The first one I chose was Life of Pi, even though I'd already seen it. I love that movie. Nevertheless, I fell asleep in the middle and didn't bother going back to finish it, and I probably won't feel the need to see it again. It would be nice to read the book again, but I doubt I'll ever have the time.
The rest might contain spoilers, so...
Star Trek: Into Darkness was the ideal long-flight movie since I hadn't been interested enough to see it in theaters and I couldn't watch it at home with my purist Trekker betrothed. I think I liked it about as much as I did the first one, which is to say, today's movies are kind of like popcorn. As far as I can tell without being familiar with the canon characters, the cast is really good (also wtf Simon Pegg lol hello). It's neat the way they each have their distinct accents and quirks that make them easily recognizable from scene to scene even though they haven't had much development.
Hopefully this will apply more rather than less to the original series than to the movies, but I think I'm really interested in Spock, and Vulcan moral reasoning in general. It's sensible in real-world terms, it's exciting to see the boundaries pushed, and it makes for great humorous moments. Aside from that, the fun of the action, and the special effects (which are starting to lose their hold on me, I'm afraid), not too much was memorable, but who cares?
World War Z was another one that had caught my interest from the previews but not enough to actually rent it at home, so I'm glad I got the chance to satisfy my curiosity, but I can't say I'm glad I watched World War Z. Have you seen a zombie movie? Any modern zombie movie at all? Great, then you've seen this one. Every single moment followed the walking dead/rage virus formula, and the wider disaster movie formula, without ever breaking or even chipping the mold. A loving and innocent family is caught in a sudden riot caused by an outbreak of a disease that turns victims to mindless killers, leaving the father, an attractive and melancholy former UN special ops guy, to protect his wife and daughters by coming out of retirement against his will. Eventually he's responsible for fixing everything in the world, because he's attractive and melancholy. There's even a moment where We Think We Have a Cure but to test it We Need Someone to Risk Injecting Himself. Guess who our guy is? I'm not opposed to zombie movies but this one was so safe it was almost ballsy.
Rise of the Guardians is one I probably wouldn't have even thought to see if not for a couple recommendations from friends. And indeed I was pleasantly surprised, though overall, it seems to be one of those kids' movies which really is aimed at kids - a good and noble thing, to be sure. Considering the use of stock characters and the shaky foundation of combining holiday legends, the plot was pretty tight. The character designs for the Tooth Fairy and Sandman were excellent, and I'm totally on board with the new crossover ship of Jack Frost and Elsa. The animation was clearly the selling point, of course, and it delivers with frosty goodness.
So, why do I think that holiday legends are a shaky foundation for a plot? It starts here: if Santa is real, and it's really him handing out Christmas presents, why don't adults believe in him? Particularly parents, who are relieved from Christmas shopping in this version of the world and still see gifts mysteriously appearing under the tree? It's more than a logical leap. We create for our children these magical worlds in which benevolent spirits adore them, and then we tell them everything hinges on their belief in the spirits. Eventually, reason will win, and that means the loss of a comforting lie compounded by the message that they're doing something wrong by figuring it out.
Here's what I'd like to see, and if anyone can brainstorm with me on this, let's party: Instead of the world being saved by a child's belief in a fictional character, the children come to understand that Santa, the Easter Bunny, etc. are important not because they're real, but because they teach us about values that apply to our own lives as we grow older. There was a hint of this in Rise of the Guardians when North told Frost that his core was wonder, and later Frost discovered his own core. How could it be expanded? What kind of plot could encompass the message "There's no Tooth Fairy - but there is generosity, and people who care about your milestones, and sometimes there are rewards for leaving your childhood behind"? Discuss.
Okay, we're off the plane now. But I got back home in the early afternoon and had a day to kill with nobody home and my inner clock shot to hell, so I sat down and watched another movie. Don Jon followed the theme by being one I knew nobody else would want to see. The main reasons I did were Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the idea of porn addiction being tackled in fiction, which I haven't seen anywhere else. Overall, JGL didn't disappoint (and Tony Danza was a great bonus, especially with a dirty mouth), but the handling of the porn addiction did. It wasn't unrealistic, and I appreciate that the girlfriend's delusions needed to be addressed too, but I kind of wanted...more blame, I guess. In the end, the guy enters a healthier relationship and stops relying on his porn, but it still came across as bad sex being replaced by better sex, hence, resolution. Why not replace it with no sex, until the guy learns to respect women without having one on hand who's willing to sleep with him?
I think that's everything I've watched by myself lately. I introduced Simon to Much Ado About Nothing still hoping to stoke his Whedon curiosity, but he wasn't smitten. Our roommate liked what he saw and was excited to watch it with his girlfriend later (yes, they're the ones I mentioned in the last Books post), so I'm thinking a lot of the appeal is really just in seeing the Whedonverse actors speaking Shakespearean lines. It doesn't make me like it any less and I'm fully aware that I'm just not that sophisticated when it comes to Shakespeare, but you gotta forgive the ones who find it mildly entertaining.
Has anyone else seen Knights of Badassdom? Summer Glau! Peter Dinklage! LARPing! It's good silly fun, exactly as it promises, though it's not top of the line as either comedy or horror. Coincidentally, we spoke to some larpers today at the Ren Faire and signed up for the email list of the biggest event in our state. I'd be lying if I said movies like Knights of Badassdom didn't increase my interest in getting involved. I mean, how cool would it be to spend all weekend in the woods playing make believe for adults? It's nice to connect with people who get that, even on the level of making ridiculous movies about it where the summoning spell works and the monster kills everyone (uh, spoilers? Sorry).
Finally! Of course I insisted we rent Frozen. I loved it. Great music, great visuals, engaging story and (surprisingly!) no annoying characters. But you already knew that because everyone else saw it before I did. Heck, I don't even know the words to "Let It Go" yet. Gonna buy the soundtrack but hoo boy the spending I've been doing lately, my account will have to be FROZEN hahhahahasorry.
The best thing that could possibly happen with this is another Disney in the same style with another subtle connection to either Frozen or Rapunzel. Then they can go all Avengers with it and start teaming up the princesses and making spin-offs. RIGHT?
In other movie news, I finally own a DVD of Empire Records. I've seen it over thirty times on VHS and NEVER the extended version, so it's gonna be crazy times when I crack it open. They'll probably block off the street. I may liveblog.
What's out now, either in theaters or to rent, that I should see? Aside from the latest X-Men of course. Lately I'm just not informed at all and I want to know what to look forward to.