Man of Steel (2013)

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It’s been a minute guys/bots/spammers. Sorry about it. I’ve been busy, lifein’ it up, making (not enough) money, meeting human beings. I’ve watched a lot of movies that I just haven’t even reviewed. We’ll see if I can get in some belated reviews sometime in the not-too-heinously-distant future.

Moving on. Man of Steel. Honestly? Mediocre. This is the thing about a lot of the superhero movies that have been coming out in the last few years: it seems the new thing is to make these complex, tortured superheroes that are more than just amazing abilities. They’re real and they have issues. The movies are always so moody.

But at the same time, they’re comic book characters. I think so many of these movies fall short because they spend so much time really trying to balance the two. I either want to have a super fun romp, where people get beat up and shoot laser beams out of their eyeballs or whatever. Or I want to see a story about a guy who has issues – family, love, personal, whatever – who happens to have super strength.

When it comes down to it, shouldn’t I be rooting for someone? When I was watching Man of Steel I just didn’t even care. I didn’t care if anyone died. I didn’t care if anyone lived. I didn’t care who won or who lost. It was just so incredibly predictable and mostly bland. I was most compelled with the young instances of Clark Kent dealing with his gift/curse.

(I take that back. I did care at one point. I was going to lose my shit if anything happened to that dog.)

Don’t get me wrong, it was fun to watch. Good effects, cool costumes, an awesome mini-Battlestar Galactica reunion, and Henry Cavill is painfully good looking. Otherwise? Meh.

People really seem to be raving about Michael Shannon’s portrayal of Zod. I wasn’t that impressed, which sucks because I like him and think he’s kind of a terrifying man.

And Lois Lane? It was just a bunch of bullshit. Don’t get me wrong, I’d want to jump his bones, too, but to expect me to believe that she was ~*~in love~*~ with Superman? What, because he saved her? It’s a fucked up, almost the opposite of Stockholm Syndrome trope. Immediately, I think of Lois Lane, Mary Jane Watson, and whatever Natalie Portman’s character’s name was in Thor. All these women just losing their shit because a man – or anyone – uses their superpowers to save them? Please.

** stars

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The Host (2013)

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Okay, maybe I did read ‘The Host’ by Stephenie “I Have the Same Emotional Depth and Writing Abilities as a 13-Year-Old-Girl” Meyer. What of it? You wanna say something? Say it.

And while the book was a step up – a step, you’re still in the cellar, you’re just a little bit closer to the door – from the Twilight series, it still wasn’t great. I appreciated the idea behind it. Souls take over a body and they’ve been doing it on 12 different planets before getting to Earth. There is a resistance, love conquers all, blah blah blah.

I’m sure there’s some symbolic something or another in regard to this story. You know, something about what makes a person a person. Something about religion, something about love, so on and so forth. I’m not trying to get all Spring Breakers on this movie. Not even a little bit worth it.

The Host was sooo melodramatic. Lots of near-tears scenes, lots of kissing, lots of building trust, lots of “aw c’mon, humans can’t be that bad. I’ll bet aliens would even like us!” As much as I love Saorsie Ronan (that girl is a badass), her screaming “MONSTERS!” when she found out the people in the resistance she was slowly becoming a part of were trying to figure out a way to take the souls out of the human hosts, thereby killing the souls, was laughable.

Plus, Melanie/Wanda is the least flawed person ever. One guy goes from wanting to kill her (the soul, Wanda) to being in love with her in a few days. She never does anything wrong. She just keeps doing everything she can to help the human stuck inside her (well, really, the soul is stuck in her but…you get it?) and the humans who are sheltering her and slowly coming to trust her. Bitch doesn’t step out of line. She just keeps giving weepy mini-speeches and helping. Give me a break. And the other guy, the guy who loves the human, Melanie, shows zero emotion in regard to his lady (kind of) kissing another guy. In fact, all three of them hardly ever have scenes together. There is never a conversation about the oddity of the threesome since it’s a foursome between three bodies. I don’t know.

It was an okay looking movie. They were in caves for a lot of tit but they’re big desert canyon things (I’ll hand it to them: the movie looked exactly like I had imagined it when I read the book. Props on that), so I guess it was kind of grand and pretty. And the souls were very high-techy. A little bit Gattaca.

