Brat Farrar (bratfarrar) wrote,
Brat Farrar

reviews: man of steel; paycheck; red 2; hobbit: dos

Watched a bunch of movies recently; still working on getting my reading of actual books up and running again. Not putting anything behind a cut, as I don't think there are any spoilers.

Man of Steel - I had pretty much no expectations about this movie, except that I knew some people didn't like it and others were ambivalent--I don't think I came across anyone who outright liked it. Well, I did. I liked that it was above all a movie about aliens, and that the alien technology was cool and different. Having the movie be almost as much about Lois as Clark worked really well, in part because she seemed (mostly) like someone who could believably like someone who could have survived reporting on active war zones (and very much wasn't the shrieky type; the times when she screamed, I probably would have too). The general reaction to discovering aliens and Clark in particular seemed more realistic than usual: mostly a sense of "we're not really sure what to do with you" than the usual "kill it with fire"/"stick him in the nearest laboratory". The soldiers seemed mostly believable as soldiers.

So really, my reaction isn't that I loved it, but I was able to enjoy watching it because I wasn't constantly thrown out of the story by implausibility (except maybe Kal-El's cape). The visuals were at times gorgeous and conveyed what was happening in an interesting fashion. And the music--well, I actually don't remember it, which for me is a sign of a good soundtrack. It should be there to support the action, not distract from it--if I remember it, unless it's a musical, something probably went wrong.

I'd happily watch it again.

Paycheck - This was a rewatch with a bunch of friends--I have parts of this movie nearly memorized, although I'm not sure why I've seen it so many times. It's one of those that almost works, but doesn't quite--the holes show a little too clearly, the exposition's a little too expository, and the motorcycle chase scene goes on a little too long. The characters are what manage to hold it together, sort of. It was fun watching it with an EMT/firefighter/ex-Air Force guy, though--he talked afterward not so much about the sins of this movie in particular, but of the genre (and movies in general; one such example as shock paddles, both their usage and that they're used at all).

It's the kind of movie that's stupid, and everyone knows it's stupid, but it's kind of fun and so winds up being a good compromise movie. Or something along those lines.

RED 2 - SO MUCH FUN. I loved the first movie, and this one was just as good. The chemistry between the characters is magical, it had Ivan and Victoria being adorable together (and Ivan and Victoria saving everyone's bacon several times), everyone was smart and mostly grown up and also ridiculous. Marvin keeps trying to give Frank relationship advice, Sarah proves that she can hold her own, and the new characters have just as much weight (and skill) as the familiar ones. Everyone's competent, even when they're making mistakes--just that alone makes me ridiculously happy--and the banter is hilarious and I should probably get around to buying these movies at some point because I wind up grinning the whole time when I watch them. Rewatching just makes them funnier.

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug - I wish I could say the same about this. I tried. I really did. I wanted to like this. But I kept getting distracted by the obtrusive music, or wondering how a character got information about something he really shouldn't have known, or cringing at yet another unbelievable action sequence, and ...

Well. I did try.

Am I glad I watched this? Yes. I now can talk about it from a first-hand experience, instead of just based off other peoples' reviews. Will I rewatch it? Probably not, except perhaps the extended edition, or if a friend has a movie party or something.

I should perhaps add that I am boggled at Hobbit: DOS getting a higher review score than RED 2. RED 2 didn't have me asking "how do you know that?" every five minutes. RED 2 didn't have me wishing someone would turn the sound track off. RED 2 had me laughing at actual jokes and not the absurdity of the stunts. RED 2 had actual dialog and not just exposition. RED 2 had me worried that characters would die--main characters, even. RED 3 is apparently being written, and I might actually go see it at the theater (which I rarely do). I'll probably go see the last Hobbit installment in the theater too, but only because I suspect I wouldn't be able to sit through it if I watched it at home.
Tags: reviews & recommendations

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