I’m told that The Hobbit (in theaters now) runs almost three hours, even though it covers only the first seven chapters of Tolkien’s book.
It would take less time than that to read the first seven chapters – probably the first time in the history of books-into-movies that’s ever been true.
Jennifer mentioned this afternoon that Atlas Shrugged: Part II is in the theaters. And I thought: they actually made part 2? What on Earth for?
Part one was a disaster. I suppose the technical aspects were competent: sets, lighting, costumes. It was a very pretty movie. And I liked the music – I even bought the soundtrack, and still listen to it now & then.
But the story did not engage. The actors did not act. (I suppose it’s hard to act when you have all these ridiculously long speeches to get through.)
I gather the opening-weekend numbers for Atlas Shrugged: Part II lie somewhat below “disaster”: $684 per theater, according to a review I found online.
I wonder how someone smart enough to accumulate twenty million dollars could be foolish enough to spend it all making this movie.
Watching Inglourious Basterds with Jennifer.
Half the dialog is in French and/or German, and the closed-captioning – while in English – is generally rather small & hard to read. I’m too lazy to fetch my spectacles from the bedroom, so I’m not getting as much out of the film as Mr. Tarantino might have wished.
Later: after thinking on it for a while, I realized I dislike two things about Inglourious Basterds:
I was annoyed by the ending of Gladiator, in which the Roman Republic is inexplicably restored, and I was equally annoyed when Inglourious Basterds brings World War II to an early (not to mention explosive) finish. It’s one thing to insert a fictional guerrilla band into a well-known period of history, but it’s just lazy writing to monkey with history. (Unless that’s the whole point of the work, e.g., The Man in the High Castle.)
The (Tarantino trademark) ultraviolence directed at low-ranking German soldiers – torture, disfigurement – was not justice, nor even the simple waging of war. It was just evil.
I’m left wondering who – if anyone – I’m supposed to be cheering for in this movie. Perhaps no one.
This afternoon, Jennifer & I dropped off the kids at Grandma & Grandpa’s house, and went to see Avatar.
In Normal, they’re showing only the 3-D version of the film, so with our tickets we each received a pair of Buddy Holly glasses. (We left them at the theater afterward, since the dress-up bin at Stately Rice Manor already contains a half-dozen pairs of 3-D spectacles.)
An interesting film. The 3-D effect was a bit distracting. The special effects were impressive. (Though a skinny, blue & three-meter-tall alien wearing Sigourney Weaver’s face was…unpersuasive.)
The story was a bit weak. The aliens – despite being skinny, blue, & three meters tall – weren’t terribly alien. Some of the more interesting ideas were just left hanging. (Odd that a three-hour movie could feel so rushed.)
I was amused that the macguffin of Avatar – the mineral for which humans were willing to commit destruction & genocide – was called unobtainium.
I suppose there will be an Avatar 2, sooner or later.
Met Jennifer & Jacob at the Savoy 16 to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which (somewhat mysteriously) was still playing.
It was a pretty good movie. After so many years, the actors are very comfortable & confident in their characters.
I hear that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is going to be split into two movies, in order to milk the franchise a little bit more. (I don’t know how they’re going to fill all that screen time. Deathly Hallows dragged a bit.)
(No, we didn’t leave Sam at home alone. He’s having a sleepover with the grandparents. Thanks for asking!)
Last month, I rented Valkyrie from iTunes. It seemed mildly interesting, and since Jennifer & I were home that week a movie night seemed like a good idea.
But downloading a two-hour movie took considerably longer than we expected, and transferring it to the Apple TV ate even more time; in the end, our movie night never happened.
We’ll watching it sometime, we said. We have it for a month.
But we never did. Time passed, and every night there was always something else that needed doing. (It doesn’t help that the DRM on rented movies makes it impossible to watch half the movie one night and finish it the next: once you hit Play, you’ve got exactly 24 hours. So right about the time you’d be sitting down to finish the show, it would disappear.)
This evening, Jennifer said, "We’re watching Valkyrie tomorrow."
But iTunes says that it expires tomorrow at 8:27pm, which leaves us a difficult choice: watch it tonight, and stay up way past our normal bedtime; or let it expire, and waste the $4 we paid to rent it.
I’m old enough now that sleep is more important to me than movies, so goodbye Valkyrie. (The $4 has been gone for a month now. I haven’t missed it.)
Update, 7/17: We ended up watching the first three-fourths of Valkyrie last night, and hope to finish it this evening (before the axe falls at 8:27pm). Interesting movie.
Went yesterday afternoon with friends to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull at the Savoy 16. (This required finding a sitter willing to wrangle four kids at once: Jake, Sam and the friends’ kids.)
It was a pleasant confection, fun to watch but not rewarding of too close an examination. A bit of overlap near the end with the X-Files movie of some years ago, which made me cackle a bit.
I’m sure there will be another Indiana Jones film starring Harrison Ford and Karen Allen, possibly two; and then they’ll restart the franchise with Shia LaBoeuf and crank out another three or four – the last of which will be so bad they won’t be able to get funding for any more.
Jennifer & I went to see The Bucket List this afternoon.
For some reason, the voiceovers bothered me. And seeing Morgan Freeman in a bubble bath wasn’t on my bucket list….
Jennifer & I went to see Walk Hard this evening, at the Savoy 16.
A truly demented film. It made me think of the Seinfeld episode: "There’s good naked, and there’s bad naked…."
Jennifer & I took the kids to see Bee Movie at the Savoy 16 this afternoon. It didn’t go well.
Sam lost interest in the movie fairly quickly, then got mad when we wouldn’t let him run loose in the theater: so I took him out in the lobby and did my best to keep him entertained.
The theater doors fascinated him, and he tugged on each & every one, trying to get in. (Fortunately, he’s not strong enough yet to open any of them.) He was particularly interested in the doors leading to American Gangster, and went back to them again and again.
I told him that’s not a movie for two-year-olds, but that didn’t stop the remarkably single-minded Mr. Sam.
Bee Movie wasn’t Sam’s first time at the movie theater. We’ve also taken him to:
- Shrek the Third (May 28): watched the whole thing, didn’t squirm or complain very much.
- Barnyard (April 8): watched for half an hour, got bored, went with Papa out to the lobby.
- Charlotte’s Web (December 31, 2007): watched half the movie, got bored, went with Papa out to the lobby.
…so I’d say he’s one-for-four. That’s pretty good, if you’re a baseball player….