Both work and life has been stressful lately and I have been desperate to avoid thinking about things. That way lies a dread spiral of past mistakes and bad choices that I prefer not to revisit. I have turned to Netflix and Redbox to keep my mind off things. Mind you, I know jack all about reviewing films so don’t expect much from me.
The Brothers Bloom is almost one of my favorite films. I have seen it four or five times now and I am very fond of it, but I often forget that it exists between viewings. Better that than not knowing that it ever existed in the first place.
It is a quirky adventure romp, a Wes Anderson film that has been dialed back several notches so it isn’t quite as out there and awkward. There is plenty of humor to go around, but the narrative also dips into darker, more serious territory on occasion. Those worried that it might cut into the quirky fun of the film need not be as so little time is spent on these scenes that one can easily ignore both the elephant in the room and creeping realization of just how troubled one of the characters is (something that I did not get until I this viewing).
It is absolutely fine if you just want the funny ’round-the-world con flick. You aren’t alone. I haven’t done a search, but I doubt there are many people going on about the hidden depths of The Brothers Bloom. Though I would be interested in reading that article if any of you happen across one.
Adrien Brody’s Bloom mopes through the majority of the film but the rest of the cast and their characters are a charming, likable bunch. Mark Ruffalo makes for a convincing con man and manipulative jackass. Rinko Kikuchi gets like one line of dialogue and a song, but does wonders with body language and is fucking hilarious. Rachel Weisz’s Penelope, is a rich, lonely shut-in who collects hobbies as a hobby and essentially drives the film forward out of the sheer excitement of being free from the house she’s been confined to her entire life. She and Rinko Kikuchi stand out as the best performances in the film… these are the interesting characters. Fuck the brothers Bloom, I want to see Penelope and Bang Bang tearing across the world having adventures and blowing shit up.
It is a good film. Watch it. You can find it on Netflix US. While you are at it, watch Rian Johnson’s first film, Brick. It is nothing like The Brothers Bloom, but it is Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a high school neo-noir murder mystery. Both of these films are leagues better than Johnson’s third film, Looper, which I am sure everyone has seen by now.
I took a few chances on movies this time around, deciding on films that got some pretty poor reviews and plenty of bashing from the general audience. The vocal minority of that general audience that plays on the internet, at least. One of those films was Lucy, which I have been looking forward to since the first trailer.
Faulty premise? Oh yeah, it has that. Thing is though, that doesn’t bother me. I am not going to go apoplectic just because a science fiction film decided to fuck up the science. I just don’t have it in me to care that much. I like that the film took the notion that we only use 10% of our brain’s capacity, ran with it, and just kept on running all the way through the concept.
I enjoyed it a lot. Lucy’s constant evolution had me hooked. I wanted to see what came next, how she changed, the reactions to her change, and what dumb ass plan the bad guys would hatch to try and take her down. I don’t even mind Scarlett Johansson’s robotic delivery, one of the things getting tons of hate, because it ties into the narrative and makes sense.
Lucy isn’t necessarily deep and basing your science off of a fallacy probably disqualifies you from being labeled smart, but it is an entertaining film and manages to be entertaining all the way through. I’d watch it again in a heartbeat.
Deep in the depths of Netflix’s SF section was the new RoboCop, the second movie on this list with a hate parade marching after it. I understand the hate behind this one… I don’t agree with it at all, but I get it. Being a reboot is sin enough. Being a reboot of a cult hit is an affront to all that is good in the world. Even if the movie was brilliant, people would hate it for existing. I like reboots. So whatever.
Here’s the thing. I am not a fan of the original RoboCop. I saw it when I was a kid and enjoyed it, but it didn’t leave an impression on me then and it didn’t leave an impression the other times I watched it growing up.
I am biased against Paul Verhoeven because of Starship Troopers, which spawned an entire franchise based around a shit adaptation. However, that came later and doesn’t really have anything to do with this film. I just wanted to throw it out there.
The movie was what I expected it to be and, yet, not. The movie is nothing special, a generic piece of entertainment that you’ve seen time and time again even if you have never seen the original. It has flashy good looks, the acting is competent, and to its credit, the film does try its hand at satire for a while before ushering it out of sight.
I did not expect to see the sort of generic superhero origin story that has become tradition for comic book adaptations since Raimi’s first Spider-man film. I noticed the pacing issues right away, but I didn’t realize that this was the cause until later on. The set up is there:
The movie introduces the main character and then takes its sweet time turning him into the hero so we get some training scenes and proper motivation and conflict can be established. After that, a bunch of action is thrown in, the baddies get taken down, and the hero suits up again for the sequel. The good news is that it isn’t as bloated as your typical superhero movie. Unfortunately, the pacing goes a long way toward making it feel like it.
The new RoboCop is competently made and mediocre. I doubt that anyone would favorably compare it to the original, but it isn’t a bad movie. It could have been much worse. Much, much worse.
Have you seen 21 Jump Street? 22 Jump Street is the same thing, different movie. There’s an abundance of meta humor, which I love, and some very awkward humor, which I don’t. I liked it. You’ll probably like it if you liked the first one. That’s all I can really say about it.