Over the course of a week I watch a lot movies and neglect my responsibilities and personal hygiene, all for your benefit. Here is the list of movies I have seen this past week. Try to keep up:
Sunshine - This syfy was was definitely more fy than sy. I am not a billion percent sure what I was expecting when I sat down to watch a movie about a trip to bomb the Sun, but looking back, I probably got what I should have expected. In a movie like this, you have to establish a reality where certain things are possible. If you create a world where humans can fly, and then I see a human fly, then I am OK. Sunshine never did this for me. They had a situation where I was on board with going to the Sun (I stretched a lot to get there, but I got there) because they seemed to set up that we had the technology to do this. The ship was based on the science of the movie. Fine. Then they started just doing stuff. Not cool, and a sure way to take me out of the movie (i.e. I don’t care how much tin foil you wrap yourself in, you will never be able to line up two spaceships and propel someone 50 meters through the vacuum of space with its 2.7 Kelvin temperature [molecular friggin motion stops at 0 Kelvin!], let alone the pressure difference, without a spacesuit, from one ship to the other [and even if I grant you that you could, the success rate of this maneuver would be nowhere near 67%]. Yes it’s a movie. I don’t care. You still can’t do it. You can’t.) I just wasn’t able to get into it. Danny Boyle did a very nice job on the visuals and the style of the movie was nice, but overall I never got into the film. It was just too unbelievable for me, and that’s before I even get into the lack of story and character development…
The Cove - OK, if after watching this documentary you don’t want to fly to Taiji, Japan and yell, “hey, you, with the dolphin axe, what the crap are you doing?!” (Except you’d probably have to do it in Japanese because I am like 90% sure English is not their native language. But I guess if you speak loudly enough English is understood everywhere. It’s like a universal language, like math, except it won’t get you beat up in high school for knowing it.) then you are a robot that doesn’t have enough RAM to feel emotions. The film calls into serious question the morality of a person that can treat another living thing with such disregard. The film centers on Ric O’Barry, the man responsible for the training the dolphins for the hit show Flipper. But now he is a changed man and he is hell bent on changing us. (At one point Ric says, he spent 10 years building up the dolphin industry and has spent the next 30 trying to bring it down.) A powerful movie, a suspenseful movie, a movie that will make you reflect, not just on the treatment of these majestic beings, but on how you value life as a whole and the power we each possess to make a change when we see an injustice. Please see this movie. It may be tough to stomach at times, but it should to be seen.
Hollywoodland – It is like you are walking down the street and someone comes up to you and says, “hey you look like Brad Pitt,” so you are thinking, nice, he is a good looking guy, I’ll take it. But then that person continues on and says, “like an overweight, balding Brad Pitt with bad teeth and the smell of swiss cheese faintly emanating from them.” Renders your sails windless a bit doesn’t it? That is what I am going to mean when I say this movie reminded me of L.A. Confidential. Hollywoodland was like a bad L.A. Confidential. The story was there, it had a good cast that each contributed nice performances, but in the end, I was left very unsatisfied and mostly wondering what the old man in the cut off jeans was doing lifting barbells by the pool. Not a good sign. The movie had its moments, but it was predictable (which is weird because the true life story isn’t) a little cliche (I will be honest, I can get over cliche scripts if the film is giving me something else: a powerful character study, inventive storytelling, something interesting that I can grab ahold of, but Allen Coulter didn’t give me much to hold onto.) and overall a miss for me. At the end of the day, if you are looking for a good Hollywood crime noir, pick up L.A. Confidential.
Heathers – It was initially a tickle hard to get into this movie. You had a classic 80′s score, shoulder pads you could launch missiles off of and Christian Slater doing his best Jack Nicholson impression. That sounds like a recipe for disaster. Throw in a director who, it seems, wasn’t able to decide if he wanted to go whole hog 80′s teen or dark comedy (maybe, more accurately, he was pitting his desire to do an all out dark comedy, with the studios idea that a teen movie would be more profitable), so he attempted to merge the two and you have a bad movie, right? Hold your horses buddy. Not quite. While there were distracting portions of the movie, the good parts were real(ly) good. When it hit its stride, it was a great movie. Sufficiently dark for a comedic movie about the struggles of high school and death/suicide, I found myself getting into it. Laughing at images that, in other contexts might make you cringe. Overall it was too inconsistent to be great, but it was a good film. A step in the right direction for a pop 80′s movie. I kept getting a Lynchian vibe in some scenes and wondered to myself what he would have done with a script like this (or Kubrick, who the film was originally written for). I would see this movie, if, for nothing else, the last image of the film. That was definitely worth it.
The White Ribbon – OK, technically not a movie from my queue, but that’s why it is a bonus. This was my first Michael Haneke movie and it won’t be my last. Placing you square into a town where, if you we just to hear someone describe it, it would sound Leave It to Beaver, but 5 minutes in, you realize something is not just off, it’s possible it was never screwed on to begin with. Posing more question and motives than actual answers, Haneke delivers an unsettling tale of a town where the adults are entrenched in an old world patriarchal abusive society, but look like dandy lions next to the children that are running amok. Toss in some good old distrust and skepticism of those around you, and you have movie where the only thing protecting you from the ugly truth of these nefarious deed is a thin closed door Haneke masterfully hides his camera behind. See it, absorb it, let it wash over you in an unsettling and powerful way.