Playing Catch Up At The Movies

I’ve been on vacation, and I’ve been at the University Film and Video Association Conference. But, I’ve not stayed totally away from the movies.

Here are a few short takes to catch up.

Get on Up. Very entertaining. I felt an emotional distance from James Brown (as played by the very talented Chadwick Boseman), and how could it be otherwise with a man forced to construct emotional walls to survive childhood and unable to break them down and connect authentically with others after reaching adulthood? Nicely done all around. Recommended.

Snowpiercer. I saw this film ages ago and am so ambivalent about it that I never got around to writing about the movie. On the one hand, I like movies about ideas that address social class inequality. On the other hand, I want a more carefully articulated ideology than I find in Snowpiercer. Then, a friend of mine made my conflict even more profound. I watched the film online and (to tell the truth) paused it a couple of times when my son had a question and again when I needed to make a little dinner. The production design interests me, but I didn’t think too much about plausibility upon viewing. My friend George said something to the effect of, “If you had watched it on the big screen in one sitting, you would have noticed the story holes big enough to drive a train through.” Upon reflection, he is correct, which is usually the case. Interesting to look at, ideas worth considering, but the script needs more clarity, and where do all those people in the front cars of the train actually live?

And So It Goes. This is a very minor romantic comedy that my mother and I saw together (there are so few movies out now that she wants to see), and we enjoyed it well enough in the moment. Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas are fun to watch. Rob Reiner understands the genre. So what if there isn’t any magic? I have always thought that critics hold romantic comedies to a higher standard than most other genres, which I think is related to gender bias, but also suspect that ageism comes into play with some in evaluating this film.

The Hundred-Foot Journey. This is another movie my mother “claimed,” which is how my friends and family members call dibs on seeing a particular movie with me. While just as predictable as And So It Goes, The Hundred-Foot Journey unfolds more pleasantly, has modest political aims of promoting multiculturalism, has gorgeous food, has young actors as the presumed romantic leads, and has Helen Mirren. Enjoyable. No magic, but entertaining enough.

Boyhood. Brilliant. More on this one later.

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