It’s been way too long since I last wrote for TM2M, but I’m glad to be back. It feels fitting, then, that my first review upon returning is for Thor: Ragnarok, a film all about returning to old haunts. Unlike my reviews, this movie seems to go scorched-earth on its archive. And while a lot of fun, I’m not sure it’s the wisest idea for the series as a whole.
How Eddie Redmayne can take himself seriously playing magical zoologist Newt Scamander is a mystery to me. I lost all composure at the sight of him flipping his waistcoat over his hip and crab-walking to attract a loose rumpant in Central Park in a vague approximation of its mating dance. And if that’s what you’re looking for, then Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them might be the movie for you.
When I first heard that Pixar was making a sequel to Finding Nemo, one of its (in my opinion) better and supremely underrated films, I was equal parts excited and worried. Excited, due to the obvious nostalgic appeal, but worried that that’s all the film would be — a cheap attempt to cash in on its predecessor’s success with a weak sequel that would likely have less of the Pixar magic and more of the cheap jokes. Dory’s character in the first film had largely been one of plucky, memory-hampered comic relief. How, then, did Pixar intend to give her any gravitas?
The basic premise of Me Before You isn’t particularly unique among the recent slew of illness/disability/death-oriented romances (ie. The Vow, The Fault In Our Stars, Silver Linings Playbook, Love & Other Drugs, Rust & Bone, If I Stay): kindhearted-to-a-fault Louisa “Lou” Clark (Emilia Clarke) takes on the job of carer for Will Traynor (Sam Claflin), a wealthy former finance bro who was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, and in trying to show him life is worth living, the two fall in love. Add in a dash of class struggle and the medical drama of assisted suicide, and the film hopes to leave not a single eye dry.
I’m back! My apologies for the long hiatus — five classes made it a bit difficult to even go see new movies, let alone write about them. But, blessedly, Captain America: Civil War came out right near the end of the semester, so I was able to go see it last week. And like any good Marvel fan, I have some opinions.
Spectre opens in Mexico City, in full swing for Dia De Los Muertos. Bond (Daniel Craig), clad in black, is running through a crowd of skeletons. It’s an in-your-face reminder of the only constant in Bond’s life: death. Which he soon delivers to an unknown bomber, in a helicopter above a crowd of thousands. It’s not exactly a subtle introduction. Actually, it almost makes you wonder who is hit harder over the head with it—the dead man, or the audience?
I was in London when Amy Winehouse died. The newspapers trumpeted her death, as well as all of her sordid history. Her struggles with addiction were, though, pretty much all I had known about her, due to my exposure to her only through her 2006 hit “Rehab.”
This documentary rewrites that story. From its opening scene, featuring a 14-year-old Winehouse (sans eyeliner!) singing “Happy Birthday” to her friend, it’s apparent that this film does not want to take the well-trodden path when it comes to biographing Ms. Winehouse. Instead, it shows us the vivacious, soulful, troubled woman she was.
It’s difficult to imagine a world where “de-extinction” is so commonplace that the existence of living, breathing dinosaurs no longer carries the “wow factor” anymore. But in the ambiguously futuristic Jurassic World, it’s true: dinosaurs are passé.
Sundance darling Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is every bit as quirky as its title suggests. In short, self-deprecating high school senior Greg (Thomas Mann), who fancies himself an island in a sea of cliques and caricatures, is coerced by his mother into befriending his classmate Rachel (Olivia Cooke) after she is diagnosed with leukemia. It has all the makings of a shlocky, The Fault In Our Stars knock-off. And yet, the sum far exceeds its parts.
Because that’s a mighty title to shoulder… Then again, the only recent Pixar films have been Cars 2, Brave, and Monsters University; charming, but forgettable. But what about Up? Finding Nemo? WALL-E? Monsters Inc.? Does Inside Out trump them all?
I’d argue that yes, it does.