Damsels Solving Their Own Distress

I’ve been watching lots of movies about young women thrust into horrible situations. This was not on purpose mind you. Perhaps it’s becoming a prominent movie theme, especially for indie/foreign film, as a friend of mine (hi Jeremy) can attest. And I think A Separation is playing in town now too.

The Hunger Games: B+: My opinion of Hunger Games is skewed from reading the book. And not in the normal “the book was better why’d they change things” sort of way. It was too faithful to the book. This hyper-faithfulness, while I’m sure will solidify the movie’s success, left me with no surprises. But they did well with the material. The other bigger problem was the camera. Shaky camera and out-of-focus zooming are like 3D: a stupid gimmick that hurts the viewing experience. It’s acceptable during action scenes (though still better without it) but during moments of quiet or suspense they’re distracting and pointless.

Life, Above All: A: Several masterful performances, especially from the young lead actress. It portrayed a difficult topic without sensationalizing it, or overly romanticizing the reactions to it. The ending had hints of sappiness, but not so much so as to detract from the profound sadness.

The Whistleblower: B: While not particularly remarkable, I can’t find anything substantial to fault. I had a few plot and pacing hang-ups, but that usually happens when something gets “based on a true story” as they steer clear of the melodrama that I seem to enjoy so much in favor of “accuracy.” The ending wasn’t quite satisfying, but it wasn’t dissatisfying either. Rachel Weisz wasn’t at her best, but her best isn’t amazing anyway.

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