Sunday, 3 March 2013

Two Movie Reviews

I like movies. Who doesn’t? Well, I’ve realized that in my first post I said I might post movie reviews once in a while. Since it’s been a while I’ve seen a movie in the theatres (I believe the last time I went to the movies was in December – The Hobbit and Django Unchained – too long ago to give my thoughts, but I enjoyed both for different reasons), I thought I might share some thoughts on two that I recently saw at home.
Keira Knightley is an actress whose movies I always seem to want to watch. Maybe it’s because she’s in a lot of historicals, and being a history buff, I tend to gravitate towards those kinds of movies. But she’s also in a lot of movies that were adapted from literary classics (i.e. Pride and Prejudice). That being said, the last two movies I saw featured Keira.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Starring Steve Carell as well as Keira Knightley, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a dramatic comedy about, well, the end of the world. An asteroid impact is imminent. People are preparing themselves to die and it looks like they are generally having fun. Except for Dodge (Steve Carell) who finds himself suddenly alone after his wife leaves him. We never see this wife (apart from in pictures, I think) and only hear his friends speak about her and try to comfort Dodge by joking how it took the end of the world for her to finally get up the courage to leave him (or something along those lines). Without giving away too much of the plot, Dodge finally meets his neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley) when she cries outside his window on the fire escape. Funny enough, they have never spoken before then. Dodge was an insurance salesman and Penny was a free spirit type, so why should they have ever spoken before? But Penny had spoken to his wife, whom she thought was simply his roommate, innocently asking Dodge about his wife’s boyfriend. Well, that was a shock to Dodge. She also gives him mail that had come into her box accidently and which she never before bothered to return to him. In that pile of mail, Dodge finds a letter from his high school sweetheart, the only woman he’d ever truly loved, and thus begins a journey to find her before the asteroid hits, a journey that will involve a guilt ridden Penny.
I must admit, I shed some tears during this movie. It’s supposed to be a comedy, but it can be a little depressing. I really felt for Dodge and his loneliness. And when Penny finally reached her family by phone, it wrenched my heart. To have those last words with her family brought tears to my eyes. All in all, I really enjoyed this movie. It wasn’t one that I had wanted to see but when it came up one night on the movie channel, I decided to try it out. I generally like end of the world type movies and this one was a refreshing change. Usually these movies are all about the astronauts or the scientists trying to save the world and succeeding. But this one was about failure and about normal people and how the end of days might look like. It kept my interest the whole way through and was good for a few laughs. It made me think of what I might do in the same situation and coupled with the meteor hit in Russia and the asteroid pass in real life, it gave me an awesome apocalyptic dream a couple nights later. That dream was like watching a movie in my sleep. No better CGI than your own imagination!
My rating: 4/5
Anna Karenina (2012)
Anna Karenina, 2012
Keira Knightley stars as the title role. The movie is based on Leo Tolstoy’s work of the same name. Anna Karenina seems to be a woman perfectly happy with her life. She is married with a young son. So when she goes to visit her brother in Moscow, there should be no reason for her to want to stray, should there? Wrong. She meets Count Vronsky on the train and, gosh, he’s too dashing for her to forget. She then sees him everywhere. At a ball, where she dances with him all night, much to the displeasure of Kitty (her niece? I was never sure of their connection) who had been expecting the Count to propose marriage to her. Poor Kitty had just turned down an offer from another young man, Levin, much to Levin’s agonizing sorrow. The rest of the movie shows us Anna and Count Vronsky’s affair, the implications of it, and on the side, tells the story of Kitty and Levin.
I have not read the book by Tolstoy, so I don’t know how close this is to reality. I remember, very vaguely, learning about the book in my Russian history class, but alas, not enough to relate it to the movie.
My feelings about this movie are mixed. On the one hand, I thought the storyline itself was interesting and really gives us a view into Russian high society. To me, it wasn’t fair that Anna was the whore and outcast for being with Count Vronsky and he seemed to get around the whole affair without any consequences. And I believe her own brother was allowed to have a mistress without any judgment. But that was life. I get that. I knew that. What really bothered me about this movie was the weird setting. I don’t know why they set it on a stage. Why couldn’t they have just used real settings? I would have loved to see a real Russian setting. Real snow for god’s sake. Just when I thought I’d gotten over the use of a stage, it would bother me all over again. The horse race could have been so much better if they had used a real race track. The whole movie could have been a lot better if it hadn’t been set on a stage.
If I wanted to see a stage, I’d have gone to a theater. Movies shouldn’t be set on a stage.
Ugh. Okay. Rant over.
My rating: 3/5
Links (IMDB):
I'm supposed to go see Jack the Giant Slayer today, so maybe I'll post something on that later this week. I am also going to work on my From the Bottom of the Box Part II post. I had thrown that in my desk and forgotten about it! Until then, have a nice day!

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