I don’t know. I honestly don’t have a whole lot of an opinion on this. It was a slightly better and sci-fi take on Twilight. Fewer abusive relationships, a little more character development, a slightly more original plot. It was an okay way to spend a Saturday night. But in reality, the Oreos I ate were more of a highlight for me. Then again, I like really love Oreos.

* star

Anna Karenina (2012)

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I won’t even pretend like I’ve read Tolstoy’s super-long novel. I haven’t. Russian literature isn’t something I’m particularly interested in. All I knew about Anna Karenina is that it’s about a lady named Anna who does some scandalous things with a man and it ruins her life.

And you know what guys? That’s exactly right. Apparently a married, aristocratic woman having an affair in the 1800s in Russia isn’t something that inclines people to give a cheeky grin and a wink and say “You go, girl!”

Honestly, the most important thing about this movie is that Joe Wright directed it. Now there’s a man who knows how to make a beautiful movie. This movie did some weird shit – a lot of the movie was set in a theatre. In order for people to “leave a building” and go to the “street” they would climb the stairs in the wings of the theatre. Then, the catwalk and fly system would serve as the streets. In one scene, one of the characters opens a door that’s part of a Russian city backdrop and is suddenly in a train station. In another scene, there’s a horse race and everyone is gathered in the theatre – they are the audience and the race occurs on stage.

Weird. But I did not hate it.

It seemed like Wright was making a movie/play hybrid. I mean, there was choreography throughout the movie to the point of it being something you’d see in a musical. It took a few minutes for me to adjust and grasp exactly what was happening, or actually, what wasn’t happening. These people weren’t hanging out in a theatre conducting their lives. It was a narrative technique or whatever! Makes more sense.

There was some really cool dancing at the ball in the movie (a scene highlighting a common occurrence in the movie – only a few characters moving while everyone eles remains impossibly still. Excellent effect) but one thing kept throwing me – in the dance, they’d do this bit where they kept wiggling their elbows near one another and I could not stop thinking about Magenta and Riff Raff from Rocky Horror Picture Show and their elbow sex.

Unknown time period, campy, alien elbow sex vs 1800s, high society, fancy elbow sex.

Unknown time period, campy, alien elbow sex vs 1800s, high society, fancy elbow sex.

The story dragged in some scenes and it was a bit long and it was depressing. But it was absolutely lovely to look at. It was kind of hard knowing from the get-go that the protagonist is doomed. You don’t need to know anything about the book to get that. Beautiful woman in Russia having an affair. How could that possibly end well?

This scene was gorgeous. It doesn't really come through right here, but in the theatre. Daaaaaaaaamn, son.

This scene was gorgeous. It doesn’t really come through right here, but in the theatre. Daaaaaaaaamn, son.

**** stars

75: The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black – February 3, 2012
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds
Written by: Jane Goldman
Directed by: James Watkins

The plot: “A young lawyer travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.” – IMDB

My thoughts: For whatever reason, I saw this at midnight on its opening day. I have considerably long days so I found myself a bit tired at the beginning of the movie. It takes a solid 20 minutes for things to really get freaky and initially, my thoughts were that it would be full of cheap scares and unfortunately turn out to be more like Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. Luckily, it was effectively creepy.

I give most of the creepy credit to the art department because the toys and dolls in that movie were HORRIFYING. At one point, a shot hovered over a doll with blonde hair and jagged, shark teeth and the entire theater nervously laughed. And there was a clown doll and one too many monkeys to sit comfortably with me. My friends and I all determined that the very early 1900s would not have been an idyllic time to grow up or live in. Everything seemed distinctly…evil.

The plot was a bit tired, but keep in mind, it’s based on a book from the 1980s so I would venture to guess that the whole “vengeful/unfinished ghost story” wasn’t quite as overused as it is now. I thought the film did a really good job with a plot that’s been seen countless times. And it was great that they made it so dark. Kids were seen being set on fire and spitting out blood. I think that’s at least a little disturbing.

Beyond plot and the creep-factor, there were some absolutely gorgeous landscape shots. The initial shot of the train, with rolling green fields, perfect skies, and a line of smoke coming of the train was incredible and I was awestruck at the shot of the road leading to the island. The film was really beautiful visually which is a nice change of pace for a horror/thriller movie which doesn’t always pay attention to that stuff.

