I, Tonya (Review)

I, Tonya (Review)

After watching this movie, I can safely say I still don’t know what happened.  And that’s kind of the point.

Continue reading “I, Tonya (Review)”

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The Last Jedi (Review)

The Last Jedi (Review)

This movie did not go the way I thought it was going to.

I’m a nerd, if that wasn’t clear enough.  I love Star Wars.  I’m always quick to point out the prequel’s faults but I’m just as quick to point out the prequels strengths and what they did right (which are few but they are there if you pay attention).  I remember my heart soaring when I heard the John Williams score booming in my ears when The Force Awakens started.  While I enjoyed that movie, I also recognized that it tried too hard to stay close to the Original Trilogy instead of trying to be something new.  I could understand the reasoning – after all, the last time someone did something new with Star Wars we got Jar Jar Binks –  but at the same time, this was a brand new trilogy of Star Wars films.  They needed to be different.

The Last Jedi is a very different film.  At the beginning, it starts to feel like The Empire Strikes Back, portraying the Resistance as on the run and on their last legs trying to regroup from an unending force of destruction.  Towards the second act, though, it starts to feel different.  Emphasis on emotion and loss become more prevalent as Daisy Ridley’s character Rey explores why Luke Skywalker went into exile.  Then John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran have to go to a planet seemingly ripped straight from the prequels to move the plot along.  Things get more desperate as Oscar Issac disagrees with Laura Dern with how to run the Resistance.

As I watched the film, I couldn’t help but feel like the film was meandering around from plot line to plot line.  Even when the film finished, I left the theater still thinking about the film.  There was so much about the film that felt familiar but turned on its head and sent in a different direction.  This is ultimately what has divided fans so much about the film.  It’s a film that knows your expectations and then willingly subverts them.

Questions that were raised in The Force Awakens are not only left unanswered but also made to feel unimportant, like they were not the questions you should be asking.  So I left the film wondering what questions should I have been asking?  Eventually, I stopped wondering what questions I should have been asking and instead wondered what exactly was the film trying to say.  I could go on about my thoughts on the film but in the end, this is a review so I should step away from spoiler territory.

The film does meander but it all comes together in the third act.  The seemingly multiple themes spread throughout do merge into one idea that the film does portray rather well.  It is a very well put together film, but it is definitely a film that is intentionally subversive.  Rian Johnson knew fan’s expectations going in and decided to toss them on their heads in order to force the audience to think.  To think about what, well that’s up to you.  All I know is that this is a very amazing but very different Star Wars film than I was expecting.

Fury (Review)

Fury (Review)

At the recommendation from an Army Captain.

David Ayer doesn’t really have the best reputation in recent years, though by all accounts, how Suicide Squad turned out wasn’t directly his fault.  He had one vision on the project and the studio had a different vision after the reception of Batman v. Superman.  So I was surprised to learn that Fury, a movie that was very well received (and for which Shia LaBeouf reportedly pulled out one of his own teeth for the role, instead of, you know, acting like he had a tooth missing.  You know, like an actor), and by all accounts, accurate, was also directed by David Ayer.

The first thing that struck me is that this film feels more like a movie set in modern times.  It doesn’t dwell on the heroism of WW2, it focuses on the mud and dirt.  The PTSD, the blood.  The parts of war that we more associate with modern war movies for our modern sensibilities.  The characters in this film are enlisted men, who are introduced fixing a broken tank while their old friend’s corpse is rotting in the seat next to them.

What also struck me about the film was how accurate it seemed about living in a tank.  The close, almost claustrophobic living conditions with no sense of privacy.  Privacy does not exist in this world.  That’s how it is portrayed.  The tank are these soldiers world, their country and everyone else outside the tank are outsiders and/or enemies.  This is the mentality of the movie.

At times the story seems to bog down and force a plot development that we’ve seen a million times before but I ignored that part just because everything about the scene before was fascinating to me.  Even the prolonged dinner scene during the middle of the movie was interesting to watch in order to see where these characters are coming from.  They may act terribly but their work is terrible.  In essence, the more people they kill, the closer they get to the end of the war.  Morality and ethics don’t play into their lives.

I didn’t care much for the plot of the film.  It seemed to be more or less what you would expect from a war movie.  What I was fascinated by was the interactions between these people and getting to know them for who they are as soldiers.