Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Movies: January 26, 2016

For those of you who know me and haven't seen a lot of me lately, you probably miss my opining on various movies.  Have no fear!  Since being away from work, I've had the time to see everything worth seeing, and some not.  Here's are comments on my movie viewing in the theatres since mid-November.

Spoilers will be kept to a minimum but there may be some depending on your sensitivity to spoilers.  I know I like to know nothing about movies before seeing them, but it's virtually impossible to talk about the movies without some minor plot discussion. I'll try not to give away anything specific.


I just saw this yesterday. I love Charlie Kaufman; I love Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I saw Synecdoche, New York in the theatre! And enjoyed it!

This movie was weird. I'm still processing it. It uses  stop motion puppets, like Davey and Goliath (a TV show I loved as a kid, for some reason) but definitely not for kids. There's a puppet with a penis! One puppet goes down on another! And it's not done for laughs....

Was this movie saying love is a temporary and fleeting? Love is a construct? I don't know. Odd odd movie, though. I'm still not sure what to think.

Ride Along 2

I have no interest in seeing this movie because, having not seen the first one, I believe I would be hopelessly lost.

The Danish Girl

I have no interest in seeing this movie because that weasel Eddie Redmayne stole the Oscar from Michael Keaton last year! If you take an award from Batman, I won't see your next movie. It's that simple.


What does director Todd Haynes have to do to be nominated for an Oscar?

I was standing in a video store many many years ago eavesdropping on what can only be called a discussion between two film geeks. They were arguing about whether Todd Haynes would be nominated for best director for Far from Heaven, which in my opinion is a fantastic movie. It manages to be a critique and parody of and homage to the Douglas Sirk lush melodramas of the 50s. One of the film geeks said, "It's too big an achievement to be ignored." I believe I interrupted their conversation and said, "He will be nominated!" Boy, I was wrong.

Safe is another early movie by Todd Haynes.  Like Far from Heaven, it stars Julianne Moore. I haven't seen I'm Not There or Velvet Goldmine.

The point is, Carol is another solid movie from Todd Haynes, with some fantastic performances. That's all.


I saw this the day after I returned from Nashville, so I probably wasn't in the mood for it.  I came out of it outraged, but didn't pick up on the nuances of the filmmaking or anything.

I will say, the Don Mills VIP Theatre is awesome.  The theatre I was in had fully reclining seats!  Only two theatres do, I believe, but it's pretty cool. I wish I had brought a blanket.  The first time I went to the theatre with fully reclining seats, I did have a blanket! It's like being in your living room....


Before I saw this, I thought this would be a big arthouse hit. I practically ran to the theatre to make sure I got a ticket. I needn't have worried.

I will say, it's the best film adaptation of Macbeth that I've seen, but I haven't seen Polanski's adaptation or Kurosawa's Throne of Blood. So this might be the only adaptation I've seen.

I don't mean to undersell it.  There is some interesting stuff with the witches and a good twist on the Birnam Wood prophecy. Despite what some critics said, I thought Marion Cotillard was pretty amazing.


So, I tend to see movies in the Cineplex VIP theatres because I hope that the high cost of the theatres will mean that people who see the movie are there to see the movie and not talk or text or whatever.

So, I'm sitting in the theatre and this this 20-something guy came and sat beside me with with a 60-something woman. I actually thought, "Wow, that's nice that this guy is taking an older friend to a movie" but then they started snuggling and getting kissy kissy.

The dude had a gym bag with him, out of which he pulls an empty Evian bottle and a beer can. Then he coughs to cover up the sound of the opening of his beer can, and pours the beer into his bottle. I wanted to tell him that drinking is allowed in the theatre and he could go get a beer at the concession stand, but I guess that was the point: he didn't want to pay the price of the beer at the theatre.

The woman also read, very loudly, the subtitles at the beginning of the movie--loud enough for everyone to hear. They also both made multiple trips to the bathroom. They were seated to the right side of the row (ie-- not in the middle of the row) and instead of doing the math and disrupting the fewest people by taking the shortest path to to the aisle (that is, by going right), they went the other way (left) to disrupt as many people as possible when they had to go the restroom.

The woman, also, apparently, was unsettled by boxing scenes, so whenever there was a fight, she started saying "Oh no! OH! OH!"

In addition, one character has a hearing aid. In one scene, the character with the hearing aid has an argument with another character, and to stop the argument, she turns off her hearing aid so she can't hear the other character. At this point, the woman started laughing, "Ha ha! She put in ear plugs!"

