Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Movie "Madness"

Blame! it on the rain, that was falling, falling!
Some movie watching occurred over the weekend (when I wasn’t ripping and replacing sprinklers).  Here’s the details:

Uneven, but with a great premise, and some interesting world-building, Blame!, based on the manga, is a post-apocalyptic world where technology has run amok.  An “infection” caused automated systems to spiral out of control and humanity is now on the brink of extinction thanks to their own advances.  Giant, mostly benign Builders continually reshape the world with no rhyme or reason, while Safeguards actively hunt and destroy humans.  A small village of humans, somehow protected from the Safeguards, is running out of food.  When a small team of young villagers ventures out to try to find a solution, they meet Killy the Wanderer (great name) who is seeking the “net terminal genes” which may unlock the system and save humanity.

The biggest problems with this adaptation is that world-building is done by characters who should already be aware of the world they live in.  They should all know that the Builders are generally benign, and yet when one appears, a character freaks out and aims his weapon at it, only to be told off by another.  This occurs with such annoying regularity, that it detracts from the greater plot.  The dialogue needs an editor, and some of the voice-over actors should be told to calm down—anger/yelling isn’t the only emotion available.  There are also too many characters, probably better developed in the manga, but with the limited scope and time of the film, suffer from becoming mostly cardboard.

I burst out loud with laughter at the end which was unfortunately directly stolen from another, better, classic post-apocalyptic film.  Overall, Blame! is a fun bit of eye-candy, with a lot of potential that suffers from mediocre execution.

La La Land
You can dance to it, but it's not catchy.
Aside from some great outfits, including Ryan Gosling’s shoes, and some really fun musical numbers (though none that are catchy enough you’re humming them days later), there really isn’t much to this film.  Damien Chazelle creates a beautiful update of the stock musical boy-meets-girl and they both have big dreams—AND YOU SHOULD TOO!  Lines like Mia’s “I hate jazz.” so that Sebastian has to school her (and us) on just how great jazz is, are forced and awkward.  Honestly, who actively “hates” jazz?  It’s like saying, “I hate music.”  Fortunately, there aren’t too many of those, and the lessons of having to work hard for your dreams—sometimes with compromise—are repeatedly underlines.  Overall, the movie is enjoyable as a beautifully shot, amazingly staged film, but that’s also where it end as a piece of cinema.  You won’t regret watching it, but you’ll be just fine if you don’t.

The Decoy Bride

If only he had a time machine . . . 
This little known rom-com stars David Tennet, Kelly Macdonald and Alice Eve, with most of the classic tropes, but just enough reality thrown in to not prove annoying.  Katie (Macdonald) a writer frustrated with her life, returns home to the fictional island of Hegg in the Scottish Hebrides.  At the same time, world-famous actress Lara Tyler (Eve) and suddenly-famous writer James (Tennet) are trying to find a paparazzi-free place to get married.  Tyler sends her team to Hegg, which famously “inspired” James’ book.  Romantic comedy hijinks ensue.  What sets The Decoy Bride apart from most other rom-coms is its cast of supporting characters.  Hegg, as its own island world where everyone knows everyone else, is idyllic offering equal measures of eccentric and silly that are quite endearing.  Some of the more annoying rom-com tropes are turned on their heads, but not enough to take the film off the well-beaten path.  Also, writers may well enjoy some of the funnier moments Katie and James endure.

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