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Movie Marathon, Pt. I by Elizabeth C. '13

Watch ALL the things!

May 30, 2013

Ah, readers, we meet again. I’m sorry it’s been a while. Much as changed since our last exchange (the way I begin blog posts has obviously not. Oops.) – I finished my last MIT classes, I ate my last meal in the Simmons dining hall, I graduate in about a week…!

…But we will not talk about that right now (read: I will not get sentimental about that right now). Instead, let’s talk about all the movies I’ve been watching since finals week ended! See, I love movies. Funny movies, serious movies, foreign movies, mindless/escapist movies, deep meditations on the human condition movies, indie movies, blockbuster movies, I LOVE ‘EM ALL! I have never seen a movie involving time travel that I did not like. I can truthfully make that statement because I have never seen Hot Tub Time Machine. I do love the Back to the Future trilogy, Primer (best, best, BEST movie about time travel ever made; it’s one of my favorite movies of all… time… haha, see what I did there? I should stop.), Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Looper, Safety Not Guaranteed, Midnight in Paris. But I digress! The point of this paragraph is that I haven’t had a lot of time to watch a lot of the movies I’ve been wanting to see (or haven’t had the occasion to view them).

…UNTIL NOW. That’s right, I’m farting around until graduation (which, remember, we will not talk about right now) so that means I have both the TIME to watch movies AND constant access to friends who I can coerce into watching movies with me because I know they have no excuses!

(I’ve also realized that there is a Spongebob gif for almost every occassion in life.)

This was the list of movies I compiled:

  • Another Earth
  • Of Gods and Men
  • A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints
  • Gattaca
  • Never Let Me Go
  • Adam (the 2009 one with Hugh Dancy)
  • Winter’s Bone
  • True Grit
  • Promised Land (ehh I know, I know, I know it’s going to be terrible but I saw We Bought A Zoo so how much lower can Matt Damon sink??)
  • The Breakfast Club (I’m ashamed, leave me alone)
  • Inception (I’m ashamed, leave me alone)
  • Departures (the 2008 Japanese film)
  • Poetry (the 2010 Korean film)
  • The Giant Mechanical Man
  • Lord Of The Rings Trilogy (I feel like I wouldn’t be allowed to graduate from MIT without seeing these.)
  • Friends With Kids
  • Iron Man 3 (I missed the premere that the Class of 2013 saw because I had symphony rehearsal)
  • Star Trek: Into Darkness
  • The Place Beyond the Pines

And this is Part I of how my fellow film-viewers and I felt about some of these movies. Ready or not, here come the reviews!

Movie: Gattaca

  • Elizabeth-digest version: It’s the future where genetic screening (especially before birth) leads to the phenomenon of “genoism,” or the discrimination of the “genetically inferior” (anyone with a disposition to health problems as predicted by their genome). The main character wants nothing more than to be an astronaut, but he’s unable to due to his inferior genes. So he steals another dude’s genetic identity!
  • Panel reaction:
  • Roy on plot: “The whole ‘I’m undah covah! They gon’ find me!’ is a pretty thrilling premise BUT the rest of it is kinda..eh. Apocalypse Now is better and longer.” Roy on the musical score: “They overused the theme. Everything involving water, looking at the stars, every quiet moment…”
  • Sayeed on film construction: “I didn’t get it.” (To be fair, he started watching after we had gotten through over half of it.)
  • Me: Ehhhhhhhhhhprettygood? A lot of folks hyped this movie up, so perhaps that contributed to my slight disappointment over it. I loved the premise and it made me really happy that it’s an original script. I like that it gets you to think about what constitutes the value of a human being and the consequences of biotechnology. But as a bioengineer, some of the science they incorporated and the way they address some of the technology drove me absolutely NUTS. (#MIT) Sorry I’m being super vague – I don’t think I could actually articulate the details without giving away a lot of the movie. Should you watch it? Yes. And then you should become civically responsible scientists.

