Posthumous Movie Reviews

We watched a bunch of really great movies in January/February that bear mentioning here. I can’t wait for Saving Mr. Banks to be out, or perhaps we’ll watch it when we’re in the states, since we’ll be gone for nearly 3 weeks, and it only took a week for August: Osage County and The Dallas Buyer’s Club to streamline the showtimes to only ONCE per day. Is that reasonable?

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

I was never really a huge fan of Ben Stiller but he was really good in this film. I highly recommend it if you want to be inspired to travel again. Not the type of travel that brings you to big cities, but the kind where you trek across snowy landscapes (say the High Tatras) or Iceland, etc. The direction, cinematography, music, photography/stills etc. were amazing. Even Ben Stiller looked more handsome in the movie (I suspect it’s because of his age). I think the next holiday we take ought to involve hiking in the nearby SEA countries, like caving in Vietnam. Z&J’s hike up Kilimanjaro was really something. I don’t think I would survive at that altitude, considering how I fared in Cuzco/Ollantaytambo.. i.e. collapsing the minute I got to the hostel which was in the middle of a slope, which probably means Eyjafjallajokul is out for me as well :P Icelandic sounds like a pretty difficult language to learn! But that just makes English a breeze for them, as evident from Hot Springs, the icelandic indie music CD we purchased from icelandair. They are excellent at enunciation and getting the vowels right. We native English speakers on the other hand, are likely quite hopeless at pronouncing their language. We barely got to shop at Ff after that though cause the movie was pretty damn long.

American Hustle

We caught this one week after The Secret Life of Walter Mitty because tickets are cheapest on Tuesdays :P It was really good! Bradley Cooper was hilarious with his hypothetical endings to his boss’ ice fishing story and Jennifer Lawrence was amazing in her victimized wife part and intentional mistakes. I like Amy Adams but everytime I see her I think of how her character screwed up in that Debra Messing movie, what was it – something about a wedding? The Wedding Date? With Dermot Mulroney. Needless to say she has really blossomed as an actor, as has Mila Kunis (considering I am old enough to have first watched her on That 70s’ show). I can see how it got a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s a funny, intelligent, movie and totally worth watching. It’s one of those that actually held some appeal here in Singapore (probably because of the 4 big stars) so it had a longer run and everything.

Her

The best thing I liked about this movie (above all the other movies in this list) is the soundtrack. The kind of music Samantha composed (easy listening/new age-y) was really nice! The kind that holds mass appeal, if not terribly technical. I thought the climax of the movie (where the protagonist (can’t remember his name for the life of me) discovers that Samantha is also in love with 600+ other people she talks to) was a little weak, because that the same AI algorithm that is used for each consumer is somewhat obvious? Still, worth watching this for the music, and some pretty good voice acting by Scarlett Johannson.

The Dallas Buyers’ Club

I didn’t know Buyers’ Clubs were things in the what, 1970s? 1980s? where people went to get alternative medicine. I guess they’re not called that now, you see things like chiropractors and homeopathy clinics more commonly. Honestly speaking, their premise is not all that stupid/primitive/uninformed, given the way I’ve previously expounded on how many doctors exactly enter the profession with some moral aim to help people. Most of them were good at science in high school, and at 17/18 when you are choosing your major (I am beginning to see why Americans make it a post-graduate degree.. A longer, more tortuous path to getting your MD will somewhat prune out those who are in it for the money and the prestige) the average high school graduate will usually make extra tenuous links like: “I always did well in biology, or chemistry, I must be cut out for a career in medicine.” while choosing their major. I’d say many of my friends who go for professional degrees like these probably treat their pursuit as an intellectual exercise, and how much can you trust a doctor to look out for your best interests as opposed to his own intellectual pursuits when it comes to medical research in progress? There was great acting here by Matthew McConaughey (I used to have a crush on him, that delightful Texan drawl and well, suaveness) as well as by Jared Leto, which I honestly couldn’t tell was a man, I don’t know why everyone found it so obvious. The homophobia in it was stunning and I’ve always wondered why so many civilizations start with homophobia/racism before becoming “enlightened” to be less bigoted. Are we hardcoded to dislike anything that is not “like us”? Why don’t we dislike left-handers then? And why isn’t there heterophobia? I really should have taken an anthropology/sociology class about that.

August: Osage County

The dialogue in this play-movie was bullet-like and feeling. Meryl Streep was excellent as usual, and had some great interaction with Julia Roberts. Benedict Cumberbatch was just a weird casting choice.. all his Sherlock fans will be rather surprised at the role he was cast for. All the same, I can see why there isn’t more mass appeal for this film (and the Dallas Buyers’ Club) in Singapore. Not many people here have read widely enough to have a comprehensive understanding of American colloquialisms and slang phrases (even L has problems now and then, even though he generally does quite well), so many jokes are actually lost on people here. Even jokes in something as simple as Frozen can be lost on the audience so it’s sometimes depressing to watch movies in cinemas here. Definitely watching this movie makes you want to read the original play by Tracy Letts. Perhaps Pangdemonium will perform it one day? Considering nearly everyone here managed to miss the movie due to its brilliant show times (1pm in the afternoon most weekdays). We actually took a half day one tuesday to catch the Dallas Buyer’s Club and August: Osage County at Vivocity, and both were so art-house-y (compared to the average blockbuster anyway) they were screened in the smallest theatre there (8).

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