And finally, the acting. Daniel Radcliffe has certainly come a long way since the first Harry Potter movies. Despite being pocket-sized, he has an intense presence on screen. Everyone was wonderful in the film and it was nice to see such a distinctly English film (Daniel Radcliffe is probably the only notable actor to mainstream American audiences) get a warm reception in America – or at least in the theater I was in. It was pretty full and people seemed to generally like it.

Stars: 4/5 (mostly due to the somewhat lackluster plot)

AND NOW, FOR A FEW SPOILERS:

For anyone who saw the film, God damn that ending! I really thought that DanRad was going to save his (totally adorable) son and the ghost would be done since someone finally saved a child! But I guess her whole “Never forgive! Never forgive!” wasn’t an exaggeration. Jennet (was that a common name in the 1800s?) meant business and she was going to kill every child she could find.

73: Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk Down – January 18, 2002
Starring: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Jason Isaacs, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana
Written by: Ken Nolan
Directed by: Ridley Scott

The plot: “123 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.” – IMDB

My thoughts: You might be thinking, “Kaitie, how did it take you over a decade to see Black Hawk Down?” and the only conclusive answer is “I don’t know.” I have no idea how it took me so long to see such a well-known film, by such a prominent director, and starring…everyone.

It was depressing and gory and I would have to imagine quite realistic. I have not been involved in war nor do I really know anyone who has served in the military, but still, it seemed believable to me.

The film was based on a book which was based on a true story about the U.S.’s raid on Somalia to capture warlord Aidid and because of this, the characters are “real”. I would have to assume that some – if not a lot of – liberties were taken in putting these characters on screen. At the same time, they all seemed so genuine and for lack of better word, normal. There was no hyperbolic, speech-y captain nor was there an underdog that saved the whole day. It was just all of these guys trying to stay alive and complete their mission.

The film was chaotic with a few moments of tense calm (that’s a total oxymoron but I’m not sure how else to describe it) as I would assume war is. It seems like in a lot of action movies it’s just non-stop firing and blowing shit up for 15 minutes and then a retreat followed by one big attack. In Black Hawk Down, the teams split up and went off on other little missions (rescuing the black hawk pilots). There was a lot of waiting around and regrouping.

For as many characters as there were, they did a pretty impeccable job of giving them all personality and a chance for us to get to know them just a little bit. There isn’t really a “main character” per se. Everyone is pretty equal despite their ranks.

I really enjoyed Black Hawk Down as most people did 10 years ago. It was honest and gruesome and yeah, I might have gotten a little teary at the end. I honestly can’t even think of any drawbacks. Maybe just don’t watch it if you’re in a depressed mood. It probably won’t be an effective “pick-me-up.”

Stars: 5/5

67: Blade Runner (a bit late to the whole thing)

Blade Runner – June 25, 1982
Starring: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young
Written by: Hampton Fancher, David Webb Peoples
Directed by: Ridley Scott

The plot: “In a cyberpunk vision of the future, man has developed the technology to create replicants, human clones used to serve in the colonies outside Earth but with fixed lifespans. In Los Angeles, 2019, Deckard is a Blade Runner, a cop who specialises in terminating replicants. Originally in retirement, he is forced to re-enter the force when six replicants escape from an offworld colony to Earth.” – IMDB

My thoughts: I’m a little ashamed to admit that last night was my first time viewing Blade Runner. It’s a sci-fi classic and as a self-proclaimed geek/nerd, it’s something I probably should have seen ages ago. I guess that sentiment is applicable to a lot of films. Plus, I’m old enough now to fully appreciate a film like Blade Runner! Anyway, it’s been on my list for years, but a few months ago I was at a restaurant where I’m pretty sure Blade Runner should not have been playing and I saw this shot:

At that moment, I thought to myself, “If I don’t see Blade Runner, I’m just going to hate myself forever.” So last night, I finally did.

Honestly, I think the most stand-out thing for me was not the plot or the acting, but the art direction and shots in this film. It was beyond gorgeous (particularly the scene shown above in GIF form.) The costumes, the cityscapes…it all felt wonderfully futuristic and complete. I think that a lot of “in the future” movies work hard to make cute winks and clever jabs at technology’s current state, but in Blade Runner, it was an entirely new world. It looked like crazy people had moved to a new, inhabitable planet and made an almost Earth but not really and then let it slowly fall apart.

Harrison Ford and Sean Young were good in it, but I was more impressed by Rutger Hauer’s performance as I think is common after watching Blade Runner. He’s obviously psychotic and yet I fully sympathized with him. All he wanted was to live and love and in the end, he was just a desperate guy with no one there for him. Come on, that’s pretty sad.

