The Grey

The Grey. I wish the poem at the heart of the movie was better. For me, there’s not quite enough there for the melodrama it’s asking for. I think maybe it would have been better without knowing the reasons our hero is so dour. But of course I like the survival bits. The surprises and set pieces are all great.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Maybe it’s just that time has washed away the hurt and shattered expectations of 1999, but my thoughts after a second viewing:

If I learned anything from STAR WARS it’s to let go of hate and stuff and I realized episode 1 is kinda campy and charming on second watch?

The story is blah, the writing and acting is blah. But yet, I don’t regret watching it again. I love how every setting is packed with goofy species and local details, every cityscape is full of air traffic. If there is any saving grace, it is the soundtrack – the best part of all of the prequels.

Run All Night

Run All Night. Well there’s nothing new here, but some good stuff, and also a groaner of a villainous re-appearance. I was surprise at how many nice photographs there are in this one, in particular some really lovely nighttime city scenes. Makes me more curious about Unknown and Non-Stop.

Taken 2

Taken 2. I like the flip-flop here, where Neeson has to rely on his daughter for a bit. Love the absurdly nonchalant use of grenades. Neeson is the most nightmarish backseat driver you could ever imagine. Like The Equalizer, he gives the final bad guy a chance to make the right decision, but… people never learn. Not sure what’s up with the images here, like how the colors were pushed and processed into these weird greenish-yellow skin tones. Tick of the Clock is one of the best things to happen to action movies (Cf.). More of the same ain’t bad, but Taken is better.

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.


Taken. Preposterous fantasy fulfillment popcorn flick that has everything you need, if that’s all you seek. Tough guy does cool shit! Gérard Watkins was perfect in his brief appearance. Liam Neeson also has a great badass role in The Grey. If you’re looking for another good abduction/chase movie set in Paris, you need to watch À bout portant (Point Blank).

The Grey

The Grey. It’s great. Watch it. There are (spoiler) wolves that (spoiler) eat people! Cinematically! The occasional narration and flashbacks in the story didn’t entirely sit well with me right away, but the strength of the rest of the acting, set pieces, sound work, and general grim relentlessness were spot-on. I think maybe you can even argue in favor of the bluntness of the voiceover writing. We’re so used to heroes being accomplished, superlative, clever, admirable. This is kind of a regular guy, down and out and swallowed in his own drama. How many people have written a good diary entry, literariness-wise? Who, in those circumstances, would be self-conscious enough to turn out new insights and artisan memories? No, you get by on what you have with you.

I didn’t think about that stuff much when I was watching the movie, though. I was already having too much fun. Other movies I’ve seen recently that involve the protagonist in a man vs. canine situation: The Hunter, White Dog, The Bourne Legacy. Man vs. cat? Life of Pi.