Most of this month’s viewing was the tv show FARGO which I need to write a proper post about because we finished it up and I have FEELS! But I did manage to squeeze a few movies into the busy July schedule:
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug — 3 stars — We watched this the day the A/C was out. Figured sitting in the dark for 3 hours, not moving, with the fan directly blowing on us was the best way to spend that evening.
I thought it was better than the first installment but that isn’t saying much since I was very disappointed in that movie. At least this one got moving quicker but there was still a lot of additional superfluous story that slowed down the film and kept us from getting to the Smaug plot, the only plot worth caring about. The Orc plot serves no purpose except to create action sequences we don’t need.
I feel like the attempt to bring more of the Sauron plot into these films is bogging them down. The dwarves’ mission may not be a noble one, revenge really isn’t an attractive goal, but just let the story focus on those characters. If you wanted to tweak something, tweak Thorin and make him more likable, or at least easier to identify with. I still don’t care about his kingdom or his right to this throne that has been abandoned for so long.
The one thing I do like is showing the ring corrupting Bilbo a bit more. I didn’t need a long drawn out spider scene to do that…but still, that is the one element of the original trilogy story that I am enjoying being integrated into this movie.
Disappointed but not surprised. Not sure what the last movie will bring but Hobbit is nowhere near the greatness of Lord of the Rings.
Saving Mr. Banks — 3 stars — Hardest thing about enjoying this movie is knowing how much it has been sanitized by Disney. The entire thing needs to be viewed as FICTION. Moving past that, though, it’s a sweet movie and it has it’s heart in the right place.
Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson are the reason this movie is so watchable. They were fantastic, but don’t overlook the awesome supporting cast as well. Every single role was cast perfectly.
Good for one viewing, but I think it might be a little too bittersweet for multiple viewings. It’s classic tropes and cliches will wear thin but it’s worth a look for all the performances (and omg Jason Schwartzman, stop making me fall in love with you!) It will make you want to dust off your copy of Mary Poppins to watch immediately afterwards.
The Conjuring — 5 stars — I usually don’t do horror movies, but The Conjuring had such rave reviews it felt like one that I should check out and I am so glad that I did.
The Conjuring is based on a true story of a haunted house and demonic possession that happened in the early 1970s (and Googling around, it sounds like the writer and director stayed true to the facts, even calling in the paranormal investigator, Lorraine Warren, to consult on the film). It is very spooky. And it’s a case of another fantastic cast making bringing outstanding performances to this scary story. This wasn’t just a generic horror movie full of random first time actors lining up to be killed, it was a cast of award winners and familiar faces who gave 100% to all of their performances.
I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. The first half of the movie plays out like a haunted house story, setting up the mood and introducing us to our heroes, the victims, and the spirits. The second half of the movie feels like an episode a supernatural investigation show as we see the Paranormal Investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren set up in the house and try to protect the family.
Great cast, good editing, just enough scenes to make you jump and all your hair WILL stand on end. I am not a fan of this genre (because I am a wuss), but I would watch this again. Destined to be a classic for Halloween night and sleepover parties.
Grand Budapest Hotel — 3.5 stars — This was definitely a Wes Anderson film. It has all the quirky story, zany characters, and beautiful cinematography of the rest of his films. The dialogue is quick and witty. It was a nice movie for a warm summer afternoon. It’s not my favorite of his films, but it was still a lot of fun to watch.