Five last flicks I saw

It’s been a while since I did this, so here are the last five flicks I saw.

World War Z (2013)WWZ
This. This is what we’ve been waiting for. Not a zombie movie. But THIS zombie movie. The albeit cheesy title made me think that this was just another fundraiser for some Jewish wedding in Hollywood, but I was pleasantly surprised! It’s not a good zombie movie, it’s a great movie. It has story and depth, and comes across as the exception to the rule of zombie movies necessarily having to be superficial.

Without going into much detail, I found that WWZ had intriguing plot twists that I couldn’t predict, which is getting harder and harder to come by in the average film industry. It had a solid variation of pace, which really made the experience enjoyable. You got your cheap thrills, awe, teh funny and edge-of-the-seat shit scary. The pacing of this film really drew me into it. I laughed out loud (along with a couple of other nerds) when there was a recognizable Left 4 Dead moment towards the end, and it was also nice to see Gollum back in the game:

Mireille Enos and Gollum

Mireille Enos in WWZ and Gollum

What’s up with all the skinny chicks in Hollywood at the moment? Have a burger, already!

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)Star Trek Into Darkness
We caught this movie in 3D, because every time you see a movie poster these days you’re confronted with serious doubt; “if I see the 2D version, how much am I missing out on?”

In this film, not that much. There’s one scene the first five minutes that is worthwhile in 3D, where an arrow literally hits you in the face. Apart from that, you’re just struggling to find out where the camera man wants you to focus at any given moment. I sincerely feel this is taking something away from the art of cinema, when you cannot even “look around” to get a feel of the atmosphere from the surroundings. Instead you’re continuously looking for the focus spot in all shots, making it more of a chore and less entertainment. There’s the hospital scene where the camera is composing a classic foreground, focus, background shot that does not work at all in the 3D version, because the blurry blob in the foreground is visually pushed into your face. Of course you are entitled to a different opinion. Just don’t be a fucking moron, is all I’m saying. 3D is a fad.

Apart from that I never really got the same sense of Star Trek-ness that I did with the first chapter of this reboot, which is a whole lot better. This film can be a Star Trek movie, and it does have an intriguing story, but I felt it was more like a sci-fi/action movie in general than a Star Trek movie in particular. Walking out of the theatre I was sort of dazed, and felt I was missing the story. Perhaps the 3D just made me exhausted. It’s worth watching if you’re into Star Trek or J.J. Abrams! Other than that, you can do better.

Man of Steel (2013)Man of Steel
When we first saw the trailer for this film in, I believe, the screening of the above Star Trek flick, we immediately decided to get tickets for it. Lady C is a fan of the Smallville and the two penultimate films, while I’m more nostalgic and think the modern renditions are pretty lame. I somehow feel that Superman belongs in the nuclear age, circa 1950-60, when Americans were proud Americans and rightly so in the eyes of the (western) world. Putting that Superman into our world is just cheesy and sort of childish. While the Smallville franchise is more like watching Friends. Might as well just watch Friends, then.

But the trailer to Man of Steel promised more. It promised to take away the gloss of the 1950 super hero and get real dark about it, similar to the promise (and execution) of HBO’s Mad Men. Great, I love that shit. Put it on!

And this film delivered. I walked out of the theatre feeling that I could believe in Superman again. That there is hope (they won’t fuck this up). I have two nitpicky points to make though. The death scene of his father is totally wrong. Nobody bought it. In fact, taking that shit out of the movie and not mentioning anything more about his death would make it a lot better. “But Americans are fat and dumb” you say, “and need everything explained IN CAPITAL LETTERS.” I don’t know.

The second and more pressing point is this: When you are rebooting this series, with a Superman/Batman movie on the horizon, why on God’s green earth would you still include the love story? WHICH DOES NOT WORK with the above realism at all. We have just watched how Superman isn’t just from another planet, he is an alien, and the Lane/Superman coupling is taking the term interracial to a whole new level. She might as well just marry an orangutan, which is much much closer to her own species than her extraterrestrial Superbuns. Also, wouldn’t the movie be cooler if they just had a professional relationship?

But Lois Lane is from the 1950s, and comes across as an easy lay.

What’s up with the CGI cape, people? I mean, come on! And finally, Lady C adds; What is the meaning of making a huge point that 1 little soldier is saved from the bad guys, when some 150 million people died in the making of this movie? While they are all fair points, I find that it doesn’t detract from the entertainment value and interesting reboot of this great genre of films. And I can’t wait to see more! (Note: We saw the 2D version and was pleased that it offered a sane viewing experience. Get off my lawn!)

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)Hansel and Gretel
As you can imagine, this is another one of Lady C‘s recommendations. Coming from the sick mind of Tommy Wirkola, the director of Dead Snow (2009), I wasn’t sure what to expect. Good thing I didn’t expect too much, then.

Because it is exactly like Red Riding Hood, Van Helsing and every other placid, shitty rape of genuinely good stories. This movie tries to be a supernatural Firefly, and fails completely, because it its production screams “make us money” and lacks any charm whatsoever. If you’re into this shit, you will learn the error of your ways once you grow a little older. Say, after you’ve finished Junior High.

Enemy of the State (1998)flick-enstate
I don’t think I have written about this movie ever, even though it is a long time favourite of mine. I have it on VHS, DVD and Bluray, and last night we happened to watch it on television. This movie is better than most people think. It doesn’t try to make technology godlike, as in the intellectual abortion of J.J. Abrams in Person of Interest, while not dumbing it down to Schwarzenegger-level either (the keyboard has a backdoor so you can wipe the hard drive and implode the city). It simply shows some existing technology and focuses on its implications, not its fancy tricks. Story-telling, people. What happened to it?

It doesn’t require that much great acting (though Will Smith and Gene Hackman are cool) since it is a thriller, but it is a great thriller from beginning to end, and I’ll watch it again when I have the time. I’ve probably seen it more than 30 times already.

What’s more, you won’t find a big American title like this after 9/11. Since USA and most European govts went all 1984 with public opinion’s reluctant approval, an intelligent film about the matter won’t reappear until the political winds have changed and people start thinking again. Give it a decade. I find this circumstance makes this movie even more entertaining, it is a really good production on an intelligent subject, with a captivating story. Well done!
(It’s quite obvious now that I wrote this post BEFORE Snowden and the NSA revelations. It just got even more current, which is exactly what this film deserves. It’s a nice Saturday night film if you’re staying in.)

Since I was away at the time he died, I just wanted to add R.I.P. James Gandolfini. The Tony Soprano character really re-created the mobster genre in the long wake after the Godfather trilogy, and was and still is a great inspiration to me. The thought of Antony Sopranos not being a part of my life is not something I can really imagine. Thank you, Jimmy!

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