I did a bit of reading up on the movie and in ’82, I guess it wasn’t especially popular. People wanted Star Wars and what they got was a film set heavily in developing characters in the future with little action and little galactic combat. A lot of critics thought that the plot was lost to special effects and that it was slow moving. True, maybe. But rather than saying “Here are the good guys, here are the good guys, let there be war,” the film really lets us get to know characters and I don’t know, probably wants us to question what it is to be human and blah blah blah.

The point is, it became a cult hit and Blade Runner stands the test of time even 30 years later. I really enjoyed it and can understand why it’s a sci-fi staple and see what influence it’s had over the futuristic/sci-fi genre. The acting was great, the design and art were impeccable, and even Vangelis’s soundtrack was wonderful.

Stars: 5/5

57: I Don’t Know How She Does It

I Don’t Know How She Does It – September 16, 2011
Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Greg Kinnear, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Munn, Christina Hendricks
Written by: Aline Brosh McKenna
Directed by: Douglas McGrath

The plot: “A comedy centered on the life of Kate Reddy, a finance executive who is the breadwinner for her husband and two kids.” – IMDB

Welcome all of my lovely readers to the first live blog at threesixfivefilm. The film to be reviewed (and subsequently torn apart)? I Don’t Know How She Does It starring Carrie Bradshaw Sarah Jessica Parker. Read along while you watch if you feel like subjecting yourself what is probably one of the worst movies of the year.

@ 00:50 – Christina Hendricks is gushing about how ah-maaaaah-zing SJP is. How did I never realize how annoying Christina’s voice is? It doesn’t sound like this on Mad Men, does it?

@ 03:52 – After a hard day’s work, SJP claims “not too tired for you to put it in, Greg Kinnear.” Why do I foresee her being asleep when Greg returns to the room?

@ 04:07 – SJP is asleep. Predictable.

@ 06:25 – SJP’s daughter is a little brat who can’t accept that her mom works and travels. ONLY CARTOONS CAN SATIATE SUCH HATRED.

@ 06:37 – Cute to Christina still gushing in interview/documentary form. Am confused; what kind of movie is this? A mockumentary? A documentary? Is this just the style the director chose? Does Christina single white female the shit out of SJP in the end? That would make this next hour and a half worth it.

@ 08:10 – Oh, they have a nanny! And I’m supposed to be stunned that she somehow “does it all” when she leaves her kids alone for…9-10 hours a day? I think I know how she does it.

@ 10:11 – Busy Phillips sighting. This movie just got not completely entirely horrible.

@ 11:11 – Okay, so apparently there are these things called “Momsters” and they move in slo-mo and…is this a not funny Mean Girls 20 years later? I rescind my previous comment; the movie remains horrible.

@ 12:10 – SJP is trying to tell her boss (Frasier Krane) why she’s late. Despite having a lot of pretty top notch lies (or just telling him to fuck off), she chooses to say “mammogram.” Ah, nothing like a little “Well, I might have cancer,” lie to get the boss off your back!

@ 13:48 – SETH MEYERS? Why are good people in this movie? Greg, Busy, and Seth. I am completely astounded.

@ 14:50 – Enter Seth Meyers as the mega-douche commenting on double standards and how the shininess of shoes between sexes is a double standard. (Apparently people really care about the shine of a man’s shoe but a woman’s can be covered in horse shit. Who cares!) I can’t figure out if this movie is full of misogyny, misandry, or just hate for all humans everywhere.

@ 15:40 – SJP gets to go meet with some fancy corporate head person (Pierce Brosnan) in NY! You’re perfect! You have a job and two kids…and a nanny and an assistant and loads of money!!!

@ 16:13 – I guess Olivia Munn is the uptight, work-is-the-only-thing-that-matters, I’m-a-robot assistant. Come on, this trope? Really?

@ 19:19 – New York establishing montage scenes, as is customary in every movie!

@ 20:42 – SJP itching her head? Claims “stress eczema.” Bitch, you got lice!

@ 22:10 – Text to SJP’s phone “Emily SNT home with LICE. Whole family must b treated.” I’m just saying – either I am a psychic or this movie is painfully predictable.

@ 25:17 – Busy Phillips throwing shade at SJP for her kids getting lice because they’re dirty. Come on, B, what kind of mom are you? Lice are typically more attracted to lean hair.

