What have I been watching this week? It’s been a mixed week, with the beginning being sort of rough and the last half being pretty great.
- Galaxy Quest by Dean Parisot
- Horns by Alexandre Aja
- Edge of Tomorrow by Doug Liman
- Interstellar by Christopher Nolan
- Her by Spike Jonze
So, not really a fan of this, to be honest. Maybe it’s because I never liked the old Star Trek.
I mean, this is a solid movie with plenty of humor and a pretty great narrative thrust. Like, it works. It has a strong cast, despite how Tim the Tool Man Taylor repulses me, and they work well together.
I like the kind of randomness of the quest. Maybe that’s obvious to people who know me, but I love anything that’s sort of centered on pure chance and randomness. None of the film even happens without narcissism, carelessness, coincidence, and idiotic bravado, which is kind of the best way for a story to work.
But, yeah, it’s solid, just not my cup of tea. I don’t even remember why I decided to watch it. A late night and I think I meant to go to sleep during it, but it kept me watching, so maybe I like it more than I think I do. Maybe I’d even say it’s awesome if Tim Allen weren’t in it.
We don’t expect much from Harry Potter after the series ends, but I think he’s turning into a decent actor. He carries this film, which is sort of a heavy load, and he–understandably–drops it. But that’s not really his fault. He does a great job! He’s believable. He manages to be likable. We care about his journey. He inhabits his character and this reality.
But the film around him is just simply not good.
It’s funny when it shouldn’t be and it’s not particularly scary when it should be. The dialogue’s flat and mostly broken and most of the actors are struggling to pretend to be who they’re paid to pretend to be.
So none of that’s Daniel Radcliffe’s fault. In a better film, this would be a real breakout role for him. As it is, this is just something he starred in that most people will never care about.
Anyrate, I kind of liked it! It has a real silliness to it. While most of that is pretty unintentional, it also makes it quite pleasant and easy to watch. It’s just generally goofy and it’s kind of delightful to watch someone with demonic powers use them in such a petty and silly way.
I wouldn’t watch this again and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, but if you find yourself watching it, just know that there are worse ways to waste your time.
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
This is fun. It’s something I actually meant to see in theatres but never got around to. In fact, I only saw it because I’m in a hotel room trying to pass a kidney stone. It’s been sort of a rough couple days, truth be told. Stones are not meant to be in your kidney or bladder.
Love seeing Tom Cruise not in control of the narrative. This film is about failure and how we learnt from failure and become someone else by failing relentlessly.
Tom Cruise is not meant for battle when the film begins but he becomes the war itself after dying again and again. Hundreds of times. This is like a masochistic Groundhog’s Day with a very different kind of dark humor, but also way more action.
And the action matters! It’s fun to watch. Big setpieces of an interspecies war that remains new and exciting throughout the film. War films have a way of desensitising you to landscape and explosions, but I didn’t really feel that here. Even though the battle repeated itself endlessly, it managed to remain fresh and exciting while also developing.
See, they used landscape and the war as a character, which developed gradually and fluidly.
Eventually we move past it, but not before a few surprises, a few laughs, and a lot of dying.
Like, tons of it. Tom Cruise dies over and over and over again. Sometimes this manages to be even hilarious. Other times it’s absolutely shocking.
The interplay between the characters is pretty great and the acting is overall fantastic. Even from Tom Cruise! Well, not fantastic, but he does a solid job.
The film moves beyond its premise. It becomes more than just a kitschy recursive film about war and becomes something a bit deeper and more memorable. Tom Cruise is even able to not be a smarmy ass onscreen. This is probably the first time I’ve felt connected to a character he’s done since Magnolia.
After hundreds of Deaths, he finds that his best friend in the world and maybe the person he loves most is right beside him. She was teaching him for so long, training him through so many Deaths till he’s eventually leading her, taking care of her. They’re still working together and this never becomes a film where boy rescues damsel in distress. They’re stuck in a puzzle they need to piece their way out of, which is what keeps this film consistently great.
I don’t know what else to say about this.
It’s a fantastic action film.
Saw this over the weekend and still not sure how I feel about it. I’m probably going to write a review about it soon. About how it’s a terrible film and also a great film but never anything in between. It’s never just something to watch.
It’s an extremely powerful and evocative film. It’s an experience, in the best possible way, in the way that only film and great art can be. It pushes you. It moves you. It twists and turns and writhes inside and then through you.
This is Nolan at his best but also at his most convoluted and messy.
Because this is a big sprawling mess.
It’s also sometimes perfect that way.
It’s a very difficult film to even discuss. Mostly I just think that everyone is wrong about this film. Every review I’ve ever read is wrong. I think people are both overthinking this and underthinking it. They’re missing the point or they’re turning the point into the wrong thing, making it land out of place.
Incredible visuals with the perfect score. The action setpieces are exciting. The worldbuilding is brilliant. The earthly apocalypse is both fascinating and fully formed. It’s my favorite vision of earth at its most desolate.
Its structure. Incredibly messy and sprawling. It probably should have remained more focused. This is actually a problem with Nolan that’s been growing since The Dark Knight, which just barely manages to hold itself together. See, Nolan keeps trying to shove more and more Acts into a film. He’s looking at a Shakespearean structure, which is fine, but he’s filling the final three Acts with big action sequences, which sort of dilute everything. It works in The Dark Knight because we have the Joker to hold it all together. It doesn’t really work in Inception. It almost works in The Dark Knight Rises and it doesn’t work here.
Also, the surreal visions of the film are sort of the perfect metaphor for the film.
They’re both brilliant and flat out stupid.
And that’s kind of what this film is. It’s perfect but it’s also really bad.
Despite that, it’s one of the strongest and most intense experiences I’ve had in theatres.
It’s a film that demands to be seen in theatres and I’m glad I did, even though it was months and months late.
Definitely see this and decide for yourself.
Don’t listen to what anyone says about this because they’re all wrong. Even Christopher Nolan. Even me.
Watched this for the first time about a year ago while I was going through an exceptionally rough time in my life. Back then I was sort of tiptoeing the edge of disaster and a lot of things in my life were threatening to collapse, so it hit me quite hard.
Watched it last night after spending a few hours in the hospital and it hit me hard again.
Everything about this film is just about perfect. Even Scarlet Johansson, who I generally strongly dislike.
The music, the acting, the direction, the worldbuilding, the dialogue, the script, everything. This film is maybe my favorite romance not made by Wong Kar Wai or Terrence Malick.
It does so many things so brilliantly and it tells a story larger than the film itself, which is what the best art does. It sticks with you. It moves through you. It lives inside you and never goes away. It barely even fades.
There’s a scene, their last moment together–it’s so heartbreaking and crushing. It’s one of the strongest moments of love ever captured on film.
I imagine it’s difficult for many people to really give themselves to this love. This disembodied love.
What does it mean to be human?
What does love mean?
What will life mean for humanity when we’re not the only intelligence around?
This film touches on a lot of things that are very close to me.
In fact, I even wrote a novella that’s remarkably similar to this way back in 2011 but never published or even sent out to any publishers. It’s a novella I love but it’ll never quite hit the way Her manages to. It burns me to write that, but it’s so true.
If you haven’t seen this yet, you should. Especially if you love subtle SF.