Movies are one of my favorite blog topics. I guess because it’s still story telling, but it’s something I enjoy watching and talking about because it’s not WORK. Even when I dissect the story arcs and/or characterization, and talk about how it applies to writing, it’s still NOT writing. There’s no pressure, and it uses a different part of my brain.
So this weekend, I caught up on a stack of movies from Blockbuster. The problem with the “unlimited” package is that if you let your DVDs sit around for a month (or, ahem, more) it’s not as much of a bargain.
First, INVICTUS. I’m not a sports movie fan (I know this surprises you) unless there’s a lot of other stuff going on. And that’s certainly the case with Invictus, which is about the South African Rugby team winning the World Cup in 1995. Except that’s not really what it’s about. It’s about how Nelson Mandela began to unify and reinvent the country.
I find Mandela a very interesting individual. He is revered for his work ending apartheid, recipient of the Nobel Prize, regarded as the unifier of his country, he’s a prime example of how one man’s activist is another man’s terrorist. And vice versa. What I find interesting (and admirable) is that after essentially being at war with the apartheid government, and after the way he was treated by them, he was about reconciliation and not retribution. That’s the point that the movie makes about Mandela.
So, it’s kind of one of those movies where you know what’s going to happen, but watching it unfold is a pleasure. It hit the emotional moments a little obviously sometimes, but that didn’t stop me from sniffling. I was really struck by how hard it must have been to take the reins of a broken country, looked down on by much of the world, and have to basically reinvent it.
On the other end of the spectrum, there was CLASH OF THE TITANS. I actually saw this in the theatre, but Mom hadn’t, so we rented it. I have to say, it didn’t make any more sense on a second viewing. I said on Twitter, it’s like the movie makers took a bunch of things that would look cool (Giant scorpions! Hot guys in short leather skirts! Liam Neeson and Ralph Feinnes chewing scenery! Big! Giant! Kraken!), put them all in a hat, and drew them out at random. Then just as randomly stuck them in the movie.
No character has consistent motivation, the throughline is muddled… Actually, that’s too generous. No one seems to know what the theme is. Man rebels against the gods? Then why does it takes the gods’ intervention to save men from the big monster sent by the gods because man rebelled against… See what I mean? Basically it’s just “Everyone is pissed for no reason except to have an excuse to fight big scary monsters.”
And finally, THE GHOST WRITER. I’m still thinking about what I think about this movie. I was very interested in the story, but I figured it out pretty early. After that I became more interested in what director Roman Polanski was trying to say about politics, extradition, and war crimes. I’m still trying to figure it out. It was certainly a stylish movie, and I like Ewan MacGreggor in just about everything. (Definitely the best thing in three Star Wars movies.) But I’m on the fence about the ‘triller’ part and the ‘mystery’ part. I guess file it under “interesting” but not terribly exciting. But maybe that’s just me. Like I said, I figured things out pretty early. Maybe this is a testament to the skill of the actors for playing ‘squirrelly’ so well?
What about you guys? Catch any interesting movies lately?