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Monday, December 26, 2011

Weekend movies

The Descendants - I was released early from work on Friday and couldn't think of any better use for my found time than to see a movie (though I missed my chiropractor appt to do it).  I was a bit disappointed in this.  It was good, but not amazing. Maybe too much hype (including several friends who liked it very much) - I expected to be blown away and I wasn't. Charming little movie, but not as much "there" there as I wanted.  It introduces a bunch of interesting themes and characters, but doesn't do much with them, especially the descendant angle of the title, and it ties up all this messiness way too easily and tidily. I might want to read the novel, just to get a better sense of what the filmmaker saw in the source material that maybe didn't make it to the screen.

We Bought a Zoo - I thought Alana would really enjoy this (on Christmas day), but it suffers a little from the Marley and Me effect, in that the preview emphasizes the animal hijinks, but the film is much more about the adult human character.  I enjoyed it a lot, but I was very conscious that it was not completely enthralling to her.  Side note: I was interested enough to look up Benjamin Mee, and there is a lot that the movie changes from his story, including that his wife, Katherine, died after they bought the zoo, and that his mother (who is not a character in the movie) and brother (who is) were (and are) co-owners. In addition, the son was not a teenager when the zoo was purchased, he was 7, about the age of the younger daughter in the movie.  And the zoo, renamed Rosemoor in the film, is really Dartmoor, in England! (The kids' names were also changed.)  I would have loved to attend writers' meetings, to hear why all these changes were considered necessary.

Chipwrecked - I tried to avoid taking Alana to see this sequel of Alvin and the Chipmunks, but Larry took Cal to a double feature (The Darkest Hour and Sherlock Holmes), so I ran out of excuses.  It wasn't as bad as I expected, with the usual message of "be yourself" and some added love and forgiveness that was very sweet.  The music wasn't completely repulsive either.

On video:

Happily Ever Afters (2009) - silly British rom-com with very little romance and typical British comedy (apparently they find suicide attempts to be hilarious).  Charming leads (Sally Hawkins, Tom Riley), and a (standard) precocious pre-teen make this almost watchable, but certainly not memorable.

Soul Surfer (2011) - I was doing stuff around the house while I was watching this, so I missed a few scenes, but I got the gist; pretty good story, pretty well made - great casting and wonderful surfing (much of it is footage of the real Bethany Hamilton); I had been concerned that the religious message would be pushed too hard, but Jesus is definitely a secondary character in this story of the triumph of the spirit.

Captain America (2011) - I had not seen this, and Caleb wanted to watch it again.  It was okay, pretty much what I expected, except that I liked the kick ass female lead (Agent Peggy Carter, played by Hayley Atwell), who actually gets to do more than stand around being rescued while she screams.

Clash of the Titans (2010) - Ditto; and ditto - pretty much what I expected, which wasn't much; again, they managed to include a female character (Io, played by the gorgeous Gemma Atherton) who occasionally gets to hold her own; my only real complaint is the way they muddled the mythology - I couldn't even follow it - I spent half the movie reading entries on Wikipedia. Side note: the sequel, Wrath of the Titans, is being promoted now (with Rosamund Pike taking on the role of Andromeda because the original actress wasn't available - I would consider watching it just for her).



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