Doc Strange, the love child
between M.C. Escher and
The last time I told anyone to go see a movie in 3D for its visuals was Avatar, and that was seven years ago. Doctor Strange is another such film — the special effects are quite bedeviling and should be seen on the big screen. Props must be given to Inception; that fight scene in the spinning corridor no doubt spawned a great deal of the action that we see here, not to mention the rest of the dreamy machinations led by Leo and company.
It’s a prototypical superhero movie, meaning there’s a reluctant hero, some funny lines, and a Big Boss level. In a way, it’s as familiar as any bildungsroman, and at this point I’m so tired of it that if any film of this genre deviates even a little — like Deadpool — I’m almost grateful to the point of tears. Benedict Cumberbatch turns his arrogance volume down to about 4 here, and it’s the right level for this damaged character.
Tilda Swinton is of course lovely and amazing as always, but I must say, as a person of Asian descent, it feels like if there was one big-budget superhero movie that could’ve starred many more Asians, it was this one. I’ve read about the Tibet/China issue that most likely resulted in changing the teacher character from Himalayan to Celtic, so it was a business decision, but it also feels like a lost opportunity. I’m glad Benedict Wong got in there — he was the best thing in Marco Polo (in a series that was, well, terrible), and he lends his considerable gifts of austerity and gravitas to the film.
The Golden Globes are tonight, and to celebrate, here are four more haiku and reviews.
Strange, funny, and sad
Through puppets, many Noonans
It’s a Kaufman film.
The dream sequence is the highlight of this one. Synecdoche, New York, was better.
A curious film
that tries hard to make sense of
Can’t really say I enjoyed this one. Bale does what Hugh Laurie did for years on House; Carell is his usual schlub, except angrier.
a frozen body
kept alive through memory
a rebound marriage
This movie is a gem. The scene in the attic and the final scene are unforgettable.
Therese and Carol
Loving through glances, windows
Heatrbreaks and triumphs.
Best film of the year. Brooklyn is a close second, but this one has the benefit of two extraordinary performances. The final scene here is one of the most moving I’ve ever experienced in cinema.
What a fine year in movies. My favorite 4:
Mad Max: Fury Road
Many others I enjoyed:
I’ll See You in My Dreams
Clouds of Sils Maria
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Love and Mercy
Far from the Maddening Crowd
Fast and Furious 7
The life of Riley
by way of Joy and Sadness.
It’s all in her head.
Without question one of the best Pixar movies, if not the best one. The one emotion that I think we could’ve done without is Disgust, but really, that’s the tiniest of complaints. It’s visually arresting, the story moves, and it’s one of these rare movies that may actually help people, too. Only three animated movies have been nominated for Best Picture (Beauty and the Beast, Up, and Toy Story 3) but none have won. Who knows what Oscar bait will come out in November and December, but at the very least, Inside Out deserves to be nominated.
Looks good, sounds right — but
how little we care about
Comparisons to The Big Lebowski are obvious (and The Dude is the far superior movie in all the major ways — humor, plot, acting). After watching the film, I wondered why it didn’t jibe. It felt like the movie thought it was funnier than it actually was (which was very little). The only thing of note is the actress Katherine Waterston, who seemed like she was channeling circa 1995 Laura Linney. Her facial expressions, her movement — she reminded me so much of a young Linney.
She climbs in beauty
up a bruiser, then turns, falls —
a takedown done right.
I don’t think this was as good as the last one, Ghost Protocol, which had more cool gizmos and a higher hit rate for humor (mostly because Jeremy Renner brought the laughs in GP while here, he’s stuck in a suit in DC for too many stretches). But wow, what a performance by Rebecca Ferguson. Give her hair an old-fashioned wave, light her softly, and take some B&W shots, and she’d be a modern-day Lauren Bacall (somebody else agrees, too!). And a big hand to her stunt double, Lucy Cork, who made all those fights look so good. Ferguson’s character was actually more action-oriented than Cruise’s character. How cool is that?