Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Film Report

In which I provide short reviews of the films I've seen recently. Four of these films I caught on my flights to and from London.

Jack Reacher. Airplane movie. You know, there was quite a bit to like in this film, especially the pace, which felt closer to a 1970s crime thriller than something from today's attention deficit disorder cinema. But the occasionally cheesy dialogue and Tom Cruise's vanity acting really dragged this down.

Life of Pi. Airplane. I liked this a lot of more than I thought I would. An imaginative, original piece of work. When all is said and done, Ang Lee is going to have had one of the most diverse careers ever.

Side Effects. Airplane. A thriller with one idea, and while I like Steven Soderbergh's icy direction, this was just so-so.

The Great Gatsby. At a cool theater in Cambridge, UK. Went in with low expectations. It was okay. Some nice sequences but it hits you over the head with the symbolism. How many times do we need to see that goddamn green light?

Brave. On Demand. It had some story problems, especially with the big mid-film twist, but I loved how original this princess story was, how different. And the animation, especially Merida's gorgeous hair (her entire character design, really) was impressive.

Shadow Dancer. On Demand. I'm biased, of course, because director James Marsh wants to make a film of my book, but this slow-burn IRA thriller with Andrea Riseborough and Clive Owen is excellent. Haunting, surprising, and with terrific performances.

Star Trek Into Darkness. Somerville Theater. Enjoyed it, right up until the final twenty minutes when (spoiler alert), it starts to replicate Wrath of Khan, down to an ill-advised shout-out (literally) from Spock. It was good popcorn fun up until that point, and Benedict Cumberbatch was incredible.

The Impossible. Airplane. A very moving film about the Indonesian tsunami. And yeah, it focuses on a pretty white family that survives, but it's well told, well acted, and Naomi Watts, as always, is excellent.

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