVD menu is a spoiler, because they are trying to figure out where she went, but the map on the menu is of Upstate NY. ASSHATS.

2. She's Funny That Way - This probably wouldn't have been as painful, if it didn't feature the worst accent of all time predominately through the whole movie. I almost had to turn it off. I already didn't think too highly of Imogen Poots, but man, this movie really made me hate her. Sure, some people from Brooklyn have really thick accents, but it's increasingly rare these days. Plus, I feel like it's better for actors to give hints of an accent, that way they don't sound as ridiculous as she does here. There are other things that bothered me about this movie, too. Like, the main guy, a clear misogynist, defines himself as "sort of a feminist", the "native" New Yorker saying the words "in a New York minute", and the use of a horse-drawn carriage (the people who use those in a city environment are the worst kinds of people - right behind murderers and rapists). I sort of stopped paying attention about 25 minutes in, because it was all just too horrendous, but my attentiveness perked anytime Kathryn Hahn appeared. Sadly, even she couldn't save this movie. It's one of the worst of the year, in my opinion.

3. Tomorrowland - Surprisingly, this movie will not be on my worst list (I've seen it on many others already). I actually really liked it. It's no surprise, considering my love for Damon Lindelof. I am so baffled as to why people shit on him so ferociously (other than apparently not being able to write characters with peripheral vision. Again???Really?? RUN SIDEWAYS FOR FUCK'S SAKE). He has such an imagination; he has more ideas in his pinky finger than most people will have in their entire lifetime. Partnered with Brad Bird, this movie is just one big idea and I think it's beautiful. I admit, I got a little bored in the middle, and I started to lose track of the plot, but it picks up again, and has a wonderful ending. I like that the main character is an optimist (not someone I typically relate to), but I felt like her positivity is inspiring. Instead of just stating all of the problems with the world, she asks "ok, what are we going to do about it?". I'm very much in a complacent process of giving up on this world (it's already turned to shit, nothing I do will change that), but this movie is about finding the ones who haven't given up. And I for one, sure hope they are out there.

4. No Escape - I think everyone knows this movie as "the one where Owen Wilson throws his daughter off the roof". It's really the only thing I knew about this movie (and it is a pretty gasp-worthy moment, that probably shouldn't have been revealed in the trailer, but whatever.). Watching a movie like this is definitely hard, with all that's going on in the world. A political uprising where a large group of people shoot to kill anyone in their path, is incredibly terrifying, and I'm not sure it's what the world needs to see right now. Other than the subject matter, I would say that it's an incredibly watchable movie. It moves really quickly, it's intense, and *spoiler* you know that everything is going to be okay in the end (I mean, really, if you didn't figure out that Brosnan's sole purpose in the film is to be the hero, then I don't think you understand how movies work). The only part that I really disliked was the part where they make the little girl hold the gun. It's so stupid and melodramatic. They would have just killed them instantly, like they did with every single other person in the movie. The saddest part of the whole thing is that this is a solid 3 star movie, nothing more, and yet it almost made my Top 10 of the year list, because this year has been the shittiest (and I'm not one to insist this every year, like some critics, but seriously, 3 star movies should not come close to my Top 10 list).

5. The Gift - I was actually really invested in this movie, because I was expecting an incredible twist. The movie seemed so mediocre, but so many people insisted that it was more, and I foolishly believed them. It's really terrible. And SURPRISE....there is no twist. The structure of the story just reveals a little more with every scene - that's called a plot. FYI: A twist is when you are led to believe one thing, and then something completely different happens. We are never led to believe that her husband is a nice guy - he's set up as an asshole from the first minute of the movie. We are never led to believe that the "creep" is anything other than a creep. We just find out why he is a creep (because the husband is an asshole). THAT'S THE WHOLE MOVIE. I didn't realize that this movie was written and directed by Joel Edgerton, and, as his first feature film, it's not a bad debut. I didn't like it, but I can admit that it's well-made and intriguing. It's just a gigantic let down if you were expecting to be blown away by a twist.