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Showing posts from May, 2013

Mud

Mud
There's a movie that Mud appears to be, but isn't, that one would probably wish it had in fact been. That is, one that looks upon the heroes of our youth and sees in them projections of the strength we at the time needed them to have, for understanding them as versions of ourselves but in the adult world. Ellis is a fourteen-year-old boy with an abnormal amount of bravery, self-control and heart, but a lot of what is distinctive about him looks like it might be at risk as the life that nourished it--his life with his two parents, living up river amongst loner individualists--is collapsing, and he'll be absconded by his mother into a townie life. The townie kids hang out in packs, are ruled by peer expectations, and don't seem worth a whole bunch. They make great components of your own feats, if all you do is periodically range amongst them and thwart or humiliate them, but if they were your everyday milieu your automatic need for company and experimentation amongst …

Star Trek: Into Darkness

Star Trek: Into Darkness
One of the criticisms of Abrams -- perhaps the foremost criticism of him -- is that he likes to let other directors do the hard work of staking out new territory, and then he comes in into fully delineated terrain, and makes some adjustments -- "Sally would work better with Jonathon, and the couch should go there--". With his last film everybody had him as of the dutiful flock of Spielberg, and with this film, at least at the beginning -- the same. It's Raiders of the Lost Ark, with tribesman chasing down our interloper heroes, spears thrown, an artifact used to momentarily buy time by tricking the tribesmen into forgetting their current purpose and supplicating themselves, and an escape into an airship (no snake, but discord of a kind: Spock and Kirk feuding). But okay, in truth this sort of chase is how he began his last Star Trek film, so maybe this is just how he gets a number of his films revved up. The possibility, though, that Abrams is a b…

Oz the Great and Powerful

Oz the Great and Powerful
Some time in the past there were tinkerers who were great and powerful -- so great that in this mundane world of ours it still would require a moment's recalibration to not consider them actually half magic, if someone persisted in your face that they were in fact so. Edison, if you want the best example, though you might also go with Benjamin Franklin, or whoever it was Scorsese's movie Hugo was worshipping. Stage magician Oz hopes to be like that, and spurns women left and right to keep himself fixed to this goal. He'd have been okay if this didn't also mean his deceiving women into his bed, but for this, judgment appears to have cast upon him and the rest of his life is going to be about lifelong serving the bequests of women, fixed to a spot rather than a free wanderer, readily reached by three very empowered, three very great and powerful, witch-women. But the actor playing Oz is James Franco, and so maybe the people behind this film had i…

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby


One thing I never confused the movie for the book for, was its portrayal of Gatsby. In the book I could believe that the huge estate he had prepared was but to lure him Daisy, while in the movie it is surely his aggrandizement--I honestly thought most of the time of Orson Wells's Kane while watching puffed up Leo. He strolls his party not so much invisible, as he is in the book, but hidden master of it all. And he shows off how that special person and that special person and that special person are all there, rendered as they are into part of his ample house collections, with them trapped to not want to be anything else, owing to his hosting the biggest draw in town--Beethoven in his second act, and this just one feature. Every night he houses his parties, and every night the whole town is corralled into it -- he's master of the house and master of all. And so at the end of the evening when he strolls outside and looks across the water at the beaming green lig…

Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3
If you ever give someone a twenty-foot stuffed animal for a present, you might want to consider that you're doing so more out of a desire to affront the receiver than please him/her, and that also possibly you're communicating that you're the one -- the denied child -- in gigantic need of love yourself. It could pass as just making up for long neglect, as it is does in this film, but when you're following up by fooling your lover (here with Pepper engaging with simulacrum Tony while the real one pulls his strings in his den) and then maybe not-so-accidently fixing it so that your den toys substitute as nightmare horrors to scare the Dickens out of her, the truth is that you may be the one who is frustrated and in anger, and that you are unconsciously being driven to communicate it as loudly and aggressively as possible. Tony Stark is in need of attendance -- being ready to lose his life in favor of saving the world and finding himself in some other dimension …