Kumaré: I was majorly looking forward to this one, because I am really really interested in theology and why people need religion and all the social/psychological implications and everything. I'm very, very into all kinds of 'emperor's new clothes'-themed things and acknowledging social constructs where they exist and all that. [For the record, I myself was raised Catholic but then kinda peaced out of that pretty early and now consider myself basically Quaker, but much more socially so than spiritually.] Anyway, I see why some people objected to the deceptive part of it, but I really, really liked the way he genuinely grew to care about the people--he may not have had ~magic powers~ or whatever, but his whole point was that peace and happiness and the ability to fix one's life and all that all truly come from within, not from another, more 'powerful' person. And I honestly think he really helped those people just by listening to them. I was sitting there wondering what kind of world this would be if everyone had someone like that who truly listened to them and let them talk out their feelings without judgment, and if we all then did that for someone else, too. Some people use religion just to be controlling and superior and assy and all that, but plenty of people just need that sense of comfort and of not being alone and--well, perhaps we don't quite crave subjugation, as a fella once said, but we do seem to really crave authority and to have a guide and a sense of tradition and someone to advise and approve of us. And I do get that, but it's problematic in some ways too and can go horribly wrong. So I think his point about finding peace by connecting with others on a equal level and looking within and all that was very sound, and I am down with that. (And of course there's the whole slightly more hilarious and embarrassing aspect about how we've started romanticizing Asian/Eastern cultures in a way that is both reverent and kinda condescending, etc.) I thought the film could've expanded on those points a little more directly, but that's what I took away from it, so it was clearly in there somewhere. Really liked it.
People Like Us: Saw this for free on Thursday, and...meh, it was all right. I wasn't expecting to like it much, but it had decent reviews at first and, well, it was free. I did like Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks, though Olivia Wilde was way underused, and of course the kid annoyed me. He was actually a fairly decent actor, I just basically have no patience for most movie/TV kids, and his, like, heartwarming brattiness just irked me. I'M SORRY. I'M HEARTLESS. I liked the banter between Sam and Frankie, and I'm kind of amused that they Went There, sort of, and had her falling for him before she knew who he was, but the end was all wrapped up a bit neatly. Like, he has all those legal problems and they're just...not a big deal at the end? Because his girlfriend will be able to defend him when she gets her law degree in four years? I mean, really. And I can't decide if the thing at the end with [spoiler]the dad taking both families to the same park and filming them was cute or creepy as hale. It's endearing that Sam & Frankie 'met' all those years ago, but geez, man, that double-life shit never works out. So, eh.
Magic Mike: So I saw this with three gay dudes and one straight chick, and me. So I was, uh, the least qualified to be there. But I did like it--needed significantly more Bomer and a bit more Manganiello (and I am sorry, but "Tarzan" was...not attractive to me. In that scene where Adam first goes backstage and meets the guys, I thought he was the handyman or the bouncer or something. Oop @ me), but I really loved the realistic, improv-style dialogue. That is always my favorite, and Channing was really natural and charming. I find Alex Pettyfer basic in every conceivable way, but that actually kinda worked, since [spoiler]his character kind of became a total asshole at the end and we stopped caring about him in place of Mike, basically. P.S., in that scene where he overdoses, was that girl...dead? Because she looked kinda dead. I thought maybe we had a Jane Margolis situation and I was like "O LAWD, HERE WE GO," but then...nothing came of it. The banter between Mike and Brooke was possibly my favorite part, although I found Cody Horn kinda underwhelming, as did everyone, it seems. And Olivia Munn's entire presence annoyed me; she was just there to be a ~bitch (and bisexual, I guess?) and break Channing's heart to show that he actually has depth and belongs with Brooke? No, thanks. The actually stripping scenes were pretty delightful, of course (though all but ruined by the annoying-ass girl in front of me who announced "THAT'S CHRISTIAN GREY RIGHT THERE" to the entire theatre); I almost forgot that Channing is such a freaking awesome dancer. Though I think Soderbergh is getting kinda stylistically lazy--he's not quite Woody Allen, but he does make a lot of movies really quickly and I think he's just falling back on the same tricks, namely the quick jump cuts and the wildly distracting yellowish filter. That worked in Contagion, because the whole movie actually looked sick, and kinda in Haywire, but not really in this. In the beach scenes I was just like "...yeah, the sky doesn't look like that." Overall I found it compelling, but I'm not sure why everyone's acting like it's groundbreaking, aside from the whole female-gaze objectifying-men-for-once angle. And I am sorry, but it was weird to me that we didn't acknowledge how blatantly gay that all was. It didn't really need an actual dude/dude romance, but they could've played with the idea of, like, showmanship vs. real emotion and where the line between 'just the job' and real attraction actually is. Just sayin'. Oh, and Matthew McConaughey was basically playing himself, and I am okay with that. (And Gabriel Iglesias?! Really? "Are you the one ringin' that damn bell??")
