Monday, July 7, 2014

Movies June 2014

Didn't see any "BEST" movies during June.

GOOD

Tous les Matins du Monde. Surgeon General's warning: Do not watch this film if you are depressed, it's one of the most melancholic films I've ever seen. The performances are excellent, and if you adore the sound of the instrument known as a viol de gamba (similar to the cello but I think not as resonant) you may love this film in spite of the story. I would not have imagined that I could watch nothing but the face of Gerard Depardieu for a good 15-20 minutes without it being awkward, but that's how this film stars, it shows what a gifted actor he is.

DIDN'T LIKE

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The dialogue is not only extremely modern, and therefore unTolkienesque, but trite and predictable. The action is so constant that this is a lot like watching a video game except you can't do anything. Either Jackson or his set designer has decided that all mysterious places need to have great verticality so that the characters continually fall as things crumble, and it gets very monotonous. The only scene I enjoyed was the one in which Jackson finally lets Gandalf be Gandalf and have some power, rather than continually being a clueless dunderhead.

Young Sherlock Holmes. Paul and I both saw this originally years ago, and he wanted to see it again after all the other versions of Conan-Doyle's work we've seen recently, including the thrilling Sherlock. But it's really bad, suffering from Spielberg's insistence on making movies about people he wished he'd been and Chris Columbus' stifled scene-writing.

Pompeii. What can I say, I thought the special effects might be worth watching, though I suspected the story would be dumb. And it was, and they weren't, even the tsunami wasn't worth watching, seawater isn't that color. Kit Harrington showed more range than I would've expected based on his performance in Game of Thrones. Lots of things about the plot were borrowed from other better sword-and-sandal epics like Gladiator, and lots of other things made no logical sense.

The Hunger Games. Yow, I thought I'd enjoy this after reading a little about the story. My stomach hurt for at least the first half of the movie -- I'm all about keeping people safe, and this is the quintessential story about people who can't be safe, the safest choice they can make is to surrender to being killed so they don't have to murder others -- until Paul started speaking up about how silly much of it was. It's rare that he dislikes a movie more than I do, he thought it was completely ridiculous, and he made a lot of good points. Jennifer Lawrence is still a treat to watch, her ability to show in her face what's happening inside her is amazing, she's like a young Meryl Streep with more sex appeal. Woody Harrelson's character is bizarre, and Donald Sutherland was seriously miscast, I don't know what they were thinking, they needed somebody who can do corrupt and sleazy, which Sutherland apparently can't.

TV SHOWS/SERIES

The Three Musketeers, the 1966 British 10-part television series starring Jeremy Brett as D'Artagnan. Brett and Brian Blessed as Porthos are the only two reasons to watch this. The only words to describe this series are, "it's a hoot." The performances are intentionally over the top, the music is so hyper-energetic, that it's fun to watch, sort of like a cross between a swashbuckler and the Keystone Cops. Brett is gorgeous. The first 5 episodes are much easier to follow than the last 5, in part because this was such a low-budget production, so if you don't already know the story you're going to be a bit lost.