With Lisa being pregnant and stuck at home, we’ve been watching a few more movies than normal (at least for me). Some quick-fire thoughts on what we saw the last week.
The Illusionist: Starring Ed Norton, who I actually really enjoyed in The Fight Club, this is probably my favorite of this batch. It tells the story of a magician, Eisenheim, who has seemingly supernatural powers. And his dealings with the would-be emperor of Austria Leopold and Leopold’s would-be bride Sophia, who happens to be a childhood friend of Eisenheim. The movie is a bit slow in places and Norton’s acting is a bit odd. His voice is monotone for most of the movie, which was a bit offputting, but overall, I really enjoyed the story. And, the twist at the end was unexpected, at least for me. Giamatti does a great job as the inspector who’s torn between his ethics in his job and his loyalty to Leopold. The mood of the movie was, I thought, very good.
The Invasion: Another movie I really enjoyed. This is an update of the classic “body snatcher” theme movies, with an update in that the alien invaders are more an intelligent virus than a humanoid species. What I found most interesting was not so much the sci-fi aspect of the movie, but the commentary it made on free will and independence and how those create the human condition, for both good and bad. With free will, we can create, feel and love, but we can also destroy and hate. Is a world in which we can’t do either in some ways better than one where we get the bad with the good? The acting was good, though Kidman felt a little stiff at times. I like Craig (in my opinion, the best Bond I’ve watched) and I think he did a good job here too.
Ratatouille: Yet another movie I enjoyed. The common theme was that I picked movies I thought both Lisa and I would enjoy and that had been reasonably well reviewed. I thought this one was great. The animation was excellent, as always from Pixar. The story was a bit hammy, but was good. The concept of the rat Remy controlling the human Linguini was interesting, but I think it wasn’t grounded in anything real. Ok, so we’re talking about a rat that cooks. You’d think I could suspend my disbelief a bit more. But, there was something about Remy controlling Linguini by pulling his hair I couldn’t buy. Suggesting movements, that I could go for. But out-right control? A little too much. But, overall, I thought it was a nice story, typical of Pixar. Maybe a little too sugar-coated. But, worth the watch.
Ocean’s Thirteen: We just watched this one with Lisa’s parents. First, the most annoying thing: the sound. If I turned the volume down so that the music wasn’t over-bearing, I couldn’t hear the voices. If I turned up the volume so that I could hear the voices, the music just blasted me away. So, I missed some of the dialog as I turned the volume down too much. Regarding the story, this one was ok. Typical of the series, I felt (though I haven’t seen 12). Nothing overly spectacular. It felt like it was just going through the motions. There is never any real tension. You never really feel that there is any chance the crew won’t be successful in their caper. The most interesting thing is some of the insights into Vegas gambling. But, some of it was just over the top, like the drilling machines. I think the first one pushed the tension much more and just made it feel like what they were doing was a tough job. This one, not so much. Definitely, my least favorite of this crop.