Monday, August 15, 2016

Mini Movie Reviews: Bulk Hit No 46

A friend recently mentioned to me that I really let them down by not letting them know The 5th Wave was a dud.  He's right on two counts -- it's a dud...and I didn't give him a heads up, or any of you.  So I'm sorry if you took a risk on that one and found out the hard way. 

I haven't posted a movie update this year.  Not one.  So over the next few days, I'm going to catch up with some mini-reviews on the great, the good and the skippable movies of the last 9 months (my last bulk hit was in November).  Hopefully I'll save some like-minded individuals a disappointing viewing and/or point some towards something you will enjoy.  As always, you may disagree!  These are my mini-reviews in case you want a second opinion alongside the RT rating / a rec from a friend who sometimes misses the mark.
Tuck Everlasting
Nice.  I think Alexis Bledel was a great casting choice for Winnie.  I remembered three-quarters of the way through this that I'd seen it years ago, so that tells me it wasn't and isn't mind-blowing.  The film's no match for the book (which you should read) -- but as many of you know, I do not believe the book is always better, take the next movie for example;
Paper Towns
See this one -- the movie is better than the book.  Some things that were disappointing in the book were tweaked during the adaptation process.  These were major things, in some cases.  Like the movie characters were a little likable!  The book's characters?  Not even a little.  Thankfully the actors infused something in the people of the story that the pages failed to. Other tweaks fixed stupid stuff.  Like throwing glass bottles of pee?  That's stupid.  If you don't like what's written on a shirt, you can turn it inside out.  Tweaked. I liked that the movie seized the chance to edit some of the story's dumb parts.  The big changes were good as well.  I don't think the moral was "prom is everything," but rather "stay on course."  The book was darker, broodier, and more frustrating!  It was about a succubus!  A good guy becomes obsessive over a girl that doesn't deserve his attention.  It made me angry!  The movie?  I got it a little better.  The humour was better on-screen than in print too.  That's it -- John Green, you should write screenplays, not books!  -- let a team of other creatives breathe live, likability, validity and plausibility into them!  The cliches were still there (you poor type-cast teens), but I liked that these teens were smart, and even light on the make-up! (Bonus!)  I wonder if I would have liked the movie as much as I did if I hadn't read the book though...since the comparison was part of what was satisfying, for sure.  It is slightly above average, with fair acting, but if you've read the book, there's a lot of satisfaction in seeing production problems solved.
Before I Go To Sleep
Creepy.  This is on the borderline of what I can cope with in terms of the realm of things disturbing .  I've seen a few similar stories to this in my lifetime, but this is one of the better ones.  The performances are a big part of why.  I think only some of you readers would like this.  Those who like creepy thrillers.  If you're keen: Don't read the back cover or online synopses, just watch.
Romeo and Juliet (2013)
Hmm.  Not bad.
If you, like me, are drawn to period covers like this (and you know you typically enjoy the genre), you'll probably enjoy this one.  It's not based on Hardy  -- that is, this isn't an adaptation that lures you in with a pretty cover only to be awful and depressing!  *party blower*  It is loosely based on a true story.  The villain was hate-worthy (be warned: I'm haunted by an implied violence at his hand still), the heroine lovely, and the story worth getting invested in.
Skip it.  I wish I did.
Miss Julie (2014)
It's period -- surely I'll love it!  Flipped's not Hardy OR Dickens!   I took it home.  Oh, this both enthralled and injured me.  I don't recommend it.  Nope.  It's dark and sad and only a small fraction of you would enjoy it, and that same fraction are the type that would ignore my conservative counsel anyway.   The acting is subtle and interesting, the scenes are charged and daring in the static setting -- but it might as well have been Hardy.  It hurts the heart in a bad way.  I'm still sad thinking about it.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
I loved this.  I hear all the purist complaints, but guys, I also loved this.  I'm less from the school of thought that I wanted X, Y and Z from the universe and more of the opinion that I just want to spend more time in the universe, period.  I got to do that; this movie invited me back there.  Haki and I saw this in-cinema, and I left thrilled about Rey.  A gutsy female heroine who wasn't overtly sexualised!?  HALLELUJAH!  AND an inter-racial romance; a "person of colour" in an important role?  THANK YOU!  I don't think it's bad if it seems like a conscious millennial choice to move people from the margins into centre stage!  We need to make more conscious choices, dang it!  I am more interested in my daughters seeing this than I am in them watching Leia.  Not just more interested, I'm excited to watch this with them!  This succeeded in making Star Wars something more appealing for my children.  I hope they'll delve into the archives, sure, but this doesn't require the same penchant for cult favourites; it's accessible but still delicious.
Another case of a movie beating the book.  That last book was such a downer!   Its chapters are drenched in blood, and because of the small labour and time investment it is to read instead of watch, it feels as though there is little reward for each loss -- chapters of time and effort render more death. On screen, watching, we quickly recover because we don't have to make the same effort to engage with the material, and because we're watching a movie, not reading a book, we call up our known formulae for survival films; we know in pics like Jurassic World (or Anaconda, Deep Blue Sea -- textbook survival films!) only a few of the starting ensemble will be left standing, and we accept it -- so long as X and Y are among them (even if only X and Y are it).  As soon as one person is a moaner or displays too much bravado we even turn to those we're watching with and say, "He will be the first to die."  We know, we accept.  This doesn't read as well as it plays.  I think there were a few moments that were beautifully executed. I also think the script was pretty solid.  Overall: Horrifying then satisfying.
A great SF thriller. We enjoyed it for date-at-home-night. It is violent and there is implied sex (none shown).
Jane Eyre (2011)
You might think after all I've said about sad period tales that I'm not into Bronte.  You would be wrong.  Bronte beats Hardy and Dickens every time.  Especially Emily.  It's so tragic, but I love every retelling of Jane Eyre so much!  It is dark, yes, but at the end I'm not left with darkness and gloom but a raging happiness and swelling hopefulness (read: I cry the happy tears).  This adaptation has such interesting faces to look at too. 
I enjoyed both the movie and the book of this story.  They are TOTALLY DIFFERENT.  I think the film asks more questions and is more haunting.  I really wanted to talk about it for hours.  Haki?  Not so much.  It made him shudder a little.  I do like Post Apoc more than most, so forgave a lot I think for love of the sub-genre, but if you're similar, you'll probably do the same.

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