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Movie: The Skeleton Twins (2014)
Rating: *** out of *****
Notes: Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, and Luke Wilson star in an indie dramedy to take a break from their otherwise comedic careers. Milo and Maggie are twin estranged siblings who come together after hitting emotional bottoms and help each other resolve life issues. It's frontloaded with a bit of excess mumblecore and improv which is typical of low-impact stories. In fact, it's mainly the characters muddling around trying to find themselves, and the resolution is more of an achievement of stabilization. AS such, it's not a particularly exciting film, but Wiig and Hader have enough chemistry and charisma, and the film allows just enough of their more well-known personalities to slip through to make it likable. The humor is soft and scattered about sparsely to ensure it doesn't devolve into wackiness and the gravitas is maintained. A decent enough slice of troubled life and bonding family relations.

Movie: Into The Storm (2014)
Rating: *** out of *****
Notes: "Into The Storm" is a movie geared to sell special effects. Plot is entirely secondary, clearly evident by how awful the excessively improvised script and characters are. Within ten minutes, I was all ready to see each and every one of them perish in the weather disaster we know is coming. The story is simply that a random series of tornadoes hits a town. There's the principal dad and his two self-absorbed sons, a bickering stormchasing team full of redshirts, and a pair of rednecks so clearly and accurately based on YouTube misanthropes. Surprisingly, plot is almost completely abandoned for carnage by the halfway mark, leaving little more than an excellent disaster film full of the next generation of weather-related CG. It has no more basis in scientific fact than "Twister" did, and the characters are twice as dumb, but the destruction is top-shelf and quite thrilling, despite at least a quarter of the film portrayed in a sad imitation of found-footage. Definitely worth it for the mayhem if you can cringe through the rest.

Movie: The Attorney (2013)
Rating: **** out of *****
Notes: Based on the life of human rights lawyer-turned-president of South Korea, Roh Moo-Hyun, it dramatizes a spontaneous, trailblazing lawyer's rise from small-time real estate to frontline activist against government oppression in the guise of communist crackdowns. The main character is very strong-willed and confident, with very little emotional downtime or wallowing in overdramatic filler, thus making it engaging from scene to scene. The first half of the film is entirely set-up, establishing his family and career, followed in the second half by powerful courtroom drama, the likes of which I haven't previously seen outside of American films. This latter portion is very tight and engrossing, featuring all the elements that make a solid theatrical judicial proceeding. It does not go bloodless, as there are some vicious scenes of beatings dealt by the oppressive government lackeys. Overlong by about 30 minutes, it's still a standout Korean feature that's a welcome change from all the gangster and martial arts themes getting all the attention lately.

Next: Two Step, Pride, The One I Love


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 7th, 2016 06:36 pm (UTC)
Oh, gods.. ItS. Ye gods and little fishes.. I suppose, if one is feeling charitable, "unpretentious" is not inaccurate. If not, "vacuous" is also entirely apt. *sigh* I suppose it passes as mindless entertainment, but it's of that megabudget variety that knows it's precisely that, designed with all the love of a McDonalds menu, for optimal profit yield with no care required. (I shall note it was the roomie's idea =:)

On the other paw, I'm current watching (on and off - on a bit of a rabbiteering day back at the original spot, so I've a couple hours on trains later on) Mr Nobody, which I started a while back, but - given the way I watch very little by way of TV or films at present - hadn't gone any further since. It's such a multi-layered delight, with all these possible histories presented, united only in the present, where he's become something of a media circus object of curiosity. Will he reach his mother's hand as the train pulls away? Did that actually even happen?

(Hoping to see Eva, but the studio really doesn't seem interested in making HD easily available - I can buy a BD, but with no English subs. Even pirate options are all wonky - an HD version, but with German dubbing, or an SD AVI with Spanish audio.. and they're all different lengths, thrgh some combination of ending a little early, and different framerates/conversions. Needless to say, no sign of it at all on iTunes or Vimeo)

I also hope to watch Jem and the Holograms tonight. ^_^
Jan. 8th, 2016 12:46 am (UTC)
As you saw from my Top Ten of 2015 list, Mr. Nobody won the year.

Since when do any BDs have no english subs? What year is this? Amazon has a Euro BD for $16 USD, but that's pricey if you just want to see it.

You're dissing ItS before watching JatH? :)

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