I rated Passengers (2016) 7/10 #IMDb

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1355644

Saw it in 3D. It added nothing except a dimmer screen.

Eerie, creepy, romantic, heartbreaking, perilous, deadly, delightful. This is a sci-fi love story with a bit of deep space adventure, danger, tragedy, and thrills.

My 12-year-old thought it a bit romantic at times. And there were some ‘passionate’ moments that caused some squirming. Nonetheless, the emphasis is on falling in love, being in love, being betrayed, and the aftermath. And at the same time there’s some fun with Michael sheen as the android bartender as well as deep space peril from a meteor storm.

Well put together, calmly paced where it matters, and only a bit preposterous this is a neat love story in space with a bit of action thrown in.

Not sure about space swimsuits, but the gravity-free swimming pool peril is terrifying. As is the holed storeroom. Some brilliant bits in an overall good fun movie.

Worth watching…in 2D.

I rated Moana (2016) 7/10 #IMDb

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3521164

The best Disney princess movie yet.

I saw it in 2D.

Despite it being a musical, only 1 song, well perhaps 1.5 songs are a bit limp. The crab song and the grandma’s reprise. Even then, they help the story along.

Moana has some great numbers and works well as a character balancing her responsibilities as future chief and her interest in adventure. ‘No one goes beyond the reef’. Oh yes they do. And with some real verve.

Maui the demigod does a fine supporting job and adds some comic relief, pathos, and action beyond Moana’s own exploits.

Well worth watching.

I rated Rogue One (2016) 5/10 #IMDb

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3748528

It’s like Star Wars but with all the originality ground out. Characters who aren’t that engaging. Non-stop peril and action. And it seemed l o n g.

On one hand it is more of the same. Not always a bad thing. But on the other it is more of the same, remixed and regurgitated.

It’s OK but not worth going out of your way to see if you’ve seen Star Wars movies before.

I rated Unthinkable (2010) 2/10 #IMDb

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0914863

With the cast and the premise I thought it might be worth watching. 15 minutes in and I realised it was trite drivel. Maybe it got better but I don’t have the time to waste. Too many crappy writing tropes and too much guff. Maybe I’ll return to it one day and see the error of my ways. But for now: dire.

Blue Velvet

10/10 on IMDB from me.

An incredible movie. I think I saw it about 30 years ago in great company. And this time round I saw it in great company too.

It has aged well. No less beautiful, shocking, and intriguing now than it ever was.

Sure, some of the acting and scenes look a bit artificial. But then that’s one of the qualities I like about David Lynch films.  Despite the apparent artifice, you’re drawn deep into the action.

People are complex and confusing and Blue Velvet makes that apparent for so many of its characters.

A masterpiece.

Edge of Seventeen

8/10 on IMDB from me. Well worth seeing though you won’t find anything new here. Just reassuring if you’re old like me, or disturbing if you have yet to get old.

It’s a rites of passage, coming of age story. Not revolutionary. Not thrilling. But it is told with an authentic voice. And it is both very American and yet somewhat unAmerican because of its on-the-fringe-yet-OK vibe.

Edge of Seventeen demonstrates the brilliant solipsism of teenage years before the mundane horrors of adulthood, knowledge, and insight start to kick in.

 

You can read a few plot summaries at IMDB. Rather than spoil the movie I’ll share what I really liked:

  • The mopey teenage solipsism
  • The laconic history teacher played by Woody Harrelson
  • The ‘perfect’ yet martyred older brother played by Blake Jenner
  • The hopeless, yet hardworking and normal mother (Mona) played by Kyra Sedgwick who I found entertaining in ‘The Closer’
  • The tough incident where real, cruel, life shows its face
  • The endearing, yet awkward, relationship with Erwin played by Hayden Szeto

 

 

 

Snowden

I gave this 4/10 on IMDB.

The tale of patriot/traitor Edward Snowden as told by Oliver Stone.

Possibly one of the dullest ‘dramatisations’ of true events in recent times. If I hadn’t been deep in a row at the cinema I might have walked out. It’s not all bad, just insufficient good to balance the zzzzzz.

The pivotal events in Snowden’s journey to disaffection with his work are too much like real life: stressful, slow, and undramatic. The tension he feels between his conscience, his apparent love for his country, and his love of his work is apparent. Rhys Ifans probably plays he best role. At times menacing and controlling and at others conciliatory and supportive.

The journalists are straight out of a book of journalist stereotypes.

The setup of the movie seems very traditional in the ‘well the events went like this’ looking back as the story is told to the journalists. Unimaginative.

Possibly one of the biggest stories of the early 21st century told with sufficient dullness to make you wish you’d just stayed at home and put Sneakers, Hackers, or Spy Game on instead.