Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fall Movies!

Fall isn't really known for having great films but this fall I've had the chance to catch two really great movies and one mediocre one.


Argo is fantastic and everything you hope for from a premise like this: During the Iranian hostage crisis, six Americans escaped from the US embassy and hid in the Canadian Ambassador's house.  The CIA gets them out by posing them as a Canadian film crew for a fake science fiction movie called Argo.  It's the "best" bad idea they had.  

You know you're in for a treat when you see the intro which is one of the most creative and engaging openings for a movie that I've seen in a while.  There's a fix of real footage from Iran interwoven with story board drawings of the events in Iran.  It sets the tone for the movie- a tense, taut political drama with lots of really great humor throughout.  The CIA and Hollywood components are both enjoyable.  And throughout Argo, it maintains a really warm tone without being cheesy.  The climax of the movie does go a bit overboard, but otherwise it's a great movie.  Ben Affleck is really becoming a fine director.


Frankenweenie is Tim Burton's newest movie about a modern day (or 1950s- it's hard to tell with the bland suburban neighborhoods) young Victor Frankenstein who brings his dog Sparky back to life after Sparky's untimely death.  The movie is cute and it seems really more geared towards kids.  It doesn't really get going or find even footing until the second half of the movie when it starts thoroughly exploring Victor's science teacher's warning: science can be used for both good and evil.

While Victor and Sparky are very nice characters, they're frankly a little boring.  I liked Victor's classmates more like the creepy pale girl with a "clairvoyant" cat and Edgar, an Igor-like slightly hunchbacked boy.  
There's also a great scene displaying the gap between scientists and the public when the kids' science teacher attempts to explain himself at a PTA meeting.

All in all, a fun movie but not particularly memorable.  It doesn't grip you with really unique and touching stories as Burton's earlier Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride did.  Maybe it's the black and white (yes yes, it's a homage to older horror films) or maybe it's the lack of catchy songs but somehow it doesn't seem quite as lively.  

Seven Psychopaths

Seven Psychopaths is a blast!  It's very meta and self-referential but it does it well and with a great sense of humor.  What I liked most was how it jumped between being absolutely ridiculous, hilarious, and crazy to being seriously magnificent and bittersweet.

Seven Psychopaths is hard to describe but I'll try my best here.  There are so many loose threads at the beginning that you're not sure how and if they're meant to connect (but they do and it's fantastic).  There're two dog kidnappers named Hans and Billy who want to make some easy money (Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell), an alcoholic screenwriter Marty looking for inspiration (Colin Farrell), a wronged gangster who just wants his Shih Tzu back (Woody Harrelson), and a crazy murdering psychopath running around.   
I just wish there was more room for the development of female characters in this (some of the characters in this movie do quip that the storyteller isn't very good at developing female characters beyond eye candy and love interests), but I think Linda Bright Clay as Hans' wife is wonderful, holds her weight for the female characters, and makes a very memorable impression with her scenes.

This movie's going to become a quirky cult classic in a few years.  

1 comment:

  1. Seven Psychopaths does sound pretty awesome. Now I know what I'll need to go and see. :)