Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

THE GRIM SLEEPER (2014)
Lifetime movie about the search for a man who killed several women in Los Angeles between 1987 and 2007. I was a little annoyed that the victims and their families were black, but the whole thing is filtered through the experiences of the white plucky girl reporter and the white cop who were investigating the whole thing. I was much more curious about the stories of the victims' survivors, and the schism between the black community and the LAPD who apparently didn't feel the need for a long time to even tell the families that their loved ones may have been murdered by a serial killer. I know it's a true story, but I felt it was the wrong point of view, but unsurprising, I guess. I'd rather watch a documentary about it. **

THE HEAT (2013)
Mismatched buddy cop action comedy. This isn't a genre that's particularly well done, anymore, but it was cute and had its moments. Melissa McCarthy was funny, though I'm getting a bit tired of always seeing her play this one character in movies. I like her, but I'm getting this sinking feeling that it's going to be all the kinds of comedies I find annoying in the future. ***

THE GREAT GATSBY (2013)
Overblown and incoherent and... ugh, why even bother criticizing it? Leonardo DiCaprio is kind of the perfect actor for this in my head, too, but he was wasted on a shallow movie by a shallow director. 1/2 star.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014)
The Captain America movies are my favorite individual components of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, honestly, and this one really raised the bar. For everything that I knew would happen in this movie, there were a number of things that took me by surprise. (I just didn't expect a movie that's part of an overall franchise universe to go that far in changing one of its main elements.) Chris Evans is great as Captain America, and Scarlett Johansson continues to be the secret weapon of the SHIELD-related movies. It was also nice seeing Samuel L. Jackson in a larger capacity than we have before. This is what I would like more superhero movies to be: optimistic and inspirational while still being realistic and honest about how the world has always been. (None of that "Greatest Generation" hero worship.) I like how Cap's presence stops the movie from being a debate about the moral acceptability of "collateral damage" and edges it further into ideals and what they stand for. I loved Anthony Mackie as the Falcon; we need more of him in the MCU. Very interesting the way they played his status as a returning Afghan War vet against Captain America's status as a man out of time. The Winter Soldier is a character from when I wasn't reading Marvel comics, so I don't know much about him, but I love the way they did it in the movie. Lots of sequel hooks being left around here, and I'm just ready for more. If you really think about all of the plot threads, it's something of a minor miracle that the film is as coherent and easy to follow as it is. Beautiful work. ****

FROZEN (2013)
I didn't really expect to like this film, much less love it as much as I did. I found a lot in there about anxiety that was really easy to relate to and that was very touching, and the cartoonier bits didn't come off as annoying in the film itself as they did in the trailers. Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel are wonderful (of course), and the songs are great. Like most Disney films, I actually think it could have used a few more, particularly in the third act. But I really liked it. Very well animated, particularly the snow, which surprised me. Remember when CG artists had a hard time rendering water? ****

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

I LOVED Frozen, and you're right about the snow and ice.