Most people I know love watching movies. For years, my friends and I have enjoyed celebrating this universally favored media with the occasional movie marathon night. They started off as movie days with 6 or 7 movies but have since cut back to 3 or so. Last weekend saw our latest movie adventure, focusing on movies most some had seen but wanted to revisit. I’m always a bit worried when I revisit movies I liked when I first saw them, but these didn’t disappoint.
Akira: A: Akira stands out in my mind as the first anime film I ever saw. (I’d seen some Amercianized TV series, but they don’t count.) The animation still remains strong, and inspired several stylistic elements that show up in anime to this day. I especially like the light trails that follow the motorcycles. The story is a little “thick,” suffering slightly from an extensive source material, but makes much more sense now than it did to my 14-year-old-self. There is definitely some nostalgia influencing my opinion, but not enough to totally invalidate it.
Primal Fear: B-: I’ve always liked, but never loved, courtroom dramas. This movie is a telling look at the beginnings of how shows like CSI have confused the public as to how the justice system actually works. I’m no law expert, but some inconsistencies were glaring. Richard Gere explains you can’t change your plea halfway through but you sure can introduce evidence and witnesses whenever it suits you! The infamous “Insanity Defense” also seems a little misrepresented. I sort of, accidentally, guessed the twist ending too. Decent movie if you turn off your brain, but not action-y enough to warrant me doing so.
Total Recall: A+: Everything holds up perfectly. It’s a wonderful glance at a corporate-driven future. It’s an action movie with a plot, not too complicated, but enough to keep the audience interested in what’s going on and not just waiting for Arnold’s next one-liner (great though they may be.) The special effects didn’t show their age too badly either. I’m probably one of the few who has enjoyed nearly all the movie adaptations of Philip K. Dick’s stories, and this one ranks at the top. (Ok, second to the top. Blade Runner holds the #1 spot.)
I also watched some other, more recently released movies in the past week.
The Tourist: C-: Much like Primal Fear above, I jokingly guessed the ridiculous twist ending, one I assumed to be too inexplicable to be plausible. The movie couldn’t decide what genre it was. It had quirky moments that were almost funny, action sequences straight out of spy thrillers, and awkward romance scenes from romantic comedies, none of which were particularly well-crafted. My mother put it well saying it was “just an excuse for Angelina Jolie to wear nice outfits and look pretty.”
The Lookout: B: It was a well-woven story with a fulfilling climax. Both the characters and the plot were believable. It utilized stylistic and literary themes with subtle grace. Unfortunately, I could barely stay awake. If I didn’t know the movie was about a heist, something at which it doesn’t even hint for a long while, I’m not sure I would’ve finished it. The entertaining ending left a satisfying taste but it still clashes with the lingering boredom from the first act. Would’ve been a better as a book I think.