April 19, 2013, - 6:42 pm
I didn’t hate the two new movies at theaters, this weekend, but I didn’t love ’em either. Mixed feelings in both cases.
* “Oblivion“: I liked this movie more for its style than its substance. It was high on the former. As for the latter, I felt like I was watching a remix of “2001: A Space Odyssey” meets “Moon” (read my review) meets “Silent Running”. There is even a smidge of a reminder of one of my favorite movies, “Blade Runner,” in it. I liked all of those movies, but I felt like this didn’t give us anything new beyond that. Still, I found it somewhat entertaining and engaging, if very, very slow, especially for the first half of it. I tend to like futuristic, apocalyptic, and/or high-styled science fiction movies, especially if they have a “Twilight Zone” flavor to them as this does.
The story: the earth is now a wasteland, after it has mostly been destroyed in a war with aliens who tried to overtake it. Humans won the war, but had to move to another planet. The special effects of this movie show us an Empire State Building that is covered with earth up to the observation deck. We’re told the last Superbowl was in 2017. Tom cruise and a woman have been teamed together to return to earth and fix drones that have stalled on earth and need to be restored. At the same time, he and the drones must stave off and kill what he believes are the leftover aliens on earth. But Cruise constantly dreams of the days when earth was still inhabited by humans and he sees a woman he cannot remember. Soon, a spaceship crashes, and he saves one of the inhabitants. It prompts him to start to remember things he could not figure out and to discover that nothing is as it seems.
I liked the man-versus-machine theme of it and the post-modern high style look of it, too. I love modern synthesizer music like the Vangelis soundtrack of “Blade Runner.” But they overdid it–way overdid it–in this movie. The loud, booming music over almost every scene is off-putting and distracting. And annoying. A little goes a long way. Less is more. This movie probably has one of the longest soundtracks ever, other than “Lawrence of Arabia.” And I did not care for what I detected was a political statement against the use of drones against the enemies of America. Yup, the nuts in Hollywood stand with the equally nutty and dangerous Rand (Paul) on this one (and far too many more dangerous things than Paul’s blind, gushing fans on the right care to admit).
Morgan Freeman co-stars. I saw this in IMAX (once you go IMAX, you never go BAX?), but it’s just fine to see on a regular screen.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Disconnect“: I found this movie entertaining, but highly predictable and very cold. It’s one of those didactic “Crash”-style movies that thinks it’s teaching us something (and, yet, that something is the obvious). The stories are interconnected and all about what can happen in our mobile, 24-7, anonymous, Internet world when we are disconnected and/or distracted from those closest to us in our lives. Not that any of this should be news.
The plots: A teen or 20-something is a male prostitute online who gets paid to perform sexual acts. A manipulative, self-righteous reporter tries to get him to give her an interview. A high school kid who has no friends and a distant lawyer father (Jason Bateman is the dad) is taken advantage of by two bullies at his school who pretend to be an online girlfriend. They set him up, and you can very easily predict what happens. A couple who keep having miscarriages get their bank account and all their savings raided by an online scammer, who they believe is the guy the wife has been confiding in about her distant, online-gambling husband.
On the one hand, there are important lessons for kids that they’ll never learn: what you post on the net is forever. And bullying can drive people to do tragic things. And so on. But I don’t think I’d want my kid to see this explicit, highly-charged, overwrought movie. And, yet, I liked when the prostitute tells the TV reporter that she exploits the subjects of her stories more than his pimp exploits him. Yup, that’s the media in a nutshell.
Entertaining enough. But a liberal cornucopia of blatant moralizing and non-stop melodramatic angst without much real useful purpose despite its pretense otherwise. Pretentious. Oh, and by the way, the one guy who was a Marine in the Middle East is portrayed is off-kilter and easily provoked to violence.
HALF A REAGAN
Watch the trailer . . .
Tags: Disconnect, Disconnect movie, Disconnect movie review, Disconnect review, Jason Bateman, Morgan Freeman, movie, movie review, Movie Reviews, Oblivion, Oblivion movie, Oblivion movie review, Oblivion review, Tom Cruise