smofbabe: (snoopybooks)
I've been encountering so many awkwardly written historical mysteries lately that I thought I'd post about one that was actually well done: Her Highness's First Murder by Peg Herring. It's about the young Elizabeth I while she is still a neglected and cast-off princess and a murder she investigates with the help of a local physician's son and one of the king's guards. For a pleasant change, the historical background and mise en scène are well integrated and the mystery is decent. The only quibble I have is that the teenage protagonists seem a little too insightful and clever for their supposed ages even if you grant that people matured earlier in those days. Looking forward to reading the sequel.
smofbabe: (movies)
I hated the clichéd plot, clumsy winks at the Star Trek canon, and speechifying rather than actual dialogue. The best reason to see it is Simon Pegg, and he's not on screen much, although Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain and Zachary Quinto as Spock are also very good. Cranked-up action sequences are manufactured every 10 or 15 minutes, and one sequence with jetpacks through space that could have been exhilarating loses its charm by being about twice as long as it needed to be. You're all going to see it anyway, I'm sure, but hopefully I've lowered your expectations.

Iron Man 3

Apr. 30th, 2013 09:52 pm
smofbabe: (movies)
Saw this the other night and wanted to make sure to post a review because for a change, we actually got a film before the US! Review with spoilers )
smofbabe: (movies)
This prequel to The Wizard of Oz about a so-so carnival magician and con man who ends up as the powerful wizard and ruler of Oz has great production design and really impressive opening credits. However, I can't say as much for the script or the acting. They obviously were trying for melodrama and period dialogue but for that to work with today's audience, the actors themselves have to believe in it and sell it. Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz as the two wicked witches are ok but Michelle Williams as Glinda is wimpy and to quote my favorite film reviewer, Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times about Franco's con man: "While having Franco start out this way is intentional, the actor is frankly too adept at being irritating, so much so that his presence makes it harder to enjoy the rest of the movie." Because of Franco's unceasing hamming it up, the sincere moments that this story of personal growth needs to really work just aren't believable.
smofbabe: (movies)
We went to see this mainly for the costumes, which was a good thing because the film itself dragged. The fantasy-into-reality-into fantasy just didn't work for us after a while - as an entry gimmick I thought it was fine but it got tiresome, although the production design and implementation are truly impressive. At first, I thought Jude Law was miscast but he grew into the part as the movie wore on. OTOH, Keira Knightley became less believable - intelligence just shines out of her and I think they needed someone a little more earthy. And the guy who played Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) looked much too young and callow, which didn't help the believability of her throwing away everything for love either. Not a terrible film but a lot of potential gone to waste, I think.
smofbabe: (movies)
Saw several movies just before and during our travels. Reviews with spoilers )
smofbabe: (snoopybooks)
Totally unplanned, I ended up reading two books from the library this weekend that are set during WWII. Reviews )

Looper

Oct. 9th, 2012 11:28 pm
smofbabe: (movies)
Just back from seeing Looper - the acting, dramatic tension, and pace are all great. However, I advise not thinking about the plot very much. Even without the usual time travel paradox problems, if I had access to time travel, I could think of a lot better things to do with it than to send bodies back to be killed!

Brave

Jul. 16th, 2012 09:16 pm
smofbabe: (movies)
Really disliked this: its message seemed to be "It's ok to be a selfish spoiled brat, and even get rewarded for it in the end, as long as you cry and say you're sorry at some point." The look was beautiful (can't comment on the 3D as we didn't spring for it) and the voice work was good but I was bored through most of it and annoyed through other bits. The witch scenes were by far the best part and, as others have noted, the opening short, "La Luna," easily outshone the main feature.
smofbabe: (movies)
Watched on the plane this film about British senior citizens who move to India to a supposed luxurious retirement hotel. The cast is absolutely incredible (Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy...) but the script less so: it tends to veer to sentiment and predictability although it does have its moments, especially Tom Wilkinson's story arc about a gay high court judge who grew up in India but has not returned due to a personal trauma in his past. Maggie Smith's arc is the least believable: she turns from a racist bigot to eccentric wise woman without any real defining moments. Worth seeing for the performances, but not for full price.
smofbabe: (movies)
I'm not sure whether my decision to re-read the Burroughs Mars books before seeing John Carter was a good one: I suspect it made a messy movie script seem even messier. My review )

As usual, my problems with plot inconsistencies overshadowed for me whatever positive points were to be had from this mess.

