Monday, July 4, 2016
Some More Movies I Haven't Written About
Captain America: Civil War: It's pretty amazing that with a few exceptions every Marvel movie is essentially a continuation of the Avengers, This time there's a split over the world's governments wanting superheroes either to register and come under governmental control or retire. Iron Man: pro. Cap: anti. Others pick a side or have their own agendas (such as the new-to-the-films Black Panther).Not much to complain about, except the guy who orchestrated the events that lead to the split is kind of lame. On the other hand, they nailed the introduction in this Marvel Cinematic Universe of Spider-Man. Nailed it! My grade: A.
The Boss: A starring vehicle for Melissa McCarthy, as a wealthy CEO, nasty to everyone until she loses everything and goes to jail for insider trading. Then...well, she's still nasty, even to her former assistant (Kristen Bell), the one person still willing to take her now-homeless ex-boss in. Can she claw her way back to the top and maybe even become a better person? (cough)formula(cough) Which isn't to say there aren't (R-rated) laughs. Just don't expect a brilliant story in addition. My grade: C-plus.
Sing Street: I loved this little indie out of Ireland. Conor, a teenager in Dublin in 1985 has to switch to a state-run Catholic school due to the family's financial problems. While trying to avoid bullying by both other students and the principal, he meets a pretty girl and, to impress her, tells her he's in a band. He then has to start a band. There's a lot of great interaction between all the main characters, but I was particularly touched by the relationship between Conor and his older brother. There's great music of the era (the Cure, Duran Duran, etc. and a few originals that fit in as well. My grade: A-minus.
Money Monster: George Clooney plays Lee Gates, a host of a wild Wall Street TV show (think "Mad Money" and Jim Cramer) and Julia Roberts is the show's director. One day after a stock touted by Gates completely tanks, loising virtually its entire value, a guy who invested his meager life savings in said stock breezes onto the show's set (way too easily! Hello, security?), pulls a gun and forces Gates to put on a vest lined with explosives, threatening to blow up the host and kill himself if he doesn't get an explanation. Everything plays out in the studio, on live TV and eventually the streets of New York, it's all well-acted and tense enough, but a bit preposterous. But it dosen't comment on Wall Street shenanigans the way The Big Short tried to, and Clooney and Roberts actually shared just one scene together; they mostly talked via the studio PA system or phone. My grade: B.
Zootopia: I was stunned, The ads pulled you in with a world populated with nothing but animals walking and talking and living in a modern utopia, where predators and prey live in harmony, with a rabbit who achieves her goal of being the first rabbit police officer in Zootopia, but put on parking-ticket duty because the police chief doesn't think she can do anything else, and when she does try and solve a crime she's forced to get info from the "fastest" DMV worker -- a sloth. Hahaha! Animated comedy! But as the movie continues, the timely message -- in utopia things aren't always what they seem, and even in a diverse society, old prejudices lurk not far from the glossy surface -- is skillfully and subversively worked in. Brilliant. My grade: A-plus.
The Nice Guys: Buddy action-comedy set in 1977 Los Angeles, starring Ryan Gosling as...well, not the most successful private eye in the world, who with some help from his young daughter, teams up with Russell Crowe as an enforcer-for-hire to investigate the case of a porn star killed in a car crash but whose aunt insists she saw her alive days later. Raunchy, violent, and surprisingly funny. I liked the pairing of Crowe and Gosling. My grade: B-plus.
X-Men: Apocalypse: The younger X-Men from "Days of Future Past" -- with a a few new mutants -- have to save the world from the very first mutant, who rules ancient Egypt until he's entombed (despite his powers?) until 1983. He is angry at the state of modern society and decides to destroy everything and start anew. But he needs a few more mutants -- again, if he's so powerful why does he need help (Four Horsemen, as it were)? A lot of plot that makes no sense. But like in the last film, there's another standout sequence featuring Quicksilver (Evan Peters) using his speed -- this time to evacuate the students of the Xavier School as an epxlosion is about to destroy it -- and it's set to "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" by Eurythmics! 1983 rules! My grade: C-minus.