Movie: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

  • Elizabeth-digest version: Frodo and Sam continue to try to destroy The Ring (but don’t), Aragorn and pals continue to fend off all the crap that’s preventing Frodo and Sam from destroying The Ring, we get introduced to Treebeard.
  • Panel reaction:
  • Maita LOVES LOTR. She’s your go-to person if you want to know anything about anything when it comes to Tolkien. In fact, she’s the one that finally convinced me to see the movies. We watched Fellowship a couple weeks ago, and it was only right to finish off the trilogy before we parted ways. Two Towers is her least favorite movie of the three, but she still loves it!
  • Roy also LOVES LOTR. You can probably tell that he was pretty pumped about it. Two Towers is his favorite of the three.
  • I thought Two Towers was better than Fellowship (1<2 was what I was trying to convey in that picture). Keri told me last night that a movie can seem pretty awesome, but if you promptly forget about it or stop thinking about it right after you see it, then it probably wasn’t that great to you. I guess that’s how I feel about LOTR, and I feel really bad that I don’t absolutely love it, but…I just don’t. I don’t dislike it, and I totally respect and even understand why so many others are so obsessed with it, but I can’t remember ANYTHING that happened and I saw this movie three days ago. I like that the film seemed like it was a labor of love from the filmmakers. I love the cinematography and the score is amazing. Amazing! And the story is great. It’s a great epic story, and that’s not something that’s easy to come by. I just don’t remember it.
  • Adrian is also part of the “I LOVE LOTR” club. He thought Two Towers was solid.

Movie: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

  • Elizabeth-digest version: Spoiler alert! Everything that you expect to happen happens.
  • Panel reaction:
  • Honestly, it was a pretty epic movie but HOLY COW IT’S SUCH A LONG MOVIE! We were wiped by the end of it. It didn’t help that there are about five or six instances where the movie could’ve reasonably ended, but didn’t. (Me: “Oh, what a nice place to close the movie” Peter Jackson: “PSYCHHHHHH!”) x6
  • On the bright side, I’ve now viewed the LOTR trilogy. I have not ventured into any of the extended versions. Baby steps, folks.
  • On the brighter side, I now finally appreciate and understand this meme:

Movie: Inception

  • Elizabeth-digest version: I can’t Reader’s Digest this. My best attempt – a team of people try to infiltrate into someone’s dreams to implant a seemingly self-originating idea into his mind.
  • Panel reaction:
  • Roy: Thought the use of the score’s theme was well done.
  • Adrian: I don’t think his facial expression adequately conveys how he feels about this film. The kid saw it THREE times within the first 24 hours it had been released in theaters. This is his, “Oooh, excellent! This is making me think!” expression. Regarding the movie’s progression, “The level of intensity versus time is like a step function that goes into an exponential function. BAM!!!”
  • Maita: Thought it was excellent. This was her third time seeing it, and she recommends seeing it more than once.
  • Me: Wuuuuut in the worrrrrld – the special effects blew my mind! Like Gattaca, I loved that it was an original script. It was an insanely creative premise. It kind of bothered me that Christopher Nolan left certain aspects unaddressed (like how Ellen Page’s character is just like, “Ope, you go into people’s dreams! Kinda weird but… OKAY! I’m in.”), but I respect the decisions he made to leave certain things out but still maintain the world of the movie (and keep the movie under 2 hours. Nolan knows how to exercise restraint. Jackson could learn a thing or two about that.). I was super unsettled by the characters. There weren’t any particularly shocking or unpredicatble moments (no “GASP!!!!!” moments except for ones involving some insane special effects) for me, but I was curled up in the fetal position at times, peering through my hoodie, squealing annoyingly in anticipatory anxiety. There was so much hype about this movie, but I think the production team made something that they can really be proud of. It did the same kind of thing for movie-making that I think the Matrix did.

Movie: Now You See Me

  • Elizabeth-digest version: I’m pulling this straight from IMDB, because I can’t say it any better: “An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money.”
  • Panel reaction:
  • This movie wasn’t originally on the list, but my roommate (Sneha) got free advanced screening tickets to today’s showing, so we mosied over to Boston Commons and saw it. I thought it was solid. It serves the same utility as the Ocean’s trilogy and The Italian Job – they’re all heist movies, but they’re also really fun movies that aren’t entirely mindless. The epitome of entertainment. There are some seriously gaping holes in plot and character development, and Isla Fisher’s acting is truly horrendous. If you do not like Jesse Eisenberg, his presence will probably annoy you (I don’t mind him, and I actually kind of liked his casting). But the movie features some pretty fun magic tricks and is funny enough. Sometimes I want to see a movie to be mentally challenged. Sometimes I want to see something beautiful. Sometimes I just want something playing in the background while I do laundry or while I’m cooking. Now You See Me would not be an appropriate choice in any of those scenarios. But a plane ride? Friday night with friends? See this movie! Go go go! (Also, Dave Franco is in this movie, so what are you waiting for?!)
  • Sneha: “Well played, sirs.” She loved this movie. I’m pretty sure this is her saying this moving is “AAAAAAAAAAAAmazing!”

Stay tuned for more movie reviews! We’re slowing making our way through the list. In the meantime, what are YOUR favorite movies? Anything we should add?