The Sessions, Iron Man 3, Epic and Star Trek: Into Darkness.

1. The Sessions. I really liked this movie. First of all, the two leads are great actors, John Hawkes and Helen Hunt. And it’s an interesting story based on an autobiographical article. There was guy named Mark O’Brien and he had polio as a child. He became paralyzed (sort of, he could still feel everything but he couldn’t move his muscles) from the neck down and spend a large portion of his time in his iron lung. But O’Brien was not a defeatist; He created a electric gurney he could control, covered it with mirrors so he could see where he was going while lying on his back and went to class at Berkeley University, where he studied and graduated with a degree in journalism. He wrote a bunch of articles for magazines and newspapers that he typed with a stick in his mouth on his typewriter. In 1990, despite being a devout Roman Catholic and unmarried, O’Brien decided he wanted to lose his virginity before he passed away (an unfortunate possibility: see post-polio syndrome). After much soul-searching, he decided to do it and hired a sexual surrogate called Cheryl Cohen-Greene, and the film is about that period of time. If you think the sex (or not-so-much-sex-as-awkward-touchings scenes) is uncomfortable, they are indeed. But the fact that this whole story is real and, in fact, documented in Mark O’Brien’s article “On Seeing A Sex Surrogate“, makes it sweet and poignant. O’Brien’s positive attitude and good humor in the face of what would cast most people into a pit of self-pity, beautifully portrayed by John Hawkes, keeps this from being a woe-is-me tale.

2. Iron Man 3. Blasty-explosiony-goodness! After the dopeness of IM1 and the not-dopeness of IM2 I was bracing myself. But it was super-fun! Some key points:

  • At first I was like why is Ben Kingley acting crappily? He got knighted with the acting, fer Chrissakes! And then in the middle is El Grande Plot Twist and I was like awww Ben, I’m sorry for doubting you, hearts and cuddles forever.
  • The continuity person on this movie should be shot in the face with a harpoon. There’s a big showdown that takes up the last third of the movie (no spoiler there, that’s how all these comic book films are structured) and Tony Stark gets a cut under his right eye. UNDER his RIGHT EYE, got that? Then, right in the middle of the fighting, there’s a short scene where for no reason whatsoever, Tony Stark has the cut over his left eye. It’s such a big cut that it’s doing that Rocky thing where it swells a little and pushes his lid down so it looks like he’s a wee bit sleepy, but only on one side. And as soon as that scene is over, it switches back to under his right eye for the rest of the film. This movie had as much money as the gross national product of several countries; You couldn’t deal with that in post maybe? A little CGI? Hell, just FLIP THE FILM in that scene so at least the cut is on THE CORRECT SIDE OF HIS HEAD. I found it infuriating.
  • I love the opening song. It’s a horrid European dance track from the ’90s (don’t click on the link if you want to be surprised) and I was so happy I sang all the words in the theater. And then after the movie I sang all the words on the way to the parking lot. I love bad 90s dance music. Started my movie experience off great.
  • Product placement is out of control. There’s this really sweet scene near the end and you’re all emotionally invested in it and then the screen is taken over by a giant FIOS – THE NETWORK AHEAD for several seconds and it’s such a blatant plug it takes you right out of the movie. I’m not saying get rid of product placement, but try to weave it into the movie gently, not slappity-slap people with your shilling.

3. Epic. SO CLOSE. It was SO CLOSE to being one of the best movies ever. This movie was a hodge-podge of Fantasia, Casper (the movie with Christina Ricci), Ferngully and a sprinkling of The Wizard of Oz. While in my head that sounds great, it just… wasn’t. I am so accustomed to Pixar and their breathtaking character development, so when I see something where the focus was more on the look and feel and less on perfecting the story structure and characters, it fills me with sad.

  • However, all is not wrong!  This movie is one of the most beautiful movies I’ve ever seen. I don’t say this often, but if you can, you should see it in 3D. The scene where the queen goes off in her chariot to find a successor – gorgeous. The scene in the rings of the tree – gorgeous. The costume design – exquisite. Seriously. Look at this.
  • I noticed that there was a lot of pulling from a variety of inspirations. The bad guys were clearly inspired by Brian Froud. Here are some of Brian Froud’s illustrations:
    -1 -4
    And here’s the main bad guy (voiced by one of my favorite actors, Christoph Waltz). Similarities? Me thinks so.
    epic1 -2
  • If they could make a movie only with the anthropomorphic flower-and-bug people, I would be the first in line to buy a ticket.
  • Oy, Beyonce. I love you so much, but girl can not act. Her voicework was so non-emotive. She has a big important scene which is supposed to punch you right in the feels, but you don’t care. Dammit, Beyonce! Don’t be Madonna! Stick to what you’re great at! No acting for you!
  • If you see this movie for one reason, see it for the pug running at the camera in slow-motion. Never stops being funny.

4. Star Trek: Into Darkness. Eh. I didn’t love the first one, and I don’t love this second one. I almost dozed off during one of the battle scenes. If I had to sum up this film, I would call it “Tears and Lens Flares”. Someone cries in, like, every single scene. Uhura cries, Spock cries, Scotty cries, Benedict Cumberbatch cries, I think Kirk cries twice. I’m surprised the Klingons didn’t cry. And lens flares all over everything. Holy mackerel. Here are some examples I found online.

star+trek+lens+flare startrek-lensflare-spock-tsrimg images

And here’s a lovely photoshopped image of the director J. J. Abrams. Someone does not care for lens flares.


Leave a Reply