Unrelated Movie Round-Up

9 02 2016

I managed to watch a few movies in the last couple weeks, and even caught one in the theater with Marcie!

(Spoiler free, except for Inception, but come on.)

Ex Machina. This is a fabulous movie. Old school speculative sci-fi that is powerful, creepy, surprising, and questions the nature of consciousness, always a plus.

Ant Man. This could have been a great, quirky variation on the superhero theme, but ended up being pretty par for the course. I liked all the shrinking stuff– for all the superheroes we’ve seen on the screen lately, there has been very little in the way of cinematically interesting powers. I was also happy with the somewhat distinctive characterization of Hank Pym, not quite just another snarky genius billionaire. However, I couldn’t get past the inconsistencies. Apparently shrunken things retain their original mass, unless it would be funny to swat them with a ping pong paddle.

Mad Max: Fury Road. I should really devote a separate post to this movie. It absolutely lives up to the hype, and more. The world of Mad Max is ruled by insanity, absurdly violent, and disturbingly familiar. Like Max, muzzled and propped up on a pole on the front of a speeding car while the driver steals his blood, we are subject to endless mystifying violations that our culture at large accepts as normal. Poisoned water in Flint, lockdown drills in elementary schools, veterans left homeless in the streets, etc etc etc. Fury Road doesn’t specifically allude to any event or cause, but it is not just an expertly crafted, astonishing to behold action epic. It is a mirror.

Inception. I watched this for the third, maybe fourth time. Like the top spinning endlessly in Mal’s mind safe, it worms into my head and won’t let go. I had to imagine a lot of forestory (is there an opposite of backstory?) to hold onto emotional payoffs and engaging characters in the face of undeniable evidence that Cobb is dreaming the entire movie. I can’t tell if this is a good or bad thing.

Hail Caesar. When I first saw The Big Lebowski, I found it unsatisfying. Now I love it. I have a feeling Hail Caesar is a similar beast. My first impression is that this movie is both a love letter to, and a harsh critique of, the movies. It’s stuffed with narrative threads that sometimes connect, sometimes don’t, and ends on an anticlimax. I’m sure it will reward multiple viewings, which I shall surely view.

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