Brave: YES I finally saw this, and I loved it. It lagged a bit in the middle, and the whole accidentally-turned-into-an-animal thing is pretty old hat at this point, but I did really like that the 'love story' was a mother/daughter thing, especially given Disney's track record for killing off moms. And of course, like, Scotland. EVERYTHING ABOUT THAT. ♥_____♥ I did 2D, of course, because I am cheap and old, but it still looked gorgeous & I adored the music as well because Patrick Doyle is sans flaws. I remain offended that they couldn't find a role for James McAvoy, though. You have all my favorite Scots in one place and you can't stick him in there?! SMH. And Ewan! Him too! But KELLY. ♥ Love her sfm. (If she's nominated for an Emmy I will totally cry.) And nice job finding a spot for John Ratzenberger. That was clever. I loved that Merida was not only active in trying to change her life, but then actually smart about trying to fix it when things went (predictably) wrong, figuring out the riddle with the tapestry and all that. I loved that she didn't end up falling for one of the suitors in the end, though I still say all these gals ain't got to be princesses. And it would have been cool to give her a BFF to have adventures with, since Disney/Pixar does friendships pretty damn well. But still, we're getting somewhere! Not as ~groundbreaking as their other stuff, but very enjoyable.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: I am ngl, I totally enjoyed this one. I haven't read the book, though I did read P&P&Z, which I liked (though I can't see how it's gonna be a good movie). I was a bit nervous about this one after Dark Shadows, since the same dude wrote 'em both and that was...not awesome, but this was pretty fun. It could've been more cheeky and taken itself less seriously, but I did think it had elements of camp. And OH MAN, do I ship Henry/Abe. Of course. And can I just say, like, awesome training montage with homoerotic undertones and a dude telling another dude that in order to hunt supernatural creatures, he can never have any lasting friends or family and has to be hot and angsty forever? UHH...SOUND FAMILIAR? Man, that was some strangely erotic axe-twirling. I did kinda call that [spoiler]Henry was a vampire, just because I assumed anyone wearing those 19th-century stunna shades was in fact a vamp, but that's OK, it kinda only made him more attractive to me. D.Coop's magnificent hair was OUT OF CONTROL in this movie, btw. OUT. OF. CONTROL. :9 And I totally love Anthony Mackie, Rufus Sewell, Jimmi Simpson, Alan Tudyk (!) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, so basically everyone was a delight. And Marton Csokas was very enjoyably hammy; Sewell actually kinda downplayed it, so that worked. I didn't think it would be possible to turn Mary Todd Lincoln into a badass, but they kinda did! I liked that they kinda tried to actually work in historical themes, like slavery and all, though I did LOL at the Civil War montage followed by "and then I was President, pretty much." Well, OK! Good to know! I'm kinda dying to know how people in the Deep South feel about this movie, as it suggested that the Confederates used vampires in "the war of Northern Aggression." Being a Yank, that's hilarious to me, but y'know. And wow, they broke the bank on that crazy horse-race scene and the big train sequence; I would never have guessed. Weirdly, I really loved the ending--I was expecting/kinda hoping for some big "JOHN WILKES BOOTH WAS VAMPIRE/WARLOCK/WEREWOLF!!1" twist (and apparently there was one in the book), but instead it was kind of...tasteful? Not expecting that! (My audience giggled fiendishly at "come on, we're going to be late for the theatre!" New Yorkers are a cold people.) Not to mention the bit where [spoiler]Henry's all "let me make you a vampire so we can
Richard II: I admit I was lazy and didn't read this one, just the Henrys, but I quite liked it. Ben was wonderful; I loved that he made Richard both hilariously petulant and actually pretty sympathetic. I'm always really interested in the imagery in Shakespeare adaptations, since the actual text has so few stage directions and descriptions; I liked the beach sequence a lot, though the waves washing away the ~RICHARD II~ written on the sand was a bit amusingly heavy-handed. Similarly, I wasn't sure if we were going for a Jesus motif or a St. Sebastian motif with Richard: it seemed to be kinda both, which really hammers home the martyr idea (which is interesting because we're kinda supposed to sympathize with Bolingbroke in the later plays, even though he's kind of a dick--though so is Hal, lbr) and also implies that he's gay...? That was interestingly ambiguous, especially since his parting with Isabel was pretty sad & romantic. Well, anyway, nice to see James Purefoy, not to mention Patrick Stewart and David Suchet--I have to wonder, did those dudes actually have to audition or anything? Or did the director just call them up and go "pleeeeease please be in our movie, o ye badasses of the Bard"? And they were like "sure, OK, I have a weekend free." Ugh, I love those dudes so much. ♥ For obvious reasons, my body is INSANELY ready for the next three weeks. \8D/ Cannot wait to see Hiddles squaring off with Irons and poncing about in the pub and tearing around with a sword and asdfghjkl; I forgot how much I love Shakespeare 'cause I haven't read him since like college BUT I REALLY DO
Good Lord, that was overzealous. Going to D.C. tomorrow through Thursday for the holiday; we're going to a gay bar called Nellie's (heh) and to see The Amazing Spider-man, hopefully, and then on Friday I'm seeing Shakespeare in the Park (yay!) and then on Saturday I'm seeing War Horse (the play), and then packing/moving next week, so I will be back, like, someday. XO