Sicario

sicarioSicario sure is a deeply unpleasant film. In my page of notes, if I had 25 items, approximately six of them are just versions on “This is unpleasant” and “an intense sense of dread.”

So, good job? The movie is about Mexican drug cartels and Emily Blunt (kind of), and it is a piece of work. There’s not a particularly strong narrative throughline (or, what’s there isn’t really elaborated, and we’re kept as in the dark as Kate (Emily Blunt’s character) is), but it’s got a lot of violence, with some particular flourishes of explicit torture, and a whole whack of Disturbing Imagery. So when I first left the theater, I was kind of lost and disturbed, because it felt like all of this nastiness didn’t add up to much.

Then I talked it over with my movie-going buddy and it became obvious that that was the point. Spoiler alert: Mexican drug cartels are bad. Also, we’re not always the good guys, or if we are, we’re not always doing good things to get the information we need. Basically, the whole thing is a mess. And so the movie is like hey, this is a mess. Look at all the sadness and the extreme, oppressive violence. And so you’re like k thanks movie! I… feel much sadder now and vaguely queasy. I agree that this is very bad, and I see it much more graphically now. So… uh… thanks? Question mark? More question marks? Continue reading

Tomorrowland

tomorrowlandTomorrowland: not as saccharine as it could have been! Feel free to use that on the DVD cover, Tomorrowland marketers.

I knew nothing about the plot of the movie going in, but I knew from a podcast that was largely making fun of it that there was going to be a lot of earnestness and “Dreaming can solve everything!” So mostly I was waiting for it to be too sappy, or put too much faith in, well, faith and hope. But it wasn’t!

I mean, that’s not to say that it’s not still very PG, in a way that probably all PG movies feel like and I’m just not used to it because I don’t see very many of them. The premise of the movie is kind of “We can save the world by having good ideas and being really inventive!” Which, I suppose, is true, but it’s a very varnished kind of representation of that. But I’d still rather have Disney showing people of legitimately varied backgrounds–men, women, all colors, and all ages–contributing meaningfully to The Future than, well, not that. Continue reading

Prometheus: The Truth

p8815605_p_v8_abPer the terms of the bet, I had to write at least 300 words of a positive review of Prometheus. And I did! At least, I listed 300 words worth’ of positive things about it, which is close enough. Per the terms of that same bet, it had to be in its own post, and I could not just write three hundred isolated words about it being good and spend the rest of the time listing all the ways that it’s bad. But I can do that in a separate post! So here we are!

This post is going to suffer from the same problems as the other one, in that I haven’t magically seen the movie again in the 45ish minutes since writing the first one. Sorry-not-sorry.

So, as I said in the other post, this will be full of spoilers because it’s a terrible movie and you shouldn’t see it anyway. Continue reading

Prometheus: The Positive (Mostly) Review

p8815605_p_v8_abThis entire post is because I lost a bet. Over the summer of 2014, my friend Ashlee and I did a Summer Box Office Challenge, which is to say that we each picked 10 movies opening from May to August and tallied up how much each made in its opening weekend. Ashlee won, and as my punishment for losing, I am being made to write a positive review of a movie I hate.

And boy, do I hate Prometheus. I saw it in theaters with my now-husband and Ashlee herself, and as we walked back to the El, they both more or less shrugged and thought it was fine, and I erupted in a violent fury of flailing arms and exasperation. I hate Prometheus. It’s egregiously terrible in a great many ways. But I’ll write a separate post to enumerate them (which is HERE), because per the terms of my loss, this post is supposed to be only the positive review. Sorry, Ashlee, this is as close as I got.

Okay, deep breath. Here is a comprehensive list of things that are good about the movie Prometheus. (note: spoilers. But that shouldn’t matter, because no one should ever see this movie, and therefore it cannot possibly make a difference whether you know what happens or not) Continue reading

Ex Machina

ex-machina-posterEx Machina, a reasonably slick, reasonable interesting sci-fi movie about the plausibility and applicability of artificial intelligence, raises one very important question: shouldn’t all sci-fi movies have spontaneous choreographed dance breaks in the middle?

The answer, of course, is yes. The answers to other questions raised by the movie are more nebulous, questions like “Did this reclusive, slightly nutty billionaire of a Google-like corporation (Oscar Isaac) actually create artificial intelligence?” “Will the very smart programmer (Domhnall Gleason)who may or may not have been randomly selected to evaluate the AI (Alicia Vikander, as the robot) determine that it passes a Turing test?” “What happens if the AI passes?” and, naturally, “What happens if it doesn’t?” Continue reading

Oscars 2014 Recap

everythingisawesomeWe survived! With the telecast clocking in at just over 38 hours, it became a bit of a slog, but we’ve all come out the other side just fine, except maybe Idina Menzel’s face, which is surely starting to slough off from the acid secreted by John Travolta’s hands.

We’ll take things in sections, because order must be imposed in all things, even Oscar blogging. Continue reading

Oscar Bowling 2014

Here are my picks in one place, ranked by my confidence in them. If you get the number of points associated with each category, it adds up to a perfect 300. I will not get 300, but I will always try to get close.

 

24 Supporting Actor: JK Simmons
23 Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette

22 Actress: Julianne Moore
21 Documentary: CitizenFour
20 Foreign: Ida
19 Actor: Eddie Redmayne
18 Original Song: Glory
17 Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki
16 Production design: Grand Budapest Hotel
15 Visual Effects: Interstellar
14 Costume design: Grand Budapest Hotel
13 Makeup and Hair: Grand Budapest Hotel
12 Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon 2
11 Film editing- Boyhood
10 Original Score- Theory of Everything
9 Sound Editing: American Sniper
8 Sound Mixing: Whiplash
7 Documentary short: Crisis Hotline
6 Live action short: The Phone Call
5 Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
4 Picture: Boyhood
3 Adapted Screenplay: Whiplash
2 Original Screenplay: GBH
1 Animated short: Feast