As the days grow longer, the movie budgets grow bigger. Here are the latest movies I’ve seen, to add to the big list:
State of Play – 8/10 – Another byzantine screenplay by Tony Gilroy, who also wrote Duplicity (and, it turns out, The Devil’s Advocate). Russell Crowe plays yet another shaggy, heroic loner, this time with Rachel McAdams as his wing-man. All poor Helen Mirren does is spout British curses as the weary publisher worried about bankruptcy, but she’s as watchable as the rest of the cast. Journalists have gotten a lot of bad press lately, so I didn’t even mind this overly rosy depiction of their work.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine – 3/10 – Hugh Jackman works out! That’s really the best takeaway from this maudlin, plodding movie on Wolverine’s creation myth. Why are so many superhero movies so utterly without fun? I guess a lot of comic books are the same way: way too serious for their own good. From the score to the cinematography, everything in this film trades on a silly, tired stereotype.
Star Trek – 8/10 – I reviewed it here, so I’ll just say that it’s a rip-roaring space opera in the style of Star Wars and Serenity (this video highlights how much the plot owes to George Lucas and Joseph Conrad). It’s the first good, fun blockbuster of the summer, and rarely has a dull moment or an off-key scene.
Angels & Demons – 5/10 – As mediocre and muddy as The Da Vinci Code, with an equally implausible plot. By ‘implausible’ I don’t mean that it couldn’t happen. I mean that there isn’t much rational causality between plot points, and the thing has more holes than the IIS in a meteor storm. The plot, for example, has a ticking time bomb plot. Yet the bomb itself is this obscure, bizarre device which depends on a draining battery for its timer. I felt particularly sorry for Ayelet Zurer. She’s the Euro-arm-candy replacement for Audrey Tatou. She’s lovely, but utterly pointless.