[Movie] 4 movies I saw on the plane 6

I’m back from the UK. This means I’m unfortunately in Houston again. The less said in regards to how I feel about that situation, the better. (It’s been nice to see my friends at work, though! And do some geology! So that’s positive.)

Anyway, quick comments on the four movies I saw on the flights to and from the UK.

Cuban Fury

I’d been wanting to see this one for a while, because it involves Nick Frost, and I love him to pieces. It was cute, and funny, and there was a lot of very enthusiastic salsa dancing in it, which just made me look forward to when I can start dancing again. It had some pretty formulaic rom-com boy gets the girl at the end tropes that I really could have lived without, including Julia (Rashida Jones) being incredibly dense about both a mix tape and the fact that Drew (Chris O’Dowd) was intensely gross and creepy. I think the only thing that really bothered me about the movie was Chris O’Dowd playing a note perfect gross, creepy, sexist dude and everyone just sort of… turning a blind eye to everything he did and taking it. Probably because it was so uncomfortably reminiscent of real life.

Divergent

This movie wants to be The Hunger Games so desperately that it gets kind of embarrassing to watch, really. It runs into the same dystopia problem as The Maze Runner, in that there’s a kind of fun concept that completely falls apart when you have to even superficially explore why in the hell anyone would have thought it was a good idea to run a society like that in the first place. At least The Hunger Games manages to get past that superficial level of thought on the politics and sociology, which is necessary because the story is all about political machinations. Unfortunately for Divergent, the fun concept runs aground on Kate Winslet trying desperately to deliver a believable villain speech that boils down to “we have to kill you because reasons, okay?” When it’s not trying to clumsily justify why the super special “divergents” are dangerous to the poorly constructed society, it’s a fun enough movie.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Starring Chris Pine’s intense blue eyes and Kenneth Branagh’s embarrassing attempt at a Russian accent. There’s a kind of exciting scene wherein Chris Pine kills someone in a bathroom. But it probably says a lot about where this movie fell on my personal spy-fy foodchain that I lost interest completely after the bathroom murder and decided I’d rather just write porn on my airbook instead.

A Long Way Down

I decided to watch this movie just because I recalled it being mentioned in Empire. Glad that I did. For a movie that’s ultimately about suicide, it’s incredibly funny, and with the awkward sort of humor that I tend to love. Brosnan’s character gets a little hammy at times, I thought, but the others were complex and interesting and incredibly well played. I cried twice as well, and not for the reasons the summary would make you expect. I think the biggest winner of the cast was Toni Collette, who played Maureen. She’s the least outwardly neurotic of all of the characters, but I think her story had the most emotional meat to it, which was well-served by the quiet way she played the character. Boy, when Maureen smiles, you can really feel it, because of that quiet reserve she has most of the time. I definitely recommend this movie.

6 thoughts on “[Movie] 4 movies I saw on the plane

  1. Reply Sin Aug 20,2014 19:39

    I will say that Divergent’s social structure and whatnot actually makes sense in the books… when you get to the third book and they finally tell you what’s really going on and you get a larger world view.

    And yet, not even evil Kate Winslett could save the movie. I really liked the casting. The screenplay translation of the book was absolute shit AND they changed the ending to make it suck even more. And they’re making Insurgent, with amazing cast additions, but the screenplay will probably be absolute shit. :(

    • Reply Rachael Aug 20,2014 19:57

      Okay, I was wondering if the books were worth reading. I’ll check them out!

      • Reply Sin Aug 21,2014 18:50

        They’re mostly brain candy until you get to the third book. Allegiant is a very, very different book from the tone of the first two. The transition is a bit rough, but understandable when you go from silly Chicago view to World view. Also, I am very happy the ending of the series is what it is. If it had ended any other way, I’d have thrown the book across the room.

        Fair warning that Tris ends up coming across very Mary Sue-ish after a while, but it resolves itself.

  2. Reply JohnD Aug 21,2014 08:09

    Glad I’m not the only person who uses those transoceanic flights to catch up on my movie watching! (What are we supposed to do? Talk to people?!?) 8-)

    The movie arguments for why they had to kill the divergents made sense (for a movie argument); the divergents couldn’t be controlled and since the whole plot was about controlling people, divergents must die. For a movie, that’s actually a cogent argument.

    My problem is that the social structure is simply stupid. You pick which group you’ll be in during the period of maximum stupidity and minimum intelligence (i.e., as a teenager) and then you are stuck with it for the rest of your life? (Are they sure they aren’t talking about unprotected sex and babies?) If you don’t fit in with your group, you are tossed out and have no protection even though this is likely to happen to most of the people? The group with the least ability to process complex information is in charge? The group that controls the food supply has no say in running the city? The group with the best ability to process complex information tries a coup that Emperor Norton would laugh at? Right. And Man of Steel was a nuanced reinterpretation of the Superman mythos.

    For an idea of how this sort of thing should be handled, I just point people to House of Stairs by William Sleator. It has most of the same tropes, only handled with something approaching attention and intelligence.

    • Reply Rachael Aug 21,2014 23:34

      Kind of makes me think of the “What is hard SF?” panel at Detcon, which made me want to gnaw on things for a lot of reasons anyway. But they kept going on and on about hard scifi being about physics and science and if those are right that’s all that matters and I wanted to scream oh is that why all the future societies are total bullshit, because sociology isn’t worth your time?

      Argh.

      Not that Divergent is anything even approaching hard SF, but still. People seem to forget that there’s got to be some kind of decent reason for why things are the way they are, particularly if the point is that SOCIETY WAS REBUILT TO BE LIKE THAT. The reasoning was terrible.

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