12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave. Not sure how to talk about this one. Hard to watch. At times it is very, very on-the-nose. If you’ve seen Steve McQueen’s Shame and Hunger, this will be no surprise. But it’s strange that it doesn’t feel… dramatic. It is focused. It is facts. It also makes you feel some of the same unease (the score is a huge contributor here). The movie is all in the protagonist’s perspective, which unfortunately means everyone else can seem a little flat (despite the cast being awesome), or merely functional. But it also puts you in the center, witnessing the moral bargains and compromises, comparing and contrasting how each person manages an impossible situation, and perhaps suggesting the futility of passing judgment on how each copes. A couple more things to note. I’m not sure if it was intentional or not, but you don’t get the sense of time passing, though it’s ostensibly twelve years we see. Could definitely be by design – the monotony and sameness by design – I’m just not sure. And I gotta say, I’m not thrilled with Brad Pitt’s late appearance. He’s got too much star power to show up so late, in such a role, for so short a period. I couldn’t quite get used to him. It’s not his fault, though. Anyway, good movie. The contrast with Django Unchained could not be more stark.

Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness. This one does not compare well to the other Star Trek movies. Fun, maybe, kinda, but there’s all kinds of narrative whiplash, and the non-Kirk, non-Spock characters aren’t quite there for me. Slapdash effort. Oh, well. I’ve still got my top 5 or 6 in the series to fall back on:

  1. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
  2. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  3. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  4. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  5. Star Trek: First Contact
  6. Star Trek
  7. Star Trek: Nemesis
  8. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
  9. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
  10. Star Trek: Generations
  11. Star Trek Into Darkness
  12. Star Trek: Insurrection