Archive | January, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty

13 Jan

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Zero Dark Thirty takes a look at the events leading up to the capture of Osama Bin Laden in 2011. The film  portrays the driving force behind this capture as one woman, Maya, played by the stunning Jessica Chastain. ( Who looks insanely like Bryce Dallas Howard in my opinion. ) Chastain’s performance also drives this film, and she’s been rewarded with a well deserved Oscar nomination for best actress. This film is quite long at 2 hours and 37 minutes but there really wasn’t a single scene that could have been cut. Talented director Kathryn Bigelow gives us a film that demands our patience, and therefore genuinely invites the audience to feel Maya’s struggle; the setbacks, the successes and the agonizing wait while the bureaucratic red tape is cut. I didn’t like this picture so much as I respected it. The sets, the dialogue and the performances are all stellar but if you were thinking you’d see some high octane car chases and stuff blowing up, you may be disappointed. I adore Bigelow’s ability to build suspense, she really does it like no one else. 2008’s The Hurt Locker proves that admirably, and there are some great edge-of-your-seat moments in this film as well. There were quite a few scenes involving torture, which I thought would bother me, but they were well done and I didn’t squirm too much. 

 

During the film, I kept thinking “wow, this is one of the few movies that actually passes the Bechdel test.” For those of you who havent heard of the Bechdel test, it’s three questions you can ask about a movie to determine the presence of women in the film. The three questions are these: Is there more than one woman in this movie? Do they have names? Do they talk to each other about something other than a man? An insane amount of movies fail this test. Not to say that those movies are bad, but it does show a systemic problem in the industry about the lack of clear voices women have to tell their stories. Stories that do not revolve around boyfriends, husbands or sons. Check out the link to it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLF6sAAMb4s   It was so encouraging to see the complex friendship development between Maya and her Jessica, played by Jennifer Ehle. There is also no love interest in this movie for Chastain which is encouraging to see as well.  This is a character who can be admired for all the right reasons, and her faults are human for interesting reasons as well. Overall this is an extremely well done film, but it will demand your attention and willingness to luxuriate in the tension. 

Recommendation: A great film that demands a patience and willing audience.  

Later this week I will be posting some thoughts on the Oscar nominations announced this week. I have yet to see all the films nominated for best picture, though I do make an effort to see them all before Oscar night. Also, sorry this post wasn’t particularly funny, but there weren’t many laughs in this film. The only laughable part of our movie-going experience this week were the terrible trailers preceding this film. A notable would be my good pal Halle Berry’s newest bomb, The Call, which features her bonkers haircut and variations of a bad panicked expression. That film is definitely going on the no fly list. 

Jack Reacher

2 Jan

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So this will be my first movie reviewed on this blog a) because this is the first movie I saw in 2013 and b) because I started this blog today and also saw this movie today, which seemed only fair. I wanted to say a couple words as an introduction to this blog as well, but if you want to skip the intro, go ahead and skip to the next paragraph. As many of you know, I see a lot of movies. By a lot of movies, I mean myself and my fiance usually go to the theatre about once a week. Does this make me qualified to review movies on the interweb? Maybe not, but it’s a free…internet, so I’m just going to go ahead and do it and you feel free to report me to the internet police. ( Hint; they don’t exist.) Anyways, on with the show,

I found Jack Reacher to be a thoroughly enjoyable action/suspense with a solid performance from Tom Cruise. I must admit, I’ve always liked the crazy, couch hopping bastard. The movie starts with a great suspense sequence from director Christopher McQuarrie  (previously of 2000’s Way of the Gun) in which the viewer finds them self in mounting anticipation of which civilian will be shot, and McQuarrie gleefully defies your expectations. The movie has quite a few laughs which Kenny, the fiance, pointed out as cheesy, and I have to agree, but it was fun nonetheless. Pleasure to see Rosamund Pike in here as well, landing a major role as Helen, an ambitious lawyer. Her cleavage was a pretty big deal in this movie, but that might just have been because we were almost in the front row due to underestimation of theatre audiences on New Year’s Day. Anyways, both Pike and her cleavage did a great job of jiggling about and keeping my attention. ( Side note, for the first half of the movie she was wearing this horrendous turtle neck sweater and I was like “What is happening here? Why is she wearing that?” But then my question was answered after all the important plot set up details were explained, those puppies got UNLEASHED and everyone was happy. ) If I had to compare this movie to something I would say it’s like 2009’s State of Play, but with considerably less political overtones.

Rating : I recommend.