Friday, June 21, 2013

capsule reviews

Have inexplicably seen a lot of movies lately.  Perhaps not so inexplicably, really: finally there was something that we wanted to see.  Generally we manage to go to a matinee (at home, the first show of the day is only $5!) because going out to the movies at night is not that important to us.  At any rate, here are my quick impressions of what we've seen recently:

Oblivion: the previews were highly deceptive, as is typical.  Loved it.  Very smart, tight science fiction film that speaks to what makes us human, and keeps us that way.  I'm sure some people hated it, but thinking back I can't find one thing I'd criticize.  Would love to see this again.

Star Trek: Into Darkness: brilliant, just brilliant.  Loved it. I loved JJ Abrams' original reboot anyway, and this is a more-than-worthy successor.  Same players, different game.  Well, mostly the same players -- fatherless Jim Kirk vs Jim Kirk, the stack of books with legs at Starfleet Academy.  Motherless, homeless Spock vs supremely stable Spock. More, I won't say, but McCoy and Scotty and all the rest are just a joy to watch, and the way this one played out took my heart out of my chest and stomped on it, then picked it up, brushed it off, and put it back in so it could keep on beating. 

Man of Steel: Not as brilliant, but I really enjoyed it.  The fight scenes went on for too long (I've seen a well-reasoned argument that it's realistic for two super-beings to fight that way, and while that may be true, it still doesn't necessarily make for a compelling movie.)  Other than that, I loved all the Kents (Costner was fantastic), Henry Cavill has the look and the sound and the bearing completely down, and Amy Adams' was terrific as Lois Lane.  I do think that Russell Crowe kinda phoned it in as Jor-El but how emotional can a hologram really get?  I'm hearing a lot of complaining about certain parts of this film that make me think that people really aren't paying attention to what's on screen.  One of my favorite scenes? Two words: crucified truck. 

Monsters University: Saw this today with my brother and nephew, before they headed back up to Boston.  It was delightful.  First off, of course it was gorgeous, but the character work (not the drawing, the acting) was really spectacular as we've come to expect in Pixar films.  I saw a capsule review in my Mom's paper that essentially panned this, and again, I wonder, what was that guy watching?  Helen Mirren is just so scary and Nathan Fillion plays the frat boy jerk character perfectly.  Speaking of perfectly, there are at least three places in the story where you think something's going to happen, you just know it, having seen so many of these movies and knowing where Mike & Sully end up, but then... it doesn't.I love this movie for what didn't happen, as much as for what did.   Now I want to go back and watch the original again.  The accompanying short, The Blue Umbrella, was wordless but nonetheless packed with emotion and suspense expertly built and then released, and simply lovely.

All in all, a good run.  Coming up: The Lone Ranger, and Despicable Me 2.  We're on the fence about World War Z, good reviews not withstanding.  We're looking at good weather for the next long stretch so who knows.

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