Thursday, May 28, 2015

Three Films Make A Post: A Story as EXPLOSIVE as his BLAZING Automatics

Locke (2013): Oh Great Cthulhu, save us from the gimmick movies. On one hand, I absolutely appreciate director Steven Knight’s technical inventiveness in making a movie that exclusively takes place in Tom Hardy’s car. On the other hand, I don’t see how the technique is actually useful for the story the film is telling. In fact, the formal reduction of the film seems to me to just emphasise the blandness of its story, and the deep been-there-done-that feeling of a central character who is yet another ultra-competent big shot guy travelling towards emotional redemption with everyone else in his life tools or obstacles to that redemption. This leads to a film that puts enormous technical accomplishment and an inspired lead actor forward to do nothing actually worth any of the effort.

Jupiter Ascending (2015): Look, I’d like there to be more space operas in cinemas as much as the next guy, and I’m perfectly willing to admit a film in the genre doesn’t need to have a clever script or do anything really intelligent, but there’s accepting a degree of stupidity, and then there’s the Wachowski Siblings’ Jupiter Ascending, a film so dumb and apathetically plotted you can feel yourself getting more stupid while watching its deeply uninvolving series of set pieces. And hey, since the film’s whole plot is based on everyone involved, particularly our supposed heroine - as given by Mila Kunis (because the Wachowskis still can’t bring themselves to cast a decent actor instead of a pretty face for their leads, and waste a lot of great talent in the minor parts) - being impressively idiotic, as if the vacuum of space had drifted into their brains, why should the audience be exempt. At least the production design is beautiful, an at times crazy mixture of anime and European SF comic aesthetics that would be a joy to watch in motion if the film it’s in wasn’t so completely lacking in anything else that could actually involve its audience in any way shape or form.

El Xendra (2012): It doesn’t take a quintillion dollar Hollywood blockbuster to bore me, though. When push comes to shove, an overlong, talky would-be episode of the never realized cross-over show between The X-Files and Lost made in Honduras actually does it too. On the other hand, Juan Carlos Fanconi’s film doesn’t make me quite as cranky because it at least seems to be trying much harder than Jupiter. Unfortunately, the film is the usual mix of conspiracy theory, talk about the Maya and non-linear time, and lots and lots of talking about nothing very interesting until indeed actual things are only happening when it’s already much too late to save the film. But hey – I’m not being ironic here – there are some very nice shots of the jungle.

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