So I usually take long flights to catch up on movies I didn’t have time to see in the theater. There was actually a bit less of that this time around since I had a lot of editing work to do both ways (I completely killed my laptop battery on the flight home) and then I actually managed to sleep some on the flight out (shock!). But, here are my thoughts on the few movies I saw. If a bit late.
I imagine there are technically spoilers for these. They’re also generally older movies so I’m a little less concerned, but there you go.
Rise of the Guardians
I kind of already expressed my opinion on this one, which was a resounding: meh. It’s a pretty movie, yes, but these days a movie needs a damn good excuse to not be pretty. The plot just wasn’t there for me. After I got over my delight at Hugh Jackman and Alec Baldwin being over the top as the Easter Bunny and Santa respectively, there just didn’t end up being a lot of there there. It was very much a kid’s movie, without enough added oomph to it to make it interesting to me as an adult. Now I’m sure, in the grand scheme of movies that adults are forced to watch by their children, it’s probably a superior offering. But since I don’t have kids making me watch bad, treacly movies, I can be picky.
The Tempest (2010)
I wanted to love this movie. I really, really, really wanted to love it. It’s The Tempest genderbent so that Prospero is a woman – Prospera. And there were certain parts I did really love. Every scene involving Helen Mirren as Prospera just had me breathless. That woman is a treasure, and the depth she gave to that character was beyond anything I’ve ever imagined. I also really liked Ben Whishaw as Ariel, and some of the visual effects trickery they did with him. But other than those two? Much of the cast left me unconvinced, I’m afraid, and the play was very liberally cut down to fit in a standard movie length. The cutting they did still spent too much time on the more comedic scenes with Caliban, and the way that was all played just didn’t grab me at all. (Particularly since I’d just seen Hamlet and perhaps my expectations were even higher than normal.) I also can’t say a lot of the visual effects in the movie felt like they added to it.
Oz the Great and Powerful
I expected to not give a single shit about this movie, and was shocked by giving a small fraction of one by the end. Mostly because James Franco. My dislike of this movie is woven into its very fabric, however. The entire plot hinges on there being a prophecy about how a powerful man will come save Oz. I’m not keen on prophecy as plot fuel to begin with, and considering this basically meant three very strong and interesting female characters spent the whole movie going on and on about how a man needed to save Oz, it’s a wonder I didn’t just implode on the plane. I really liked the three witches. I thought their interplay was fascinating. And then every time one of them brought up the stupid prophecy, I wanted to grind my teeth, because any one of them was shown over and over again to be far more competent than the Wizard. Save yourselves, ladies. For fuck’s sake.
This move was weird, and twisted, and darkly humorous. And Christopher Walken. If you like movies like Boondock Saints, you will like Seven Psychopaths. It hits those same places of dark, macabre hilarity, over and over again. It’s about dognapping and psychopaths and assassins and, oddly enough, the struggle of what you want to write not being the same as what you actually write or what people want. I loved it. I also can’t really say much more about it without seeing it again because it’s a very difficult movie to explain.
Seriously, why do people keep messing with Liam Neeson’s family? I just watched this to pass the time before landing, and I ended up really enjoying it, for much the same reason I really liked all of the Bourne movies (other than my shaky cam objections). While there is a lot of fighting and killing, there are also lovely scenes where it’s just Bryan using his brain. The ending kind of annoyed me, however, with Bryan’s wife being randomly dead but not really and apparently she forgets to breathe unless he touches her or something. I didn’t get it, it made no sense, and it was just kind of stupid.