Archive for December, 2013

Captive Audience: 2 Flights, 4 Movies

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on December 30, 2013 by Timothy Parfitt

This past year, my dad got transferred to Vienna, Austria. We haven’t seen a ton of him since then, so for Christmas, we all flew over there for some quality time. Those are some long-ass flights, so I crammed in some flicks to pass the time.

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Elysium

My dad racks up ridiculous frequent flier miles, so he had me upgraded to business class. I wore a jacket and a tie, hoping to blend in. Elysium is a thinking dude’s sci-fi action movie, with a healthy does of Occupy Wall Street anger thrown in for good measure. In the year 2154, the 1% live on a space station rotating around earth, with at-home cancer-eradicating tanning beds at their disposal. Matt Damon lives with the dirty masses, breathing squalid air and making ends meet by building the very robots that are used to police and oppress them.

Damon gets zapped with toxic radiation at work, and has to get up to Elysium to get himself into one of those tanning beds within 5 days or he dies. There’s a love interest with a leukemia-ridden kid, and Jodie Foster plays a frosty Elysium politician with a Rolodex full of nasty South African bounty hunters. The whole thing is entertaining enough, even if the interesting parts fall away as the action ramps up in the 3rd act. I did have an unnerving feeling though, drinking champagne and eating off white table clothes in a segregated cabin of the airplane: I’m on Elysium. Continue reading

Burn Bridges and a Lost Cat

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on December 27, 2013 by Timothy Parfitt

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There’s something I really like about seeing America movies in foreign lands. First off, it feels incredibly indulgent: I could be off experiencing 17th century masterpieces of fine art, but instead I’m in a dark room watching the new Coen brothers’ movie. Then there’s the communal experience, the act of watching with a completely different audience. You don’t know how they will react. Will they laugh at moments you deem entirely inappropriate? Will they recoil in disgust from something my fellow Americans consume happily?

I watched Inside Llewyn Davis, a musical about a struggling folk singer in the winter of 1961, in a English-language theater in Vienna. The audience wasn’t particularly weird, they laughed at funny parts and were appreciatively quiet. Watching cult or indie movies in Europe, I always get the sense they like certain American cultural niches more than we do.

Llewyn is very good at what he does, but not very nice to those around him. A solo act after his partner threw himself off a bridge Continue reading

Scandenavians Do Noir Better: Headhunters

Posted in Catch-up with tags , , on December 10, 2013 by Timothy Parfitt

 

 

There’s a scene halfway through Headhunters (2011) involving a priceless painting, and outhouse and a toilet paper roll. I didn’t see it coming. In fact, Headhunters is a heck of a lot of fun because the writing is surprising and the twists feel earned. Continue reading

Miscellaneous 2012 and 2013: Doob

Posted in Catch-up on December 10, 2013 by sdoob

The Place Beyond The Pines

When it comes down to it, a movie can have all the good cinematography, sets, music and acting it wants, but without real characters, the story doesn’t matter and in the end, I don’t care about the movie.  (Eva Mendes and Ben Mendelsohn were closest to making their characters real.)

Wreck-It Ralph

I loved it.  Afterwards, I acted like I didn’t.  Then saw it again.  I got goosebum Continue reading

Double Up on Dallas

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on December 8, 2013 by illwatchanything

Duel reviews of  Dallas Buyers Club from IWA’s two most faithful movie hounds.

Sam Doob’s take:

 

The main three characters are charming. I smiled at the smart-ass things they said throughout the movie. I wanted to like them and feel for them, but I didn’t get a chance to. There were only flickers of connection. It was hard to put a finger on. It wasn’t the pace of the film, which was at times jarring, or the acting, which was solid. Something just never clicked on an emotional level. And man is this a movie that is supposed to be emotional.

Timothy Parfitt’s take:

I saw this movie in a newly renovated theater. When I first walked in from the lobby, I thought something was wrong: there were only 24 seats in the whole room. With a regular sized screen. Each seat was huge, and could be fully reclined, in the style of first-class airplane seats or the dentist’s chair. Very comfy, but also somewhat unsettling for a movie that features a lot of characters in hospital beds. Continue reading

Doob Does 2013

Posted in Catch-up, Samuel C. Doob on December 8, 2013 by sdoob

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Monsters University

Funny, really funny, rolling laughter, for a solid half an hour in the middle. The rest is not great. The live action backgrounds are distracting.

Continue reading