November 28, 2015

Movie Review: Too many movies, too little time...

A few of the movies I've seen in recent weeks.

Spotlight *****
Great acting, great story, lots of tension, characters you root for...this film has it all.
5 stars out of 5 for Spotlight.

Trumbo **
Very disappointing. Interesting story, good performance from Bryan Cranston, not so good performance from Diane Lane (who didn't have much to work with). I didn't know a lot of what went on with the blacklist, only from history, so it was fascinating from that point of view. But this script has no tension, no characters who seem in dire straits, no one to root for. You watch with a sense that everything will turn out fine. Which, mostly, it does.
Also, a little preachy.
2 stars out of 5 for Trumbo.

Room *****
Brie Larson is a wonderful actor. I loved her in The United States of Tara - she was a presence I knew I would see in the future. She's a natural.
It takes too long to get this mom and son out of "the room" but once they do the story begins in earnest.
I tried to read the book this film was based on and didn't get very far, but I thought it would make a good film, and it does. Which is unusual, when the film is better than the book.
The humanity of the story comes when they have to live in a world they've never known.
Great performances.
5 out of 5 stars for Room.

The Martian *****
Matt Damon is fantastic.
A manned mission to Mars and an astronaut is presumed dead after a major storm. How do they rescue him? It's a lot of detail, a lot of technical information (which is not my strong suit), but there's so much tension and so much humanity.
I read the book, which is not my thing at all - way too much detail (I'm a cut-to-the-chase kind of person) - and loved it.
Loved the film.
5 out of five stars for The Martian

Saoirse Ronan is luminous and expressive, and a reason to see this film, but she's mis-cast in the part of a frightened immigrant, who's all alone in a foreign country and out of her element. She never seemed frightened to me - in no time at all she's confident and sophisticated, so there's not much reason to root for her.
This film is getting great reviews but I found it slow, and the story contrived, and at least twenty minutes too long. A gratuitous sex scene (and don't get me wrong, I'm all for gratuitous sex) could have been cut - it was so completely uninteresting and unnecessary - and the entire set up to it. There's much to cut in this film.

Antman ****
Paul Rudd is so funny and appealing that you don't even care how stupid this premise is; a superhero who can shrink himself to the size of an ant. It's a fun film with great performances and a lot of heart.
4 stars out of 5 for Antman

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