Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Impossible

Based on the true story surrounding the 2004 Tsunami in Thailand. A family vacationing over Christmas is caught up in the wave of destruction and we follow their remarkable journey to survive and eventually reunite. The dramatic effect of the film was quite strong as I was tense for a majority of the 90 minutes. In that respect, the film was not "entertainment" per se, but instead a dramatic interpretation of trauma. I suppose that as we were rooting for the family members and astounded by their resolve and luck, we were to be caught up in a human story. Unfortunately, I was more disturbed by the clear differential of wealth and power of the white family. Over 200,000 people died in that disaster. The only effect that we see in the local Thai population is a bit of help for the family and the service of the doctors to the foreigners. I recognize that global awareness is not the purpose of the film, but it is such a vacuum of awareness that it emphasizes just how ethnocentric we are.
2 stars (out of 5)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Iron Man 3

One nice thing about franchise films is that you know exactly what to expect. This is of course what eventually causes franchise films to die. In this case, we get the continuing story of Tony Stark's coming of age story. The fact that he is 40-something is one of those suspend dis-belief things we do when we go to movies. Stark realizes that his past arrogance is causing his current troubles and this provides the plot motivation for the entire film. We get a little diversion with Don Cheadle's Rhodes character, and regular reminders of The Avengers films from last year. Good fun, solid story, plenty of action, nothing new. My one big disappointment with this film (or Oblivion for example) is the necessary voice-over to tell me everything I need to know and think. What ever happened to Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, where you didn't really know what was going on half the film and it made the whole thing better? Does nobody trust the audience to be intelligent and figure things out?

3 stars (out of 5)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Easy Money

Isn't. Ever, really. This Swedish film follows JW, a blue-collar guy trying to be a rich socialite. To get there, he gets involved with gangsters and thugs of a variety of flavors. He falls in love with a pretty young socialite, gets connected with a spanish drug dealer who imports drugs from Arabs in Germany who are moving in on the Serbian gangs of Stockholm. So if nothing else, this is a multicultural affair. What is most interesting about this film is how JW's spiral downward seems simultaneously inconceivable and inevitable. Reminds me a bit of Layer Cake with Daniel Craig, although this is a lot less hopeful.

3 stars (out of 5)

Sunday, May 5, 2013


One in what seems to be a series of "future destroyed earth" films coming out this summer. Here Tom Cruise is Jack Harper, a drone maintenance technician on earth. His job is to keep the drones running whose job it is to protect the giant fusion machines over the ocean whose job it is to provide energy to the space station. Protect from whom, you ask? Well, the Scavs of course, those alien invaders who destroyed earth in their invasion and are still hanging around causing trouble. Jack is a bit too inquisitive for his own good, and loves earth a bit too much, which gets him into trouble. He finds true love along the way and true purpose in his strangely purposeful life. Fabulous flyovers of earth although I do wonder where all the dirt came from. But otherwise, fun envisioning of ultramodern outposts and a self-repairing earth. Kept me entertained.
3 stars (out of 5)