The Artist

Feb. 10th, 2012 08:33 am
smofbabe: (movies)
I enjoyed "The Artist" but I am not in love with it as much as many reviewers and award ballots seem to be. The black-and-white and lack of sound are intriguing but the plot is not exactly what you'd call deep. There are clever moments to admire but the tone is very uneven: melodrama is built up and then punctured with a joke, and I think sometimes the director is too clever for his own good (I could have lived without the occasional jolting surrealism). However, the presentation is certainly original, and lead Jean Dujardin definitely deserves all of the awards he's been getting.
smofbabe: (movies)
Like many reviewers, I liked this film better than its predecessor, although I still had some problems with it. (As usual, the villain's henchmen couldn't hit the broad side of a barn whereas every shot from the heroes hits the target.) Reasonably entertaining, with fine performances from Jude Law and Jared Harris (trivia: son of actor Richard Harris), overacting (possibly required for the role) from Robert Downey, Jr., and the perfect casting of Stephen Fry as Mycroft. (I really hope that the success of the Iron Man and Holmes franchises mean Downey's rehabilitation will last.)
smofbabe: (movies)
Like many reviewers, I liked this film better than its predecessor, although I still had some problems with it. (As usual, the villain's henchmen couldn't hit the broad side of a barn whereas every shot from the heroes hits the target.) Reasonably entertaining, with fine performances from Jude Law and Jared Harris (trivia: son of actor Richard Harris), overacting (possibly required for the role) from Robert Downey, Jr., and the perfect casting of Stephen Fry as Mycroft. (I really hope that the success of the Iron Man and Holmes franchises mean Downey's rehabilitation will last.)

War Horse

Jan. 4th, 2012 07:49 am
smofbabe: (movies)
Given the many positive reviews I saw of this film, I was surprised and disappointed at how weak I found it. Review with spoilers )

War Horse

Jan. 4th, 2012 07:49 am
smofbabe: (movies)
Given the many positive reviews I saw of this film, I was surprised and disappointed at how weak I found it. Review with spoilers )
smofbabe: (thumbs)
Given the reviews I read, I had expected this animated feature about one of the main characters in the Shrek films to be a lot more clever than it was. The plot was one-dimensional -- childhood friend betrayed our swashbuckling hero, re-emerges in his life with female sidekick and convinces him to join them for a big caper, yadda yadda yadda, paint-by-numbers. There are many, many action scenes and because we chose to see this film in a late session in 2D rather than 3D to try to avoid mobs of children, we probably noticed their frequency a lot more and were a lot less impressed with them. As usual, there are winks to the adults in the audience but not many, and the film was just not very engaging, unfortunately.
smofbabe: (thumbs)
Given the reviews I read, I had expected this animated feature about one of the main characters in the Shrek films to be a lot more clever than it was. The plot was one-dimensional -- childhood friend betrayed our swashbuckling hero, re-emerges in his life with female sidekick and convinces him to join them for a big caper, yadda yadda yadda, paint-by-numbers. There are many, many action scenes and because we chose to see this film in a late session in 2D rather than 3D to try to avoid mobs of children, we probably noticed their frequency a lot more and were a lot less impressed with them. As usual, there are winks to the adults in the audience but not many, and the film was just not very engaging, unfortunately.
smofbabe: (snoopybooks)
Just finished the P.D. James Pride and Prejudice sequel, Death Comes to Pemberley. Reviews have been glowing but I was disappointed in it. Full review )
smofbabe: (snoopybooks)
Just finished the P.D. James Pride and Prejudice sequel, Death Comes to Pemberley. Reviews have been glowing but I was disappointed in it. Full review )
Page generated Sep. 24th, 2017 01:55 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios