Gabriel Watches a Movie: Wolverine Does Japan

Saw The Wolverine the other day and enjoyed it despite its flaws, though I might just have no taste in movies because I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve seen recently, including World War Z, White House Down, and RIPD. It’s not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination and the dialogue is painfully bad in parts, but it was consistently entertaining and had less orientalism-fail than I was bracing myself for.

Not so much a review as just things of note

Gabriel watches a movie: World War Z

Verdict: fun! Diverges quite a bit from the book (as in, Brad Pitt's protagonist doesn't exist in the book) but it's quite entertaining, and though I am no connoisseur of zombie movies, probably the most intelligent and realistic one I've seen. No real surprise, given the source material — if there is one thing Max Brooks knows, it is how a zombie apocalypse would go down.

I'm not actually a big fan of apocalyptic fiction. A lot of people seem to envision themselves riding out an apocalypse like Mad Max, all fun and lawless games, but I know myself and I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't survive the first wave. I'd be very handy to have in your shantytowns post apocalypse, because I'm resourceful and DIY-minded, but I'm also useless in a fight and not very good at keeping my head in a crisis.

So yeah, here's to hoping the world doesn't end!

Gabriel Watches Movies: Looper

Saw the trailer for this back when I saw Dark Knight Rises and it looked interesting but — full disclosure — I probably wouldn’t have remembered to watch it except that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in it, and I like his hips clothes.

On the whole, it was pretty good, though it proved once again that Hollywood plots can only be powered by dead women and manpain. No exceptions. The time travel part was more hole than plot, but they humanized the technology and showed what it meant for the people living with it, which is really what I’m all about.

In particular, I liked:

– The leading-up-to-sex scene. (They ostentatiously fade to black before anything R-rated happens.) Emily Blunt was excellent in a role that could have flopped with a less talented actress, and in her hands that scene is poignant and remarkably realistic. You really get a sense of how quietly starved her character had been for physical intimacy, living out in the countryside as she was, and how much courage it takes to make the first move like that — not knowing how your overtures are likely to be received, but wanting it so badly that you can’t not take the chance. (Also, tumbling onto the bed fully clothed? Hot. I know this from experience.)

– Bruce Willis crying after he [spoiler alert] murders that kid, because men crying is not something you often see in western cinema, except over dead wives/mothers/etc. Men doing terrible things because they are ~necessary~ is a pretty standard trope, but then they usually grit their teeth and soldier on. I really liked that they took the time (a surprisingly long time, given how busy this movie was) to show Bruce Willis’s character being rightly overcome with the horror of what he’s done, and having his small breakdown. (And putting him in a public park for it was an interesting choice, because the public setting, everyone else going about their business, heightens the contrast with his intense, private emotional upheaval.)