Aha! I have finally settled upon a naming scheme for these movie posts. I shall use the titles of the movies themselves! Pure genius (so long as I don’t let too many build up)!
Here, then, are my thoughts on the handful of movies I saw since my last movie post. Sadly, the summer movie season is drawing to an end, so there’s only one more on my list to see (The Expendables).
Much like when I saw The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the girlfriend and I took in Salt because we wanted to see a movie and had seen everything else of higher interest. This Angelina Jolie vehicle tried to bill itself as a thriller where nobody knew what was really going on. Unfortunately, that wasn’t quite the case.
It was entertaining enough, with a number of nice action sequences, but it was largely predictable. The sort of movie where there’s a binary choice to the truth—the “Is the protagonist actually the villain?” genre—has been done to death. In older movies, the answer was always, “No!” Then, to shake it up a bit, a lot of movies had the answer being, “Yes.” And that really exhausts the possibilities.
So now modern movies try to make you think the answer is no when really it’s yes, or vice versa, But it always works out to one or the other, so whatever you guess, you have a 50/50 chance of being right. And if the filmmakers are clumsy about telegraphing their intent, the odds go way up in your favour. Coupled with casting some actors who always play the bad guys, and there’s not a whole lot of mystery left.
Now, as a plain action movie it was fine, but if you’re relying on the mystery for your enjoyment, Salt may fall short. Otherwise it was a perfectly adequate movie.
The Other Guys
The girlfriend and I took this one in to stay out of a rainstorm. It was an extremely pleasant surprise. Normally I don’t really like Will Ferrell movies, but his buddy cop feature that pairs him with Mark Whalberg worked really well, and is way funnier and different than the trailers would lead you to expect.
The main plot is a somewhat conventional buddy cop storyline that provides a fair amount situational comedy. What I liked best, though, was the layer of absolutely bizarre and random humour laid over top of it. There were jokes in this movie that were completely out of left field, that I could never have predicted. I’m absolutely delighted when that happens. Consequently, this movie turned out to be a lot of fun. I’m comfortable giving it a recommendation.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
For me personally, this movie had a lot in its favour: based on a Canadian comic that I enjoy, directed by Edgar Wright of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz fame, and a pretty solid cast. I’m thrilled to say it lived up to my expectations. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was one of my favourite movies of the summer.
That said, the demographic is really the under-35 crowd, as it is steeped in the world of video games, anime, and indie music. I suspect that just watching the Universal logo at the beginning is enough for you to tell whether you’ll enjoy the movie or not. The creator of the comic—Bryan Lee O’Malley—is the same age as me, and thus grew up with all the same cultural touchstones, and that shines through in the comic and the movie.
The movie basically embodied fun, with lighthearted and entertaining fight scenes, an over-the-top cast of odd-but-largely likable characters. Possibly the weakest character is the eponymous Scott Pilgrim (ably played by Michael Cera), but the whole point of the movie is his growth from useless slacker into a decent guy. Getting from A to B is where the fun lies. Highly highly highly recommended.