Tag Archives: Movie Review

Justice League

Justice League is a lot of fun. Also, it shows promise. Maybe, just maybe, DC Comics films will finally shake free of the desaturated joylessness that has been their hallmark for a decade. This summer’s Wonder Woman was brilliant and beautiful, and Justice League, though not quite up to that standard, is fun, and triumphant, and (eventually) colorful.

Yes, it begins with sepia-toned misery, but then? Well, okay, then things get worse, but the film doesn’t wallow in that for too long. Okay, yes, it does wallow in that for a while, but then it finishes wallowing and gets on with the heroic, colorful business of being a superhero movie that reminds us why we love comic book heroes.

Justice League clears my Threshold of Awesome, and it also clears my “must own the soundtrack” bar, because Elfman reprised not only his own 1989 Batman theme, but also John Williams’ 1977 Superman theme.

Thor: Ragnarok

I have a new favorite Marvel Movie.

Thor: Ragnarok was amazing fun. It cleared my Threshold of Awesome, it nabbed my top spot for 2017, and yeah, I saw it twice within 14 hours. I’m looking forward to picking up the Blu-Ray as soon as it’s available.

I could write about all the things I loved, but then I’d be spoiling the movie for you, and I don’t want to do that. The trailers didn’t want to do that either.

It’s kind of cool, really. Certain key-frame scenes don’t happen the way the trailer plays them out, preventing spoilers. In some cases the background is different. In others the costuming and incidental make-up is different. And in still others the scene doesn’t actually happen with those people in it.

I’ll give you a low-impact example:

In this still from the trailer the background  looks kind of urban—perhaps it’s an alley? In the actual film, however, this is not the setting for the action in question, so when the event happens in the film, we’re not expecting it. We’re not in that alley we remember seeing in the trailer.

I like this practice a lot. I want trailers to give me a sense of how the movie is going to make me feel, but I don’t want any of the big reveals.

Okay, yes, I suppose the bit about Cate Blanchett’s character catching Mjolnir is a big reveal, and if you haven’t actually seen any of the trailers I suppose I should apologize for posting this snippet, because now it’s out there, but hey, maybe it’s not the REAL Mjolnir, or maybe it’s a dream sequence. Am I off the hook now?

Geostorm

Geostorm is to climate science what Armageddon was to rocket science. It’s also to rocket science what Armageddon was to rocket science, but if I keep going I’ll have described an entire course catalog.

The message of the film, “let’s take care of our planet responsibly,” is delivered a little heavy-handedly, and since the audience for the film is the crowd who’s just there for the popcorn, I’m not sure it’ll be received as intended. Still, it’s nice of the filmmakers to give it a shot.

Geostorm arrives on my list at the lower middle of the “not awesome, not disappointing” pack.

 

Blade Runner 2049

I watched the theatrical version of 1982’s Blade Runner on Friday morning to prep for a 12:30pm showing of Blade Runner 2049. I did this on a whim, but I’m very glad I did, because it made the parallels between the two films stand out, and not in a bad way.

It also meant I spent 5 hours in the Blade Runner universe, and that place weighs pretty heavily on the soul. Even the shiny parts of that future are unsettling, like blood on chrome, and the non-shiny parts are deeply bleak, like broken bones in sand.

But the parallels? Wow. Sure, there were plenty of obvious callbacks, like eyeball imagery, constant rain, and telling the computer to enhance images, but there were also thematic links in the camera angles, color palettes, and the pacing. Even the soundtrack, which was not the work of Vangelis, sounded to me like music which, under decades of environmental pressure, was driven to evolve from Vangelis¹. It’s different, but Vangelis is still there, like mitochondrial DNA.

I was amazed by the film, and I liked it, but Blade Runner 2049 still doesn’t clear my personal Threshold of Awesome. Mostly because I prefer to have a bit more fun at the movies. Setting that aside, however, it is an awesome film².


¹ My library contains several albums of Vangelis music, including at least one version of the original Blade Runner soundtrack. I suspect that Zimmer and Wallfisch spent many hours with a similar library before laying down anything in the studio.
²In the interest of letting moviegoers know what they’re in for: Blade Runner 2049 has more nudity and violence than the original film, and at two hours and 47 minutes it runs kind of long.