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“Yeah, I Saw That” Journal: 6/8/13

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You’ve probably noticed I’ve cut back on posting movie reviews lately. That’s because I’m trying to focus my extra time on actually writing and making movies, not just writing about them. I’m deep into another draft of a weird feminist Western I’ve been working on for years and in pre-production to direct a sci-fi short written by one of my friends. But I promise to keep  reviewing long-discussion-provoking films. And in between those reviews, I promise to give you a list of what I’ve been watching just in case you, like me, are nosy about your friends’ movie and TV habits.

Star Trek: Into Darkness

The learning-to-direct part of my brain was freaking out over J.J. Abrams‘s ability to frame interesting and fresh shots. He’s especially good at the inside/outside emotional transfer—where you see, say, a building exploding outside, then the camera moves back into a highrise apartment and focuses on a picture frame (that highlights the motivation behind the explosion) as the destruction continues out-of-focus outside. And it’s pure movie-villain joy to watch Benedict Cumberbatch tear into the Enterprise crew. Definitely worth seeing. Even twice.

Iron Man 3

Is Iron Man the most reliably entertaining action franchise in existence? Arguably. I thoroughly enjoyed this next installment, especially Ben Kingsley’s kooky take on The Mandarin. Get a big bag of popcorn, sit back, and let Robert Downey Jr. charm you once more. Side question: Does anyone know if this film was meant for a Christmas release? Because there was an awful lot of Christmas and snow in there for a summer blockbuster.

Now You See Me

Another super-fun summer movie (which is what summer is for, right?), Now You See Me had a quip-and-go pace akin to my favorite Soderbergh flicks and some mighty nice acting from Jesse Eisenberg and Mark Ruffalo, in particular. It’s not a deep movie, but it moves along and obligingly twists and turns for your watching pleasure. Another good popcorn option! Bonus fact: Louis Leterrier‘s (the director) first feature was The Transporter, one of my fave Jason Statham action movies.

Hello I Must Be Going

This 2012 festival favorite surprised me. The surface plot (sad 30-something divorceé takes up with sad 19-year-old kid) sounded like it could go sordid fast. Instead, Melanie Lynskey and Christopher Abbott make their characters and their mismatched relationship sympathetic and real. The film is no romantic fantasy (everyone in the film faces realistic consequences for their actions), but it is a sensitive look at human connection—failed, fumbling and redeeming. It was directed by Todd Louiso, whom you may recognize from his extensive character acting work. Remember the neurotic record store employee in High Fidelity that’s not Jack Black? Yeah, that’s Louiso. Now I want to watch High Fidelity again.

Rookie Blue

This show is my guilty pleasure every summer, though I’m not sure how guilty I need to be for watching a well-made, Canada-set cop procedural with strong female (and male) characters and engaging long story arcs. Sure, it’s a little soapy, but they balance the suds with real human emotion and nicely plotted crime stories. Give it a try.

 What have you been watching?

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Sarah Magill

Sarah Magill has a full-time movie habit made possible by a day-time greeting card writing gig. She blogs at Gimme Some Film and is learning to write scripts and direct. She tries to balance her screen obsession with trail running, jazz singing, book clubbing, and hanging out with The Best Golden Retriever Ever, Copa.

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0 comments on ““Yeah, I Saw That” Journal: 6/8/13”

  1. Lots of Netflix TV watching going on over here. Just finished season 5 of The West Wing (2 more to go). Blazed through season 2 of The Killing in order to be ready for last week’s season 3 premiere. Of course, there’s the new Arrested Development – we’re about 3 episodes into that. We dumped Mad Men only 2 episodes into this season. Just seemed to be chock full of nothing. Was that a mistake? Can’t wait for Sorkin’s The Newsroom to come back for season 2 in July (on HBO). Tried to watch the movie In Time the other day. I love Andrew Niccol’s work, but this one was pretty rough…ok…it was bad. Next movies on my list are Magic Mike and Beginners.

    Lately, however, I can’t stop re-watching Crazy Stupid Love and Easy A. I have them both on the DVR, and they beckon.

    • West Wing is the best. I enjoyed the new season of Mad Men–not quite as fantastic as previous seasons, but they had me at one episode a few more in–maybe around 4 or 5…even Toby liked it and he otherwise kind of hates Mad Men. So I would keep going if you have the time…

      Same thing (but in a very different way) happend with the new Arrested season…took a few episodes but then it started blowing my mind. I’ve heard that after you watch it, you should start rewatching the episodes (at least the first 7 or 8) in a different order and different things pop out.

  2. This is a great wrap-up. I forgot we never discussed Iron Man in person. That Ben Kingsley got me good. Toby and I also discussed that the villain’s superpower was a good new villain for Ironman, considering in 1 and 2, the villains were really just smart guys who came up with bigger, badder Ironman suits. Really enjoyed it.