The point is, I'm a sucker for a good fight movie.  This one was pretty darn good.  The best part was the one-take fight scene in the middle of the film and Michael B. Jordan's performance. Stallone is also surprisingly effective.


Really good movie. The trailer led me to believe I would get a different movie than what I got.  I thought I would get a big sweeping romantic epic.  Not what I got.  This is a smaller movie.

I ended up seeing this twice and only the second time did I find what I missed.  If you go into this movie knowing it's the story of a person going through the process of asserting herself as an individual, and the forces that try to keep her from asserting her own individuality, especially in the second half, it's pretty great.  It's a really good movie, mostly because of the fantastic performance of Saorise Ronan in the lead. She does a lot with just a look.

In any case, I'm a sucker for a movie about immigrants, especially Irish immigrants for some reason (see 2002's "In America"--another really good movie about Irish immigrants).

In addition, the second time I saw this, I realized that one of the actors, Domhall Gleeson, has been in everything this year:  Ex Machina (which is really good by the way), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (see below), and The Revenant (see below). I guess his face is so bland, that I just forget him once the movie is over.  He was apparently in the Harry Potter movies, but you know, I didn't watch those....

The Big Short

The movie of the season, as far as I'm concerned.

Well-made, clever movie that explains the economic crisis of 2008 that left me outraged at what happened and determined to leave all my money under a mattress.

Unfortunately, I'm starting to confuse Ryan Gosling with Ryan Reynolds.  I don't know why.  I guess they're both Canadian white dudes known for their looks? I think this one had Gosling....

Great cameos, fun performance from Gosling (doing really good Richard III-esque asides to the audience).

The Hateful Eight

I like Tarantino as much as anyone, but man, this movie was a lot of build up to a not very satisfying ending. I got sucked into the 70mm roadshow (only in a limited number of cities and theatres), that included an intermission.

I'm not sure why this needed to be filmed in 70mm, since it's only used to any real advantage in a few panoramic shots of winter scenery.

For what is essentially a locked room mystery, it had an unnecessarily long first act. It's table setting and character building that wasn't needed and didn't really pay off. The Tarantino Dialogue (TM) wasn't as clever or enjoyable as in his other movies...

Some people are reading this as an allegory for American history and its racial legacy; I say this movie isn't important enough to force the thinking of such weighty themes.

A bit of a disappointment, in my opinion.

Star Wars:  The Force Awakens

I'm not a big Star Wars fan by any extent, but this movie hit the spot and all the emotional necessities.

A lot of fun. I don't care that some geeks are saying it's a re-mix or reboot of the first Star Wars. And yay, diversity! The two lead characters are the action heroes, and they're a black man and a (white) woman. That's pretty cool.

If you're in this to see Luke Skywalker, though, you may be disappointed.

The Revenent

This is a beautiful looking movie.

It took me about 20 minutes to realize Tom Hardy is in this movie, even though he was nominated for an Oscar. I didn't recognize him. Having said that, I don't think I've understood more than 60% of what he says in any movie since "The Dark Knight Rises." Does he just mumble now?

So, I guess DiCaprio is going to finally win his Oscar for this relatively simple revenge movie?  Okay, I guess....

My question is, what's up with the camera in this movie?

This movie is beautifully shot.  I suddenly became aware of camera movement, too.  There's a shot at the beginning that made me start wondering how they got it. It started like the camera was on a dolly, but then started moving like it was on a crane.

I've never taken know film theory courses or anything, so these may be unsophisticated thoughts, but.... Innaratu makes the audience aware of the camera frequently through lens flare (lots of lens flare!), water splashing onto and remaining on the lens, breath vapour forming on the lens from what I believe is a CGI-created animal, and blood splashing onto and clinging to the lens.

I would assume the camera is not supposed to be part of the movie like a found footage movie (Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield, Chronicle, etc.) given that the setting of the movie pre-dates film. So why keep the obviousness of the camera in the movie? I read that Innaratu was using natural light and likes long takes, so maybe these are the best shots he could get? If that's true, why is there breath vapour fogging up the lens from what I believe was a CGI-generated animal.

Me = confused.

Overall, I guess it was fine. No need to rush to see it, though the scenery is beautiful. In terms of winter vistas, I would give this the edge over The Hateful Eight.


There you go! Now you've had a dose of me, like I were in the office or hanging out with you. And like having me around, you couldn't tell me to shut up about my irrelevant opinions!

Have a good day!

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