Tuesday, August 16, 2011

In which I rate movies recently watched on flights across the Pacific

Regular readers of this blog already know that I have different standards for movies seen on planes versus those seen in the movie theater or at home via DVD or streaming. The goal is to find that perfect mindless entertainment mean. I don't want to cry on planes, nor do I want my intelligence to be (totally) insulted. I just want something that will keep me pleasantly occupied.

Following is a relative scale from best to worst of the seven movies I watched flying LAX-Tokyo and back.

Hands down best: Hanna: Once I accepted the Chemical Brothers soundtrack and occasional slick cuts and edits, really liked this one. Great leading character, pretty good script, good actresses. Watch it! Bonus: for people who like stories about teen girls shooting arrows and fighting the system, this is a way to get your fix without (potentially) getting your heart broken. Bad accent alert: Cate Blanchett's American accent is grating, but her character's evil so I guess grating American accent is appropriate.

Thor: Huh. Actually not bad, despite presence of Natalie Portman. Certainly better than Black Swan. Best parts were in Thor's world. Some silliness/overeagerness, sure, but that's to be expected from comic superheroes, isn't it?

Source Code: Better than my half-ass preview gave it credit for. Not the most brilliant sci-fi story ever (I immediately knew who the bad guy was), but not bad. There's slightly more there than a constantly blowing up train and a pretty brunette. Bonus: Nice link between the early on Quantum Leap "that's not my face in the mirror" moment and Scott Bakula as the voice of the father. My message to Duncan Jones: more like Moon, please. You're better than this material and the slick Hollywood style.

Paul (TIE): Pretty much exactly what I expected from the trailer. I love Simon Pegg so much (YOU MUST WATCH SPACED) and he and Nick Frost are usually so dynamite together, but despite all the usual nods to sci-fi nerd-dom, there's little magic here. It is because Edgar Wright didn't direct?

Sucker Punch (TIE): Better than I expected from the billboards. I'm always down for a girls kick ass movie. Love Jena Malone. Does it help that the hypersexualized and, yes, super-sexy outfits are (spoiler alert) from a double-fantasy world created by the main character as escape from the sexual and physical abuse suffered at the hands of her stepfather and the mental institution to which he commits her? Um...still problematic. Also: sexy. But certainly worth 90 minutes of my time on a plane. Bad accent alert: Carla Gugino's Russian accent, offset by sexy outfits. Bonus: you don't miss much if you nod off during a fight scene.

City of Ember: Watched this for Saoirse Ronan after having liked Hanna so much. Might have liked this one if I was 8 years old. Refreshing to see a girl and a boy work together in a movie and not have romantic overtones, although (spoiler alert) the ending does seem to posit them as the Adam and Eve of a new Paradise. No animosity towards the movie, just not interested.

Absolute worst of this trip: Battle Los Angeles: Should have been named Battle Santa Monica. And really, who wants to save Santa Monica from the aliens? Basically a 2-hour promotional video for the Marines. Also: boring. Couldn't help feeling like the aliens the military (spoiler alert) abandoned the city to and then 20 minutes later set off to take it back from were not the ones from the sky but the ones Arizona is building fences against.

For those of you interested in the order in which I watched these:
LAX-NRT: First name theme: Hanna, Paul, Thor
NRT-LAX: sci-fi/action theme: City of Ember, Source Code, Sucker Punch, Battle LA

Meta comment: This post should receive the most colons (:) in one post award.

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