Insurgent (with some Spoilers, for those who are still interested)

This post is about Insurgent, the sequel to Divergent, but first, let me diverge…

Recently I’ve been around some deep conversations about The Hunger Games. There are many in my circles who don’t like the franchise (books or movies) on the basis of the premise alone—children killing children. It’s a perspective I can completely understand. I mean, I don’t like children killing children either. And that’s not a joke or anything—that reflects a lot of terrible stuff that’s going on in a lot of the world, with child soldiers and so on.

Still, there are many others who don’t mind The Hunger Games and even enjoy it, presumably because it’s a gripping story with lots of action, drama and heart. Some say they can excuse the premise because the killing isn’t glorified. I’m not completely sure that’s true—I think it might be glorifying it a bit just by making something about it—but at the same time I can agree that the movies (I’ve never read the books) certainly seem to agree that what is going on is really really terrible.

I think that’s the thing that gripped my attention with them. It was clear from the beginning of the first film that this world was terribly unjust and wicked, and it’s largely because I’m really hoping I get to see Katniss Everdeen tear it to shreds that I have been sticking around ever since.

All that leads us to Insurgent, which got mentioned in those same conversations as an alternative take on the some of the same ideas from the Hunger Games. Of course, we knew that much—the story has been accused of being a massive rip-off of the Hunger Games, and certainly it owes some of its popularity to the fact that the Hunger Games has helped make this kind of story kind of big.

Insurgent1 Continue reading Insurgent (with some Spoilers, for those who are still interested)

Tomorrowland (As middle-of-the-road as you’ve heard)


Now, the mixed-bag that is Tomorrowland has been well documented by many critic and reviewers, do I really need to add anything?  I feel like I do, or at least I want to, because I’ve been a bit slow on this blog lately and because this was a movie that I was really hopeful for.  Upon what were those hopes founded?  Really, not much, except for the trailers.  Or just certain bits of the trailers.  The imagery of young Casey being transported upon touching that pin – the cleanness of the transition and the frightening mystery of what is happening really gripped my imagination. Continue reading Tomorrowland (As middle-of-the-road as you’ve heard)

White House Down (vs. Olympus Has Fallen)

Well, the other day, I finally had the chance to watch White House Down.  You remember, that was the absurd, over-the-top action film that my wife was in the midst of viewing on the plane when the flight ended.  When we tried to rent the movie later, we found that it wasn’t out yet, and so decided to get Olympus Has Fallen instead.  This turned out to be my new benchmark film for bad movies, and commenting it was what indirectly led me to watching Sharknado a few weeks ago.

But now I’ve seen White House Down.  And the big question was…could it possibly be worse than Olympus Has Fallen?  Continue reading White House Down (vs. Olympus Has Fallen)

Flight (the Movie, not the Mode of Transportation)

Whoever said that Oskar Schell from Incredibly Loud & Extremely Close was the most unlikeable character in cinema history had obviously not been considering Denzel Washington’s Captain Whip Whitaker from FlightContinue reading Flight (the Movie, not the Mode of Transportation)

Now You See Me

You know from very early on that Now You See Me is going to be kind of a stupid film.  It does it’s best to distract you from this with glitzy effects and dizzying (literally, at times) camera movements, as it tries to slickly tell the story of four street magicians who begin to make a name for themselves by using their skills with illusion to commit Robin Hood-style robberies and make a statement about the economic injustices in the world, while at the same time achieving a self-motivated ulterior motive.  The magic shows are impressive and dazzling, the robberies brilliant though unlikely, and the film style all spit and polish over substance or character development.  It’s sort of like a strange combination of the Ocean’s Eleven series with Step Up Revolution. Continue reading Now You See Me

Phone Booth. Ugh.

Phone Booth, from 2002, is an annoying movie in that falls into a classic trope/trap that some people seem to like but that for me saps all the joy out of a story – the ominscient villain.  This is the bad guy who is always several steps ahead of the hero / victim.  The one in the story in which whenever the hero/victim makes any sort of positive move and seems to be gaining ground on his adversary, it turns out it was just part of the villain’s plan anyway.  I guess it’s meant to be scary or suspenseful or whatever, and in limited doses it can be, but when taken to extremes it drives me bonkers. Continue reading Phone Booth. Ugh.

Movies on a Plane: The Watch

Now unlike Step Up Revolution, which a surprising number of only superficial similarities with Battleship, the third movie that I viewed on my recent intercontinental flight, The Watch, actually has a lot of key story beats and plot points in common, in spite of the fact that it is quite a different film.  This only goes to show just how flexible the whole alien invasion genre really is. Continue reading Movies on a Plane: The Watch