Sun, Mar 30, 2014

: The Hunter

I assumed this was some silly dino-hunter film and it turned out to be a serious thriller about a loner sent into Tasmania by a shady corporation to find the last Tasmanian Tiger. They want its priceless DNA.

It’s very similar in tone to The American. He moves in under cover and pretends to be a scientist, but gradually befriends some locals and his heart is changed. There’s a bit of an ecology angle, but it’s not too heavy-handed. It’s mostly a slow-paced, thoughtful film, full of atmospheric silences and drama. Willem Defoe is just awesome as the hunter, and the supporting case is terrific, too. Worth your time.

Topic: [/movie]


Sat, Mar 29, 2014

: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

The concept of a child who inherits special abilities is a classic and though familiar, I was still curious about this film. I skipped it in the theaters and I’m glad I did. I don’t know anything about the books, but everything about the film is ham-handed and dull.

The central concept is the teen girl is a “shadowhunter,” half-human, half-angel, who has special abilities she can use to kill demons. There’s a bunch of other muddling mythology, but the real problem is much worse: it’s boring. All the technical details about this fictional world are read off of cue cards with all the enthusiasm of a half-asleep telemarketer. Important info and cool concepts are tossed off with barely a blink and no one seems to take even the most outrageous events with any surprise. I literally fell asleep during the film and was so bored I didn’t even care to go back and watched what I missed.

The whole thing devolves into utter silliness and cheesy digital special effects. Don’t waste your time.

Topic: [/movie]


Tue, Mar 25, 2014

: The Ice Limit

Author: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

I really knew little of what to expect, but I really enjoyed this adventure tale. The story involves the quest to retrieve the largest meteorite every discovered, and is mostly about the massive engineering operation in a remote location at the bottom of the world, mixed in with mysteries surrounding the giant orb. Though some of the events are far-fetched, it still made for a great story.

But what I most enjoyed was the fascinating character of the leader of expedition, a man who predicts every possible outcome and always has a backup plan. He has never failed. When the meteorite proves unpredictable, it was awesome to see the two square off.

The ending has a nice twice that’s plausible and ominous. Good fun with a lot of intriguing science.

Topic: [/book]


Wed, Mar 12, 2014

: My Kid Could Paint That

Intriguing little documentary about a four-year-old girl whose abstract oil paintings sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. It becomes a controversial topic both because there’s disagreement over why abstract art is worth that much (Is her artwork only worth that because it’s known she’s so young?), and because 60 Minutes does an exposé questioning that the girl actually paints them.

When the family responds by creating a video recording of their daughter creating a painting from start to finish, it seems to diminish most of the doubts of her authenticity. Still, a few questions linger. While I was disappointed that the film doesn’t completely resolve everything, it was a surprisingly compelling story and very watchable. It’s not long and utterly fascinating.

Topic: [/movie]