Getting a fancy new cable package along with the new DVR, I suddenly have access to lots of movies I haven’t seen before, many of which I knew would suck, but I was curious about anyway. And I didn’t really have anything else to do on my weekend, so here are some:
- After Earth stars Will and Jaden Smith as people in the distant future who have left Earth to live on some other planet because of monstrous aliens that are only able to detect people by smelling their fear pheremones, and Will Smith is Hal Jordan-like in his fearlessness which lets him be a badass soldier invisible to the enemy, while Jaden wants to be like him but is a total wuss. So they crash land on Earth, Will’s legs are broken or something, so Jaden sets out to save their asses while Will tries to give him Yoda advice on not being such a wuss. I made it 34 minutes in before finding it too boring to continue.
- Captain Phillips stars Tom Hanks in the title role and Barkhad Abdi as the scariest looking Somali pirate dude ever in the true-ish story of that cargo ship being captured by pirates. Paul Greengrass is really good at what he does, and it’s a really tense, even though I already knew the outcome. I’m a little confused as to how a failed hijacking attempt could occur one day with Phillips’ ship basically outrunning them, but the same group attacked them again the next day. I guess they were following in a “mother ship” but it seems like they would have been so far behind after the aborted attempt that catching up would have been impossible. But whatever. It sounds like there’s a lot of debate about how accurate the story is, but it’s a pretty exciting movie.
- Epic is a CG animated thing about a girl who gets shrunk down to tiny and has to help a civilization of hummingbird riding tiny people save the forest from evil tiny people who want to… not save the forest, I guess. Evil for evilness’ sake. It actually has a lot going on for a 100 minute movie. Amanda Seyfried as the girl has an arc about discovering that her father isn’t a crackpot who imagined the presence of tiny people in the forest, Josh Hutcherson is the standard movie hero type with lots of potential but he’s a screw-up, Colin Farrel is the soldier who loved the queen (Beyonce) and she died and now he wants revenge or something, there’s a whole thing with bad guy Christoph Waltz’s son dying and now he’s extra mad, and there’s a bunch of comic relief characters, like Chris O’Dowd, Aziz Ansari, and for some reason Steven Tyler. The animation is pretty well done though, so not a bad way to waste 100 minutes.
- The Counselor is that movie where Javier Bardem has crazy hair and Michael Fassbender is a lawyer trying to get into drug trafficking. I think Fassbender’s trying for an American accent? Or something. He sounds weird. It’s a Ridley Scott movie and has a pretty impressive cast, but it’s actually kind of a generic crime movie. Fassbender gets in it for money but has a lady (Penelope Cruz) to worry about, he gets advice from a veteran criminal (Brad Pitt), and there’s weird people (Bardem) and sex (Cameron Diaz). Nothing about it felt particularly interesting or different until near the end when Natalie Dormer is in it for like 2 minutes. They should really do a better job of advertising any time she’s in a movie, because I think I would watch them all. I’m going to avoid looking at her imdb profile or I’ll end up watching a ton of crappy movies.
- Cloud Atlas is that movie where actors play a bunch of different characters in different eras, sometimes with white people putting on makeup to look Asian, which is creepy (Asian Hugo Weaving looks like a Vulcan). Although Halle Berry as Asian and Bae Doona and Zhou Xun as white and hispanic are creepy too. It’s confusing in that there are I think six storylines in different time periods and jumps between them, and that the individual stories aren’t entirely linear, and also that . It took about an hour before they offered even the slightest explanation for the different timelines and re-used actors. Which is about a third of the way into the movie, because it’s really, really long.
- The Lone Ranger was one of my favorite things as a little kid. Mask, white horse, silver bullets, for some reason I ate that shit up. I hate tapes of the radio serials and saw the ’81 movie in theaters (though I have zero recollection of it, since I was 3). But I really couldn’t get excited at all about this version, partly because of Johnny Depp white guy bird-on-head Tonto, partly because Armie Hammer just seems like a douchebag, partly because Ruth Wilson isn’t that hot when she’s not playing a psychopath, partly because I had grown quite tired of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and with Gore Verbinski directing/Bruckheimer producing/Depp starring it seemed like it was going to be more of the same slapstick action adventure. I made it an hour and a half in, thinking it would be over soon, only to discover there was a whole hour to go.