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Showing posts from November, 2014

The dark side… and the light.

Trailers Star Wars: The Force Awakens
I don’t hate the prequel trilogy. There’s much in them I don’t especially care for; the preponderance of CGI, the wooden acting, the insane lengths Lucas goes to link every character and event he possibly can to the original films. But they didn’t incite me to throw my fanboy toys out of the pram. There are individual sequences or plotlines I enjoy in each of the movies. By the time The Phantom Menace came out my enthusiasm for the series was already dampened. I’d seen Return of the Jedi more than enough times to conclude it wasn’t really all that (in some ways this is more disappointing than the prequels, since, as the concluding chapter, it cannot easily be ignored), and I’d witnessed the clueless changes Lucas made to the special editions (in particular, Sy Snootles and the CGI Song floored me; the spoof of the new trailer is absolutely spot-on with regard to his discretion-free additions). The lacklustre reaction to The Phantom Menace dissuaded …

I miss my wigs.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)
(SPOILERS) The chief problem with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was that it essentially reheated the first film, not an uncommon complaint of sequels generally. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 remedies this but in so doing exposes a far greater ailment. Without the central, and unlikely, gimmick (as in, this world is not really any more plausible than that of the much derided Divergent) of this particular totalitarian regime, there is no glue holding the picture together. As a result the entire edifice begins to crumble, and the makers are left clutching desperately at the life raft of propaganda commentary. Of course, cutting the book in half for strictly artistic reasons doesn’t help anyone to tell a compelling story either.

I haven’t read the Suzanne Collins’ novels, and I’m not particularly inspired to, and I’m not going to spoil if for myself by reading a synopsis. It’s quite possible that Mockingjay possesses a rousing, thoughtfu…

The middle of nowhere is underrated.

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (2013)
I gave up on Jonas Jonasson’s novel before the halfway mark. While the premise held potential (an elderly Swedish fellow getting into scrapes, interspersed with flashbacks illustrating his – relatively – Forrest Gump/Zelig charmed life in which he just happens to show up at important historical events), the prose in translation (or maybe Jonasson’s prose is accurately rotten) did not. The film version is pretty much an approximation of the book, as far as I got to anyway. Its central conceit carries The 100- Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared along in blackly comic fashion, and it is affably eccentric albeit in a very studied way, but someone ought to have taken the novel as a jumping off point rather than diligently translating it. There’s precious little that’s fresh or original here.

Director Felix Herngren co-wrote the screenplay, so there merely adequate results are his by design. At times t…