movie roundup

Considering that most of I am Legend consists of watching one guy go through his daily survival routine, it's fairly engaging. I like most apocalypse, survival, and zombie movies -- and this one combines all three. What I found irritating or inconsistent might be problems in the original novel, but I'm guessing they were somebody's bright idea during the adaptation process: the whole Bob Marley thing was painfully overdone and heavy handed and didn't really add to the "meaning" of the film, which was never really made clear. Sure, medical science is overreaching in trying to present cures before they're tested -- that's a message I'm wholeheartedly behind. But then is the main character supposed to be heroic or not? because he's arrogant, hung up on a messianic complex, and justifying experiments that look an awful lot like torture. The ending of the film would make him a heroic figure but the body of the film doesn't. Which, if this were a more complex film could be an interesting tension. But it's not. It's an adventure movie that's trying a little too hard.

I really liked Margot at the Wedding, and it has fantastic actors giving great performances -- and yet it's not a film I'd lightly recommend to just anyone. All of the characters are pretty repellent, and the conversation veers wildly between caustic wit and wounding blows -- it's not a film that one necessarily enjoys so much as experiences, feeling grateful for those moments that don't seem too familiar. And feeling a mixture of shame and relief at seeing those moments that do seem familiar displayed on screen. It's smart, painful, and kinda funny -- like most art made out of the suffering of reflective intellectuals.

Best unexpected response to The Golden Compass: we'd invited GF's father to the movies with us, and were a bit surprised when he said yes to this film. 5 minutes into it, he turns to GF and says "is this an adaptation of the Doris Lessing book"? But, to the credit of the material and the film, he actually wound up enjoying it. I liked it pretty well -- it's nothing compared to the books, which I've read and reread for years -- and they cut out lots of important stuff. But it was a fun holiday season spectacle.