@ 25:48 – Holy shit, they’re walking into a store called Lice Enders. can this be real? Are there entire (what looks to be) salons devoted to the removal of lice?

@ 34:34 – Late nights with the new partner/friend/whatever? Pierce Brosnan, I think you’re about to have a raging hard-on for SJP.

@ 38:30 – MONTAGE!

@ 39:30 – SJP and Greg symbolically watching His Girl Friday. Oh I get it, SJP is torn between just being a mom/wife or having a career.

@ 41:15 – Pierce Brosnan signing e-mails XO.

@ 42:40 – Oh God, Olivia Munn is pregnant and wants to abort it, but not before SJP guilt trips her with a Carrie Bradshaw-worthy speech about how amazing being a mom is. Is this going to turn into a right-wing, anti-abortion movie?

@ 46:20 – Oh, dig at Cleveland and it’s lack of famous sites from Pierce Brosnan. Good one – THERE’S THE ROCK HALL AND OTHER STUFF, YOU DICK.

@ 47:00 – Pierce and SJP go bowling. “See? We’re real people! We’re not just Wall Streeters or whatever, we stick our fingers in balls and wear stinky, ugly shoes, too! Just like you guys!”

@ 51:10 – SJP trying to make plans now that her project is calming down? Sorry, girl, you about to get slammed and Greg Kinnear will not be pleased.

@ 51:55 – Surprise! Olivia Munn is having the baby. But that doesn’t mean she’s suddenly all touchy-feely! Only about the baby.

@ 52:33 – “Being pregnant doesn’t feel awesome. Feels like a mistake. But lots of people have babies as mistakes.” Perfect. Perfect way of looking at your pregnancy. This won’t have any negative repercussions (well, probably not in the movie but in real life? Loads.)

@ 58:00 – Uh oh, something’s come up and you have to get to a meeting on Thanksgiving. Family or job? Job! But don’t worry. In 35 more minutes, I’ll figure out a way to balance the two out and we’ll all have learned a valuable lesson.

@ 1:02:51 – Pierce almost just told SJP he loves her. Quelle surprise!

@ 1:04:10 – Okay, so Olivia Munn is trying to tell SJP that Pierce is going to take all of the credit for their project, but he insists she join him at a lunch with the investor (or something) because they’re a team. And yet, Olivia Munn doesn’t get invited because what did she do except all the research!

@ 1:09:00 – Everything is going perfectly at work but at home, oh her life is crumbling down around her. You have to forgive me, Greg. You have to forgive me. You have forgive me. You have to. You have to forgive me Greg. Greg, you have to forgive me.

@ 1:11:11 – You know, it might be wrong of me to say but SJP has way more in common and way more chemistry with Pierce Brosnan. Maybe she should just…get with him? He’s a refined gentleman and dat accent!

@ 1:12:30 – Holy Christ, is SJP a grown-up manic pixie dream girl to Pierce Brosnan’s cynical loner?

@ 1:13:40 – “Reasons it’s okay if I don’t work at Edwin-Morgan-Forrester anymore…because trying to be a man is a waste of a woman.” I can’t. I can’t even.

@ 1:15:30 – So, I told my boss I couldn’t be as available as he hoped and he said it was okay. Ha, bet things would have been a bit easier if I had just done that to begin with. Hindsight and all that. We’re fine now!

@ 1:16:00 – Carrie Bradshaw speech.

@ 1:18:45 – Oh look at that, Olivia Munn had that baby and she loves him, it made her whole or human or whatever. Was this movie funded by the American Family Association?

@ 1:20:020 – Finally, SJP’s classic big dumb grin. And Pierce and Christina got together. It all worked out in the end!

Roll credits, roll eyes. I don’t know who this movie was made for. Probably moms who would watch this and go “Oh god, that’s totally me,” or they would say “Shut up, SJP. Your life is easy compared to mine.” Because some women have four or five kids, are single, have to leave the kids with a family member, and then work two different jobs and spend two hours in total at home with their kids just to barely pay the bills.

Also, this movie featured zero people of color, zero people of different classes, and zero people standing for “alternative lifestyles.” It was a big, entitled, conservative WASP-fest.

And I still don’t know how/why people were being interviewed. What was the point and how did it even kind of logically fit in to the narrative style?

NO STARS