Love & Mercy

Love & Mercy. Biopics are not my strong suit and I usually complain about them. This was a good one, alternating between an older and a younger Brian Wilson, some of the scenes echoing each other. It didn’t delve into the drug stuff as much as I expected, or the long years he spent in bed. I wonder if that was a PR thing? Or maybe it just doesn’t lend itself to picturization. Still an interesting view of mental illness, and mental illness in a particular time and place without stuff we take for granted now. Also an atypical romance here, where the collapse happens in a way that you’re sympathetic to both. He’s a broken man; she’s a woman who knows she can only give so much. I left wondering about how thwarted and overwhelmed he must have felt. Not just the creative struggle to take what’s in his head and make it real. There’s also the conflicting and belittling messages from father, doctor, bandmates, etc. Wicked sound design at times playing against all of those in a few scenes, like when he rejects his father and picks up the headphones, some studio breakthroughs, some moments wrestling with schizophrenia.

After seeing this, I’m also curious about The Wrecking Crew, a doc about the session musicians who helped create the original sound for the Beach Boys and many others.

Filed under: Ebertfest

Magic Mike XXL

Magic Mike XXL. My appreciation for it grows as time passes. It’s more aimless than the first one (which I really liked), and I think that “this isn’t gonna be like last time” shift is pretty obvious right away with the “Pony” solo. This one seems more gentle and… appreciative? Everybody learned some lessons over the years since the last one. Now it’s time to celebrate, honor that time, and move on. It’s a shame their crew only has like 1.5 decent dancers, but it kinda works. I really enjoyed Kameron Hurley’s series of tweets about the movie, which had me shouting in agreement. Filed under: Magic Mike.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Pardot 1

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. It’s ~40 minutes of almost-revolution and ~80 minutes where we watch them shoot commercials. yawn I think there actually is an interesting movie to be made (already made?) about the internal/self-directed marketing for revolutionary movements, but it’s not this one. The first movie is the best. The second one has its moments. The trend is not good. Fingers crossed for a good finale.

The Lego Movie

The Lego Movie. I had heard that this was better than you’d think, but it was still so wildly beyond my expectations. (My first reaction might still hold. I’ll need to mull it over a it more.) The story is pretty straightforward, but they build in a lot of good meta-movie/genre tropes and the sense of humor was right up my alley (both the wit and the dumb gags). And it’s gorgeous. The verrrrry very end doesn’t quite work for me, but geez. What a treat.