I don’t mind slow-paced movies. But if a movie is going to be slow, it better excel at character development, engage deep themes, and/or have a major payoff at the end. This film was moving at times, but in my view it fell short on all three of those dimensions. The camera spends a long while gazing at the characters’ faces, but the attention provides little insight into their thoughts and the characters remain largely impenetrable. The only major plus here is how effective the movie is in depicting the harsh conditions and circumstances involved in many immigrants’ journeys to a new country. Bai Ling was also surprisingly good in her role.
I’m somewhat conflicted about this movie. On the surface, the villain(s) in this movie should have been better than Eric Bana’s Nero in the first Abrams foray into Star Trek. But after re-watching the first movie, I surprised myself by how much more one-dimensional the STID villain(s) seem(s). The themes seemed more cleanly developed in the first movie, and the plot also had a clearer arc. I think STID requires another viewing, but the residual feeling from having watched it a couple days ago is that this film wasn’t quite sure what it wanted to be about. Also, the allusions to modern day political debates (e.g., the morality of executive-ordered assassinations of U.S. citizens) were a bit too thinly veiled for my tastes. And overall, I wasn’t thrilled with the blatant “remixing” (as I have read it called in other reviews) of previous Star Trek content…that might be pass unnoticed to casual viewers but not to die-hard fans.
Still, despite all of those critiques, this film was tremendously entertaining, and the action sequences are great. I feel like Abrams is kind of done with Star Trek and excited to pass it on to somebody else so he can do Star Wars right.
Much better than Iron Man 2, not as good as the original (but how could it be?)…it was entertaining and everything you want out of a summer action movie. Robert Downey Jr. is fantastic in this role, although in this film they maybe went a bit overboard with the sarcastic/witty remarks. The plot was a bit disjoint at times but had enough great set-pieces to constitute a solid movie.
In another context, if this film had been about any other topic, the manic, sloppy plot and pacing might not have made sense. But in the context of mental illness, it was perfect. Bradley Cooper proved again why he’s more than a pretty face and needs to be taken seriously. Jennifer Lawrence, though, is the one who really impressed; she stole every scene, and the movie didn’t really get an edge until an electrically awkward moment where Bradley Cooper’s character and she meet for the first time. A challenge in a movie like this that straddles the line between comedy and tragedy is to know what it wants to be. I found that it wasn’t clear to me how I was supposed to feel at different times (although maybe that was the point? having the audience experience what the main characters’ loved ones were feeling?). Still, it was a unique little film, and I was surprised that it pulled me in and left me enthralled as to how it was going to end.
Twenty years later, even with all the advances in CGI, this movie holds up. It was fun watching it with Anjali, who hadn’t seen it before. And yet, even though she’d never seen it, and I’d seen it over 20 times, somehow we both came away thoroughly entertained. That’s the sign of a classic. The 3-D was fine; with the exception of Avatar, I can never really tell how much it adds. Still, it was a thrill to have the chance to re-watch the movie on the big screen.
The obvious virtues of this film are its beautiful cinematography and elegant feel. But I was also struck by how haunting and timeless it turned out to be. Whereas Ed Norton was fine in the limited range that was asked of him in this role, Naomi Watts was perfectly cast and stole every scene. I especially enjoyed the brisk pacing and deft plot structure in the first 30 minutes of the movie. Things slowed down and became fairly straightforward in the next hour, but overall this was an enjoyable film.
Kind of boring, albeit well-acted. I wanted more of Freud, played by exquisitely by Viggo Mortensen. But even with more of him, this movie would still have been a little weird and dull. Shrug.
Both plot-wise and with respect to ambience, the roots of Mamet’s later effort, The Spanish Prisoner, are evident in this devilish noir thriller.
While it wasn’t a surprise that the whole plot was a long con, it really didn’t take away from the enjoyment of watching the film. And the ending was still pretty shocking. The influence on Fincher’s The Game was obvious. I also appreciated the use of shadows, which presaged the mood of Mamet’s other masterpiece, Glengarry Glen Ross. A bit more emotional insight into the characters would have been nice; the lead actress played it a bit too robotic, although maybe that was the point in order to showcase her psychopathy.
This movie is an intricate, twisted thriller. Somehow, it was simultaneously about what you’d expect to be about, and NOT about what you’d expect it to be about. Soderbergh, per usual, is adept at pacing and editing this film in a way that was critical to maintaing the tension without losing the audience. There are a few minor plot holes, but I didn’t mind them. Rooney Mara was excellent, and Jude Law was good too. The film operates as a critical reflection on society on multiple levels, and in the end everyone is to blame and no one is to blame, to the extent to which the ills of society are systemic.
Is it bad to start a review by saying, “I expected more from the director of The Mummy”? The thing is, The Mummy movies were kind of dumb but also genuinely fun. They were like the Ancient Egyptian version of the National Treasure movies, both of which were utter ripoffs of Indiana Jones…but I didn’t really mind because they didn’t pretend to be anything other than ripoffs of Indiana Jones. This movie was not fun. It was dumb, incoherent, and most surprisingly, a little boring. Neither Jackman—who is mostly awesome in every role—nor Beckinsale—who can be good in certain roles—seemed like they wanted to be there. The plot was cliche’ and the special effects looked choppy and amateur. Now I remember why I never rented it when it came out almost ten years ago.
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