I’ve seen a lot of summer movies in the past few weeks and let me tell you, some have lived up to expectations, some were bizarre, and almost all were in an air-conditioned room!
As I’m busy in the studio right now, I’m going to do short reviews here:
Snow White and the Huntsman
Man, this could have been so awesome!! It was beautiful and I love me some fantasy movies. But, it just didn’t work. Kristen Stewart was less mouth-breathy than normal, but still so flaccid as a character. I can’t believe she has the will to wear shoes that tie, must less save a kingdome.
Clearest example of narrative fault? I liked the Evil Queen the best of everyone. She was responding to misogynist kings that used and threw out women when they got too old. Okay, sure. She had a real relationship with her brother, one that was complicated, but clearly filled with love. The Huntsman (spoiler alert) not the Prince turns out to be Snow White’s true love, but the actors are so mis-matched. I know films have younger women as love interests, but the maturity and general aura’s between the two is just off.
Overall: beautiful film. But, with an oddly-paced plot, bad casting, and missed opportunities. More dwarves! More background about the Evil Queen! Less Kristen Stewart.
This is the film I was most excited about seeing this summer. I’m a huge Ridley Scott fan and think that he can create some great female characters, Alien‘s Ripley being one of the best female action-stars of all time. I knew that Prometheus was a prequel of sorts, but it turned out to be an uneven prequel and an interesting (if imperfect) tertiarially related exploration of the meaning of life. There were some plot-holes regarding how this film led to Alien, mostly summed down to what I call “The Secret of the Ooze.” Was the black ooze a bioweapon made by our “Engineers” meant to create life from whatever genetics it came in contact with? So, we came from the big blue dudes and the giant aliens came from whatever wormy things live on the planet? How did it get from the boyfriend scientist into the girlfriend scientist? Did that little worm-thingy ride his sperm into her womb? Why are android’s always so creep-tastic? Why do the Engineers want to kill humans, when they created them?
I mean, obviously that one can’t be answered because we need a sequel… Duh.
Rock of Ages
Oh my, what a way to spend two plus hours. I have to say that Tom Cruise was one of the highlights, especially singing “I Want to Know What Love Is” into Malin Ackerman’s asshole. Whew. Actually, there love story was more interesting to me than the main teenage one between that one dude that I haven’t seen before and that girl that was in the new Footloose. It was basically like celebrity karaoke, with jokes based on two men falling in love (oh so modern, folks!) and uptight women actually being slutty rock-groupies.
Meh. Save your money.
Unfortunately, I saw this film in a theater without air conditioning. Also, there were olds there, as it was the daytime, and seeing them giggle about vibrators made me feel a little weird. Ageist, I know, but there ya go.
Anyhow, this film proved to me that Hugh Dancy is BORING. Cute, but boring. He basically serves as an everyman for us to see the always amazing Maggie Gyllenhaal through. She was delightful! Vibrant and political and feminist and her accent sounds just like Emma Thompson!
I’m sure a lot of people will see this as a feminist film, but I’m a bit on the fence about that label. Yes, Maggie’s character is a feminist, dedicated to social justice, but the female sexuality is seen mostly via men. Sure, they are giving orgasms to women who appear to be duping these stupid, silly men into it… Perhaps my issue is that there was too much men and not enough of the bright young woman who challenged the patriarchy’s view of class, female roles, and female pleasure? A missed opportunity…
Still, any change to see Ms. Gyllenhaal makes me a happy lady.
Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Upon finding out that the theater playing Hysteria didn’t have air conditioning, I wandered over to catch another flick. The hipster at the box office let me know that Moonrise Kingdom was playing a few blocks down after I asked for a ticket to Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Because “old person rom-coms” (as she called it) are clearly only for old people to enjoy. I need to go see an overly-styalized hipster fairy tale instead, clearly.
Anyhow Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was delightful! It was much less “ooooo look, India is interesting because it’s exotic” moments than I feared it would. And less, “racists finding themselves” than I expected. And what was included was tonally quite touching at the end. There was also a beautiful subplot about homosexuality and lost love. The acting was great, obviously, and it was nice to see so many of Britain’s great actors not in a Harry Potter film or in a period piece. Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was heartwarming and sweet and lovely.
Even if it did have old people in it.