Aug. 3rd, 2016

cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)
Warcraft
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Captain Fantastic
Love and Friendship
Ghostbusters


I enjoyed all these movies, actually, for an assortment of different reasons. Warcraft is by far the weakest and is a terrible movie in many respects; the world-building unbelievable, the characters weak (the lead is trying very very obviously to be Viggo Mortensen in LotR, without his talent or the worldbuilding of Weta), the story often cheesy, the effects unconvincing. And yet. It is the only one of these that had anything in its ending that was both surprising and satisfying, not once but twice; two moments which really worked, for the characters and for me. I am not sure it will get a sequel and even if it does it may be entirely dire, but so many things these days have unsatisfactory endings. This didn't.

I also have fond memories of playing Warcraft, in its pre MMORPG incarnations. I saw the movie with the friend that I have been going to see similar movies with for over 20 years now, and in addition to movies (and books) we also game. There were games I played that he didn't and vice versa, but Warcraft was a common interest, played over some years, and it does give a depth to moments in the film that probably aren't there without that - and yes, I do agree withthis review. I don't think I would recommend the movie as a movie, ending aside, but if you have a similar soft spot it might be worth a look.

I saw Ghostbusters with the same friend and we both loved Holtzmann/Kate McKinnon and the ghostbusters themselves, while not loving the cameos or the storyline, which got more incoherent in the second half. I also thought there was a little too much Chris Hemsworth (I liked him! Just not - that much). However. I have never before seen a western mainstream action movie with four female leads (I am struggling to think of one with two - Fast and the Furious 6, possibly?), let alone one where they're all treated as people and as women. That was brilliant. And Holtzmann. I have fond memories of the original Ghostbusters that might well not stand up to rewatching, but I can't help thinking what it would have been like to see this version instead of that one, and what it would have meant to me then.

Captain Fantastic has actual Viggo Mortensen as a father of six children he's raising off the grid in a countercultural wilderness setting, and what happens when they are forced to come back into regular American society and it's a very well done movie, the acting is great, the characters are great, and I liked it a lot. And the ending irked me a little at the time but has bothered me more and more over the last couple of weeks.There was a moment where it could have finished, and I would have had questions but been okay with things, but then it kept on going, and going, and now I'm just bitter. I did like it, I'd recommend it, but if I saw it again I'd make some sort of excuse ten minutes or so from the end and disappear.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople was good and had a lot of great moments, and Sam Neill unusually did not annoy me by his mere presence. However with this and Boy and Untold Tales of Maui (a play by Taika and Jermaine Clement, for any baffled readers) and Two Cars One Night I am totally done with Taika's exploration of straight young Māori males on the verge of adolesence, and after two years of NZ literature at university I'm a little bit over the Man/Men Alone in NZ bush as well. I liked Oscar Kightley in this, I loved Rima Te Wiata, it was fun. The ending suffers from having to not be a tragedy, unlike some of the stories it references, while not quite working out how to positively be something, and also flips the focus from Ricky to Heck in a way that didn't work for me.

Love and Friendship is not actually Love and Freindship, Jane Austen's juvenile novel that was the first of her books that I read and actually liked (having at that stage ploughed grumpily through Northanger Abbey and Emma, and started and failed Persuasion. I liked it a lot and it actually changed the way I approached Austen when I tried again, particularly in making me realise her sense of humour. This is, however, a film of Lady Susan (which I haven't read) which borrows the title. It's fun, it's light, and it lets its characters get away with things.

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