The run of good movies is still going! Last time I wrote a movie review, it was to praise two movies that we had lucked out with and all enjoyed watching…a thing that rarely, if ever, happens in this house. But, that trend has not ended (so far). We just watched two more really, really good movies. How did we get so lucky lately?
The first one we watched as a family the other night: Snowpiercer.
Now, the first thing about this movie is it’s rated R. Yes, we let the girls watch it with us even though it was rated R, that was a decision we made based on their level of maturity. I will say that it’s R mostly for the violence, which is pretty heavy, and we had the girls look away a few times because of it. But, the violence was not what I would deem ‘unnecessary’, in that it was not just included for shock value but actually played a part in the story line and underscored the delineation of the social classes that the movie highlights.
Chris Evans plays the lead role really well and it’s nice to see him in something other than Captain America, a character that I don’t care for all that much. He’s effective as the leader-who-doesn’t-think-of-himself-as-a-leader and it’s nice to see him play a bit more of a bad-ass. The basic premise of the show is that humanity ended up killing off the planet in an attempt to stop global warming and induced an epic ice-age. The only surviving people are riding on a ‘super train’ that circuits the globe once each year. The train is divided from front to back by social class….everyone in their place…with the end, or tail, of the train housing those deemed ‘less than’. These lesser passengers are living in filth and fed “protein’ bars that you find out later are made of ground up bugs. Yuck. Chris Evan’s character leads a revolt with the purpose of making it to the front of the train, to the engine that powers the whole thing, and taking control of their situation. What that entails is a lot of violent battles, loss of his friends, and by the end, his grip on sanity.
Tilda Swinton plays a great, and unsettling, role as the mouthpiece of the train’s creator, Wilford (played by Ed Harris). The whole process of the people from the back of the train making their way to the front is an exercise in surrealism. From finding an aquarium and stopping to eat sushi, to passing thought a rave, and, especially, the time spent in the classroom…it’s just makes you shake your head and say “what?”. One thing about this movie that I didn’t like were all the plot holes. It felt like a good story that just didn’t get finished being fully thought out….like you picked up a book, opened it randomly, and read two chapters completely out of context. There was enough of a story in place though, that it was still enjoyable to watch.
When it was over, we all just looked at each other for a moment, not really sure what we thought of it right away. It spurred some great conversation about the movie, some plot holes, and the greater message of the storyline. Wyatt made some pretty good comparison’s to Animal Farm and the social hierarchy of the people on the train. Kate & Abby had equally astute observations on the topics and plot lines. I figure any show that instigates a 20-30 minute discussion about human behavior, social hierarchy and morality, is probably a pretty decent watch.
The other movie we watched was Interstellar. This was the movie Mike & I went to see on our grown-up, all-the-kids-are-doing-something-else, evening out. Michael had wanted to see it and I was indifferent so that was pretty much how we made that decision. I really didn’t have a whole lot of an idea of what it was about so, again, I had no serious expectations. With no expectations, I was more than pleasantly surprised that this was such a great film. No, really. This is an epic film. It’s Christopher Nolan so you know it’s going to be good but this was just a great film.
A few items of note: One, this is an almost 3 hour flick. Therefore, I do not recommend drinking a theater-sized cup of soda during the previews. Just sayin’. Second, if you own waterproof mascara, you should totally wear it when watching this movie. I cried. A lot. And from the sound of the theater, I don’t think I was alone.
Now, to the movie. The whole thing is set in a near future where technology has failed and the most important role is now that of the farmers that are trying to feed the planet. Supposedly, NASA, the military, and all things similar, are gone. And the world is in the beginning of agricultural failure and a new dustbowl. Nolan takes a lot of the themes from the original dustbowl era and spins them into a new story. I won’t go any further with the story line except to say that it’s an epic tale that spans time, spaces and familial love.
I always feel like it’s a crap-shoot when you go to a movie on a date-night because if it sucks (and there is a high probability that it will) then you’ve just wasted two or three child-free hours sitting in the dark, not talking. But this movie turned out to be a worthwhile time. And it was the fodder of a lot of great conversation at our dinner later. A total win-win for the date night!
Oh, and then we came home and Wyatt wanted us to watch Homefront, a Jason Statham movie. And, while it was most definitely not the same caliber of movie as the other two movies, it was still a good no-brainer. A standard Statham flick…lots of reluctant-hero-gets-pushed-too-far-and-then-kicks-ass cinematics.
So really, I guess we watched 2 really great movies and one decent flick…still, the Patrick movie watching experience continues it’s epic roll.