On next week’s episode of the Charlie Tonic Hour (#58), one segment will revolve around a discussion of the movie Life of Pi. This film impressed me both with its visual nature and deeper messages. Ginny Tonic has read the novel, but I was experiencing the story for the first time in the theater. I’ll save my discussion of the film for the podcast, but there were points that surprised me and left me thinking about it days afterward.
For me, films have been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve had some time to catch up on a few I’d missed and even more in the “want to watch soon” cue. You see I’ve always been a bit of a film fan, but not quite a trivia quoting film buff. When I was younger I would devour films both at home and in the theater. I always loved losing myself in the story for a few hours and looking for those select few (like Fight Club, Almost Famous or Life as a House) that move me on some deeper level.
I think I inherited this love of film from my father who spent much of his childhood watching films and, even in his later years, could still quote the stars names and their history. He loved movies and shared many at my side over the years. It was with him that I build my geek history watching films like Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark and so many others. That, along with travel, was a basis for a lot of my early relationship with him.
In the interest of share my thoughts on some recent films I’ve been watching, here are some rapid fire film reviews to enjoy…
I’m Not There
I slipped in this film while I was working and it eventually stopped me working altogether. I’m Not There was pretty amazing, both in its unconventional approach to a bio pic and its visual presentation. Absolutely well done homage to Bob Dylan.
I love the film’s closing lines… “People are always talking about freedom, and how to live a certain way. ‘Course, the more you live a certain way, the less it feels like freedom. Me? I can change during the course of a day. When I wake, I’m one person; when I go to sleep I know for certain I’m somebody else. I don’t know who I am most of the time. It’s like you got yesterday, today and tomorrow all in the same room. There’s no telling what’s going to happen.”
50/50 was a solid film. Seth Rogan tried very hard to downgrade it for me, but in the end Joseph Gordon-Levitt stuck the landing. Is there such a thing as a feel good cancer film? If so, I think I watched it with this one. The film did a solid job of sharing the emotion of the experience, the value of friendship and charting life in a moment. Good film. Not great, but certainly quite good.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
After putting it off for so long, I finally got around to watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. After so many people warned me against the film, it took four years for me to sit down and watch it. Having grown up loving the Indy films like so many people, I was very reticent to see this one. All I can say is, I agree with my friend’s reviews. Everything that was magical about this franchise’s history was missing here and it was a waste of my time.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Catching up on my Marvel film backlog, I took time out to see The Amazing Spider-Man. This was a reboot of the franchise that I just didn’t feel was needed when it was first announced. In the end, in terms of comics films, it was pretty magnificent. This is the Spider-Man film we deserve as fans. What an absolute surprise. There were moments in the film that got me excited and made me want to cheer. We’ve seen a lot of good comic book movies over the last few years, but one that made me feel like a kid again has been missing. This filled that need nicely.
I had been wanting to see the film The Artist for some time but I tend to work while I watch and a silent movie requires full attention and I just kept having a hard time making the time. Once I got the chance, I have to say well done. What a lovable, emotional film that is well worth watching. In many ways, a beautiful celebration of that era of film. George Valentin’s fall was surprisingly emotional and resonated with me. Add to that the fact that I’m a sucker for a love story and this one hit home nicely for me.
I’ve been on a bit of a Daniel Craig film kick since Skyfall. I tried Dream House as it looked interesting. The film has a really strong twist part way through but fails to deliver a satisfying punch at the end. Story-wise, it peaked way too early. If you intend to see it, don’t watch the trailer. It gives away the twist that is the best part of the film. In the end I was saddened because this story had real potential but just threw it away. You’ve been warned regarding the trailer.
Looking back on a film I’d seen before…
Watched Cold Mountain again recently. I haven’t seen this film since it was in theaters back in 2003. I don’t remember the opening being as bloody as it was, I remember liking the story a bit better last time but Renée Zellweger remains amazing. I had forgotten Jack Black was in the film and it took me a minute to place Charlie Hunnam (Jax from Sons of Anarchy). Quite a list of people in this film actually.
Hunger Games and Prometheus
Watched the Hunger Games and Prometheus in the same evening. I enjoyed the tone of the Hunger Games which was serious yet at times grim. That said, even though I haven’t read the novel series, there was something in watching the film that felt a little hallow and made me feel like the books would have been better. That said, when is that not the case and this was a pretty good film overall. As for Prometheus, it was visually beautiful but ultimately didn’t feel like it broke a lot of new ground for Ridley Scott. Wasn’t all that impressed with it.
Enjoy these micro reviews? Let me know and I’ll share more as the films fall into my life.